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Western world

Pre-Modern history
In the West, when Constantine I legalized the Christian Church, the newly legitimised church set up poorhouses, homes for the aged, hospitals, and orphanages.[2][3][4] These were often funded, at least in part, from grants from the Empire.[5] By 590 the church had a system for circulating the consumables to the poor: associated with each parish was a diaconium or office of the deacon. As there was no effective bureaucracy below city government that was capable of charitable activities, the clergy served this role in the west up through the 18th century. During the Middle Ages, the Christian church had vast influence on European society and charity was considered to be a responsibility and a sign of one’s piety. This charity was in the form of direct relief (for example, giving money, food, or other material goods to alleviate a particular need), as opposed to trying to change the root causes of poverty. The practice and profession of social work has a relatively modern (19th century) and scientific origin.[6]editModern history 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 cities like poverty,prostitution, disease, and other afflictions. In the United States workers known as "friendly visitors", stipended by church and other charitable bodies, worked through direct relief, prayer, and evangelism to alleviate these problems.[6] In Europe, chaplains or almoners were appointed to administrate the church's mission to the poor. Jane Addams (September 6, 1860 – May 21, 1935) was a founder of the U.S. Settlement House movement and is considered one of the early influences on professional social work in the United States.

The dispensary was run to assist the poor communities of East Side. Modern social work in America has its roots in the mass migrations of the 19th Century. sentimental.During this time. legal. where mass crowding lead to social problems and ill health [12]. while the Almshouses themselves focused more and more on vulnerable people. A new philosophy of "scientific charity" emerged. Over the next 80 years. American History Following European settlement of northern America. rational and empirical as opposed to sectarian. Almhouses were built to house vulnerable people with no other support. the question lingered. quarantine facilities were built to prevent contamination. the facilities began to change. a new system to provide aid for social ills came in to being. rescue societies were initiated to find more appropriate means of self-support for women involved in prostitution. In 1889 . In 1915. this time with public money.[8]" In the late 1880s. at the National Conference of Charities and Corrections. The first recorded Almshouse was built in 1713 near Philadelphia by William Penn. In America. and dogmatic. Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell was the United States' first female doctor [13] who set up the New York Infirmary for Indigent Women and Children in 1853. Reform. They provided a variety of services including educational. Workers in the settlement movement immersed themselves in the culture of those they were helping.[citation needed] Mental asylums grew to assist in taking care of the mentally ill. including people with a long term illness or older people without families.Research. As populations grew. and was only open to Quakers. blurring the lines of practitioner and client. The precursors to modern hospitals began to form on the grounds of Almshouses. the various approaches to social work led to a fundamental question – is social work a profession? This debate can be traced back to the early 20th century debate between Mary Richmond's Charity Organization Society (COS) and Jane Addams's Settlement House Movement. which stated charity should be "secular. In 1736 New York opened the Poor House of the City of New York (later renamed Bellevue Hospital) and in 1737 New Orleans opened the Saint John's Hospital to serve the poor of the city [12]. scientific method focused on efficiency and prevention or the Settlement House Movement's immersion into the problem. and health services. A second one was built nearby in 1728.[11] This led to the professionalization of social work. When epidemics occurred.[10] Even as many schools of social work opened and formalized processes for social work began to be developed. Dr. The essence of this debate was whether the problem should be approached from COS' traditional. These programs also advocated changes in social policy. the only social welfare was in the area of public health. which became known as the settlement movement. and Residence.[9] The settlement movement focused on the causes of poverty through the "three Rs" . concentrating on case work and the scientific method. providing social assessments and support to local families. Abraham Flexner spoke on the topic "Is Social Work a Profession?" He contended that it was not because it lacked specialized knowledge and specific application of theoretical and intellectual knowledge to solve human and social problems. and it soon diversified beyond a basic pharmacy. Many of the migrants landed in New York and moved to other eastern cities.

Jane Addams was a young medical student who set up Hull House in Chicago to work with poor and immigrant communities. resulting in the massive growth of cities. Precursors to modern social work arose in Blackwell's infirmary and in Hull House as health professionals began to work with social determinants of poor health [12]. The first professional social worker to be hired in the United States was Garnet Pelton. in 1905 at the Massachusetts General Hospital. The house was both a community service centre and a social research program. By this time. and were based in medical institutions. with most high level training and theory imported from abroad until the 1970s. Garnet retired after six months due to contracting tuberculosis in the course of her work. as social and economic conditions changed. Her role was to assess people requesting treatment at the hospital to ensure that they were considered "deserving enough" of the free treatment. the Hospital Almoners Council had been formed to oversee the new profession . The role soon developed to cover the provision of other social programs. Australian History Social work in Australia developed later than in England or America. The first social workers were called hospital almoners. Both Pelton and Cannon had trained as nurses before taking up the role. as he believed there to be a link between tuberculosis and social conditions. English History The growth of social work in England as a discipline had similar parallels to the American experience of mass migration and social upheaval. with the first professional social workers being hired in the 1920s. Richard Clarke Cabot was the a key advocate in the creation of the role. and by 1905 other hospitals had created similar roles. The profession took direction from the established schools in America and England. She was replaced by Ida Cannon who worked in the role for a further forty years. The Industrial Revolution was a major cause of these changes. The Royal Free Hospital hired Mary Stewart as the first almoner in 1895. Dr.