Hogeschool van Amsterdam

Amsterdam Research Institute for Societal Innovation

Social street work: An substantiated explanation model of methodic acting

Abstract

Within Northwest European Welfare states, there is a growing need for all social work professions to substantiate their work with research.

The earliest notions of social street work origins from the end of the18th century by the British Salavation Army (Mikkonen et al., 2007). In the Netherlands it’s introduced from the United States (1960s), as a response to individuals and groups hanging around. Social street work is a low threshold and professional form of being there, performed in surroundings and situations where the target group is. It focusses on contact-making and staying in contact with individuals and marginalised groups, who otherwise are hard to reach, have lost their connection with society and have multiple problems. It’s a high appreciated practice, but it lacks a method that is substantiated with research (Morse et all, 1996; Kirkpatrick, 2000). In this paper we will present conceptual model of the method of social street work, that’s substantiated with experiences from professionals and the target group. This paper is based on a combination of literature review, document analysis, Delphi Method and an online questionnaire among the target group. The research is conducted at Streetcornerwork in Amsterdam. Streetcornerwork is the only organization in the Netherlands that provides social street work, since WWII. They employ 175 professional social street workers and has 43 years of experience in social street work. First, a theoretical model of social street work is developed bases on literature review, analyses of documents of the establishment (1970-1990) of social street work (Netherlands) and different attempts to describe the method (1991-2017). Second, the explanation model is strengthened with data from the online questionnaire among 1600 clients of Streetcornerwork. Third, the Delphi Method is used to validate the model with the tacit knowledge of 24 professionals. The result is a conceptual model of the method of social street work that is substantiated with experiences from professionals and the target group. Characteristic is that it’s an open approach in contact with the target group which is highly dependent on context and has unpredictable character (Metz, 2016, Andersson, 2011). The method social street work consists of 14 methodic principles. Social street work contributes to the development of self-insight and general life skills, the restoration of the social network and the improvement of living conditions and the well-being of the target group. We also gain insight in the experienced contribution of social street work from persons in the environment of the target group (client system, neighborhood and institutional environment). This experienced contribution of social street work at the environment is divided into the direct contribution and the implicated contribution through the target group. Conclusions and implications. This conceptual model of the method of social street work contributes to a body of knowledge. We made tacit knowledge explicit and we can legitimize the profession of social street work. Because research is done in close collaboration with street workers, it also contributes to the development of their work.

Reference Rauwerdink-Nijland, E. (2018). Social street work: An substantiated explanation model of methodic acting. 154-155. Abstract from 8th European Conference of Social Work Research, Edinburgh, United Kingdom.
Published by  ARISI 18 April 2018