Social workers today not only face competing claims concerning the rights and needs of children and youth, but they also confront contradictions between policy and practice. Social workers are expected to fight for the best interests of the child, even though financial support for children's welfare and education grows scarce. They are asked to save "children at risk," while, at the same time, they are urged to protect communities from "risky children"; and they are encouraged to "leave no child behind," while also implementing "zero tolerance" policies to keep educational environments free from troubled youth.
A cutting-edge text that deals directly with the confusion and complexity of modern child welfare, Childhood, Youth, and Social Work in Transformation features contributions from a truly interdisciplinary group of practitioners, scholars, and activists. Examining the theoretical, political, and practical aspects of working with youth today, this volume breaks free from existing modes of thought and strategies of practice and prompts readers to critically reflect on accepted approaches and new possibilities of action.
Contributors analyze how economic, political, and cultural changes over the last several decades have reshaped the experiences and representations of children and youth in the United States. They examine conceptions of troubled children and youth in contemporary policies and programs and assess why certain discourses about troubling youth are so compelling to professionals, policymakers, and the public. In conclusion, these skilled professionals explore the reinvention of social work policy and practice, including the need to forge relationships that respect the experiences, rights, and personhood of children and youth.