Working with Families and Carers

  • Alison Froggatt
Part of the Practical Social Work book series (PSWS)


A vulnerable elderly person is not usually isolated, but is involved with family members, friends and neighbours in a network of relationships, as established in Chapter 1. This chapter in focusing on work with families and carers considers informal care networks and the role of carers, before exploring ways in which social workers can be involved. That may be as part of a multidisciplinary team, or alone, working with the family and family network in a variety of ways. In a survey of community care Griffiths (1988) reported:

Publicly provided services constitute only a small part of the total care provided to people in need. Families, friends or neighbours and other local people provide the majority of care in response to needs which they are uniquely well placed to identify and respond to. This will continue to be the primary means by which people are enabled to live normal lives in community settings … the first task of publicly provided services is to support and where possible strengthen these networks of carers (Griffiths, 1988, p. 5).

He goes on:

A failure to give proper levels of support to informal carers not only reduces their own quality of life and that of the relative or friend they care for, but is also potentially inefficient as it can lead to less personally appropriate care being offered. Positive action is therefore needed to encourage the delivery of more flexible support which takes account of how best to support and maintain the role of informal carers (Griffiths, 1988, p. 7).


Social Worker Elderly People Elderly Person Family Therapy Informal Care 
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Copyright information

© British Association of Social Workers 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alison Froggatt

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