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Past, Present and Future

This collection charts the key developments in the social work field from 1970 to the present day and shows how by fully understanding social work’s past, we can make better progress for practitioners and service users in the future.

It brings together a broad collection of experts from across social work who trace how thinking and approaches to practice have changed over time, examine key legislative developments in the field, look at the impacts of major inquiries and consider the re-emergence of certain specialisms.

Providing students and practitioners of social work and social policy with a full picture of the evolution of social work, it also shares important insights for its future directions.

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The Rise and Fall of a Profession?
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Rogowski’s second edition of this bestselling textbook responds to the major changes to social work practice since the first edition was published. It is fully revised and updated to include new material that is essential for students and practising social workers today.

Taking a critical perspective, Rogowski evaluates social work’s development, nature and rationale over approximately 150 years. He explores how neoliberalism is at the core of the profession’s crisis and calls for progressive, critical and radical changes to social work policy and practices based on social justice and social change.

This new edition is substantially updated to explore:

• the impact of austerity policies since 2010;

• failures to realise the progressive possibilities which followed the death of ‘Baby P’;

• contemporary examples of critical and radical practice.

It also includes a range of student-friendly features including chapter summaries, key learning and discussion points, and further reading.

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97 6 Practising social work Guy Shennan Introduction: a practitioner’s account Given the nature of social work, with all its messiness, it might be fitting to begin a chapter on changes in social work practice since 1970 with something of a paradox. The logician Irving Copi presented the philosophical problem of identity (in the sense of sameness) across time via the following two statements about change, each of which appears to be true, but inconsistent with the other. 1. If a changing thing really changes, there can’t literally be one and the same thing

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5 1 Social work in 1970 Keith Bilton Social work in 1970 was practised in many settings. In the public sector there were social welfare officers, mental welfare officers and child care officers, based, respectively, in local authority welfare, health and children’s departments. Education departments employed social workers in child guidance clinics, and also education welfare officers and youth and community workers. The National Health Service (NHS) employed social workers in its hospitals. Probation officers serving the courts were also social workers

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173 10 Social work with offenders Terry Bamford I spent eight years in the probation service when the traditional duty to ‘advise, assist and befriend’ still applied. The words, taken from the 1907 Probation of Offenders Act, described the approach of probation for most of the 20th century. The Morison Committee (Morison, 1962) had reaffirmed the probation role as one of treatment, rehabilitation and reformation. Latterly, public protection, risk assessment and offender management have become the words used by government and the leaders of the service

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90 FIVE The professionalisation of social work? Chapter summary Professional social work’s zenith came under Thatcherite attack because of the alleged incompetence of practitioners and their radicalism. As a result, professional education increasingly moved to a concern with training and competencies as employers became more influential in the Central Council for the Education and Training in Social Work. This continued under New Labour, despite the introduction of the social work degree and an emphasis on continuing professional development. Key learning

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23 TwO politicising social work Functional social work: early 1970s style The 1970s saw increasing attempts to organise social work as a profession. In 1971 there was both the publication of the first issue of Social Work Today, a trade magazine for the profession, and the setting up of the British Association of Social Workers (BASW). The following year saw the inaugural edition of the British Journal of Social Work (BJSW) arguably still, in academic terms at least, the most prestigious of the many social work journals. The BJSW was linked with the newly

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139 eighT politics and social work introduction The ‘radical social work’ movement of the 1970s highlighted the class struggle in British society at the time, and the way in which social work acted in the interests of the ruling class (Bailey and Brake, 1975). In the 1980s, social work embraced other factors such as sexuality, race and gender as areas where oppression occurred, either in association with, or irrespective of, social class (Langan and Lee, 1989). Today, there are also voices calling for social work to awaken from its slumber and recognise

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Social work is under unprecedented pressure as a result of funding cuts, political interventions, marketisation and welfare transformations which, combined, are dramatically reshaping the relationship between individuals and the welfare state.

A wide range of distinguished academics provide a comprehensive analysis of the evolving challenges facing contemporary social work, reflecting on both the existential and ideological threats to the profession. As well as the chief practice areas of child protection, adult care and mental health, contributors also examine practice issues surrounding older people, neoliberalism, neo-eugenics and the refugee crisis.

This book offers concrete policy proposals for the future of the profession alongside valuable solutions which students and practitioners can action on the ground.

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Lessons for social work internationally

What is the relationship between social work and the state? Who controls which services needs are addressed and how? This important book looks at social work responses in different countries to extreme social, economic and political situations in order to answer these questions. Examples include: war situations, military regimes, earthquakes and Tsunamis. The results show the innovative nature of grass-roots provision and social work intervention and will be of interest to all social work academics, students and professionals.

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