Social policy is central to social work practice. This textbook is designed to help students, practitioners and academics think critically about the relationship between policy and practice; particularly in how policy both structures and informs practice. Reflective questions help critical thinking and links to websites of substantive information across the UK and internationally help keep you up-to-date with policy developments. The authors’ experience and skills in working with different service user groups combine to provide a constructive and critical approach to working with social policy in an era of welfare retrenchment. Key topics include: discretion and practice; social work training and education; safeguarding children; responses to the needs of looked after children; personalization in adult care; ‘race’ and welfare policy; domestic violence; mental health and capacity; and comparing social work and social care internationally.

International Social Work: Understanding Social Work within Social Policy Systems

International Social Work: Understanding Social Work within Social Policy Systems
Tony EvansFabian Kessl


Social work and social policy are closely interlinked, and because of this it can be difficult to disentangle shifts and changes in one’s own policy context of practice, and identify their effect on the way social work is understood and is assumed to operate. One of the challenges is to stand back, question ‘natural’ changes and recognise underlying political and economic ideas and choices affecting these developments. This, we want to argue, is where international comparison can be of particular value. Comparing social work in different countries helps identify similarities and differences in the ways in which social work is practised and, in ...

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