The origins of social work lie deep in the past. As in education, its deepest roots are voluntary, beginning with the charitable work of individuals. This chapter begins with the statutory services, particularly those related to children–health, services for children deprived of parental care, and for young offenders– focuses on relations between statutory and voluntary agencies, and finally discusses youth and community work. Like education, the health service has its own specialist social workers. Until the period just after the Second World War, services for the care of children stemmed largely from the Poor Law on the one hand and legal sanctions on the other. In children's departments the requirements of the law and the inclinations of trained social workers may pull in opposite directions. To propose an important function for voluntary bodies in both casework and community development is to suggest that they be given a key role throughout the social work spectrum.