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Adult social work in six cities in 2020

The Kuusikko report on adult social work examines the adult social work clientele, customer process, staff and content of adult social work in the six largest cities, as well as the effects of the corona pandemic on adult social work in 2020. The report also describes the results of the Kuusikko joint adult social work customer survey conducted for the first time in early 2021.

The core of adult social work is built on taking care of people’s basic needs (functional capacity and well-being, interpersonal relationships and participation and rehabilitation, housing, livelihood and economy) and supporting everyday life. Especially in times of crisis, such as the coronavirus pandemic, the role of adult social work has been emphasized. During the coronavirus pandemic, increased unemployment, layoffs, mental health shocks, and deepening economic problems will increase the need for adult social work services in the long run. Services concerning the coronavirus epidemic will decrease once the population has been vaccinated, but the need for social counselling will continue.

The report is based on both comparative research data and survey results

The results of the adult social work survey provide interesting additional information on the well-being of adult social work clients. As the number of responses to the survey remained small in relation to the total number of adult social work clients, the results cannot be generalized to the entire Kuusikko adult social work clientele. Challenges to the well-being of clients in the survey include, in particular: mental health problems, poor functioning skills, financial issues, addictions, and housing problems. Of the customers in the six cities selected for the survey, 58 per cent were estimated to have mental health problems and everyday functioning was assessed as challenging in just over half of the clients. 44 per cent of the survey customers had financial challenges and 35 per cent dependencies.

Effective adult social work reduces inequality, increases social peace, makes people more active and reduces the disadvantages of exclusion at both individual and societal levels. The six cities have had major challenges in recruiting in terms of both availability and permanence. The law does not regulate the number of clients or the dimensioning of adult social work. A worker may have up to more than 100 clients. In order for adult social work to maintain its pulling and holding power, attention must be paid to working conditions, i.e. a reasonable workload, psychosocial workload and pay. The large number of clients in adult social work and the low level of wages, in relation to the complexity of the work, make it difficult to recruit and keep in work.

For the first time, a survey was conducted on the clientele of Kuusikko’s joint adult social work

For the first time, Kuusikko conducted a joint survey of customers in adult social work in the six cities. The data were collected between 11 January-12 February 2021. The answers to the survey are the employee’s view of the clients’ situations and needs. The survey has not been completed together with clients. The aim of the survey was to form an overall picture of the adult social work clientele in each city and to collect information at the six-city level on adult social work clientele for nationwide use.

A total of 5,059 responses were received in the six cities (Helsinki 874, Espoo 201, Vantaa 964, Turku 342, Tampere 1743 and Oulu 935). The number of clients selected for the survey varied between the cities.

Read more:

Kuuden suurimman kaupungin aikuissosiaalityö vuonna 2020 (In Finnish)

Kuusikko working group
  (In Finnish)

Statistics and research data on Helsinki

Image: Lauri Rotko, City of Helsinki Media Bank.