chapter  13
GROUP WORK—II: YOUTH WORK
Pages 24

YOUTHWORK MODERNattitudestoyoungpeoplearedifferentfromthoseof thenineteenthcentury,andthesocialworkthatreflectstheseattitudesmustofnecessitybedifferenttoo.Inacenturystruggling towardsprosperitythebulkoftheyoungwereusedasworkersin thefactories,whileonlythefewcouldbetrainedforleadershipin government,commerceandlearning.Thoughtherewassound reasonforsuchadichotomytheproblemsthataroseoutofitwere differentfromthoseoftodaywhenthenationisnotonlywealthier buthasalowbirth-rate.Thecountrynowcanaffordtoregard childrenasascarceandpreciouscommoditywhosecapabilities mustbedevelopedwherevertheyarefound.Forthesereasonsas wellastheincreasedleisurewhichhigherproductivityhasmade possible,thisgenerationhasnaturallyadifferentperspective,and youthworkisafairlywell-definedsphereofsocialwork,witha definiteandrecognizedplaceinmodernBritishsociety.Sincethe publicationoftheGovernmentCircularonTheServiceofTouthin 1939,1the'service'issaidtobeconcernedwiththeleisure-time activitiesofboysandgirlsbetweenfourteenandtwentyyears. Youthworkinthenineteenthcentury,ontheotherhand,wasnot soclear-cut.Theyoungwerenumerouscomparedwiththenumberofjobsavailable,andinconsequencewageswerelow;and theirlegalandsocialstatuswaslow.Knowledge,moreover,of childdevelopmentwasonlybeginning,anditwasthoughtthat traininginhabitsofobedience,industryandreverencewerethe mostsuitablewaysofbringingupthechild.Thewell-known maxims,'Sparetherodandspoilthechild',and'Childrenshould beseenandnotheard',whilenottobetakentooliterallyofthe nineteenth-centurypractice,hadasufficientacceptancetoprovide thecluetoadult-childattitudes.