This chapter provides a brief overview of the development of the profession and the debates regarding the definition of social work. In so doing it explores the different roles of social work and the discussions around the profession's identity. Social work has been carried out in many different places and with many different groups. However, Payne identifies three historic models for the role of social work. These are: therapeutic, maintenance, and transformational. Social work with children and families finds itself in a somewhat paradoxical position in that there is a government narrative of aspiration and reform but against a backdrop of very real pressures and difficulties. The chapter then focuses on some of the current challenges facing practitioners and considers the prospects for the profession in these difficult times. It also seeks to locate use of psychodynamic theory in a wider and historical context.