The Social Work Profession and Social Welfare Policy
California State University, Fresno
Learning about the social work profession in the U.S. today is important for Americans because this information will be useful when seeking personal help from the government. The Elizabethan Poor Law was an important part in Europe’s history when looking at the origins of social work. How this law helped the many deserving poor people and straightened out the body-abled poor in Europe will be discussed. When colonial America started developing there were many poor people and the federal government found it necessary to provide social welfare programs.
Social Work Profession and Social Welfare Policy
Simpler times and kind hearted, humble people; its comforting to know that the past was a strong time for humanitarianism. There was no governmental social welfare program; instead it came out of the goodness of people’s hearts. The churches helped the poor families and individuals dating all the way back to 1348 in England when the bubonic plague struck and killed two-thirds of the countries population. King Edward III created the Statute of Laborers Act in 1349 to help the needy; and required all able-bodied individuals to accept any type of employment. This did not last a lifetime however; 150 years later the church could no longer fund for the poor and therefore they were left alone to take care of themselves,s so Europe had to come up with another plan. (Amborsino 2008)
A major part of ensuring a successful social welfare program is having humanitarians in charge. Humanitarians believe in “those who have to give to those who don’t have”. King Edward III had some of this in him, which the Statue of Laborers Act portrayed. Social workers also have a humanitarian heart; ensuring those who don’t have much to be able to receive more. There are six factors that can be used to characterize the social work profession and their goal for society: * “To enhance human well-being and alleviate poverty, oppression, and other forms of social injustice. * To enhance the social functioning and interactions of individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities by involving them in accomplishing goals, developing resources and preventing and alleviating distress. * To formulate and implement social policies, services, and programs that meet basic human needs and support the development of human capacities. * To pursue policies, services, and resources through advocacy and social or political actions that promotes social and economic justice. * To develop and use research, knowledge, and skills that advance social work practice. * To develop and apply practice in the context of diverse cultures.” (Ambrosino 2008 pg. 33) Europe is transitioning from an agricultural society and into an industrial one and the poor looking work tried finding job in the factories but unfortunately many of them were illiterate and did not have the proper skills to operate the machinery. This caused them to turn into beggars in order to survive in the society, which they did not fit into. In Europe at this time it was the job of the local officials to be able to find a proper solution for the poor, homeless, and children; however they were not able to succeed and later turned towards parliament in hopes for an answer and better solution. Parliament came up the solution and passed the Elizabethan Poor Law in 1601. This law categorized the poor into two groups: the deserving, worthy poor and the undeserving, able-bodied poor. The deserving poor was classified under individuals who were elderly, ill, and orphaned children. It wasn’t as if the deserving and worthy and deserving poor were living in luxury. These individuals were living in almshouses, which were specifically for the poor, and there they received minimal care. Some children stayed in the almshouses and...