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The potential for early intervention to prevent social problems later in life has become the focus of much debate in recent years and finds itself at the centre of contemporary social policy. The meaning of 'vulnerability' - one of the key concepts in this drive - is examined in this book, as well as the relationship between vulnerability and the individual, communities and society. This book introduces students to a broad debate around what constitutes vulnerability and related concepts such as risk and resilience, and examines how vulnerability has been conceptualised by policy makers with a clear focus on early intervention. Adopting a case study approach, it opens with chapters examining the concept of vulnerability from sociological, psychological and social policy perspectives before looking at examples around disability, homelessness, leaving care, victims of violence, sexual abuse, prison, the Internet and drug use. Supporting students in engaging with and evaluating the conceptualisation and application of vulnerability in professional practice, this book is suitable for anyone either preparing for or currently working within the children's workforce, from social work and health care to education and youth work.