Social welfare is the societal institution responsible for providing assistance to those in needs. This term was used in a narrow sense to refer to social security and social service like CSSA; elderly assistance etc that provided by the government and it also serves the interests of the society and works for people’s well-being. However, in this essay, the term ‘social welfare’ has a broader sense that it means the welfare people supposed to have. This essay will comment on the development of social welfare in Hong Kong and discuss the factors affecting the development of social welfare. As the society develops, there are some new social needs in every stage of developing. Thus, there will be different types of social welfare to fulfill the social needs. So in this essay, the development of social welfare in Hong Kong is divided into 6 different phases. The phases of development are marked according to the social incidences which led to a change in the provision of social welfare. The Second World War plays an important role in the first phase, namely the residual social policy I from the early 19th century up to 1944.And the residual social policy II from 1944 to 1952. Then the partial social policy from 1953 to 1970. The big bang social policy from 1971 to 1977.The fifth phase is the incremental social policy from 1978 to 1997.And the last one is the modern social policy from 1997 to present. In Hong Kong, the development of social welfare mainly depends on economical factor, political factor, social condition, historical factor etc. In this essay, I will comment each phase clearly by these factors.
Residual Social Policy I, 19th century to 1944
Since the Opium War in 1842, Hong Kong was became British colony. The British government adopted the ‘policy of economic and social non-interventionism’ in ruling Hong Kong. So the public expenditure of social welfare was mainly on the basic necessities. In this period of time, the social condition was very complicated since there was a civil war between the Nationalist Government and Communist forces in Mainland China in 1946. It caused a huge number of refugees came from China. As a result, there was an extremely rapid growth of the Hong Kong population. Secondly, China was involved in the Korean War in 1950. This led to the United Nations’ embargo against China. Hong Kong officially enforced this ban and its trade was totally stopped. It led to a rapid increase in social needs. The problems relating to material relief, food and housing, epidemics, crime, public health, education and the restoration of social services were many and varied. However, the government had only lukewarm interest in providing social welfare to the people. In this period, social services were mostly provided by churches (mainly Christian & Catholic) and voluntary charities (Tung Wah’s hospital, Po Leung Kuk & clansman associations etc.). At that time, there were schools, hospitals, welfare service centers set up by those non-government organizations. Those orphans, young prostitutes, the elderly and the poor were mainly the target groups. There are three political factors and one social factor affecting the development of welfare of this period. The first political factor is the nature of government. The British government wanted the colonies to be as self-sufficient as possible. For whatever development, the colonies were to use own resources to support them. In order to relieve such an administrative burden, the expenditure was greatly reduced and the expenses on improving people’s life would be largely decreased, so as the welfare on the public. The second political factor is frequent changes in governorship. In this period, governorship is about 4 to 5 years so there are frequent changes in direction on policy making and use of officers, hence, the new governor could to adopt or reject his predecessor’s policies. However, it is not healthy for maintaining a long run...
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