The role of social work in international child protection: best practices in stakeholder cooperation
The focus of this paper will be the intersection of law, policy implementation, and social work in child protection, specifically child protection involving children who are separated by an international border from their families.
We will pay particular attention to international treaties, compacts, and conventions on the one hand, and the need to increase the capacity of social workers in the Americas to manage complex international child welfare cases in accordance with these laws and policies, on the other. The growing number of children migrants travelling between countries unaccompanied are of special concern to social work agencies operating within the Northern Triangle and the United States.
The first section of this paper will provide an overview of the role of social work in child protection, specifically focusing on how the practice of social work centers on protecting the best interests of the child and how social work intersects with legal and judicial partners in protecting children on the move. Next, the role of social workers when implementing relevant domestic and international conventions, laws, and treaties will be examined. The third section of this paper will explore the crucial importance of building the capacity of social workers to protect children on the move on both sides of the border. We will promote several key strategies for building cooperation and collaboration between social workers and legal and judicial partners in the fourth section. The final section of this paper will detail specific recommendations for mutually supportive and sustainable international social work and legal cooperation.