The state of social work

Ian Butler and Mark Drakeford

in Social work on trial

Published by Policy Press

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9781847428684
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303565 | DOI:
The state of social work

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The ‘right to know’ was cited by Frederic Seebohm as a persistent example of a series of what he considered to be the social ills of his time. Seebohm's remarks are of interest not simply because they follow the popular emotional currents that flowed around the death of Maria Colwell, but because Seebohm could claim to have designed the structure of social services that was judged to have failed her. At least some of the ‘frustration, anxiety and stress’ facing social workers in the early part of 1973 arose out of the major structural changes that had been introduced by the Local Authority Social Services Act of 1970. Since the early 1950s, welfare services for children in the United Kingdom had largely been delivered through the children's departments of local authorities that had been established by the Children Act of 1948. Political pressure for change in the structure and organisation of welfare services grew through the early years of the 1960s. This chapter also looks at social work, Sir Keith Joseph, and the ‘cycle of deprivation’.

Keywords: Maria Colwell; United Kingdom; social services; social work; Frederic Seebohm; Local Authority Social Services Act; Children Act; welfare services; Keith Joseph; cycle of deprivation

Chapter.  13028 words. 

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