The social work profession emerged in the early nineteenth century as charitable organizations began employing trained workers rather than relying on volunteers. This was a century when disease, laziness, poverty and others were exposed as social evils that needed to be addressed. The movement to stamp out these social evils began with philanthropist women, joined later by charitable organizations and subsequently by the state or government itself (Gorsky, 1999). The philanthropic women who began the movement operated by passing on an ideology which mainly sought to help people by remoralizing them. This meant that those in need of help had to sign a temperance pledge which was based on the religious beliefs of the day. It was this process which in part led to the birth of somewhat formal charitable organizations and other agencies whose main aim was to help and support the needy. Rogers (2008) states that the claims and needs of those in need of help were not properly assessed at this time. As a result, the benevolent gestures of these organizations were exposed to attacks from “clever paupers”, a practice now known as benefit fraud (Rogers, 2008.p80). The Charitable Organization Society (COS) was established in 1869 to combat this fraudulent activity. Another reason for its establishment was as a response to competition and overlap occurring between the various charities and agencies in many parts of the UK (Young, 1956). In addition, there were also concerns about the impact of such giving upon recipients. The main concern, as Octavia Hill, a pioneer of this organization pointed out, was that it could lead to a ‘dependency culture’ and a great deal of exaggeration in order to gain money and goods (Rogers, 2008). To address all of these factors, pioneers of COS saw two crucial needs; the need to help self-respecting families who were struggling to keep themselves from destitution, and secondly, to organize and coordinate charities so that the best use could be made of resources (Rooff 1972). One of the greatest impacts of COS on social work was its encouragement and collection of developing methods. To achieve the aims based on which it was founded, the COS introduced case-paper processes to ensure that there was succession in the work being done by social workers. Case-work methods that had been developed without any format through the nineteenth century were consolidated and developed into coherent plans by the new case-workers (Noel, 1971). The COS emphasized on organization and investigation in its work, leading to notions such as the deserving and undeserving poor. It is important to point out that as social work continued to develop, so did policy and legislation surrounding it. Whereas focus had been on the behaviour of claimants alone in the past, these policies and legislations led to significant changes in the role of social workers and their practices. The first of such legislation was the Children and Young Persons Act of 1963, which focused social work with children on preventative and rehabilitative work (Arthur, 2007). It also encouraged social workers to change conditions and to reduce the number of children entering the juvenile court or local authority. However, due to poor communication and fragmentation within Social Work delivery, this objective was hardly achieved. The Seebohm committee was set up to suggest solutions to this and other problems. Led by Fredric Seebohm, their responsibility was to “review the organisation and responsibilities of the local authorities in England and Wales, and to consider what changes were desirable to secure an operative family service” (Seebohm.1968, p.11)
The Seebohm report (1968) recommended that all social work services should be integrated into one service. Also, social work should be a family oriented and community based service available and accessible to all as an integrated service rather than separate departments run independently. Staff struggled...
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