Citation Text:Goldson, B. (2000) ‘'Children in Need' or 'Young Offenders'? Hardening Ideology, Organizational Change and New Challenges for Social Work with Children in Trouble’, Child and Family Social Work 5(3): 255-265.
Abstract: Throughout the 1990s youth crime has comprised a major site of state policy formation. Policy and practice responses have essentially been predicated upon a particular construction of the 'young offender' and have been underpinned by punitive and retributive priorities. Within this context the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 provides for the most radical restructuring of the youth justice system in England and Wales for 50 years. This paper critically analyses the burgeoning punitive drift of policy and practice. By drawing upon recently completed research in Merseyside, and by situating the findings alongside a wider research literature, the discussion re-engages with the concept of the 'child in need'. The paper considers key issues relating to children, and professional social work practice with children and families, within the 'new' approach to 'youth offending'.