chapter  8
Community care: the environment of justice?
Pages 20

This chapter will examine one area of state policy practice in advanced capitalist societies – the establishment of community care networks for socially dependent persons. In this discussion, ‘community care’ refers to the ‘care of individuals within the community as an alternative to institutional or long-stay residential care’ (Jary and Jary, 1991: 99), a service principle that is now a common feature of state social policy in advanced capitalist nations (Heginbotham, 1990; Lerman, 1981; Mangen, 1985; Prior, 1993). In most Western countries, community care has been achieved through a programmatic deinstitutionalisation of social support, involving the closure and/or downscaling of large-scale human service facilities (Bean, 1988; Kemp, 1993; Smith and Giggs, 1988). Community care has sought to improve the well-being of publicly dependent disabled people by providing for their support in dispersed, small-scale residential settings (Parker, 1993). The policy of community care, as explained by advocates (e.g., Lakin and Bruininks, 1985; Perske and Perske, 1980) is essentially the humanisation of established modes of social support. The policy is argued to improve the quality of social care, reduce the restrictions on individual liberties which were a feature of large-scale institutions, and promote the re-integration of dependent peoples into the broader community.