Social Welfare Past and Present Essay

1325 Words 6 Pages
Social Welfare Past and Present

Social welfare is an expansive system proposed to maintain the well being of individuals within a society. This paper will explain the progression from the feudal system and church provisions for the poor before the Elizabethan Poor Law to the gradual assumption of the responsibility for the poor by the government. A responsibility assumed not out of humanity and concern for the poor, but as a process of standardizing the ways in which the poor were to be managed. The history of social welfare reflects differences in values as they relate to social responsibility in taking care of the needy. Our society has been influenced by values like Judeo-Christian humanitarianism and the economic doctrine of
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Social welfare in Colonial America was nonexistent, because of this charity was heavily relied on since there was no government policy to provide for the poor. A carry over from England was the establishment of almshouses or workhouses provided by indoor relief. This fit in well with the Puritan work ethic of the colonists.

The next important period in the history of social welfare was the time between the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. It was during this time that a shift to outdoor relief occurred. Work relief programs and in-kind benefits now provided aid. Also during this time the voluntary sector rose and the emphasis was put on charitable institutions. It was in the large cities during the 19th century that various organizations were established to lessen the suffering of the poor. One of these organizations was the New York Society for the Prevention of Pauperism (1817), which used visitors to assess and respond to the needs of the poor. Another such organization was the Association for Improving the Condition of the poor (1843). This organization required an assessment of individuals' needs so that relief agencies could be more effective. Also, Buffalo's Charity Organization Society (COS) desired to organize charities to prevent duplication of services and to
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