Professional social work has changed considerably over the last forty years coinciding with the demise of the social democratic consensus of the post-war years and the emergence and now domination of neoliberalism. Rather than the state through the government of the day ensuring citizens' basic needs were met via the welfare state, the belief in free market economics entails people having to be self-reliant and self-responsible. This has involved social work with children and families moving from a helping and supportive role to one that is more authoritarian, this often involving telling parents to change their behaviour and lifestyle or face the consequences.
This book outlines the development of social work with children and families over the period in question, drawing on the author's unique practice experience and his extensive writings. It charts the highs and lows of social work, the latter including the dominance of managerialism which emphasises speedy completion of bureaucracy so as to ration resources and assess/manage risk. Despite this, the argument is for a critical practice which addresses service users immediate needs while simultaneously aiming towards a more socially just and equal society.
This book is essential reading for everyone interested in social work including academics, students, practitioners and managers both in the UK and overseas. Social care and allied professionals more generally will also find it insightful, as will academics, students and educators of social policy and related disciplines.
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