New SW&S Special Issue
Modern societies are based on the idea of a family of origin. Even after a historical period of liberalization and diversification since the 1960s and 1970s the family as so called primary socialization agent is still seen as a ‘natural’ source of care, education, and emotional support. Dependent on the welfare state culture families are differently incorporated in the existing system of social support (see e.g. the difference between the ‘conservative welfare regime model’ like in Germany or Austria, where public support has a subsidiary character in regard to the family of origin, and the ‘social democratic welfare regime models’ like in Denmark of in Sweden, where the ‘Volksheim’ has been established as a main support structure providing a basis for every member of the state). Nevertheless the current welfare state can be characterized by replacing the family as the main agent for the oncoming generation.
Therefore families of origin has been a main focus of social work and social policy since its early days in the late 19th and early 20th century. Looking at social services it is not by mistake that residential care has often been conceptualized and is still be conceptualized as a quasi-family (see for instance the Swiss educational reformer Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, 1746-1827). Beside residential care two alternatives have been developed and established, especially in the last third of the 20th century: (a) so called outpatient services to keep children even in a situation of need in their family of origin (e.g. system of family support) and (b) so called foster care families: The similar structure of the foster family to families of origin shall guarantee the missing caring, educating and emotionally supporting structure for children living in that kind of ‘alternative families’.
After child protection has become a main issue in social work and in policy programs on children in general, scientific and political debates have lost sight of outpatient services and of foster care a bit. Therefore Social Work & Society is more than grateful to present our readers the new Special Issue on “Foster Care and Development”, including seven very stimulant papers by international experts on foster care, focusing on that part of social work and social policy again:
Beside the current Special Issue our new issue of SW&S presents a number of highly interesting papers on different topics in the SW&S Forum:
It is our pleasure to present you in the 14th year of SW&S such a highly interesting new issue. We wish all our readers that they will enjoy the new issue of Social Work & Society.
The SW&S Co-Ordinating Office