A1 Journal article (refereed)
Social Workers’ Reflections on Forced Migration and Cultural Diversity : Towards Anti-Oppressive Expertise in Child and Family Social Work (2021)

Anis, M., & Turtiainen, K. (2021). Social Workers’ Reflections on Forced Migration and Cultural Diversity : Towards Anti-Oppressive Expertise in Child and Family Social Work. Social Sciences, 10(3), Article 79. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10030079

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsAnis, Merja; Turtiainen, Kati

Journal or seriesSocial Sciences


Publication year2021

Publication date25/02/2021


Issue number3

Article number79

PublisherMDPI AG

Publication countrySwitzerland

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessOpen Access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/74464


Social work in Finland, like in many other countries, has faced various challenges after the large scale of forced migration in 2015. Although working with migrants is not a new area in social work, the exceptionally large amount of asylum seekers in the Finnish society caused a need for improved social work expertise. Our article deals with Finnish social work practitioners’ reflections on multicultural, multilingual and transnational issues with a client group, which is in a vulnerable situation after forced or other forms of migration. The practitioners participating in our study have either attended a specializing education of child, youth and family social work or taken part in peer group discussions in order to develop multicultural expertise. All attendants worked in child and family social work during the study periods in the years 2018–2020. Applying a qualitative methodology by using thematic analysis, we analyze the social workers’ texts and discussions in order to find out the challenges and possibilities as well as needs and tools towards anti-oppressive practice in social work. The identified challenges are connected to differentiated local services, social workers’ uncertainty of their expertise in working with forced migrants, nationally defined welfare services and communication skills in client encounters. Some ways ahead were recognized in structural social work and further education to improve knowledge and skills. Social workers emphasize the need for self-reflection on their prejudices and in developing anti-oppressive practices, which contain human rights aspects and client-oriented practices. Specializing education and reflective group discussion gave a platform to social workers for reflective professional discussions and writings, which seem to have broadened their expertise in multicultural social work.

Keywordssocial worksocial servicesimmigrantsasylum seekersmulticulturalismmultilingualismsocial workersprofessional development

Free keywordsforced migration crisis 2015–2017; anti-oppressive social work; social work expertise; refugees; reflective learning; Finland; qualitative analysis

Contributing organizations

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2021

JUFO rating1

Last updated on 2024-03-04 at 20:06