The History of Social Work

The History of Social Work

The History of Social Work in Jamaica

The growth of social work in England as a discipline had similar parallels to the American experience of mass migration and social upheaval. The Industrial Revolution was a major cause of these changes, as social and economic conditions changed, resulting in the massive growth of cities. The first social workers were called hospital almoners, and were based in medical institutions. The Royal Free Hospital hired Mary Stewart as the first almoner in 1895. Her role was to assess people requesting treatment at the hospital to ensure that they were considered "deserving enough" of the free treatment. The role soon developed to cover the provision of other social programs, and by 1905 other hospitals had created similar roles. By this time, the Hospital Almoners Council had been formed to oversee the new profession.

Social work, as a profession, originated in the 19th century. The movement began primarily in the United States and England. After the end of feudalism, the poor were seen as a more direct threat to the social order,[citation needed] and so the state formed an organized system to care for them. In England, the Poor Law served this purpose. This system of laws sorted the poor into different categories, such as the able bodied poor, the impotent poor, and the idle poor. This system developed different responses to these different groups.

Social work involves ameliorating social problems such as poverty and homelessness.The 19th century ushered in the Industrial Revolution. There was a great leap in technological and scientific achievement, but there was also a great migration to urban areas throughout the Western world. This led to many social problems, which in turn led to an increase in social activism.[7] Also with the dawn of the 19th century came a great "missionary" push from many Protestant denominations. Some of these mission efforts (urban missions), attempted to resolve the problems inherent in large...

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