Straßensozialarbeit in Berlin

National Association of Street Work/Mobile Youth Work: Technical Standards

*Streetwork (SW)
*Mobile Youth Work (MYW)
These abbreviations will be used in this document.

1. The philosophy and mission of Streetwork and Mobile Youth Work

SW and MYW approach people who utilize public areas, such as streets, malls and transportation sites, which are areas of central importance to them.
In general, many of these people are not willing to engage in, or are outside the reach of traditional social services. SW and MYW is: going to places where people meet.
SW and MYW attempt to improve the living conditions of their clients, and seek cooperation to work with them to offer alternatives to avoid conflicts with other populations who utilize public spaces.
SW and MYW offer services tailored to meet the needs of clients to enable them to develop stable future perspectives. This is important given the specific risks of situational dangers to people who live and survive in public places.
The key philosophical elements in SW and MYW are reflected in the following principles.
• Outreach;
• Low key and flexible approaches in services offered;
• Adapting to the needs, living environments and daily life of clients;
• Unconditional acceptance of clients ( non-judgmental engagement approach);
• Data and personal privacy rights protection for clients;
• Anonymity for clients;
• Client advocay, transparency, committment and continuity;
• Gender specific approach is an integral component of the work principles (standards);
• The above principles govern all the activities of SW and MYW and are non-negotiable, mutually dependendent and construct the character and the framework for this work.
• Streetwork and Mobile Youth Work hold common principles but are seperate and independent in working with diverse youth and street populations.

SW and MYW are basically founded in social law, (for example, Social Legislation, Book VIII, Child and Juvenile Aid and Federal Aid Law). SW and MYW services are provided through the support of both Non-Governmental Organizations and the public sector (governmental sector) responsible for youth and social welfare.

2. SW and MYW serve people in special life situations and social environments.\

SW and MYW approach children, youth and adults, who, unwillingly or not, cannot be reached by social efforts of integration, and who spend a major part of their lives on the streets.
The process of social disentegration and marginilazation have caused the condition of people living in public spaces. This makes them a more likely target for stigmatization and criminalization. Often they form groups, associating with equally victimized persons.
It is necessary to develop specific services, oriented to the needs of this population and their living environment, with consideration of the social environments they occupy.
SW and MYW cannot just address problems deriving from life in the streets. It is also necessary to offer support in dealing with the causes that led to street life. It is important to understand, that for people living on the streets, it is a legitimate and accepted environment, experienced as attractive and dangerous at the same time.
SW and MYW believe that their task is to build bridges between the various groups occupying public space. This will counter the processes of disintegration mechanisms, which are enforced by increasing regulations and privatization of public spaces.
Public spaces are legitimate places that should be accessible for all citizens, serving a vaiety of purposes. SW and MYW reject the exclusive use of public spaces by any one group while excluding people with „specific life styles“.

3. Objectives of SW and MYW

The goals of SW and MYW are to prevent or reduce segregation and stigmatization of people. SW and MYW offer appropriate and field adjusted services to enhance the social integration of their clients, and make efforts to create conditions for more positive life-styles in public spaces.
Consequently, the goals are:
– Support and acceptance of the clients and improvement of existing living conditions;
– Improvement of the social skills of clients;
– Development of social resources for assistance and individual resources for self-help;
– Development and support in transforming life perspectives;
– Minimizing and eluding social disadvantage and discrimination;
– Development of stragegies for effective professional and social political intervention;
– Lobbying for the of interests of diverse populations;
– Developing, preserving and regaining public spaces;
– Institutional and conceptional innovation thinking as a basis for planning in social and youth-welfare services;
– Orientation and referrals to services that provide assistance: youth wefare, social welfare, education, work, housing, family relationships, economic survival and health care.

4. The Work and Services Offered by SW and MYW encompass mainly three areas, which can be interactive
-Direct client-oriented assistance;
-Infrastructural activities;
-Intra-agncy-disciplinary cooperation

The spectrum of activities and services offered by SW and MYW focuses on establishing a trusting relationship with clients. Working to eliminate segregation of populations contains the following provisions to improve the capacity of coping with life challenges:
-Relationship Building;
Establishing and nurturing long term, enduring, committed and reflective relationships and adhering to professional boundaries with clients;

-Continuity in making client contacts;
Creation of a trustworthy/safe contact network for clients;
Individual and group counseling focused on client specific needs;

-Group and project work: (workshops, seminars, community work);
Social learinng as an opportunity to develop positive life perspectives and plans;
Recreational opportunities/Experiencing Pedagogics;
-Training recreational opportunities
A chance for clients to experience personal strength and limits;

-Support of clients;
Advocacy and support/solidarity in securing legal assistance to resolve disparities with institutions, officials and bureaucracies.
Direct or indirect negotiations involing at least two parties (persons or institutions) offering mediation that aims to enlist help from a third party (other person or institution).

-Teaching the client basic life skills;
Teaching the client to develop the skills that he/she needs in everyday life;

Helping or making referals to cover basic needs for survival, support in: job hunting, education, or other services. These services should not be reduced to just making contacts and referrals.
-Conflict Management
Intervention of a negative process in order to disrupt obvious endangerment and to anchor a behavior for the awareness of new prespectives. Services offering help to exit negative or dangerous careers.

-Opening of Spaces
Assisting groups who gather or meet in spaces initiated by SW or MYW.

-Improvement of the Infrastructure
Improving and creating opportunities in clients’ living environments and influencing local social political and social youth political decisions.

-Committework/cooperation/Publicity-Media work are elements of projects or approaches which expand the limitations of any one region’s, department, and professional discipline, but requires multi-disciplinary, mutli-professional, intra-regional cooperation. To best advocate and serve the clients of MYW and SW, the creation of intra-regional professional support services needs to take place.
-Media Work
Publicity and Media. Describing and presenting the harsh reality of the client’s life on the street to the public. These services are provided with special attention given to the needs and requirements of people of different gender or ethnic origins.

5. Framework of Streetwork of Mobile Youth Work

In order to work effectively and efficiently, SW and MBY need an adequate framework, and suitable conditions. The responsibility of the framework that contains all of the conditions and circumstances is determined by the organizations and the funding sources.
Streetworkers cite four areas of framework conditions as required for SW and MYW:
a) Personnel Requirements;
b) Material Requirements;
c) Structural Requirements;
d) Supervision (Opportunity to Reflect the work).

Personnel Policies/ Benefits Requirements:
-A work contract in written form;
– Job description available before the beginning of the project;
– Teamwork;
– Each team is configured around specific needs or tasks, each project or group may require different teams, (example: multi-ethnic, gender specific);
– Each team must have a configuration of 2.5 FTE (FTE= Full time Employee/s);
– Unlimited or long-term work contracts, additional funding for support staff on an as-needed basis (per diem staff);
– Hiring of qualified professionals, (Social Work Degree or Comparable work experience);
– Salary according to BAT IVa standard, additional benefits under BAT Suffix 1a standards;
– Provsion of employee benefits, (for example, health insurance.

Material Requirements
-Communication possibilities – sufficient and appropriate space;
-Basic amount of hands-on flexible petty cash fund available;
-Office administration costs, management costs and short-term-project additional staff funds;
-Funds to reimbuse staff for travel expenses/mileage;
-Funding for activities, programming, and field trips;
-Mobile work materials
-The means for employers to fullfill, duty-of-care, to employee.

Structural Requirements
– Networking and cooperation is an element of the work mission/contract;
– Integrated role in helping-services and cooperation systems;
– Identification badge
– Official access to administration and other organizations and partners to build and solidfy working relationships;
– Data protection and client privacy rights, and as an offcial demand: Right to refuse to give evidence.

-Planning and quality assurance;
– Means for evalualion (financial and planning-time resources;
– Qualified guidance for workers in new projects;
– Team meetings (focused onevaluation of work);
– Peer support and advice;
– Supervision
– Funding guaranteed to pay for independent advice and guidance by a qualified professional (given by a third party, not the worker’s on-site supervisor);
– Training and conference participation.

6. Quality Assurance

In SW and MYW, „quality“ is, the quality of an active on-going process, i.e counseling, support, basic-needs services, etc., which is complex and has various dimensions.
That is why „quality“ is measured through different levels of this action process.
Three important quality levels of SW and MYW are:
-cost efficiency and;
-the social impact of the services provided.
As a consequence this means that when evaluating this process, more than functional or economic aspects have to be considered, but also the impact for society.

Levels in reference to quality
Quality emerges through interactive cooperation of material resources, structural resources and human resources. When there is a discussion about quality, in general, there is an analytical distinction made between structure, process and goal.
There is no general measure for quality, but only various definitions which are dependent on the interests of the user. For the clients, the degree of satisfaction they report about what best serves their needs and is useful to them, is the most decisive quality criteria. For the people who do SW and MYW, the most decisive criteria is the professionality of their work, (for example: Adequate, Justified).
For those providing material resources, quality is the most effient provision of defined services rendered, the level of accomplishments ideally, is defined by social agreement.
Socially and politically the emphasis is on the services’ level of usefulness and the impact of improvement for the society as a whole.
Quality criteria on a practical level, is specified by a precise description of the need for help, goals and services with regards to the above mentioned interests of quality levels, (effectiveness, cost efficiency and the social impact of the services provided.)
This makes it clear that quality is the degree of reaching the goals. SW and MYW must develop and evaluate their specific criteria in consideration of three aspects:
1.Average needs of clients; (most common needs of clients)
2.Interests of clients and the society;
3.Standards of SW and MYW.

Quality assurance is done by the description of services, sytematic reflection, annual planning, self-evaluation and documentation of the work.
The following methods of Quality Assurance are listed by the interns who worked on this document:
– Decription if, and documentation of the projects of SW and MYW in the form of annual reports, documentation of project and group work, documentation of providing individual client care;
– Description of a variety of services and methods, which are specific for SW and MYW (quality analysis);
– Theorectical conceptual integration of internal and external developments in the field of SW and MYW, ( data collection, interviews, youth surveys), comparison of developments in urban areas;
– Analysis of quantitative aspects of performance in services areas of SW and MYW (example: data collection, monthly staff time reports;
– Analysis of project – and organizational – internal processes (conceptional, structural, and personnel developments by means of internal reports and retreats);
– Team reflection, i.e., Case conference, a team journal, analysis in written form of field work, and analysis of group process/dynamics within the team;
– Analysis and Evaluation of project internal processes utilizing an external consultant, i.e. in the form of supervision and evalualtion.

These methods are available components of Quality Assurance and they are to be applied in each project’s specific conditions.
A standard paper cannot give specified quality criteria, it can only serve as a guideline for assistance.