Published online by Cambridge University Press: 15 September 2022
The first aim of this book is to question current approaches to ‘community care’ in which the meaning of community is ill-defined and the concept of care is taken for granted. Although seen as a much preferred option to residential care, community care has often proved to be isolating and impersonal, offering few of the benefits of inclusion with which communities are strongly associated, hugely dependent on the unpaid services of relatives and friends and limited to meeting needs rather than supporting rights.
The book's second aim is to identify effective strategies and practices, and the thinking that lies behind these, through which individuals may be supported to live normally and safely within communities regardless of income and wealth, age, impairment, gender or ethnicity. This includes not only those who come under the conventional community care umbrella – older people and those with physical and sensory impairments and mental health problems – but also families with young people under anti-social behaviour orders and women experiencing domestic violence.
Part One of this book opens with a chapter reflecting on the key concepts of care, community and citizenship and their importance in the delivery of welfare (Chapter One, Michael Hill). Their translation into policy and practice in the UK is then considered, with questions raised about the lack of relationship between community development and social care (Chapter Two, Susan Balloch). In the third chapter the focus is on Scotland alone, where a tradition of community social work has been sustained and personal care costs are now paid by the state (Chapter Three, Alison Petch).
Part Two contributes to unpacking the concept of care by reflecting on the ‘ethic of care’, which characterises both personal relationships and professional behaviour. The first chapter reflects on this ethic in relation to community cohesion, social inclusion, community involvement and civil renewal (Chapter Four, Marian Barnes). Chapter Five then considers how front-line professionals are coping in a context of increasing ethical uncertainty, shifting professional boundaries and increasing pressures from New Public Management agendas. It examines how professionals hold on to their ethics, avoiding total moral relativisim and/or terminal burn-out (Chapter Five, Marjorie Mayo, Paul Hogget and Chris Miller).
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