Personal social services for children and families in the UK: a historical review

Journal article citation:
Journal of Children's Services, 12(2/3), 2017, pp.72-84.

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to chart the history of personal social services for children and families in the UK and examine the factors that have influenced it. Special attention is given to changing perceptions of rights, the impact of scandals and the contribution of child development research. Design/methodology/approach: Analysis of historical documents and research reports using four methods: a timeline of milestones, demarcation of distinct developmental periods, trends in policy and practice and comparisons of children’s needs and experiences at different times. Findings: The evolution of services has not been linear. In policy, there have been reform and retrenchment, amalgamation and differentiation. Practice has been shaped by the emergence of new problems and the disappearance of old ones as well as by legislation, extreme events, research and finance, all occurring in specific political, moral and economic contexts. Originality/value: An analysis of developments in children’s services in their political, economic, moral and research contexts. (Publisher abstract)

Subject terms:
social care, childrens social care, child care, service development, policy formulation, law, literature reviews, service provision;
Content type:
research review
United Kingdom
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