Social Policy

Topics: Poor Law, Workhouse, Poverty Pages: 8 (2931 words) Published: April 2, 2011
According to Walsh. M (et al), (2000, pg 2), stated that “the key focus of social policy in the united kingdom is on social welfare provision. Social policy is essential concerned with the practice and study of state, or government, social welfare provision, and the healthcare and welfare systems.” This assignment will look at how social policy effectively utilises relevant historical perspectives taking in account the reform of services to the children and families from 1601 The Poor Laws. In particular it will discuss the impact of the changes made in legislations on children, families and the early year’s sector, which will include the green paper Every Child Matters. The assignment will also link to the current legislations in place like the Children Act 1989/2004, and the Childcare Act 2006. Finally, the conclusion will sum up the main points, showing that social policy necessarily influences children and families in current legislations. For the purposes of this assignment, a chronological approach must be adopted to highlight the Poor Laws historical perspectives. The British social policy was dominated by the Poor Laws, first passed in 1598 and 1601. This act remained the basis on which the poor were helped until 1834. These required parishes to look after its own poor. To its differences, its roots were traced to the Elizabethan Poor Laws of the 16th century England which brought in workhouses for destitute people considered able to work. The Elizabethan Poor Law of 1601 was the national Act for England and Wales. The Poor Law Act 1601 also known as the Elizabethan Poor Law and Old Poor Law (after the passing of the Poor Law Amendment Act 1834). The local parish officers provided the poor for a compulsory poor rate, which was a form of local tax, on every householder in the parish. Walsh. M (et al), (2000, pg 35), stated that “the needy people who could work were classified as ‘able-bodied poor’ and were set to work in the local workhouse. Children were often put out as apprentices, in order to learn a trade and become self-sufficient as they grew up; and those thought to be able, but unwilling, to earn a living for themselves - the "sturdy beggars.” The new law did not have a real effect in Wales, however, until the first half of the 18th centaury, and took even longer to reach all parishes. There was a big difference in the application of the law and there was a tendency for the poor to travel towards the more generous parishes, usually situated in the towns. This led to the Settlement Act 1662. This allowed support only to establish the residents of a parish. This was done mainly through birth, marriages and apprenticeships. In the early eighteenth century England at the start of the century was still mainly a land of villages with the majority of the population living in the south. In 1834 the Poor Law Act was updated. The Poor Law Amendment Act followed the publication of the Report of the Royal Commission on Poor Law. The Act limited outdoor support to the aged and unwell who were unable to work. These were the impotent poor. They were to be looked after in hospitals, orphanages or poor houses. Orphans and children of the poor were to be given a job apprenticeship so that they would have a job to pursue when they grew up. It encouraged the building of workhouses, and introduced a basic rule and the “Workhouse Test”; and considered any relief given to be a loan. The workhouse developed in the period shortly before the new poor law was introduced. Since the Poor Laws there were changes that were made over time, and a number of supporters draw attention to the difficulties of the poor and the reasons for poverty. During the 1800’s the government had ‘laissez-faire’ attitudes to education. In the social legislation of this period education did not become a real priority until the year of the first Elementary Education Act, 1870. The Elementary Education Act of 1870 provided education on an unprecedented scale....
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