The modern history of social work is one of constant change and attack. The role, organizational setting and philosophy of social work have all undergone change at an accelerating pace. Over the last twenty years there has been a shift from caseworker, to community social worker and now care manager; from ‘specialism’ to ‘genericism’ and back again. Social work’s critics question whether it even has its own distinct body of knowledge. It is attacked by the political left for being a soft cop, by the political right for inducing dependency and by the tabloid press for the series of child care tragedies and scandals that punctuated the 1980s and early 1990s.