Caring and Coping: A Guide to Social Services

Caring and Coping: A Guide to Social Services

Caring and Coping: A Guide to Social Services

Caring and Coping: A Guide to Social Services

Synopsis

Caring and Coping provides a clear and accessible explanation of the history, politics, management, funding and day-to-day work of the social services in Britain. This book aims to improve the practitioner's, as well as the general public's, understanding not only of what these various professions do but also what the legal, political, ethical and financial constraints are upon them.

Excerpt

The need for a book which explains the history, politics, management and the day-to-day work of social services—‘the fourth arm of the welfare state’, in the words of one no less than Stephen Dorrell, the last Conservative Secretary of State for Health—in a readable style for a wide audience has long been apparent. There are several good books aimed at social policy students but few, if any, which seek to inform students (including social work students), the general public and practitioners and managers in social care.

But why is this book intended not only for students but also for the last two groups? As to the general public, most people do not come into contact with social workers in the way that they have dealings with doctors, the police or teachers. and for many of those who do, it is not always a welcome experience: social workers try to help and support but they also have wide-ranging powers to intervene in family life.

But even the way in which the jobs of those who work within social care are described is far from being self-explanatory. What do social workers do? As long ago as 1978 Barbara Wootton could write of recruitment advertising for social workers:

One such [advertisement] asks for applicants who are used to ‘statutory duties’ and the ability to ‘act independently and take appropriate decisions’ (about what?). Another mentions that the successful applicant will be expected to ‘work with families and children’ (on what?) and yet another asks for an ‘intake social worker’ to ‘join a team’ which is ‘developing systems and methods useful to clients and staff’. the layman may well be puzzled to visualise how the holders of these posts will spend

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