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Combining institutional ethnography and community-based research, Youth Work is a sophisticated examination of the troubling experiences of young people living outside the care of parents or guardians, as well as of the difficulties of the frontline workers who take responsibility for assisting them. Drawing from more than a year of on-site research at an Ontario youth emergency shelter, Naomi Nichols exposes the complicated institutional practices that govern both the lives of young people living in shelters and the workers who try to help them. A troubling account of how a managerial focus on principles like "accountability" and "risk management" has failed to successfully coordinate and deliver services to vulnerable members of society, Youth Work shows how competitive funding processes, institutional mandates, and inter-organizational conflicts complicate the lives of the young people that they are supposed to help. Nichols's book is essential reading for those involved in education, social services, mental health, and the justice system, as well as anyone with an interest in social justice.