Man's Quest for Social Guidance: The Study of Social Problems

By Howard W. Odum | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXXI
SOCIAL WORK AND PUBLIC WELFARE

Social Work and Social Guidance . Among the most important of modern social movements is the development of professional social work, which seeks to contribute to social guidance through the adjustment of individuals and of groups. Like other social movements and other new professions, social work has developed slowly, with much changing process and technique and in the face of many difficulties. It has developed from small beginnings centered around the philanthropic spirit of charity into a modern comprehensive program which seeks social justice and social adjustment through a rapidly evolving professional technique. The modern status of social work may be measured in many ways. In New York City alone, for instance, there are more than 4,000 agencies devoted to social work. These have been classified according to function by the Welfare Council of New York City into four main divisions, including family welfare; child welfare; health; and educational, recreational, and neighborhood activities. The family welfare group includes organizations working directly with the family or in the related fields of care for adults, such as immigrants, travelers, the aged, and the homeless; agencies providing legal aid and housing service; and agencies of a protective and correctional nature. In the division of child welfare are found agencies and institutions caring for dependent children, day nurseries, and kindergartens, summer camps, special types of school services, and protective and correctional agencies. The health group comprises such activities as health education, nursing services, hospitals, clinics, medical and social service, and convalescent care. In the division of education, recreation, and neighborhood activities are included recreational and vocational guidance services, education and employment of the handicapped, character-building agencies, and neighborhood houses and associations. The study of these thousands of organizations alone, as found in the Council's Classification of Social Agencies by Function in the City of New York,

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