Social services in the European pillar of social rights

Pillar 3

Within the construction of the European pillar of social rights, the most pressing priority is the reinforcement and configuration as a universal sectoral policy of what we call in Spain social services (“social care” or “personal social services” in other countries), understood as professional and social diagnosis based services devoted to provide care and other supports in order to promote and protect the interaction of people (understanding interaction as the autonomous development of people in family and, in general, community relations). The aim is to overcome the outdated vision of social services as residual services with no specific purpose for excluded groups.

Therefore, social services should not be directly concerned with income, housing, employment, health or education outcomes, since each of these areas has its own sectoral policy, which must also be universal and not exclude anyone. The social services that we must construct constitute a fundamental right for the social well-being and the quality of life of any person: the right of all the people to receive the care and other supports (including assistive technology) to conserve and increase their functional autonomy for daily life and their relational integration into diverse and sustainable families and communities.

It is necessary to differentiate, define and develop social services; ensure the universal right to quality, knowledge-based and technology-based social services; with community-based approaches; that provide care and other supports and interventions for personal empowerment and family and community development, for the sustainability of life in sexual, generational, functional and cultural diversity.

It is essential to understand that, before achieving intersectoral integrated care (for example between social services and health care), there is a need to achieve the internal integration within social services (that include early childhood care services, some long-term care programs, family interventions, certain supports for disability, community promotion projects and others). It is important to understand the unity, coherence and universality of social services. While historically seen as segregated services for so called “special groups”, we must conceive them as community interventions and supports for self-care and self-determination and for intergenerational and inclusive relationships of everybody.

In order to strengthen and configure these universal social services, it is fundamental to support knowledge management and good practices; through learning communities and knowledge consensuses; with technological and social innovation; elaborating minimum standards and professional orientations.

Social services must support all people to live with maximum autonomy and empowerment in community relations with diversity in every way.

(Input elaborated with contributions to the “Public consultation on the European pillar of social rights”.)

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