The History of Social Work in the Caribbean

3239 Words Sep 23rd, 2004 13 Pages
Social work and Social Welfare has been with us from as far back as the 1600's and it has always been, and has continued to be a response to human needs. In order to understand its historical development, it is necessary to examine the significant factors, which has influenced its evolution. It can be said however that factors such as the establishment of the Elizabethan poor laws, the emancipation of slavery and the social unrest which resulted in the 1937 riots, played a momentous role in the development of social work and social welfare. This was evident throughout the Caribbean since they share a common colonial history for a number of years, according to John Maxwell. For the purpose of this essay, specific focus will be on two of its …show more content…
Thus, this resulted in a greater demand for social services. Compassionate persons, particularly women, observing and monitoring the conditions of ex-slaves, formed charitable organizations, in alliance with the Public Poor Relief System in order to help with their welfare. Despite the fact that the vestries were also established at this time to provide a more organized form of social services, the needs of the individuals were still not being met. Therefore according to Willoughby, "in 1875 a bill was passed in the House of Assembly to appoint a Commission to investigate the administration of Poor Relief." The report subsequently listed a number of contributing factors to pauperism, which included seasonal unemployment during the end of the crop season, illness, disabilities and the payment of low wages. Included also was the fact that they were a number of broken common law unions in which the fathers were absent. Administrative problem also existed since the vestries in the eleven parishes operated separately. (Why was this mentioned, seems out of place)

In those times, poor relief administration and the social assistance offered was mainly of a monetary and medical nature. The Board of Poor Laws would grant the assistance after the applications received was investigated and the need was established. Clothing, food and a home for the disabled

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