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  • Author or Editor: Elena Cabiati x
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As human beings, people in need should have the right to access services and support to improve their living conditions, irrespective of their backgrounds. However, in reality, practising this principle is often ridden with complexity; therefore, social work organisations continue to grapple with the problem of accessibility towards ethnic minorities. Research and practice reveal that the accessibility of social work practices and social work organisations for ethnic minorities depends on several objective and subjective factors. These factors impose different responsibilities on social workers and organisations at the political and managerial levels of the welfare system. Considering the Italian social work context, this study uses the metaphor of the door-closing and door-opening movements within the welfare system to show how the former prevents, discourages or limits the access of ethnic minorities to the required support, while the latter facilitates them in navigating the system.

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Approaches, Visions and Challenges

With cross-cultural perspectives from contributors in nine countries, this book showcases much-needed research on current issues around migration and social work in Europe. Focusing on the reception, experiences and integration of refugees and asylum seekers, the chapters also consider the impact of recent EU policies on borders and integration.

With racism on the rise in some European societies, the book foregrounds international social work values as a common framework to face discriminatory practice at macro and micro-levels. Featuring recommendations for inclusive practice that ‘opens doors’, this book features the voices of migrants and the practitioners aiding their inclusion in new societies.

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In the epilogue, the editors of the book highlight three main points: the key themes discussed in the previous chapters through a European perspective; the intended use of the book offering more than one views for practice, education and research; a reference to the particular times of the production and publishing of the book, mentioning the new crises and challenges linked to the cOVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine. Lastly, the best way to complete this book is recalling the commitment, the vision and the sense of hope shared by all involved authors. From different countries and with different backgrounds, they have shown, and will show, before and after this contribution, passion, critical thinking and responsibility towards the life of migrant people and the role of social work.

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This book intends to identify the reality of migration and asylum in Europe through the lenses of the research done by social work academics from nine different countries. Along its 11 chapters a true European perspective is also provided and many questions arise regarding the role of social work research at practitioner level, at academic level and at political level.

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There is an increasing literature setting out models and good practice in service-user involvement in social work education (Skilton, 2011; Robinson and Webber, 2013; Tanner et al, 2015; Askheim et al, 2017; Duffy et al, 2017; Cabiati and Levy, 2020). Pedagogically this work is framed by approaches to integrating the voices, lived experiences and experiential knowledge of service users and carers into social work education. While these voices are becoming less marginal within social work education, the contribution of service users and carers as co-authors in this literature is less visible (McPhail, 2007; Fox, 2016; Bell et al, 2020; Levy et al, 2016, 2020). This chapter contributes to addressing this lacuna by being co-authored with three Scottish service users and/or carers, also called experts by experience. All three have written reflectively on their experiences of involvement in social work education and their perceptions of the impact of their involvement on students’ learning, social work practice and on them personally. The chapter also includes reflective accounts written by Italian social work students as part of their course work. The EBE and students all used the concept of ‘inspiring conversations’ (Cabiati and Levy, 2020) as a starting point to explore and reflect on their experiences of user involvement in social work education.

‘Experts by experience’ (EBE), rather than ‘service users’, is used in this chapter as a term that more coherently conveys the essence of experiential and tacit knowledge; that is, knowledge acquired through living with a disability, being a family carer and/or receiving social services.

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