This thoroughly updated new edition provides a comprehensive introduction to contemporary social policy, and addresses its historical, theoretical and contextual foundations. Divided into four sections, it opens with a survey of the socio-economic, political and governmental contexts within which social policy operates, before moving on to look at the historical development of the subject. The third section examines contemporary aspects of providing welfare, whilst the final part covers European and wider international developments. The text explores the major topics and areas in contemporary social policy, including: work and welfare education adult health and social care children and families crime and criminal justice health housing race disability Issues are addressed throughout in a lively and accessible style, and examples are richly illustrated to encourage the student to engage with theory and content, and to help highlight the relevance of social policy in our understanding of modern society. It is packed with features including, 'Spotlight' 'Discussion and review' and 'Controversy and debate' boxes, as well as further readings and recommended websites. A comprehensive glossary also provides explanations of key terms and abbreviations. Social Policy is an essential textbook for undergraduate students taking courses in social policy and related courses such as criminology, health studies, politics, sociology, nursing, youth and social work.