Jane Addams played a significant role is shaping the Human Service profession. Jane Addams work in developing the settlement house movement has had lasting effects in our field even today. She was successful in changing the overall attitude toward welfare. Before the late 1800’s, there was still an attitude of the “worthy” poor vs. the “unworthy” poor. This negative attitude would cast continuous judgment on all people receiving assistance. Upper-class community members would accuse people who were in need of being lazy and not willing to work. Addams believed prior systems were heartless and not concerned about the individual. In our textbook, the author describes the settlement house movement as “different from the traditional charity organizations, in that it had as its goal the mission of no longer distinguishing between the worthy and unworthy poor” (Martin, 2011, p. 26). The change in attitude is still developing today as we encourage people to a global thinking from an “us vs. them” mentality. The settlement house movement also deserves credit for how we currently deliver services to consumers. Services offered to consumers should be consumer centered and take into consideration many factors other than the consumer themselves. Addams believed that a consumer would be more likely to be successful if all of their needs were being met. The settlement house movement created the idea of comprehensive care. Without the settlement house movement, our services may look very different than today as we know them now. The impact that Jane Addams had on the Human Service field is one that changed history. Her noble character is one that Human Service providers today should model after.
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