In 2019 a broadcast from Denmark’s Radio (DR) highlighted severe social problems among children a ... Read more
In 2019 a broadcast from Denmark’s Radio (DR) highlighted severe social problems among children and young people in Tasiilaq in East Greenland. The broadcast also highlighted severe shortcomings in social care and child protection measures. The broadcast claimed the municipality and its employees either failed (or responded inadequately) when receiving concerned professionals’ referrals. In this article, the point of departure is in the situation in Tasiilaq reported in the DR broadcast "The town where children disappear” – and based on a series of qualitative interviews with public employees in Tasiilaq. Through a social policy lens, the paper explores the situation in Tasiilaq. Among other things, the paper explores the situation reported by the broadcast from the perspectives of low-level public sector employees.' By analysing some of the employees' challenges, i.e., the referral reporting procedure in the municipality and the lack of decision-making competences locally, this article compares the findings from the broadcast to the employee's perspectives. Ultimately, this comparison illustrates the challenges of protecting children and young people from serious harm in Tasiilaq.
This study explores social workers’ experiences in a social service department in Greenland. The ... Read more
This study explores social workers’ experiences in a social service department in Greenland. The social workers described limiting factors, such as an absence of management and a dysfunctional interdisciplinary network. They described feelings of frustration and individualization, which are known stressors. We found that the social workers were in a disempowered position that hindered their management of key welfare services. Serious problems were found that could have consequences for professional social work with clients. By drawing upon the traditions behind critical social work in our discussion of the findings, we have furthered our understanding of the workers’ conditions. We point to issues at local, interdisciplinary, and societal levels. One solution will be to work collaboratively with social workers by using empowerment strategies to strengthen a critical consciousness within the profession. The development of a critical capacity is essential if social workers are to organize anti-oppressive practices and interdisciplinary co-operation, and to engage proactively in the future development of the Greenlandic welfare system. This can be accomplished by working with educated social workers in a union and by introducing more critical understandings at the student level.