July 25, 2011
Nature and Purpose of Human Services
The purpose of the human services throughout history has remained basically the same, to help those that cannot help themselves. To varying degrees though the interpretation of the above statement has changed and evolved. The act of helping has taken on many shades of gray, questions of; “Are we helping too much or too little?” have gridlocked political parties and law makers. Another continual changing element is the criteria defining those who cannot help themselves. Determining if one needs help because they are lazy and refuse to do for themselves or if one indeed is trying but just cannot seem to get ahead. Is it even our place to judge them? Or should we just provide blanket care when and where needed regardless of environment or circumstance? Barring the limitations of financial support and much needed quality education and tools, human service workers provide millions of clients each year with assistance in the simplest of needs such as food and shelter as well as the complex needs like mental health and substance abuse.
Historical Overview As with most of American laws and social structure, the origins of social services have evolved from the historic implications of the European models. Beginning in the middle ages of England the Fuedal system in fact viewed the poor as personal servants and estate care takers. Much like slavery the rich and elite class would own those less fortunate, using them as manual labor or household servants. The attitude was one of pity and a sense of obligation or responsibility to house and put to work the poor. Overtime this attitude changed from pity to disdain, the public viewed the poor as dirty vagrants and lazy. During the 1500s various acts introduced by Parliament to deal with the increasing population of poor people, the culmination was referred to as the
References: Trends in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services at the Nation 's Community Health Centers: 1998-2003. Druss, Benjamin G, MD, MPH; Bornemann, Thomas; Fry-Johnson, Yvonne W, MD; McCombs, Harriet G, PhD; Politzer, Robert M, ScD; et al. American Journal of Public Health, suppl. Community Voices: Healthcare for the Underserved98 (Sep 2008): 126-131. Martin, M.E.(2007). Introduction to Human Services: Through the Eyes of Practice Settings. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon Publishing. EBOOK COLLECTION