The movement for the declaration and guarantee of subjective rights or universal entitlement to social services is a movement which, by definition, must be parallel to that of delimitation, precise definition of the object, content of the social services, identification of the assets they protect and promote and the technical and organisational means that will allow these rights to be guaranteed.
I consider that what we must leave behind the perception of the social services as a general broom wagon, with no content of its own, able to attend to any needs at all (personal aid, housing, money, health, education…) for people who, for whatever reason, had not obtained a response to these requirements via the same resources or in the same environment as the majority of the population.
That was a horizontal concept of the social services (transversally covering people’s different needs) and we are beginning to erect the fourth pillar, i.e. place the social services in a vertical position. And at this time, the social services are indeed in a position of having to identify the assets they protect or promote. They can not talk about people in their totality, as none of the pillars (health, education, income security, etc.) take people in their totality into account.
I consider that the asset protected and promoted by the social services, the specific need they cater to, the object that provides their specific added value, is the dynamic bonding of functional autonomy and relational integration. If we study the situation, we can see that this dynamic bonding of functional autonomy and relational integration is lacking in the problematic cases which, we believe, require a response from the social services. Because this balance is a valuable asset. This balance can be very positive in the case of a baby, for example, or an eighty-year-old in a situation of functional dependency, when they have a powerful, close-knit family and community network to support them. It is very positive in the case of a celibate hermit, or an executive single woman, constantly travelling, with few informal ties but with a huge capacity for autonomous development.
We could thus say that a series of social changes make a particular type of social need more intense and more visible, and this nurtures the development of the social services. New techncical and political developments mean exciting times are ahead, and they are set to be a launchpad for the social services as the fourth pillar, with the concept of subjective rights to catalyse this launch.
More information: fantova.net/Own documents/Intervention and social services.