The fourth edition of this text has been expanded to accommodate social workers' continuing need for a thorough grounding in the statutory framework of local authority practice and the wider legal context of social work in the statutory and voluntary sector. The separate chapter on social work law in Scotland addresses continuing developments in relation to devolved government and new legislation. Since 1996, the pace of change has been remorseless: Part IV of the Family Law Act has been implemented; youth justice in England and Wales has been substantially reformed; the Human Rights Act 1998 impacts on areas of social work practice; and social security law has been significantly amended. The Adoption and Children Act 2002 will both radically reform the law relating to the adoption of children and significantly amend the Children Act 1989. All these important changes, central to social work practice, are addressed in detail.