Social Welfare Past and Present

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Social Welfare Past and Present Social welfare is an expansive system proposed to maintain the well being of individuals within a society. This paper will explain the progression from the feudal system and church provisions for the poor before the Elizabethan Poor Law to the gradual assumption of the responsibility for the poor by the government. A responsibility assumed not out of humanity and concern for the poor, but as a process of standardizing the ways in which the poor were to be managed. The history of social welfare reflects differences in values as they relate to social responsibility in taking care of the needy. Our society has been influenced by values like Judeo-Christian humanitarianism and the economic doctrine of laissez faire. Our present social welfare structure is also influenced by these values. Our English heritage has greatly affected social welfare today. Some of the standards set in England include: indoor relief; a national policy for the poor; the provision of serving the poor by placing them in institutions; and the categorization of the poor into two basic categorizes, the worthy poor and the able-bodied poor (unworthy poor). The Elizabethan Poor Law also set precedents which include: clear government responsibility for those in need; government authority to force people to work; government enforcement of family responsibility; responsibility for carrying out programs at the local level; and strict residence requirements. In England during the late 1700's there were other efforts that led to shaping the United States social welfare policies that address poverty. The Speenhamland Act of 1795 was one such effort. It "provided for the payment of minimum wages to workers and their fam... ... middle of paper ... ...ed that health problems and lack of affordable health care were barriers for many of the AFDC recipients to get off welfare. Clinton also wanted the states to play a wider role in the design of federal welfare programs. State and federal legislation now focused on personal responsibility, limiting stays on public assistance and imposing far more strict work requirements. These efforts to limit the federal role in services to the poor and to shift the responsibility to the states means that there are now fifty-one different welfare programs in the United States. "Social welfare development in America has been fragmented and lacks comprehensive conceptual framework for its development. It continues to be in a constant state of evolution as the United States struggles with mitigating the effects of a market-based economy on certain segments of the population."

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