Social Care Practice in Rural Communities

By:
Prof. Brian Cheers,
Chris Colgan,
Karen Francis,
Julie Grant,
Bob Lonne,
Jenny Peut,
Prof. Wendy Schiller,
John Schiller,
Sarah Wendt
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Social care comprises all society’s arrangements, other than the market, that provide for people’s social, emotional, and material needs. It encompasses social policy, social planning, community development, service provision, individualised care, and is provided by a variety of professions and occupations, volunteers, and natural supports. Social care transcends boundaries between professions, disciplines, organisations, volunteers, and natural helpers.

Aims of this study were to validate the construct with diverse professional and occupational groups and volunteers, ascertain how they define and practice social care; identify factors influencing how they practice and the information base they draw from; identify how practitioners in the same locality relate to each other around social care; and identify best practice principles. This paper reports results of interviews and focus groups with almost 100 practitioners and managers in 12 rural communities in four states of Australia, including social workers, community developers, social planners, psychologists, nurses, teachers, health and human services providers and managers, police, emergency services workers, ambulance officers, and volunteers such as meals-on-wheels workers. Social care was validated as a generic, transcendent construct that operates at the individual/family and community (‘the community caring for its own’) levels. While all participants validated the general construct, they viewed it from different angles. They drew from a diverse formal and tacit knowledge base and identified a variety of influences on their practice. Influences were organised conceptually into eight ‘practice domains’: society, community, geography, professional, practice wisdom, practice field, personal, and practice wisdom.


Keywords: Social Care, Practice, Rural, Social Support, Informal Care
Stream: Education and Social Welfare
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Prof. Brian Cheers

Professor of Community Development, Research Professor of Community Development and Director, Centre for Rural Health and Community Development, Centre for Rural Health and Community Development
Whyall-Norrie, South Australia, Australia

Brian Cheers is Research Professor of Community Development and Director of the Centre for Rural Health and Community Development at the University of South Australia. He is a rural and community sociologist and community developer who has been researching, writing about, and practising in rural communities for more than 25 years. He has published widely in international and national journals. Recent books include 'Welfare bushed: Social care in rural Australia' (Ashgate) and 'Social care practice in rural communities' (Federation Press). Current research includes social care theory and practice; social, economic, and community impacts of water markets; conceptualising and measuring community strength; development of a community capacity auditing template; Indigenous understandings of community and community development; and impacts of participation in bush products industries on Indigenous communities.

Chris Colgan

University of South Australia
Australia


Karen Francis

Monash University
Australia


Julie Grant

Monash University
Australia


Bob Lonne

University of Queensland
Australia


Jenny Peut

University of Queensland
Australia


Prof. Wendy Schiller

University of South Australia
Australia


John Schiller

University of Newcastle
Australia


Sarah Wendt

University of South Australia
Australia


Ref: I07P0220