Strengthening the Role of Social Work in DSWD: Reinforcing the Profession’s Career Progression

Feb 16, 2023 | Policy Analysis


Social workers are deemed as the primary helping profession of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) – whether in the direct or indirect practice – to uplift the living conditions of the poor, vulnerable, and disadvantaged. Being the primary profession promoting and contributing to the social welfare landscape in the Philippines, the necessary organizational support for the practitioners’ employment retention and career development needs to be prioritized given the huge roles they play in the delivery of social welfare services.

Given the experienced realities and challenges on employment retention, career pathing, and public perception on social workers, this policy analysis paper intends to contribute in understanding and strengthening the social work landscape in the Philippines specifically looking into the career opportunities provided by the Department of Social Welfare and Development to its social workers. Based on the review on existing laws and policies and in consideration of the policy goals towards organizational effectiveness, organizational efficiency, and employee welfare, three policy alternatives are formulated – (1) Retain Competency- Based Mechanism for hiring and training needs for all DSWD employees; (2) Issue a policy for the Career Pathing and Employee Retention Program for DSWD social workers; and, (3) Recalibrate the establishment of Social Welfare and Development Learning Institute with the inclusion of career progression program for DSWD social workers.

Using the multi-goal analysis and the Probability Scale Scoring as discussed by Patton and Sawicky, the authors recommended that the second policy alternative be considered. By setting a policy for the implementation of a Career Pathing and Employee Retention Program, it directly addresses the issue of retention given that the program would cover the identification of requirements, skills enhancements and processes to assist internal social workers in applying for permanent positions, recognizing the limited available positions. Having more social workers retained with the Department will also contribute to strengthening the social work workforce and relatedly increase people’s awareness about the profession and, even, influence the positive perception on the roles and responsibilities being performed by social workers. This, to a greater extent, would benefit the organization in the performance of its mandates and its expected role as the lead agency in social welfare and development.

To realize this, eight recommendations are also provided centering on the DSWD organizational development, and strengthening of engagement with social work bodies which can potentially aid in social work education and practice. Focusing on the promotion and advancement of the social work profession would not only benefit the professional and personal growth of the Department’s workforce but also contribute to the overall effectiveness of the DSWD.

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Strengthening the Role of Social Work in DSWD: Reinforcing the Profession’s Career Progression