Social Care with Young People (Roger Smith): book review by Trevor Carter

Social Work with Young People


Roger Smith, Polity Books

ISBN 139780 745639130

This wide-ranging book provides a comprehensive and stimulating review of contemporary social work practice, writes Terry Carter.

The ongoing bitter irony, and obvious injustice, of vulnerable young people in care being faced with an early and brutal transition to independence is ably highlighted.

The book then goes on to explore the threads of cyclical deprivation and dysfunctional behaviour that lead to criminality. It features perceptive insights into specific areas of practice, and notes the unfortunate tendency to focus excessively on the “prescribed” problem.

Smith laments that the role of modern social workers is procedurally driven and increasingly constrained. Although the inherent contradiction of care and control is explored, one could ask whether control is not an aspect of care rather a contradiction of it.

But the underpinning recommendation to shift the dialogue from one of social threat to social possibility is uplifting and much needed.

Trevor Carter is an NVQ assessor and verifier for health and social care in Bristol

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