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Police Social Work: Bridging the Past to the Present (From Social Work in Juvenile and Criminal Justice Settings, Third Edition, P 126-129, 2007, Albert R. Roberts and David W. Springer, eds. -- See NCJ-217866)

NCJ Number
Albert R. Roberts
Date Published
4 pages
This chapter traces the evolution of police social work from the early 1900s to the present, with attention to the current role and function of police social workers.
In the early half of the 20th century, most policewomen were social workers assigned to police women's bureaus or crime prevention units. They provided social casework to women and youth. Changes in political leadership, misconceptions, sexism, and role strain led to the decline of the use of police social workers in the 1950s. During the 1960s, a few police departments in select areas of the country used police social workers to provide social services to disturbed youth, adults, the elderly, and families. By the early 1970s, specially trained social workers were hired by police departments in both urban and suburban areas throughout the United States. No State, however, has passed legislation that calls for grant appropriations to fund police social workers. Because of the life-threatening nature of domestic violence and the multiple psychological needs of troubled children and youth, social workers employed by police departments are usually assigned to these units. Early casefinding interventions and/or referral to community agencies are among the primary functions of contemporary police social workers. Their most important function is to provide short-term crisis intervention for children and families. 9 references