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Social work on trialThe Colwell Inquiry and the state of welfare$
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Ian Butler

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9781847428684

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847428684.001.0001

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The state of social work

The state of social work

(p.59) three The state of social work
Social work on trial

Ian Butler

Mark Drakeford

Policy Press

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

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