The Coronavirus has had a major impact on the provision of social services to millions of people across Europe who benefit from such services on a day-to-day basis: older persons, persons with disabilities, homeless persons, persons in or at risk of poverty, those with abusive partners or family members, vulnerable children and young people, refugees and asylum seekers, as well as people with addictions.
Recent data is showing that a significant proportion of COVID-19 deaths concern people living in residential social services facilities, in particular care homes for the elderly. Verified infection rates in social services are also worryingly high.
This tragedy is only part of the story, with millions of people and their families unable to access the non-residential care and support services they usually benefit from. 10,000s of essential face-to-face services such as home care, day, respite, and emergency support services have had to close or shift online.
COVID-19 has exacerbated existing challenges in social services across Europe – such as underfunding and staff shortages – which puts at risk the continuity of social service provision – and its 11 million jobs- in many areas across Europe.
But what does this mean in practice? What is the reality on-the-ground?
The European Union has been very active in coordinating a common European response to the crisis, in particular in support of the economy, unemployed people, and public health. On the social front, the European Union has primarily worked towards helping Member States and Regions to deal with the social consequences of the crisis.
Is this right? Should there be a stronger role for the European Union on social service provision? If so, what precisely is needed?
Join us n the 25th June for the first “European General Assembly for Social Services” to hear from grassroots social workers facing COVID-19 in their services and European Union representatives on the role of the European Union in supporting social service provision in the months and years to come.
Agenda for the event and registration details will be published in due course.