Melanie Zajacová  (Department of Social Work, Faculty of Arts, Charles University)

(Czech Republic)

Topic: Perception of social work by Czech society
Language: English 


The aim of the paper is to present the results of a research project on how the social work profession was perceived by the public and by social workers themselves at the time of the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. The motivation for this research was the connection between the changes in the profession and the current social changes and challenges in social work.
The theoretical starting point is the constructivist concept of social work as a profession, and the intention was to broaden the empirical base by adding to the previously missing knowledge about the current situation. In the Czech Republic, the practice of social work is regulated by Act No. 108/2006 Coll., on Social Services. Social work is practiced in different systems with a wide range of practice.
The ongoing transformations of society bring new social impacts and significantly change the social needs to which the social state or social work must respond. In the European context, a new dimension is opening and the demands on social workers are increasing, especially in terms of professionalisation and changing the setting of educational standards. Global problems such as the Covid-19 pandemic, the energy crisis or the war conflict in Ukraine have put social workers on the front line, and society has seen their work and necessity through a new lens.
In 2020, the International Federation of Social Workers put forward a framework for a Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development, recognizing the need for fundamental changes in the world and a vision for a new social construction in which equal access to all people and recognition of their self-determination is guaranteed. Some answers in the search for a new face of social work in the Czech environment in the context of global issues are offered by the main findings of the presented research project, which complete the picture of social work in the Czech Republic. The unique findings obtained on the current position of social work among other professions and on the public perception of this profession in the ranking of professions will be replicable in the future and will allow monitoring the changes in the perception of social work by society.