Mechanisms of Gatekeeping in the Social Work Profession: Lessons Learned from Canada, Hong Kong and South Korea

Miu Chung Yan (Corresponding Author), Jinah Lee, Ko Ling Edward Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Striving to be a full-fledged profession with statutorily delegated self-regulatory authority has been a goal of the social work profession in many countries since Abraham Flexner’s (1915 ‘Is social work a profession?’, Paper presented at the Forty-Second Annual Session of The National Conference of Charities and Correction, Baltimore, MD, pp. 581, 584–8, 590. denial of its professional status in the USA. A full self-regulation requires two gatekeeping mechanisms: professional education and registration. Whereas professional social work education has been in place in many parts of the world, the establishment of a mandatory registration system is still limited to a few countries. Although two mechanisms share the same mandate and function as self-regulation, they tend to be discussed separately in the literature. How they connect and work with each other is seldom explored. In this article, by examining the development of these two mechanisms in Canada, Hong Kong and South Korea, we present three different ways of how these mechanisms are connected and discuss observations of those connections.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)bcaa146
Number of pages18
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Issue numberbcaa146
Publication statusPublished - 25 Sep 2020

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