The practice dimension of social work is regarded as central to any understanding of its professional role and nature. It is from the practice context that social work is considered to make a particular contribution to the wellbeing of individuals, groups and communities often in situations where there are high levels of complexity, uncertainty, conflicts of interest and risk, particularly with children and vulnerable adults. Social work practice depends on a set of specialist analytical skills and knowledge in assessing these situations, and making complex judgements on actions to take. The collection of articles in this volume examines the question of what constitutes 'knowledge for practice' or 'practice knowledge' in social work. Each article conveys a particular practice perspective, beginning with Abraham Flexner's professional - medical - perspective in his now famous address to the National Conference on Charities and Corrections in 1915 - or what would now constitute a National Conference on Social Work - republished in Research on Social Work Practice in 2001. This speech is often credited with setting social work on a particular path to professionalism which included: (i) A scientific knowledge base and method of working. (ii) Practitioners engaged in full-time paid work in a particular domain in which the profession has jurisdiction and legitimacy. (iii) A profession defined by its own education and training programmes and code of ethics.
International Social Work, Volume 2: Social Work Practice p. vii-xxxii