Successfully reported this slideshow.
Activate your 14 day free trial to unlock unlimited reading.
Historical development of social work in U.S.A. (Dr. R.K. Bharti)
Historical development of social work in U.S.A. (Dr. R.K. Bharti)
Dr. R.K. Bharti
M.S.W 1st Semester
Roll No:- 26
Definition of social work
“Social work is a practice-based profession and an
academic discipline that promotes social change and
development, social cohesion, and the empowerment and
liberation of people. Principles of social justice, human
rights, collective responsibility and respect for diversities
are central to social work. Underpinned by theories of
social work, social sciences, humanities and indigenous
knowledge , social work engages people and structures to
address life challenges and enhance wellbeing.”
History of social work in United
States of America
From the beginning of the seventeenth century the colonist
from England and other countries brought with them the
customs, traditions, laws and institutions from the mother
The traditional resources of the mother country such as
church, charities, hospitals, and alms houses did not exist
in the settlements.
According to the Elizabethan Poor Law, it is the
responsibility of the local church to take care of the
destitute. Every town made provisions to the maintenance
of the poor by supplying food, clothing, firewood and
house hold essentials to persons with legal settlements.
History of social work in the
The Colonial Period (1620-1776)
The civil war and Industrial Revolutions (1776-1860)
The Industrialization -The human side (1860-1900)
Social work, seeking professional characteristics (1900-
Highly professionalized discipline(1930-onwards)
The introduction of alms-house care did not improve
the conditions of the poor. In alms-houses, old ,sick,
tramps, vagabonds, blind, deaf-mutes, cripples, idiots
and insane, orphans, foundlings, unmarried mothers
with their children, prostitutes, and criminals were all
put in these houses− often without separation of the
sexes or age-groups.
Private Charity Societies took initiatives to start orphanages
and asylums, because they objected to the placement of
children and helpless invalid and old people in mixed alms
houses where they are forced to live with people with other
deviant behaviours. Private relief societies were often
affiliated with churches, fraternal orders or national
benevolent associations, and they became the leading
progressive element in American Social Welfare during the
The states themselves assumed responsibility for certain
classes of the poor such as the insane, feeble-minded and
convicted offenders for whom there were no adequate
Some local public relief authorities, under the influence of
state boards of charity, began to question the old concepts
of poor relief….” (Friedlander, Introduction to Social
After the reform in the poor relief act, private charities took the lead
role in addressing the issues of the disadvantaged. However the
activities of these private or religious agencies were often limited to aid
for special local groups.
In 1817 a constructive remedy for people in economic need was set up,
the New York Society for the Prevention of Pauperism, aiming to
scientifically understand the causes of poverty and to develop a model
for rehabilitation instead of mere palliative of financial issues.
The society assigned volunteers called ‘visitors of the indigent’ as its
agents. It established an employment bureau, a savings bank and
encouraged the foundation of Mutual Aid-Mutual Life insurance groups
to protect their members against economic hazards.
Church and Charitable Organizations Association for improving the
condition of the Poor was started in 1843 in New York. The Association
assigned ‘friendly visitors’ in every sub district of the city in order to
determine the need and the individual measures necessary in each
Societies (COS) to understand and take care of family
problems. The charity organization societies started
in Boston and Philadelphia in 1878 operated on the
Following principles :-
i. Detailed investigation on applications for charity.
ii. A central system of registration to avoid
iii. Co-operation between various relief agencies.
iv. Extensive use of voluntary friendly visitors.
Settlement House Movement
The development of modern industry brought masses
of workers and their families into the city. They lived
in overcrowded quarters without comfort or space for
their children, while relatives and friends were left in
native rural villages and towns where they had come
from. Large number of the immigrants coming as
immigrants to the USA lived in overcrowded flats and
There was not much mutual understanding among the
different racial and religious backgrounds, and they
spoke different languages. In 1887 Neighbourhood
Guild of New York City was founded based on the idea
of Toynbee Hall in England. Soon Hull-House in
Chicago, founded by Jane Addams and Ellen Gates
Starr in 1889, became popular.
Hull House Model
They met the needs of the neighbourhood through various
programs: day nursery and kindergarten, discussion and
study groups, School of music, dramatics, and arts, classes
in rhythm and dancing, and workshops for children and
adults. Later the Hull-house organized playgrounds and
summer camps for children. School reforms activities
which grew from the experiences of Hull-House
(Friedlander, Introduction to Social Welfare, 1950, p. 112).
Residents of settlement houses became the champions of
Social reforms and they became the pioneers of social
Action Many active workers and volunteers of the Charity
Organization Societies felt the need for a deeper
understanding of the behaviour of individuals and of social
and economic problems. This led to the organization of the
first Social Work courses in New York in 1898.
Child Welfare Movement
The rapid growth of manufacturing industries
aggravated the pathetic condition of children, so
Children Aid Society (1853) and Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty to Children (1857) were started
in New York City. This led to the formation of Child
Welfare Movement. The aim of the agencies was to
rescue children from inadequate homes and from the
Development of Professional Social Work
Education in the USA
The employment of paid staff and their training by
Charity Organization Societies (COS) facilitated a shift
from the unorganized charity and social service to the
beginning of an organized and systematic social work.
The first such training centre organized by New York
Charity Organization Society (NYCOS) in 1898 is
currently known as the Columbia University. Hospital
based training and social work services were also
initiated around the same time at Boston Hospital. The
First World War increased the casualties among the
poor, consequently various wartime charity
programmes were initiated and Welfare Acts were
Emergence of Social Work
In 1998 the NASW declared it the 100th anniversary
of the Social Work profession.
Social Work education evolving in the United States and
Europe was an indigenous response to the conditions of
livelihood and the rapid development in the nineteenth
Social Work was introduced by the Americans and the
Europeans to other countries in Asia and Africa as
experts to address the problem of “underdevelopment”.
The introduction and reintroduction of modern Social
Work in the countries of former Soviet Union and
Eastern bloc, including Russia, the nations of Eastern
Europe, China, and Vietnam under the foreign influence
(M.Healy, International Social Work, 2001).
Important Years and Events
In 1928 the first International Conference of Social
Work was held from July 8th to 13th in Paris, and it
drew 2,481 delegates from 42 countries
(Organisation of the International Conference of
Social Work, First Conference July 8-13, 1928).one
section of the conference was devoted to Social Work
education. The world meeting in Social Work and
Social welfare became regular after the first
The 1928 conference was also the birth place of
three major organizations, International
Associations of Schools of Social Work (IASSW),
International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW),
and the International Council for Social Welfare
Important Ones in The History of Social
Work & Social Welfare
1536 The first draft of the English Poor Laws is published. It
subsequently became the model for dealing with poverty,
illness, and unemployment in England and later in America
through the 19th century.
1841 Dorothea Dix begins her campaign for adequate
services to the mentally ill after viewing horrible conditions
in a hospital for the mentally ill in Cambridge,
1865 The Civil War ends, and the Freedmen’s Bureau, a
government agency created to help former slaves in the
South migrate to the North to leave the oppression of anti-
Black sentiment and discrimination in the South, is
1877 American Charity Organization is organized in
Buffalo, New York, as one of the first attempts to help
people with severe social problems in an organized and
1889 Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr’s much-admired
Hull House in Chicago is established. Settlements focused
on the causes of poverty and expanding jobs for the poor.
They also “conducted research, helped develop the juvenile
court system, created widow’s pension programs,
promoted legislation prohibiting child labor, and
introduced public health reforms and the concept of social
insurance.” Unions begin to grow in America representing
the rights of workers for fair wages and better working
1898 Columbia University becomes the first school of
social work in the country.
1912 More than 400 guilds and settlement houses exist serving
the poor and helping millions of new immigrants settle
successfully in America. Fires in sweatshops in New York create a
strong demand for safe working conditions, and unions begin to
1914-1918 During World War I social work is first used to help
people with combat fatigue (PTSD) and war injuries.
1917 Mary Richmond writes one of the defining books of social
work, Social Diagnosis, in which she lays the foundation for
social work as a profession with a mission and a theoretical belief
1920 The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is formed, the
Child Welfare League of America is formed, women exercise the
right to vote, and an early form of the Council on Social Work
Education is formed, calling itself the Association of Training
Schools of Professional Social Work. The stock market begins to
rise, and speculation leads to conditions that cause the Great
1929 Over speculation and manipulation of the stock market throw
the country into the Great Depression, which lasts almost to the start
of World War II in 1941. Millions are unemployed, and many businesses
fail. The Dust Bowl, covering the Midwest, adds to problems, and many
people leave failing farms.
1933 The New Deal, a liberal set of social welfare programs, is begun
by newly elected president FDR and his liberal cabinet including social
worker Frances Perkins, who became secretary of labor.
1933 A series of social programs help provide employment for
unemployed men and women and begin the notion of the safety net,
including the Social Security Act, which allows older adults to receive a
pension after the age of 65.
1941–1945 America’s involvement in World War II requires the use of
social workers to help soldiers and their families cope with war injuries
and medical problems. There is full use of social workers in the
Veterans Administration, an organization begun with only a few social
workers in 1926.
1952 The Council on Social Work Education is formed and begins its
work to create high standards among existing and new schools of social
1954 The Supreme Court rules on Brown v. Topeka Board of Education,
which begins the end of segregation in public schools.
1955–1956 Montgomery bus boycott leads to the end of Jim Crow laws
that discriminated against African Americans.
1956 The National Association of Social Workers is formed, the
profession’s primary organization, with a mission to help and to create
a better society and world.
1964 Civil Rights Act is passed; Title II and Title VII forbid racial
discrimination in “public accommodations” and race and sex
discrimination in employment. The Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission provides oversight and coordination of all federal
regulation practices and policies affecting equal employment
1965 The War on Poverty in which President Johnson pledges to
overcome poverty helps to pass the Voting Rights Act, which makes
discrimination in voting a federal crime; passes affirmative action,
which helps discriminated-against groups gain entry into schools,
employment, housing, and other areas of American life in which
discrimination is common; passes the Older Americans Act, which
provides needed services to older adults; and creates the
Administration for Children and Families to focus on the needs of
children and to bolster the strength of families.
1966 The National Organization for Women (NOW) is founded.
1972 The break-in at Watergate occurs, and the turmoil in the
presidency forces Nixon out of office.
1975–1992 During this generally conservative time social welfare
programs are cut back, and a conservative agenda moves the country
away from concerns about civil rights and poverty. There is a significant
rise in juvenile crime from 1982 to 1993, and this is a period in social
work where concerns are raised that social work is irrelevant and even
unloved because we have moved away from social action and social
change and become too comfortable with small system change rather
than large changes in the society.
1992– 2000 Bill Clinton is elected president but, after an attempt to
change our health care system, gives up and generally uses a
conservative approach to social welfare programs; he limits public
assistance to 2 years, encourages retraining, and is thought to have “out
Republican” the Republicans.
1999 NASW adopts the current Code of Ethics.
2000 The election of George W. Bush begins a period of downgrading
the social welfare net, a decrease in health care coverage, and a war in
Iraq with thousands of deaths and injuries. Social work helps with care
of men and their families.
2005 A series of natural disasters tests the country’s ability to cope with
crisis and finds us badly unprepared. Decades of making poverty
invisible show us that it is still pervasive as thousands of residents of
New Orleans await help as a horrified nation watches after dikes break,
leaving the city under water.
2008 With the election of President Barack Obama progressive social
welfare policies return.
2010 The Health Care Reform Bill is historically passed.