Care in social work with families in advanced capitalist welfare states

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This chapter is concerned with the societal, economic and political conditions for enabling and sustaining solidarity with and care for vulnerable families in social work. Today, there is a strong focus on how welfare states can increase productivity and efficiency and deliver cost-effective services. In the context of social work with families, this appears as ambitions of making positive changes in the families faster but simultaneously as a stricter focus on managing the ‘service level’. The chapter begins with an example of this from social work practice. After this, we will offer a perspective on the development and reshaping of welfare states under the realm of economic competitiveness in a global economy, and how this can affect solidarity with and care for vulnerable families. Welfare states shaped by capitalism and competition set forward social investments in breaking intergenerational reproduction of poverty, marginalisation and inequality. However, at the same time, the margins for solidarity and care are changing with expectations of self-sufficiency and tendencies to a harsher approach to people dependent on care and support. Social workers struggle for enabling care, support and an ethical relationship with disadvantaged families and consequently, there is a need for enacting care as a political project.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCare in Social Work with Children and Families : Theory, Everyday Practices and Possibilities for Social Change
EditorsMaria Appel Nissen, Mie Engen, Andreas Møller Jørgensen
Number of pages16
Publication date21 Apr 2023
ISBN (Print)978-1-032-30871-5
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-003-30791-4
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2023


  • Children
  • Families
  • Child Welfare
  • Child Protection
  • Social Work
  • Care
  • Inequality
  • Welfare States
  • Capitalism
  • Exclusion
  • Social Policy


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