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Saturday, March 28, 2015

Fwd: social work History- Binoy Paul 1444301

Fr.Binoy Paul CMI
Research Scholar 
Christ University

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From: BINOY PAUL 1444301 <>
Date: Sat, Mar 28, 2015 at 2:54 PM
Subject: social work History- Binoy Paul 1444301

Social work History

Social work has developed through centuries like any other discipline. This discipline attained a professional status very recently. It was developed through the practice of charity, social service, welfare measures, etc. Here we can go through the evolution of social work in the United Kingdom (UK), the United States of America (USA) and in India. The history of Professional social work can be chronologically divided in to five periods.


1.      A.D 1200 to 1500

2.      A.D 1501 to 1600

3.      A.D 1600 to 1800

4.      A.D.1800 to 1900

5.      A.D 1900 onwards



The Elizabethan period the needy people –charity works are called 'relief of the paupers'.

-The Victorian reformers who were distressed by poverty, child neglect and other social ills

The history of social work in the UK had gone through various phases.

The origin of social work is found in the English Poor Laws that was passed in 1601. The draft of the same was made in 1536.

1.      The establishment of the parish as the administrative unit responsible for poor relief, with churchwardens or parish overseers collecting poor-rates and allocating relief. The provision of materials such as flax, hemp, and wool to provide work for the able-bodied poor. The setting to work and apprenticeship of children.

2.      The relief of the "impotent" poor—the old, the blind, the lame, and so on. This could include the provision of "houses of dwelling"—almshouses or poorhouses rather than workhouses.

3.      Any able-bodied pauper who refused to work was liable to be placed in a "House of Correction" or prison.


Even before the American Revolution, services to the poor, to children, and to the mentally ill had been established in North America

Ø  In March 1841, Dorothea Dix entered the East Cambridge, Massachusetts, jail, where she wit­nessed such horrible images

Ø  "scientific charity"

o   -the American Charity Organization organized in Buffalo, New York, in 1877,

o   In 1886 with the Neighborhood Guild in New York City, and the settlement houses Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr's much-admired Hull House in Chicago -"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". We would now call the approaches used by the settlement movement "group work" and "community organization."


o   The Charity Organization Society (COS) and case work- focus on individual work, or what became known in the profession as casework with individuals, families, and groups


Ø  After the Civil War, economic depressions, racism, and drastic increases in immigration from southern

Ø  By 1919, there were 17 schools of social work identi­fying themselves collectively as the Association of Training Schools of Professional Social Work, the precursor of today's Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Ø  After World War I, the American Red Cross and the U.S. Army gave social workers - posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)


World War II and the Rise of Social Work Education:-


As social work began to become a profession with a coherent and logical set of professional practices and objectives, there was a movement to standardize agency practices and create core MSW curricula. -This movement to improve stan­dards and increase the educational component of social work practice led to the formation of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) in 1952 and the establishment of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) in 1955.

 -development of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) in 1953 and a shift from programs for the poor to programs serving middle-income White workers in the 1950s


1960s, Americans rediscovered poverty as a social problem-"unconditional war on poverty" in January 1964. The War on Poverty used the Economic Opportunity Act (EOA), The War on Poverty used the Economic Opportunity Act (EOA), which included the Job Corps, Upward Bound, the Neighborhood Youth Corps, Community Action, Head Start, Legal Services, Foster Grandparents, and the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO). In 1965, the health programs Medicare and Medicaid were passed by Congress, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) was created, numerous services for the aged through the Older American Act were enacted. - the Peace Corps and Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA)



Ø  In 1972 and 1973, Congress passed the State and Local Fiscal Assistance Act and the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA)


Ø  the Social Security Act in January 1975 reinforced the idea of federal "revenue sharing"




The systematic development of social work in India may be grouped into different periods.

Social Reforms in Ancient Period (2500 BC-AD 1200)

In ancient India, the nature of social service was that of charity. The earliest reference to charity is to be found in the Rig Veda (Chap1 XIII, 2) which encourages charity by saying ''May the one who gives, shine the most". Upanishad prescribed that every house holder must practise charity. In ancient India social welfare activities were performed byYagnas. Each one contributed his bit towards the Yagnas. The intention was the welfare of all.

Yagnashalas were classrooms where men and women were taught the spirit of working together. Bhagavat Gita insists that the privileged class has a moral duty to serve the poor. Such persons who served the society with all their ability were free from all sins. But those who cooked for themselves or produced for their own gain were eating sin (Gita chap-3-13) According to Manu it was his duty to feed his guests first, then his servant, he and his wife might eat last of all. Charity or dana became the instrument of virtue of the privileged sections and it was to be dispensed voluntarily. Later in the Vedic period dana became institutionalized and came to be associated with religious ideology. Dana was given to acquire punya (merit). Kaudilya highlights the duties of the king towards the welfare and happiness of his subjects, ''In the happiness of the subjects lies theking's happiness.''


The evolution of Buddhism influenced the character of the Indian society- from the tribal agricultural settlement to a class based agrarian economy. Buddhism laid great emphasis on punya and dana (charity). Guilds were important corporate organizations which performed a variety of economic and welfare functions during Buddhist period. Guilds provided social security to the oppressed class of the society. Bimbisara paid special attention to the development of roads and agriculture.


Modern Social Work

Modern social work was introduced in India by Christian Missionaries in the beginning of the 19 century. When they started making houses for orphans and destitute, Indian social reformers like Sasipada Banerjee, Phule and Karve too started homes for the widows. Some social and religious associations like Arya Samaj, Prarthana Samaj and Ramakrishna Mission played significant roles in providing institutional welfare service in India.


The formal training in social work was started in India in 1936 at Dhorabji Tata School of Social Work at Mumbai. Now it is a deemed university named Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS).

In Kerala

In Kerala, the first school of social work training was started in 1954 at Sacred Heart College, Thevara, which later shifted to Rajagiri College of Social Science, Kalamassery and secondly, Loyola School of Social Sciences, Sreekariyam, Thiruvananthapuram was started in 1963. At present a number of universities and institutions are offering graduate, post graduate, M. Phil and Ph. D level training in social work. The introduction of social work at higher secondary level resulted in many changes in the field of social work training and practice in Kerala. In a developing country like India, social workers have a major role in the socio-economic, cultural, health and related areas.

Though St.Joseph's College, Devagiri, Kozhikode had started on 1963 the department of Social Work began only in 2003 with three major specializations namely; community Development, Medical and Psychiatric Social Work and Family and child Development.


The major associations of social work are NAPSWI (National Association of Professional Social Workers in India), ASSK (Association of Schools of Social Work in Kerala), and KAPS (Kerala Association of Professional Social Work). 

Fr.Binoy Paul CMI
Research Scholar 
Christ University

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