By Brigette Voland and David Porteous.
Russell House Publishing
ISBN 1898924 74 0
This book results from collaboration between academics and practitioners in France, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom. Part one provides a broad overview of the history, political context and structure of services relevant to work with socially excluded young people in the countries concerned. Common policy areas such as health, education, youth justice, employment and training, and child and family welfare are considered.
Part two is a critical commentary on policies in the four countries. Governments are criticised for their unwillingness to address structural causes of social exclusion among young people and to deal with its root causes. For example, youth unemployment in Spain has been exceptionally high, resulting in relatively high levels of drug abuse and youth crime. The critique argues that policies have resulted in a tendency to blame the victims of international capitalism.
The value of this comparative book is in its information on the nature of the services in the four countries, and the well-developed critique of social and economic policies of European governments. But it lacks a concluding chapter to highlight similarities and differences between the countries and to identify potentially good practice that could be transferable between countries
Brian Munday is senior lecturer in international social care, University of Kent.