Social Work and Social Care

Social Work and Social Care

Social Work and Social Care

Social Work and Social Care


Lester Parrott uses social policy analysis to investigate the current policy conflicts and dilemmas for social work students and professionals. He adopts an anti-discriminatory approach to policy and practice.


Freddie King, a fine blues singer and guitar wizard, once wrote a song which sums up the problem of relying on the current limited welfare of the state. He wrote, 'What do you do when the welfare walks out on you?' In this country this often means making a trip to the local social services department to try and get some help from a Welfare State that has indeed given up on you. In this context, social work has always been a particularly difficult job. The inherent difficulty of trying to support the poorest, most oppressed sections of this society with few resources, while at the same time having immense legal power to intervene in people's lives, is not merely difficult but impossible at times.

When I first became a social worker in the mid-1970s, the personal social services were just moving out of the post-Seebohm reorganization. Resources were available, and case loads, though high, were mostly tolerable compared to the present. There was the opportunity to become professionally trained and people like me (employed in residential social work at the time) were being seconded on full pay to become professionally qualified. By the time I left the social services in the mid-1990s there was little money, and the constant reduction in local authority resources to meet the increased needs of users led, so it appeared, to wave upon wave of reorganizations as local authorities struggled to manage their dwindling resources. People like me were no longer being seconded and were lucky that they did not have to pay their own tuition fees.

What has happened in this period is part of the story that this book tells, and it is therefore a product of the social, political and economic history which we have all lived through, at best tried to shape, at worst endured.

This book is not exhaustive in that it does not cover all the areas of social work and social care. It is unashamedly a derivative book

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