The Academic Collaborative Centre Social Work deals with transitions in the social domain. The change to more control of the citizen and his social environment and more integrated working in the neighborhood means a change in the role of the professional in social work. Moreover, it is a major challenge for the municipalities and entails a risk for vulnerable citizens. We want to underpin and support these changes scientifically by developing, implementing and testing the effectiveness of innovative practices and methods. The central research question is: How can social work strengthen (vulnerable) citizens and (re)connect them with their environment and society? The paradigm of empowerment is the central theoretical framework (related to e.g. agency, self-determination, capability theory).
We strive for a multi-actor perspective (citizen, professional, policy, science) and a multilevel approach (micro, meso, macro) in our research. Extra attention is given to vulnerable groups e.g. people living in poverty, the homeless, people with disabilities, vulnerable young people. But also research into the characteristics of social organizations and the role of the social professionals are discussed. Mixed-methods research is preferred in addition to empowering participatory action research (e.g. responsive evaluation).
Examples of current research themes are: the effectiveness of youth work and girls work, the measurement of empowerment in social work, client-oriented work from an organizational perspective, societal vulnerability, self-management in residential social care for homeless people, the evaluation of an innovative participative approach for homeless people, the implementation of evidence based practice in social work, expertise by experience in social work.
Prof. dr. Tine Van Regenmortel is responsible for the coordination of the ACC Social Work. She is professor Social Work both at the Tilburg University and the University of Leuven and expert in empowerment and vulnerable groups. Prof. dr. René Schalk (HRS Tilburg University) is also involved as a promoter in many PhD projects.
Knowledge exchange within Tranzo is important: - Symposia - Promotions and inaugurations