The public inquiry that followed the death of Maria Colwell had profound implications for the developing profession and practice of social work in the UK. This book describes the politics, professional concerns and public interest - both local and national - that surrounded the inquiry and its aftermath, and shows how the concerns of this landmark child abuse case have still failed to find a satisfactory resolution today. Social work, then and now, remains 'on trial'.
"This is an exceptional book. Its skilful blending of contemporaneous reporting, politics and social history, and strong, sustained critique, make it one of the outstanding texts of recent times. Essential reading for social workers, managers, educators, and especially students of journalism as well as social work." Angie Ash, Professional Social Work
"A forensic, scholarly and engaging account of the UK's most important child death inquiry and its effects on welfare policy today." Graham Room, Professor of European Social Policy, University of Bath
"The modern history of social work has been wracked by scandal. This detailed examination of the Maria Colwell case vividly captures the enduring charge-sheet which the profession has struggled to throw off for more than forty years." Jill Manthorpe, Professor of Social Work, King's College London
Ian Butler is Professor of Social Work at the University of Bath and a qualified social worker with considerable practice and managerial experience. His main research interest lies in the development of public policy and how it affects children, young people and their families.
Mark Drakeford is Professor of Social Policy and Applied Social Sciences at the University of Wales, Cardiff. His research interests cover poverty and social policy, with particular emphasis on young people and criminal justice issues.
The second week of January, 1973; November and December, 1972; The state of social work; The public enquiry; Social work on trial; Afterwards; The trial continues.