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Social Workers & Migration

Newly established in May 2016, the Social Work and Migration special interest group welcomes new members. It is made up of social workers from a wide variety of settings including child protection and welfare, disability, family support, medical, mental health, and primary care sectors, as well as representatives of immigrant support centres, academics and social work students.


REGISTRATION OPEN: "Diversity in Practice"- First conference of the IASW Special Interest Group on Migration 

Friday, 13th October, University College Cork

Registration 9.15am, Conference opens 10am

The aim of this conference is to promote best practice, policy and research in social work with migrant families. 



Speakers include:

  • Professor Claudia Bernard-Department of Social, Therapeutic and Community Studies, Goldsmiths, University of London
  • Professor Alastair Christie- Head of the School of Applied Social Studies, University College Cork.
  • Panelists: Brian Davis, Social Work Practitioner, HSE Primary Care, Deborah Chemhere, Social Work Practitioner, Tusla Child and Family Agency: Social Work with Resettled Refugees. 
    Service User Experience: A Migrant Young Person’s Experience of Care and Aftercare Services, A Service User's Experience of Direct Provision and Pathways to Citizenship.
  • Fiona Hurley, Legal Service Manager,  Nasc Ireland: Immigration issues impacting social work with migrant families
  • Dr. Mary Phelan, Chairperson, Irish Translators and Interpreters Association:  Interpreting with migrant service users
  • Jeannette Taku, New Communities Partnership: The Migrant Family Support Service Supporting parents and families in child protection and welfare services
  • Ben Swan- Cross-cultural Communication Skills Trainer, The Mandelo Group.



Many thanks

Kind regards



Broad aims and objectives were discussed at the first meeting of the SIG on 11th May 2016 and include four areas (1) social work practice, (2) research, (3) education and (4) advocacy & policy. Its draft proposed vision is set out below:

Within an overarching framework of social justice and human rights, the aim of the SIG is to:

  • Promote best social work practice in partnership with migrants
  • Provide a forum and resources for enhancing the training of social workers and their competence in practice with migrants
  • Advocate for progressive social policies and services relevant to migrants by drawing on the experiences of its members and on research evidence.

Committee members: Carol Carr; Colletta Dalikeni; Brian Davis; Deborah Chemhere; Aileen Dunne; Edizemi Onilenia; Maeve Foreman; Seán Lynch; Susan Lewandowski

Further information can be obtained from the group sectretary; Deborah Chemhere at


Social Work and Migration Special Interest Group - next seminar, 'Child Migration Matters', Friday 3rd March 2017

Katie Mannion, solicitor with the Immigrant Council of Ireland, and author of their recently published Child Migration Matters report will address specific issues raised in the report relevant to social workers. The report highlights barriers faced by migrant children in the care of the state in realising their rights, and the important role that social workers can play.

Venue: Room 5052, Arts Building, Trinity College

Date: Friday 3rd March 2017

Time: 3-5 pm

Space is limited so please reserve a place in advance with

Executive summary of the report:

Full report: