Professional social work and the defence of children’s and their families’ rights in a period of austerity: A case study

Jane Tunstill, Carolyne Willow


This article explores the implications of austerity for professional child and family social workers. Their ability to offer and provide a range of child and family support services was threatened by proposed clauses in the 2016/17 Children and Social Work Bill, now Act, which would have exempted local authorities from meeting key existing statutory duties. Having established a policy context for progressive social work, the article records the Bill’s passage through Parliament, and details the successful Together for Children campaign against the clauses, in which the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) and the Association of Professors of Social Work participated. The authors conclude by identifying some of the ways in which social workers can apply their progressive and professional values and knowledge to defend the social care rights of children and families.

Keywords: children; social work; legislation; children’s rights; campaigning; austerity

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