The triplets: Investment in outcomes for the
vulnerable – reshaping social services for
(some) New Zealand children – Michael O’Brien University of Auckland, New Zealand
Social work and social services are in a period of significant change built around three key
terms; investment, vulnerable, and outcomes. Those terms are not simple neutral descriptors.
Rather, they are shaped in critical ways by the neoliberal framework which informs them.
The framework is critically examined here by exploring how it is reflected in the specific meaning and implications of each of the three terms. Social work practice and social services delivery will be heavily influenced by the political and ideological framing of investment, vulnerable and outcomes. The paper takes up some of these implications and raises a series of questions for children and families, for practitioners and for agencies. The responses to those questions will be critical for social work and for those with whom and for whom social workers work.
KEYWORDS: vulnerable; social investment; outcomes; social work; neoliberal