Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > In search of the "problem family"

Associated organisational unit

View graph of relations

In search of the "problem family": public health and social work in England and Wales, 1940-70

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

Published

Standard

In search of the "problem family" : public health and social work in England and Wales, 1940-70. / Welshman, John.

In: Social History of Medicine, Vol. 9, No. 3, 12.1996, p. 447-465.

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

Harvard

APA

Vancouver

Author

Bibtex

@article{3e37c8b157864004a33b8b4ce1916068,
title = "In search of the {"}problem family{"}: public health and social work in England and Wales, 1940-70",
abstract = "Recent attempts to explain the decline of public health in England and Wales after 1948 have suggested that services had developed steadily but haphazardly in the interwar period, and that the lack of an underlying philosophy left Medical Officers of Health and their empires vulnerable to a range of forces that included the decline of infectious disease, the rise of hospital medicine, the growth of general practice, and the increasing professionalism of social work. Yet the argument that public health practitioners lagged behind contemporary thinking on social work in the 1950s deserves closer examination, and this article uses the rise and decline of the concept of the {\textquoteleft}problem family{\textquoteright} to examine the changing relationship between the two professional groups. It traces the emergence of the concept of the {\textquoteleft}social problem group{\textquoteright} in the 1930s, and considers why and how Medical Officers of Health and the Eugenics Society took up the idea of the {\textquoteleft}problem family{\textquoteright} after the Second World War. It charts how the Ministry of Health encouraged local authorities to use home helps and health visitors to tackle the {\textquoteleft}problem family{\textquoteright}, and contrasts this medical approach. with the casework methods developed by voluntary organizations and subsequently adopted by the social work profession. The article concludes that in revealing how Medical Officers of Health were out of touch with contemporary research and practice in social work, the issue of the {\textquoteleft}problem family{\textquoteright} helps to explain the decline of public health under the early National Health Service.",
keywords = "{\textquoteleft}Social problem group{\textquoteright} , 'problem family{\textquoteright}, public health , eugenics , social work, Leicester , home help , Family Service Unit, Medical Officer of Health",
author = "John Welshman",
year = "1996",
month = dec,
doi = "10.1093/shm/9.3.447",
language = "English",
volume = "9",
pages = "447--465",
journal = "Social History of Medicine",
issn = "0951-631X",
publisher = "Oxford University Press",
number = "3",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - In search of the "problem family"

T2 - public health and social work in England and Wales, 1940-70

AU - Welshman, John

PY - 1996/12

Y1 - 1996/12

N2 - Recent attempts to explain the decline of public health in England and Wales after 1948 have suggested that services had developed steadily but haphazardly in the interwar period, and that the lack of an underlying philosophy left Medical Officers of Health and their empires vulnerable to a range of forces that included the decline of infectious disease, the rise of hospital medicine, the growth of general practice, and the increasing professionalism of social work. Yet the argument that public health practitioners lagged behind contemporary thinking on social work in the 1950s deserves closer examination, and this article uses the rise and decline of the concept of the ‘problem family’ to examine the changing relationship between the two professional groups. It traces the emergence of the concept of the ‘social problem group’ in the 1930s, and considers why and how Medical Officers of Health and the Eugenics Society took up the idea of the ‘problem family’ after the Second World War. It charts how the Ministry of Health encouraged local authorities to use home helps and health visitors to tackle the ‘problem family’, and contrasts this medical approach. with the casework methods developed by voluntary organizations and subsequently adopted by the social work profession. The article concludes that in revealing how Medical Officers of Health were out of touch with contemporary research and practice in social work, the issue of the ‘problem family’ helps to explain the decline of public health under the early National Health Service.

AB - Recent attempts to explain the decline of public health in England and Wales after 1948 have suggested that services had developed steadily but haphazardly in the interwar period, and that the lack of an underlying philosophy left Medical Officers of Health and their empires vulnerable to a range of forces that included the decline of infectious disease, the rise of hospital medicine, the growth of general practice, and the increasing professionalism of social work. Yet the argument that public health practitioners lagged behind contemporary thinking on social work in the 1950s deserves closer examination, and this article uses the rise and decline of the concept of the ‘problem family’ to examine the changing relationship between the two professional groups. It traces the emergence of the concept of the ‘social problem group’ in the 1930s, and considers why and how Medical Officers of Health and the Eugenics Society took up the idea of the ‘problem family’ after the Second World War. It charts how the Ministry of Health encouraged local authorities to use home helps and health visitors to tackle the ‘problem family’, and contrasts this medical approach. with the casework methods developed by voluntary organizations and subsequently adopted by the social work profession. The article concludes that in revealing how Medical Officers of Health were out of touch with contemporary research and practice in social work, the issue of the ‘problem family’ helps to explain the decline of public health under the early National Health Service.

KW - ‘Social problem group’

KW - 'problem family’

KW - public health

KW - eugenics

KW - social work

KW - Leicester

KW - home help

KW - Family Service Unit

KW - Medical Officer of Health

U2 - 10.1093/shm/9.3.447

DO - 10.1093/shm/9.3.447

M3 - Journal article

VL - 9

SP - 447

EP - 465

JO - Social History of Medicine

JF - Social History of Medicine

SN - 0951-631X

IS - 3

ER -