Document Type



Department of Human Services, Edith Cowan University

Place of Publication

Joondalup, Western Australia


Department of Human Services


Wiles, D. (1994). Human services: Australian explorations. Joondalup, Australia: Department of Human Services, Edith Cowan University.


Human services is an emergent field of study and work in Australia. Its definition is difficult, needing ongoing theoretical and empirical clarification. Despite the contemporary decline of the Australian welfare state; human services has emerged in cultural congruence with historic Australian notions of a 'fair go', of social equity, and of social egalitarianism. Human services constitutes a nascent profession, which - in the main - helps people with problems including mostly members of the social 'underclass'. Human services draws upon a variety of models, but the generic 'problem-solving' methodology applies across all of its fields of service. Thus human service interventions seek to alleviate immediate problems, such as locating resources or addressing crises, through mainly short-term therapy. However, human services also includes long-term case management, along with sweeping social engineering in its professional agendas. In many ways the future of Australian human services remains open to speculation.

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