The Three Referents Of Action That Have Moved And Move The Profession Are Articulated There, Political, Religious And Vocational

In some way, they constitute the nucleus of social and individual recognition of the professional being.

These three references also mark the approaches that the profession has privileged when facing the problem of poverty.

The political pole from the structural changes and social policies, the religious in the awareness of a common origin and destiny, and therefore, in a vision of community, of brotherhood, of mutual help. The vocational focus, centered more on the gift of self for others that springs from a single conviction that the professions must serve and not be served from their social positions.

Whatever the origin of the relation with the theme of poverty that professional articulation may have, all of them can today singularly share the historical phenomenon that was consolidated in the nineties, which in some way is expressed in the United Nations Social Summit of 1995, that men create poverty and that it is a humanly unacceptable situation, for which it must be eradicated from the planet.

Poverty: A Permanent Challenge To Social Work

The relationship of Social Work with the issue of poverty is founding and is articulated to professionals from different referents. The nexus of the profession with the subject possesses the singularity of moving from the local to the global and locally in a short-term movement, of a little type, but which can be recognized and transformed into a conscious and intentional action of a macroscopic and global in a long-term perspective. The macro junctures frame these short-term movements, in some way they generate a central – local dialectic that finds Social Workers permanently in an interface “in front” of people and “on the side” with respect to macro lines, making efforts to reinterpret them for the subjects in the new conjunctures that raise macroeconomic changes and social policies. In its second part, the article makes a tour about the central lines that have followed the strategies of overcoming poverty in USA in the last decade, commenting on the significance that for the profession they can come to possess.

Social Workers relate to the theme of poverty from diverse points of view. The link of the profession with poverty has the singularity of moving from the local to the global sphere. On the local level, its emphasis is microscopic and short term but can be recognized and transformed into a conscious and intended movement of a macroscopic, global and long-term nature. The macro contingencies frame these short-term movements, and, in a certain way, generate a global-local dialectic that find Social Workers permanently at an interface “face to face” to the people- “beside” the people, regarding the macro tendencies, in which they strive to reinterpret for the subjects the new contingencies that arise from the macroeconomic and social policy changes. The second part of the article reviews the axial directions of the strategies to overcome poverty in USA in the last decade, analyzing the implications that these might have for the profession.

It is not difficult to relate the overcoming of poverty with Social Work. Historically and constitutively it has been a space of identity with which we have been described in the daily action since the beginning of professional Social Work and before it.

Nobody can be offside in society

Poverty is far-reaching. It is a significant cause of disadvantage and social exclusion. For people with little money, everyday things such as a day out or doing enough shopping are not self-evident. Children of parents with a low income often cannot participate with their peers on the sports field or school trips and are therefore literally offside.

One of the essential ways to do something about this is to offer everyone equal opportunities. We do this by providing people with less income a reliable safety net because everyone has the right to a decent life and fair opportunities.

And especially now that things are going better economically, we should all benefit from our prosperity. And that’s what we’re working on: we have made an extra 100 million euros available for children who grow up in poverty. This makes it possible for the 400,000 children who grow up in poverty to join school trips, buy a winter coat and take music lessons. Something that is a matter of course for many other children that should also be for them. Because every child that grows up in poverty is one too many.

Fighting poverty

In our election program, we pay a lot of attention to the fight against poverty. We want every municipality to implement poverty policy; they get more money for poverty reduction. Specific attention should be paid to children who grow up in poverty. The 100 million that we have allocated extra each year should come to every child that needs it. For this, we enter into cooperation with municipalities, schools, consultation centers and social parties such as Stichting Leergeld, the Youth Sports and Culture Fund, Stichting Jarige Job and many other local initiatives. So that every child can join in later. We also do not accept that schools exclude children via all sorts of extra amounts for travel, computers, etc.


Also, we pay much attention to poverty among the elderly. We link benefits and AOW to the average wage increase. Everyone must benefit from economic recovery. Older people with an incomplete state pension (AOW) currently receive a supplement to the social minimum for people aged over 65 via social assistance. Because this supplement falls under the cost-relief standard, older people are living with their children, for example, are cut back on that supplement. That is not fair. We, therefore, want to introduce a concession for this specific group and, also, make it possible to assist with harrowing cases through individual customization.


Help with large debts

Finally, we believe that people should be helped if they face massive deficits. We want to further expand the social debt collection from the government by making tailor-made solutions possible for selection by the government. We advocate one collection agency for all government services. This provides an overview, and it works better to help solve doubtful debts. We maintain the seizure-free foot. We introduce a bailiff register. We retain the 6-month breather to give people who are in danger of going bankrupt the opportunity to agree. Private collection agencies that charge usury rates are tackled.