A green social work perspective on social work during the time of COVID-19


Dominelli L (2021) A green social work perspective on social work during the time of COVID-19. International Journal of Social Welfare, 30 (1), pp. 7-16.

COVID‐19 has challenged social workers to engage with health pandemics and provide essential services in conditions of uncertainty and high risk. They have safeguarded children, older adults and diverse adults in ‘at risk’ groups under tough conditions mediated by digital technologies, adhered to government injunctions, maintained social and physical distancing under lockdown and worked from home remotely. Social workers and social care workers have risen to the challenges, providing services with inadequate personal protective equipment and limited supervision and support. This article highlights the degraded physical environments, socio‐economic and political contexts that intensify precariousness and constraints that neoliberalism imposed on professional capacity before and during this health pandemic. It provides guidelines to protect practitioners and service users. It concludes that practitioners ought to understand zoonotic diseases, environmental concerns, acquire disaster expertise and training, widen their practice portfolio and value their contributions to this pandemic.

COVID‐19; green social work perspective; health pandemic; disaster interventions; personal protective equipment; neoliberalism; ethical dilemmas; social care; child protection; zoonotic diseases

International Journal of Social Welfare: Volume 30, Issue 1

Publication date31/01/2021
Publication date online15/11/2020
Date accepted by journal21/10/2020