History of social work development

The earliest origins of social work (dating back to the Middle Ages) were in church-based ministering to the poor, which evolved into the philanthropic and social justice movements of the 19th century. Today, social workers are still connected to these originating tenets of compassion, fairness and community progress.

The modern social work profession grew from three distinct strands: the social policies of poverty relief that grew from the English Poor Laws of the 17th century;the casework approach developed by the Charity Organisation Society (CSO) in Britain in the mid-19th century; and the notion of social and political action aimed at addressing social injustice that began with the settlement house movement.

Social work as a professional role has developed in the UK in part as a direct response to these social and economic contradictions created by liberal capitalism.

For a modern industrial society to function and flourish, it requires, or more appropria...

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