With just over a century of history, social work has come of age as a powerful global profession in possession of its own body of knowledge based on research, skills, competence, and an international value system with a code of ethics. Today, social work has developed from humble origins to become a vital guardian of human rights and a bulwark against the social injustices caused by global marketization. This new title in the Routledge series, Major Themes in Health and Social Welfare, meets the need for an authoritative reference work to make sense of this evolution-and the accompanying explosion in research output. Edited by a leading social work scholar, this Routledge Major Work brings together in four volumes the canonical and the best cutting-edge scholarship in the field. Volume 1 traces the development of social work from its parochial origins at the end of the nineteenth century in the UK and US, through to its formal recognition in legislation, and the huge growth in the profession after the Second World War. The first volume also contains material about the export' of social work to other countries, and how training and international professional bodies developed to monitor its activities. The next three volumes focus on particular client groups, bringing together key research on social work as it applies to specific consumers of social workers' services. Each volumes offers international perspectives, together with client-focused research. Volume 2 explores social work with children and families and includes material dealing with family support; prevention of maltreatment; and abuse. It also brings together the key writings on looking after children in public care, with material on residential work, fostering, and adoption. Volume 2 also considers social work in schools, the divorce courts, and in children's hospitals. Volume 3 examines social work with adults: those with mental-health problems; the elderly and people who are disabled. The material here focuses in particular on issues around the demographic timebomb', a particular challenge for scholars and practitioners of social work in many countries with ageing populations. There is also a particular focus on the social model of disability. Finally, Volume 4 brings together the best social work research on offending and considers issues such as the progression from juvenile delinquency to adult offending; what works in reducing criminal behaviour; probation and prison work; and rehabilitation. The research gathered here also explores the links between homelessness, mental health and offending. With comprehensive introductions to each volume, newly written by the editor, which place the collected material in its historical and intellectual context, Social Work is an essential work of reference and is destined to be valued by scholars, students and practitioners as a vital research resource.