Social Work pp 273-296 | Cite as

Social work with children and families

  • Lorraine Waterhouse
  • Janice McGhee


Social work with children and families raises public and professional concern. Inquiries into the fatal non-accidental injury and sexual abuse of children highlight the need for sound child-care decisionmaking and effective interagency and interdisciplinary collaboration, and for the child’s best interests to have paramountcy at all times. From the mid-1970s in the UK, public accountability demanded and influenced the shape of social work services with children and their families, giving rise to an emphasis on investigation and surveillance mediated through detailed procedural guidance in local authorities and some voluntary agencies. Since 1990, major changes in child and family law have been enacted throughout the UK, leading to a greater emphasis on parental responsibility and ascertaining children’s views.


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Further reading

  1. DoH (1995) Child Protection: Messages From Research (London, HMSO). This book provides a review of over 20 child protection studies commissioned by the Department of Heath, drawing out direct lessons for practice in social work with children and families.Google Scholar
  2. Fahlberg, V. (1991) A Child’s Journey Through Placement (London, BAAF). A very readable book which draws well on theory and research to highlight issues for the child looked after away from home. The strength of Fahlberg lies in her practical focus and ability to link theory to practice.Google Scholar
  3. Hill, M. and Aldgate, J. (eds) (1996) Child Welfare Services: Developments in Law, Policy, Practice and Research (London, Jessica Kingsley). An excellent collection of essays which provides an extended view of some of the issues outlined in this chapter.Google Scholar
  4. Sinclair, R., Garnett, L. and Berridge, D. (1995) Social Work Assessment with Adolescents (London, National Children’s Bureau). A useful addition to literature on assessment in social work giving good practical guidance.Google Scholar
  5. Waterhouse, L. (ed.) (1996) Child Abuse and Child Abusers: Protection and Prevention (London, Jessica Kingsley). A key reading for any social work student or practitioner who needs to understand the social, legal and professional context of child abuse.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Lorraine Waterhouse and Janice McGhee 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lorraine Waterhouse
  • Janice McGhee

There are no affiliations available

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