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3rd Annual Global Social Service Workforce Symposium

Strengthening the Continuum of Care for Vulnerable Children and Families

This event was held on June 2, 2016 in Washington, DC and via live webcast. 

The webcast recording is available via YouTube (see below) and the summary report can be downloaded here.


Overview:  The Symposium provided a forum for practitioners, government representatives, scholars and other experts from around the world to discuss efforts to strengthen the social service workforce and advance systems and services for children and families. Presentations focused on ways in which planning, developing and supporting the social service workforce has changed over the past five years and has led to more effective services to children and families and a stronger continuum of care.

Aim of the Symposium:

Contribute to the growing body of knowledge regarding the role of the social service workforce in strengthening the continuum of care for vulnerable children and families


  • Stimulate discussion of achievements over the past five years and ongoing challenges to strengthen the social service workforce and improve the continuum of care for children and families

  • Disseminate information about workforce strengthening initiatives as described in the second annual “State of the Social Service Workforce Report” to be launched on the day of the Symposium

  • Promote the exchange of information between members of the Alliance and other family strengthening, health and social service workforce experts across countries and regions

Event Sponsors

This event was made possible through funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to the 4Children project (led by CRS) through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program.  GHR Foundation also supports the Alliance.


Welcome - Amy Bess, Coordinator, Global Social Service Workforce Alliance

Opening Remarks - Gary Newton, Former U.S. Government Special Advisor for Orphans and Vulnerable Children

Opening RemarksCornelius Williams, Chief, Child Protection Section, UNICEF Headquarters

Panel 1:  Social service workforce strengthening in the context of preventing and addressing violence against children:  Micro, mezzo and macro perspectives

An important role of the social service workforce is to prevent and respond to violence against children.  How is this being carried out by para professionals providing direct support to families? By strengthening linkages between services at the community level?  And how can action at the global level promote support for the workforce addressing violence?

  • An Evaluation of Community Based Organizations’ (CBOs) Care for Children: Do they make a difference and what can they contribute to the workforce?

       -  Lorraine Sherr, Clinical Psychologist and Head, Health Psychology Unit, Research Department, Infection and Population Health,

           University College London

  • Strengthening linkages between clinical and community services for children and adolescents who have experienced sexual violence

       -  Amelia Peltz, Senior Gender Advisor and Acting Team Lead, Office of HIV/AIDS, Bureau for Global Health, USAID

  • Building a global partnership and engaging the workforce in addressing violence against children

       -  Sarah Stevenson, Acting Chief of Office, Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children

Panel 2:  Promoting an intra-disciplinary response to strengthen the continuum of care for children and families

How can we most effectively bridge the different layers and disciplines within the social service workforce to encourage cohesiveness of support to vulnerable children and families?  Presenters will provide country examples of coordination between different types of social service workers to promote a stronger continuum of care.

  •  Engagement of multi-level support for orphans and vulnerable children in Uganda

        -  Patrick Onyango Mangen, Country Director, TPO Uganda 

  • Case management teamwork– bridging social work, child and youth care workers and auxiliary workers to promote the well-being of children and families in South Africa

        -  Zeni Thumbadoo, Deputy Director, National Association of Child Care Workers, South Africa 

Closing Remarks Dr. Jim McCaffery, Senior Organization Strengthening Specialist, TRG and Chairperson, Global Social Service Workforce Alliance Steering Committe