What is Social Service and Social Work

Introduction to Social Work 

Social service, also called social assistance service or social work, any of the many services provided publicly or privately intended to help disadvantaged, afflicted or vulnerable people or groups. The term social service also denotes the profession that is dedicated to providing such services. Social services have flourished in the 20th century as ideas of social responsibility have developed and spread.

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The basic concerns of social welfare - poverty, disability and disease, dependent young people and the elderly - are as old as society itself. The laws of survival once severely limited the means by which these concerns could be addressed; sharing the burden of another meant weakening one's position in the fierce struggle of daily existence. However, as societies developed with their patterns of dependency among members, more systematic responses emerged to the factors that rendered individuals, and thus society in general, vulnerable.

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Religion and philosophy have tended to provide frameworks for the conduct of social welfare. The edicts of the Buddhist Emperor A┼Ťoka in India, the socio-political doctrines of ancient Greece and Rome, and the simple rules of the early Christian communities are just a few examples of systems that addressed social needs. 

The Elizabethan poverty laws in England, which sought relief for the poor through care services and asylums run at the parish level, provided precedent for many modern legislative responses to poverty. In Victorian times, a stricter legal view of poverty as a moral flaw was met with the rise of humanitarianism and the proliferation of social reformers. The social charities and philanthropic societies founded by these pioneers formed the foundation of many of today's wellness services.

Since perceived needs and the ability to address them determine the range of welfare services in each society, there is no universal vocabulary of social welfare. In some countries a distinction is made between "social services", which denotes programs, such as health care and education, that serve the general population, and "welfare services", which denotes aid directed at vulnerable groups, such as the poor. the disabled, or the offender. 

According to another classification, recovery services address the basic needs of people with acute or chronic distress; preventive services seek to reduce the pressures and obstacles that cause such discomfort; and support services attempt, through educational, health, employment and other programs to maintain and improve the functioning of individuals in society. 

Welfare services originated as emergency measures to be applied when all else failed. However, they are now seen as a necessary function in any society and a means of not only rescuing those in distress, but also promoting the continued business well-being of society.

Most personal social services are provided on an individual basis to people who cannot, temporarily or permanently, cope with the problems of daily life. Beneficiaries include families facing loss of income, desertion, or illness; children and young people whose physical or moral well-being is at risk; the sick The disabled; the frail elderly; and the unemployed. When possible, services are also directed at preventing threats to personal or family independence.

Social services generally place great value on keeping families together in their local communities, organizing support from friends or neighbors when kinship ties are weak. When needed, services provide alternative forms of living at home or residential care and play a key role in the care and control of juvenile offenders and other socially deviant groups, such as drug and alcohol addicts.

Modern evolution

In advanced industrial societies, personal social services have always constituted a “mixed welfare economy”, involving the statutory, voluntary and private sectors of welfare provision. While the role of personal social services is crucial, they account for only a small proportion of total welfare spending. The most substantial increases in spending have occurred in social security systems, which provide assistance to specific categories of applicants on the basis of universal and selective criteria. 

The development of modern social security systems beginning in the 1880s reflects not only a gradual but fundamental change in the objectives and scope of social policy, but also a dramatic shift in popular and expert opinion regarding social security. relative importance of social and personal causes of need. .

In the belief that personal deficiencies were the main cause of poverty and of people's inability to cope with it, the major 19th century aid systems for the poor in Western Europe and North America tended to deprive everyone of help least of all the truly destitute, to whom it was given as a last resort. This policy was intended as a general deterrent to inactivity. 

The Poor Law Relief Officer was the forerunner of both public assistance officials and social workers today under his command of legal financial aid. Voluntary charities of the time differed in the relative merits of the poor law deterrence services, on the one hand, implying resistance to the growth of legal social welfare, and in providing alternative assistance to those in need along with the extension of legal services. , on the other hand. 

From the 1870s, the Charity Organization Society and similar bodies in the United States, Great Britain, and elsewhere held firmly to the first option, and their influence was widespread until the outbreak of World War II.

The settlement movement in Britain and the United States brought volunteer workers into direct contact with the serious material handicaps suffered by the poor. The pioneer of this movement was the vicar Samuel A. Barnett, who in 1884 with his wife and several university students "settled" in an underprivileged area of ​​London, calling their neighborhood home Toynbee Hall. Two visitors to this settlement soon introduced the movement to the United States: Stanton Coit, who founded the Neighborhood Guild (later University Settlement) on the Lower East Side of New York City in 1886, and Jane Addams, who with Ellen Gates Starr founded Hull House. on Chicago's Near West Side in 1889. From these prototypes, the movement spread to other cities in the United States and abroad through Europe and Asia.

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The origins of modern case social work can be traced back to the appointment of the first medical beggars in Britain in the 1880s, a practice quickly adopted in North America and most Western European countries.

 Beggars originally performed three main functions: determining the financial eligibility and resources of patients facing rising health care costs, providing counseling services to support patients and their families during periods of poor health and bereavement, and get suitable practical aids and other ways. of home care for discharged patients. Elsewhere, secular and religious charities that provide financial aid, educational welfare, and housing for the poor began to employ social workers.

By the turn of the century there were various schemes to organize charitable work on “scientific” principles according to nationally agreed standards of procedures and services. In Britain, the United States, Germany, and later Japan, major charities worked in conjunction with public assistance and welfare authorities, an approach endorsed in 1909 in the majority report of the British Royal Commission on the Law of the poor. 

The first schools of social work, generally run by voluntary charitable agencies, appeared in the 1890s and early 1900s in London, New York, and Amsterdam, and by the 1920s there were similar businesses in other parts of Western Europe and North America and South America. The training programs combined casework methods and other practical forms of intervention and support, with a special emphasis on working cooperatively with individuals and families to restore a level of independence.

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From the 1900s onwards, surveys by Charles Booth in London and Seebohm Rowntree in York and by other researchers began to transform conventional views on the role of the state in social welfare and poverty alleviation, and the social causes of poverty came under scrutiny. . At the same time, the scope of social work grew, with the expansion of settlement houses, to include group work and community action.

In most countries, social welfare services, or personal social services, rather than being organized and administered separately, are often linked to other important social services, such as social security, health care, education and the House. 

This is explained by the course of its historical development. Media open to policymaking and administration in personal social services are often incompatible. For example, demands for overall integration and coordination of care programs may conflict with the provision of services that take due account of the needs of specific client groups. 

The provision of individual services and provision for the needs of the family and the neighborhood must also be reconciled.

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Mandatory and voluntary social services have evolved in response to needs that cannot be met by individuals either alone or in association with others. Among the factors that determine the current nature of such services are, firstly, that the growth in scale and complexity of industrial societies has added to the obligations of central and local governments. 

Second, the rise in the wealth and productivity of industrial societies has raised public expectations of standards of living and justice, while at the same time increasing the material capacity to meet those expectations. 

Third, the processes of social and economic change have grown to such an extent that people are less and less prepared to anticipate and deal with the adverse effects of such change. 

Fourth, it is difficult, and sometimes impossible, to recognize and satisfy the idiosyncratic needs that arise from the interaction of social and personal life.

Any family can experience crises that they cannot control. The hardships of ill health and unemployment can be compounded by loss of income; divorce and separation can impede the well-being and development of young children; and long-term responsibility for dependent relatives can affect the physical and emotional well-being of caregivers.

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A very small number of families experience such intractable problems that they require the almost continuous help of personal social services. Some of these families have deviant behavior problems, including family violence and child abuse, irregular attendance or non-enrollment in school, alcohol and drug abuse, and delinquency and delinquency. 

However, not all poor families place high demands on social welfare services; indeed, considerable difficulties could be alleviated through more efficient use of existing services.

Over time, social workers have acquired a special responsibility for people whose particular needs lie outside the purview of other professions and agencies. In addition to the needs of individuals and families with serious long-term social and emotional problems, personal social services meet a wide spectrum of needs that arise from the more routine contingencies of life. 

Inevitably, personal social services are primarily concerned with reacting to a crisis as it occurs, but today a lot of effort is being invested in preventive work and improving well-being in the wider community. In this regard, a comparison can be made with the traditional goal of social security - poverty reduction - and the more ambitious goal of maintaining income.

The organization of personal social services in different societies is extremely variable. Ethnicity and urban deprivation have added new dimensions to the needs that cross the traditional categories of clients of families, children, youth, the sick and the disabled, the unemployed, the elderly and criminals. However, there are continuities and coherence in the pattern of needs that characterize these large groups of clients.

Main areas of concern

Family well-being

Social philosophers and social workers generally regard family life as the ideal context for promoting social well-being. Family wellness programs seek to preserve and strengthen the family unit through financial assistance, when available, and personal assistance with a variety of services. Personal assistance services include marriage counseling in most developed countries and in urban centers in developing countries; maternal, prenatal and infant care programs; family planning services; education for family life, which promotes both the enrichment of family relationships and the improvement of the domestic economy; “Home help” or “homemaker” services that provide in-home assistance to families burdened by chronic diseases, disabilities, or other dependencies; and caring for the elderly through programs such as home meal services, transportation, regular visits, and reduced-cost medications.

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Child welfare

A primary concern in all family wellness programs is the well-being of the children. Whenever possible, services for children are provided within the framework of family life. Financial assistance to parents can help ensure the basic security of the family structure. 

Maternal, prenatal, and child health care programs are important in all societies, but especially in those affected by widespread disease and malnutrition; Maternal and infant mortality rates are in fact the most basic indices of child well-being. The growing number of working mothers around the world has led to childcare services ranging from simple custody supervision to health care and educational programs.  

In some countries, industries are required to provide such facilities to their employees, in recognition of the changing economic pressures on family life.

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While the family unit is imbued with great value by most child welfare programs, these programs must also address the special needs of single mothers and their children, broken families, and children whose families, while intact, are sources of abuse and neglect instead of love and nurture. Attitudes vary widely between societies around the world towards pregnancy outside of marriage. Historically, social and even physical persecution has been common in some communities, but most modern societies recognize a responsibility towards the well-being of single mothers and their children.

In industrialized countries, and in some developing countries through private charities, services often include medical care and delivery and advice on the decision to keep the baby or place the baby for adoption. In many countries, institutional homes provide care for both single pregnant women and postpartum mothers and babies in an environment protected from the often rigid restrictions of family and community. Adoption procedures vary considerably around the world, but social service agencies often carry out arrangements in cooperation with legal authorities.

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While orphans once made up the majority of children living in institutional homes, the number of children who lose both parents to death has been greatly reduced thanks to medical advances. Institutional and foster care is now provided primarily to children whose home lives have been interrupted, permanently or temporarily, by marital discord, financial hardship, parental irresponsibility, neglect or abuse. 

While foster care may be considered preferable because it offers the intimate atmosphere of family life, some children, such as those severely affected by parental abuse or emotional disturbance, may adjust more comfortably to the more impersonal environment of a home. institution. Although it cannot be conclusively determined whether the increasing incidence of reported child abuse is attributable to declining parental standards of care or better detection and reporting, much effort has been invested in supervision, social education, and cooperation between personal social services and health care. education, police and housing authorities.

Youth wellness

The underlying objective of most youth welfare services, in addition to services that address immediate basic needs, is to prepare them to assume responsible roles in the ad*lt world. Most programs offer ad*lt-supervised free-time group activities, which can range from cultural and social events to sports, hiking, and camping. Participation in such programs is high in most European countries. The former Soviet youth organizations, called Pioneers and Komsomol, were the largest in the world. Some programs, such as Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts or Girl Guides, Christian Young Men's Associations, and Christian Young Women's Associations, have spread throughout most of the world, stimulating the formation of similar groups adapted to local needs. In addition to group activity, youth wellness programs also provide guidance and counseling services on a more individual basis to help meet the personal, social, educational, and vocational needs of youth.

While the above services are intended to provide constructive outlets for the energies of young people, many destructive influences still exist in society. Social services have paid increasing attention to the problem of crime in an effort to offer alternatives to institutional or traditional juvenile court methods of control. In some urban areas, so-called street workers address the problem from its source. Recognition of the importance of peer groups in youth behavior has led to the use of group therapy in many correctional institutions and in communities as a preventive service or as a supplement to probation.

Well-being of the elderly

The elderly now constitute the largest group of clients using personal social services in the world. In all advanced industrial societies, the proportion of the sick elderly is increasing and, although they constitute only a small minority of the retired population, their demand for social services is disproportionately large.

Since social care for the elderly is often labor intensive, most countries fully support the promotion of family care and the expansion and rationalization of informal care on a voluntary or quasi-voluntary basis. Services include transportation, friendly visits, home delivery of hot meals, nurse visits, and reduced-cost medical supplies. 

Senior centers sponsor group activities such as crafts, entertainment, field trips, and meals on a regular basis. Nursing homes, funded in various ways, provide custodial and medical care to those unable to live independently. Paradoxically, most older people lead independent lives and rarely use personal social services. In fact, fit older people are increasingly in demand as a source of volunteer service.

Group wellness

The settlement movement emerged in response to the collective needs of disadvantaged urban communities. Today, similar settlement houses and community centers and other organizations seek to promote the common welfare of local groups who may differ in language, national origin, race or religion. 

While, in the United States, earlier attempts were made to Americanize such groups by supplanting foreign features of language and customs by Americans, the emphasis of educational and training programs has shifted; Language and other assimilation skills are taught, but the preservation of cultural diversity is also promoted. In addition to educational and cultural programs, settlements can offer legal advocacy, recreational activities, and health clinics.

Throughout the 20th century, the resettlement of large numbers of refugees forced to flee their homes has generated a great demand for social welfare services. In Europe and North America, various church denominations have played an active role in relief and welfare work for such groups, as well as for migrant and transient elements within the general population.

Welfare of the sick and disabled

Serious illness and disability explain many of the problems that social services address. In addition to the need for adequate primary care, the sick and disabled also frequently face loss or interruption of income, the inability to meet family responsibilities, the long-term process of recovery or adaptation to disabilities, and ongoing care in the form of medication. therapy, and the observance of dietary or other precautions.

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In some countries, medical social workers are social workers from local authorities who have been attached to hospitals, local general practice health centers and child guidance agencies. They provide counseling and other support services needed by the physically ill and disabled and their families. 

Especially in countries where the poor do not have access to free health care, the resource-testing responsibility gives workers an additional advisory role regarding the financial problems of their clients. Personal social services arrange for home care in the form of regular visits by home aides and occupational therapists; special appliances and home adaptations are provided by personal social services or by health services. 

For severely disabled people, personal social services run day care centers to provide relief for family care providers and small residences for the most dependent disabled when they no longer require hospital care.

Welfare of the mentally ill

The social aspects and consequences of mental illness were recognized early in the history of social work. The psychiatric social work specialty was initially developed as an adjunct to hospital care in urban areas. These services have also been provided under military auspices, especially in times of war. In today's developed countries, the psychiatric social worker serves at all levels of patient care; case social work can contribute to the diagnosis and the course of treatment; educational and counseling services help other family members to cope with problems of hospitalization, treatment and aftercare; Working closely with housing authorities and employers can facilitate the readjustment of patients to community life through foster homes, transitional homes, sheltered workshops, and regular employment.

Personal social services have contributed greatly to the development of community care for the mentally ill and the mentally disabled. In the industrialized world in general, though less so in Russia, policy calls for a reduction in the number of long-term hospitalized patients; This goal can only be achieved by returning patients to their families or by accommodating them in neighborhood shelters that provide adequate support and supervision.

Most of this responsibility has fallen on local authorities and voluntary agencies, which provide professional staff and volunteers. Treatment programs are also increasingly designed to prevent hospital admissions and avoid compulsory admission in all but few exceptions.

The work of personal social services

Social work training

In practice, the demand for personal social services does not fall into clearly defined categories. Well-being needs often overlap and people's needs often affect their families or associates. The range of skills required for effective service delivery is equally complex. Inevitably, therefore, opinions differ on the training and deployment of social workers.

In the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and India, most training is provided in the higher education system, while in France, Germany, Norway and Sweden it is conducted primarily in independent institutions. . Most social workers are employed in statutory or voluntary agencies; Very few outside the United States are in private practice. There is much diversity in their training and deployment, but the role of social workers has expanded, making them individually responsible for a wide range of methods and client groups. In some cases, specialized social workers are deployed in teams. Opinions differ on the relative effectiveness of alternative methods of intervention: direct casework or counseling, on the one hand, and indirect planning of social care, on the other. Voluntary and private agencies tend to play more specialized roles, focusing on particular client groups and age groups that require special methods of care and service delivery.

Service Administration: Basic Organization

There are marked national variations in the organization and financing of personal social services. To begin with, there are differences in the relative importance of the statutory, voluntary, and private sectors. 

Second, even if governments are the main contributors, the proportional allocation of funds for statutory and non-statutory sectors varies from country to country. 

Third, there are variations in the relative importance of central, regional and local governments with respect to legal financing, policy making, and service delivery. 

Fourth, there are also variations in the degree of administrative autonomy granted to personal social services.

Paid staff of mandated personal social services includes social workers, community workers, social care workers, home aides (homemakers), mobile meal workers, occupational therapists and psychologists working in a variety of fields, day care centers and residences. settings. Although social workers represent a small proportion of the social services workforce, they make up the majority of its professional staff. 

Their job is to provide social care or counseling services in cooperation with individuals and families and to participate in social care planning tasks, such as ensuring the provision of direct in-kind services and encouraging the participation and support of health care providers. informal care and volunteers. 

In most industrial societies, social workers have more or less exclusive responsibility for mandatory duties related to foster care, adoption and other work that affect parental rights, as well as for the management of home care replacement or residential care for the main client groups. Probation officers act as social workers with a special link to the courts, and the administration of probation is often separate from that of other mandatory personal social services.

The growing orientation towards community care requires social policies that strengthen the association between formal personal social services and informal social care networks without losing sight of their differences. The formal or statutory public sector and the voluntary and private sectors have paid career personnel whose objectives and management are subject to explicit regulations. The main tasks of the public sector are established by law;

Most voluntary and private organizations are registered, respectively, as charities and companies. In countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands and Japan, voluntary and private formal agencies receive direct or indirect grants from the statutory sector in exchange for agreed amounts of contract work. In developing countries, many welfare agencies are internationally organized and jointly funded by charitable donations and government grants.

Informal care is provided spontaneously in the context of families, neighborhoods, and other unstructured community associations. Without these support networks, personal social services would be overwhelmed by demand. As a result, they often make small grants to informal self-help groups and supplement the unpaid services that their family and friends provide dependents. 

Professional social workers and community workers are increasingly employed in the recruitment, training, and general assistance of informal care providers. Paying for foster care is a long-standing practice in many countries, and this policy has spread to the care of other groups, such as the disabled and the sick elderly.

Personal social services are the main drivers of the humanitarian trend toward caring for dependents in their own communities, to which the high cost of residential care adds an economic incentive. Clearly, there is no clear boundary between the formal and informal sectors of social welfare. However, informal care cannot replace formal services as the two sectors support each other rather than alternative sources of social welfare.

Formal social services are a matter of legal obligation; its providers and users are normally unknown to each other, whereas informal care is provided and received on the basis of personal relationships. Formal services have a broad membership and are provided on an ongoing basis, regardless of personal considerations. Informal care is highly localized and, although it may reflect intense loyalty and devotion, it is often less trustworthy than long-term formal care because family and neighborhood networks are vulnerable to personal crises and social changes. 

This type of care is also not usually extended to those who do not have living relatives or other close associates. Of course, there are shifts in priority within formal social services in response to trends such as the increasing incidence of reported child abuse, especially in the United States and the United Kingdom, the increasing proportion of unemployed and sick older people, and the increased awareness of racial inequality and injustice.

Administration of services in the United States

In the United States, the major welfare and personal social service programs are administered by the county and the state, with substantial support from the federal government. Many programs are delegated to local governments, and voluntary organizations are heavily subsidized by public bodies through contracts for the provision of services. The Department of Health and Human Services is the lead federal agency, and each state has a counterpart to this agency. In addition, there is a small but popular and growing private market for paid social services that overlaps the voluntary sector.

Federal policies for personal social services have changed significantly since the 1960s. The Social Security amendments of 1962 place special importance on the role of rehabilitative social work, although states could also include housework and childcare. breeding. However, between 1967 and 1977, income maintenance services (except Aid to Families with Dependent Children) were regrouped under the Social Security Administration and the primary responsibility for personal social services was transferred to the Office of Human Development. 

The 1974 amendments to the Social Security Act (Title XX) considerably expanded the scope of eligibility for social services, prioritizing preventive work and positive efforts to improve the quality of life rather than the traditional focus on reducing social security. poverty.

However, social work or counseling lost ground to community-oriented service programs, such as the provision of day care centers, mental health centers, and nutrition programs. The problems of child abuse and dependence on alcohol and drugs have become increasingly important.

There has been significant growth in private sector employer sponsored social assistance programs and service purchase schemes linking public, voluntary and private agencies, accompanied by an increasing use of paid volunteers. The promotion of for-profit business services and the decentralization of funding and policy management from federal to state agencies is aimed at further diversifying the mixed welfare economy that characterizes America's personal social services.

In both the United States and Canada, special treatment programs have been developed for the prevention and treatment of child abuse, but preschool and family support programs designed to promote better parenting and child development have been given lower priority. 

The US Child Abuse Coordination Program Established in 1972 is based on an inter service approach involving municipal and quasi-public agencies, one of which provides agency officials. American child protection law is extremely complex due to its dual federal and state components, and while the best interests of children are generally paramount, they are believed to be difficult to consider in isolation from those of parents.

The mental health care legislation of 1970 and 1972 increased funding for community mental health centers in poor areas, but it was not until the Mental Health Systems Act of 1980 that priority federal funding began to reach people with the worst economic or ethnic disadvantages among the chronically ill, the retarded and the elderly. There is a growing problem of homelessness among more mobile patients discharged from psychiatric hospitals, who need higher incomes and more social support in order to resume independent living.

Social services for older US citizens are a typical mixed welfare economy. Amendments to the Aging Americans Act of 1965 have led to the establishment of a network of more than 600 Area Agencies on Aging, which are area-wide planning and coordinating agencies. 

Locally sponsored senior centers provide group meals and counseling, homemaker, information, referral, transportation, educational, legal, and recreational services. There is also a strong volunteer sector and a rapidly expanding private market. 

The frail elderly provisions under Medicaid and Medicare do not include long-term social care, and the poorest groups depend on social security and welfare for necessary funding. Many not-for-profit and for-profit agencies have developed nursing homes and other specialty housing schemes that are linked to various equity mortgage options. 

Almost three-quarters of all states have tax policies designed to lower the cost of independent living for low-income, elderly homeowners.

Service Administration in UK and Australia

In the UK, as a result of the Seebohm reforms of 1970-1971, the funding and organization of personal social services is highly centralized at the local authority level. In each local authority, a single department of social services serves all categories of clients and welfare needs. 

In Scotland, however, the probation service is independent. Personal social services are provided from the offices in the area of ​​influence, although some local authorities delegate this responsibility to small “patch” teams that serve the neighborhoods. 

About half of the funding for local authorities comes from the central government; however, within strict cash limits, local authorities exercise wide discretionary powers over the organization and deployment of personal social services. Social work training is centrally regulated and there is only one (general) qualification in professional social work.

Although maintenance of income was transferred to the central government in 1948, social workers in local authorities continue to provide small cash grants to families with children when it is felt that a shortage of money may cause a family breakdown.

 In Great Britain, the separation of income maintenance and social work services was part of a general policy designed to end the historically stigmatizing association between public assistance and social work in particular and the more general association between aid to the poor and social welfare. Social work and other personal social services were also expected to shed their low status and be more acceptable in all sectors of society. 

This philosophy was adopted by the Seebohm Report of 1968 and reflected in the Law of Social Services and Local Government (1970), but the resources for a truly universal network of services oriented to prevent problems did not arrive.

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British legislation on childcare developed little by little over a long period. However, it imposes a clear obligation on local authorities to protect children at risk and to take them in when their well-being is at stake because their parents are deemed unable to provide satisfactory care. 

In certain circumstances, local authorities can assume full parental authority until the child reaches 18 years of age. Separate provisions are established for compulsory admission to foster care through judicial procedures for minors, when children "need care and control" for various defined reasons, or through matrimonial, divorce, separation, guardianship or criminal proceedings. Care orders may also be issued under the Children and Youth Act 1969, as amended by the Criminal Justice Act 1982, when children or youth are found guilty of a crime that, if committed by an ad*lt, would be punishable. with the prison sentence. 

Observation and Assessment Centers and Safe Community Homes with on-site educational facilities are run by the Department of Health and Social Security.

There are strict regulations on the placement of children in foster care, including a thorough investigation of potential homes, frequent inspections, and case record keeping. In English law, adoption is an almost complete and irrevocable transfer of a child from one family to another. 

Adoption orders are entered in magistrate, county, or higher courts, and adoption proceedings can only be initiated by registered, non-profit adoption agencies (including local authorities).

While English law makes extensive provisions for the protection of children, personal social services have a well-established tradition of working with children and families on the basis of a cooperative association whenever possible.

This tradition includes avoiding recourse to legal intervention or residential care unless it is in the best interests of the children in question.

With regard to the mentally ill and the mentally handicapped, the British Mental Health Act of 1959 anticipated the trend towards voluntary treatment and voluntary hospital admission, and the 1982 legislation introduced even more stringent criteria for the protection of children's rights. patients. 

Since 1983, certain admission and discharge procedures for patients with mental illness have belonged to a new category of specially trained social workers. In compulsory detention cases, patients have a strengthened right of appeal to the Mental Health Review Courts and there are special provisions for the guardianship of certain types of discharged patients. 

There are still serious gaps in community care for the mentally ill or disabled, as well as the elderly and the physically disabled, but several joint government and local authority funding schemes have helped reduce the number of institutional care.

Services for the elderly and physically disabled account for roughly half of all UK local authorities' personal social service expenditures, mainly due to the steady increase in the number of frail elderly and the high cost of care for residential minorities. 

Great efforts have been made to improve the quality of home support, but family members bear the main burden of home care. There are special senior housing plans sponsored by statutory, voluntary, and private agencies, and a growing number of local authorities hire paid volunteers to visit older people and assist them with a variety of daily tasks. However, perhaps the best guarantee of independence in old age is an adequate income from social security.

The formal voluntary sector makes its own important contribution to serving all major groups in need, although it relies heavily on direct and indirect financial support from central and local governments. Within the voluntary sector, churches have always played an important role in providing both community and residential care.

However, as legal funding has lagged far behind demand, the private market, especially with regard to services for the elderly, has started to expand.

In Australia, state governments and local authorities, with some federal funding, have the primary responsibility for personal social services. Each state has a welfare department, usually a combination of the former welfare and children's departments, which provides a general range of welfare and community services. 

Some of the municipal authorities also provide welfare services alongside their public health, education, housing and legal assistance services. In addition, there is a well-established tradition of volunteer work that is subsidized by statutory bodies, sometimes provided on a dollar-for-dollar matching basis. 

Some of the faith-based charities, such as the Lawrence Brotherhood, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, and the Salvation Army, are pioneers in working with severely disadvantaged groups.

Administration of services in other developed countries


In France, personal social services are not autonomous from an administrative point of view. Other major public services, such as social security, hospitals, community health care, education, housing, and the courts, employ a variety of social workers and social workers. There are several types of social worker, including the family social worker (assistante sociale) and other specialists in child protection, medical social work, and judicial work; the housewife (travailleuse familiale); child development workers specialized in caring for disabled children; guardians of social benefits with special responsibilities for families with serious financial difficulties; and the community worker (sociocultural animator), who attends to neighborhood groups. In addition to statutory services, there is an extensive network of semi-public agencies (caisses) based on unions, family associations, and religious denominations, as well as a variety of independent, non-profit organizations funded by state grants.

The French child care system is explicitly family oriented. It is based on services funded by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Justice, in cooperation with other family income support services. Legal services are used only if the parents refuse to cooperate. Social workers are employed in maternal and child health centers and municipal and family allowance agencies. Special child protection officers work closely with pediatric nurses on suspected or actual child abuse, and the procedures for removing children from the home and providing substitute care are in principle similar to those in Great Britain. Child care services are unified at the departmental level and there is a close relationship between the courts and medical services specialized in child protection work.

The reforms of the 1960s and 1970s improved the quality of French social services not only for children, but also for the mentally and physically disabled and the elderly. Since the late 1950s, the provisions on home care and protected housing have been strengthened and diversified, objectives that were maintained in the 1960 Laroque Report and in the provisions of the Sixth (1971-1975) and Seventh (1976- 1980). 

The plans specifically addressed the growing need for more trained staff and more protected housing, residential homes and nursing homes, as well as more community care and more generous income support within a better coordinated framework of health programs. and wellness in the neighborhood, local. and regional levels. 

Social care services for the mentally ill are mainly controlled by health and employment authorities, but social workers attached to regional and local funds play an important role in the provision and coordination of community care.


In the Federal Republic of Germany there is a long tradition of cooperation between the statutory and voluntary sectors and between these formal agencies and the informal networks of family and neighborhood care. These arrangements exemplify the principle of subsidiarity (the belief that informal care should, wherever possible, take precedence over state intervention) in European Roman Catholic welfare philosophy, although in Germany all major religious denominations play an important role. in the social welfare service. The health benefits of income maintenance services do not extend to the longer-term welfare needs of the mentally ill or disabled elderly or the physically handicapped. These are largely covered by public aid. About half of the total spending on welfare services comes from the Aid for Care program, which channels much of its funding through larger nonprofit charities.


The modern Swedish welfare state grew out of the charitable and poverty traditions in which the churches were prominent. Since the years between the two world wars, the scope and funding of statutory agencies has steadily increased. Local authorities, with the help of grants from the central government, provide most of the personal social services and a social assistance plan, in which social workers investigate needs and means. There has been a trend toward unification of specialized agencies into joint local welfare boards, but municipal communes still exercise considerable local discretion in organizing their services. Although the extensive role of the Swedish welfare state has attracted much comment, the scale of the voluntary effort is equally noteworthy, as it is in Norway and Denmark.


Israel has a complex system of welfare services distributed by central ministries, with subdivisions for all major groups in need, including services for wounded soldiers and surviving dependents, a Jewish agency with special responsibilities for immigrants, and a universal union (Histadruth) with broad roles in insurance and welfare and a long tradition of mutual aid based on local collectives (kibbutzim) and cooperative villages (moshavim). This has been complemented by a network of community centers funded by the central and local governments and with membership dues and foreign donations.


Japanese social assistance provision relies solely on employer- and work-based social services, although there is also an extensive but relatively underfunded system of personal social services from local statutory authorities for major groups in need. The social workers of these municipal agencies are responsible for both discretionary income support and protective social care. In the main cities they cooperate with a growing number of voluntary agencies, of which the Minsei-iin is the oldest and the largest. As in the case of income support, healthcare, and housing, access to welfare services for most Japanese workers is highly dependent on the size and financial stature of the organizations that employ them. While traditional family ties are still widespread, they are weaker in large cities as a result of social and geographic mobility. At the same time, the number and proportion of dependent elderly show a marked increase. Consequently, Japanese policy has been geared toward expanding statutory services, and much has been done to foster neighborly mutual aid networks that go beyond traditional notions of kinship and obligation.

Service administration in socialist and developing countries

Socialist countries

It is as difficult to make generalizations about social welfare in socialist countries as it is in the democratic societies mentioned above. However, in the larger socialist societies, the state provides formal social services, and the workplace and trade unions play an important role in the management and delivery of services.

In these planned economies, where work is both a civic right and a formal obligation, social assistance for the unemployed is minimal. In the absence of firm data on this area of ​​provision, it must be assumed that families bear the primary financial responsibility for many of the exceptional needs covered by discretionary provision in the West.

There are no professional social workers in China, nor in the former Soviet Union; But social service workers perform similar functions, especially with regard to child protection and crime. The former Soviet Union had a long tradition of rich interdependence between formal social services and a complex network of mutual aid, lay counseling, and support services.

The latter were distributed by street, block and house committees in towns and cities, by agricultural collectives in the countryside, and by parallel agencies of the unions and the Communist Party.

The Chinese welfare system also relies heavily on the industrial or agricultural workplace. Many essential social services, such as health care, are financed from collective labor earnings and administered by neighborhood committees. 

Throughout the People's Republic, the guiding principles of well-being are self-reliance and mutual aid. Although in exceptional cases families receive subsidies to help with the care of dependent relatives, article 13 of the 1950 Marriage Act establishes that children and parents are jointly liable for mutual support in situations of difficulty and old age. 

At the same time, broad and sustained support is given to mutual support schemes that extend to neighborhoods and workplaces, and the needs of dependent people without a family of their own are prioritized.

The trend in the Balkan states has been towards the decentralization of personal social services and the promotion of neighborhood volunteering. State-sponsored organizations, such as the Alliance of Friends of Young People and the Associations of Retirees, act in conjunction with a growing network of professionally-staffed social work centers funded by the 600 communities that are the basic units of government. local. 

Similar developments to these can be observed in other Eastern European countries where, as in China, there is a strong commitment to expanding the informal offer for dependent family members and neighbors.

Developing countries

In former colonies such as Ghana, Sri Lanka, Jamaica, India, the Philippines, and French-speaking Africa, basic welfare services arose out of modified versions of European poverty laws, charitable and missionary activities, and the introduction of Western procedures for juvenile justice. . The oldest school of social work in Latin America was founded in Santiago, Chile in 1925, and the Ratan Tata Foundation established the first Indian school in Bombay in 1936. Since then, new training institutions have proliferated in the so-called Third World, many of which sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development.

In developing countries, where formal social services generally lack resources, traditional informal care networks are the main source of assistance in situations of adversity and old age. However, high rates of migration and unplanned urban growth have weakened these networks in impoverished rural areas and overwhelmed limited public services in new cities and towns. 

Overcrowding and poor housing of indigenous people, unemployment and low wages, inadequate sanitation and endemic diseases do not respond to Western methods of personal social service intervention. The priority, often with severe financial constraints, must go to major preventive health care, family planning, basic education, income support and slum cleanup programs.

 However, community development work is also important in these social development processes. In the poorest rural areas, where most people live at or well below subsistence level, disaster relief is largely supplemented by international aid agencies such as the United Nations and its partner agencies, including the World Health Organization and the International Labor Organization (ILO), charities like Oxfam and Save the Children Fund, and the governments of wealthier nations.

 In the longer term, improving living standards depends on horticultural improvements, reforestation, water conservation and irrigation schemes that can be managed in small communities.

Department of social services

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

What is an LCSW?

An LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker. These professionals work in a wide variety of settings to provide emotional support, mental health evaluations, therapy, and case management services to individuals experiencing psychological, emotional, medical, social, and / or family challenges. LCSWs must have a CSWE-accredited MSW, a minimum of two years or 3,000 hours of post-MSW experience in a supervised clinical setting, and a clinical license in the state of practice, in accordance with the NASW Standards for Clinical Social Work in Social Work practice

What does a licensed clinical social worker do?

An LCSW helps individuals, families, and communities affected by mental disorders, behavioral disorders, and other changes or challenges in life. They work in private practices, hospitals, primary care facilities, and community mental health centers, often collaborating with other medical and mental health professionals.

What is the difference between a licensed clinical social worker and other social workers?

External Link Clinical Social Workers provide assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and preventive care for mental, behavioral, and emotional issues. They can use individual or group therapy to do this. LCSWs must earn an MSW and take an ASWB exam.

On the other hand, not all non-clinical social workers have an external RSU link. They tend to deal with more public issues, like housing. They focus on how these issues impact their clients and help them adapt to changes or face challenges in their lives.

What is the average salary for LCSWs?

Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not document pay for LCSW occupation, it does collect pay data for health care social workers. Median annual salary for social workers in health care was $ 56,750 External link as of May 2019. Median annual salary for all social workers that year was $ 50,470.

How to Become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

Becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) is a process that comprises several important steps, including completing a master's program in social work and acquiring the correct license in your state of practice. Below is an overview of some common steps you can take if you are interested in pursuing a career in clinical social work.

Becoming a licensed clinical social worker requires that you:

  • Complete a bachelor's degree
  • Earn a Master of Social Work (MSW) or MSW equivalent program
  • Complete the LCSW license and exam requirements
  • Apply for LCSW State License
  • Renew your license
  • Advance your career through continuous learning


It is clear that the processes of economic and social change create new perspectives and new dangers for each generation. This requires constant adjustment by social services. Political considerations and resource levels largely determine how social services are organized and how responsibility is distributed between the statutory, voluntary and private sectors. 

Even in prosperous societies, the scale and diversity of needs is such that formal social services are obliged to use and support informal systems of social assistance and mutual aid. The idea of ​​the welfare state as a universal provider for largely passive populations has never had a factual reality or much serious support in political theory. 

There is widespread evidence of a general trend towards the development of closer links between formal and informal social care systems, although this could lead to greater variation in social welfare services as societies become more sensitive to their diversity indigenous culture and develop their own responses. change.

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