The Open UniversitySkip to content
 

'A pair of stout shoes and an umbrella': The role of the Mental Welfare Officer in delivering community care in East Anglia, 1946-1970

Rolph, Sheena; Atkinson, Dorothy and Walmsley, Jan (2003). 'A pair of stout shoes and an umbrella': The role of the Mental Welfare Officer in delivering community care in East Anglia, 1946-1970. British Journal of Social Work, 33(3) pp. 339–359.

DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/33.3.339
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar

Abstract

In this paper we describe an oral history research project which explored a little-known aspect of the history of social work: the history of mental welfare officers and their role in community care. We interviewed former MWOs and analysed both private and public documnets to explore this history in East Anglia beween 1946 and 1970. In the paper we address three themes. In the first place, we argue that MWOs,as well as carrying out their statutory function in overseeing hospital admissions, had a significant role in community care for people with learning difficulties and psychiatric problems. They began to advocate on behalf of clients, often making a case for home support and they supported parents' groups. Increasingly, they carried out case work and painstaking social work with families. In the second place, we explore the surprising finding that, among MWOs, genericism was not as new a concept in 1970 as many writers have assumed. Finally, we analyse some gender issues that emerged from the research and the way they influenced attitudes to community care held by some MWOs. The paper looks at the gradual development of a profession from one with little consistent training, to one in which specialist education began to be seen as an important aspect of the role of the MWO.

Item Type: Journal Article
ISSN: 0045-3102
Keywords: oral history; social work; mental health; learning disability
Academic Unit/Department: Health and Social Care
Health and Social Care > Health and Social Care
Item ID: 4030
Depositing User: Dorothy Atkinson
Date Deposited: 05 Jul 2006
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2010 19:50
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/4030
Share this page:

Actions (login may be required)

View Item
Report issue / request change

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   + 44 (0)870 333 4340   general-enquiries@open.ac.uk