The Evolution of social work-Historical Prospective

Social work is an academic discipline and also a practice-based profession. To understand the depth meaning; it is essential to go back to the foundational base of social work in order to trace the journey of social work from traditional charity practice to the concept of empowerment and social development profession. Though the present form of social work seems to have had no past record ,the period of pre-world war and post-world war have greatly influenced the development of social work. To accomplish the purpose of understanding the evolution of social work; we shall look into the different historical prospectives, events, analyze the historical development of social work.
  1. The beginning of social work.
  2. The emergence of social organization and movement.
  3. Evolution of modern social work. 
1-The beginning of social work   
  1. In the 4th century, the earlier churches were responsible to carried out different forms of charity activities like setting up burials, opening the home for aged, orphans and hospitals as those churches were legalized by the Rome Government. 
  2. Often these services were funded and maintained by the local churches. During 590 AD Churches used to have a system of distributing commodities to the poor from the deacons of the churches. While churches of the middle age period had made vast influenced on European society. 
  3. Charity works were considered to be the act of religion and were directly given in the form of relief, money, foods, and materials to meet the particulars needs of the individuals and it continued to the beginning of the modern era. During the period; helping the poor was done by the church and family. At the beginning of the fourteen centuries poor were divided into two categories as able body and destitute.
  4. King Edward III issued an order in 1349 to make the able body laborer having no means of livelihood must take up any job from the different masters. In this connection assistance to the poor was done in 1531 in the period of Hennery III.
  5. The order directed the judge and parish in charge to scrutinize the application of the poor. Thereafter; The Elizabethan Poor Law was implemented (1601) and it is known as Elizabeth43. The law was very significant and popular for making the government accept a positive obligation for the help of the people. 

2-The emergence of social work institutions/Movements
  1. Before the emergence of industrialization and urbanization, the services of the churches and family began to replaced by the earliest forms of social welfare service which were provided to the poor in a very organized way. This pattern of welfare services had already begun in the USA and England. The service was provided to the person in need or temporarily disabled members; by the time the first Almshouse was established in Massachusetts in 1662, it was started functioning in 1685 both as an Alm house for the disabled. 
  2. Most of the advance and specialized hospitals like Bellevue in New York and Philadelphia were began in the form of almshouses. Association for the functions of charitable aid or mutual was also formed on the basis of church affiliation.
  3.  In 1657 Scot charitable society was established in Boston to help sick and poor and to provide burial for deceased countrymen. Another development during this period was the broadening of the base of responsibility from the town to the province in Massachusetts for the special category of the poor.
  4. A second important development was the greater responsibility of the state to open the first juvenile reformatory in new your in 1825. Elizabeth Gurney Fry (1780-1845) had brought remarkable reform in the British Prison System. Because of this achievement, she is known to be 'The Angels of The Prisons'.
  5. In 1819 Thomas Chalmers(1787-1847) propounded the concept of helping the poor to help themselves. Chalmers was convinced that local support and community solidarity of Neighborhood were significantly more effective than the alms given by the governments. Benevolent Society(1843) and self-organization (1843) emerged out to responded to the effect of migration, poverty and the consequences of organization.
  6. Major social welfare initiative was taken such as US sanitary commission and Americal Red Cross. Charity boards were created for the management of social institutions. In 1869 The  Charity Organization Society (COS) was founded by Octavia Hill and Frances Wisebart Jacobs in England to eliminate indiscriminate alm giving by the existing relief agencies.
  7. This movement spontaneously started in United State. The first Charity Organization Society was organized in Buffalo in 1877 and it simultaneously started in Boston, Philadelphia. Letter on settlement house movement began in order to respond to the consequences of industrial expansion and the purpose of this movement was to provide services for specific needs of the neighborhood.
  8. In 1889, Jane Addams and Ellan Gates Starr created the Hull House it is one of the most famous settlement house movements in the United State. The resident of Hull house offered a public education program in the community along with the social service. 
  9. The rise of the philanthropic foundation devoted to health and education, research, international peace said to be the birth of the modern social work profession. The Rockefeller Foundation, Julius Rosenwald Fund, the Russel Sage Foundation are the best examples. The first social service exchange was also organized by the Associate Charity of Boston in 1879. The objective was to save the client from duplication of social services and unnecessary investigation. By the time the Charity organization society established the first school for training for the social worker in the country 1898. It was called the New York School of Philanthropy now it is known as the New York School of Social Work at Columbia University.
  10. In the beginning and at the end of the nineteen century, there had been increasing growth in public parks, playgrounds, and moreover, national service agencies were established for the girls and boys scouts. Special wartimes programs were developed during the first world war(1914-18) including the home service program of the Red Cross.
  11. In the same phase of time, England faces a big unemployment problem, thus it was very difficult to solve the problem of poverty through the existing poor law of England. Hence a Royal Commission on the Poor Law and Relief of Distress was appointed in 1905 and was chaired by Lord George Hamilton.
3-Evolution of modern social work.
  1. In the 19th century, full programs dedicated to social work education began to take shape. Among many, Columbia partnered with New York College of science to develop offer first social work class in 1904. Similarly, Simmon college of Boston collaborated with Havert University to establish the Boston school of a social worker. From the record, it is known that Simmons college was the first college to offer training for clinical social workers through the Chicago School of civic and philanthropy.
  2. Formal social work training programs gradually spread though the urban areas in the early 20th Century.
  3. There were 17 schools of Social Worker already affiliated with the Association of training school of professional social work which letter become The council of Social Work Education. 
  4. After the World War-II, many changes and effort were made to provide professional status to social work. In connection to this development, The Council on Social Work Education was formed in 1952 followed by The National Association of Social Worker (1955). By the time various social work organization already had been established 
  5. During the period an important development was The Beverridge Report William Beverridge in 1941.The British social insurance program based on the Beveridge Report. It was considered to be instrumental for influence in the development of modern social work.
  6. However, many developments took place on the journey of social work. Many universities and colleges all across the world began to provide BSW as an entry-level social work education letter on MSW as other programs were provided. 
At present social work has received to the full-fledge of recognition as an academic discipline. And it is widely known to be a holistic and critical approach in understanding the various social problems .as well as provide solutions accordingly.


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