Social Welfare : The United States

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Social welfare programs are when society organizes efforts to meet some human needs. In the United States social welfare philosophies have changed throughout the years, and support for social welfare has gone both ways. English Poor Laws During 1601, England was experiencing a severe economic depression, with large scale unemployment and widespread famine. Queen Elizabeth created a set of laws designed to maintain order of the kingdom: the English Poor Laws. These laws remained in force for more than 250 years (Social Welfare History Project, 2011). These laws basically distinguished three major categories of dependents: the vagrant, the involuntary unemployed, and the helpless. The laws also set forth ways and means for dealing with each category of dependents. Most important, the laws established the parish (i.e., local government), acting through an overseer of the poor appointed by local officials, as the administrative unit for executing the law (Social Welfare History Project, 2011). These laws gave the local government the power to raise taxes as needed and use the funds to build and maintain almshouses; to provide indoor relief for the aged, handicapped and other worthy poor; and the tools and materials required to put the unemployed to work. The American colonies and state governments modeled their public assistance for the poor on the Elizabethan Poor Laws and the Law of Settlement and Removal (Social Welfare History Project, 2011). Colonial
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