Administration of Public Welfare

By R. Clyde White | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XX
EDUCATION FOR THE SOCIAL SERVICES

Reference has already been made to the fact that several professions besides social work are required to administer the public social services. But the training of people for the profession of social work is the main purpose of education in this field. Professional social workers or those who have acquired the ideas and skills required in social administration are responsible for performing the services authorized by law. Accountants, typists, stenographers, machine operators, and filing clerks are necessary for the administration of public welfare work, but they are neither responsible for determining policies nor for giving service to those who need it. The physician, the dentist, the lawyer, and the nurse are indispensable specialists in a public welfare agency, but it is the social worker with his distinctive feelings, ideas, and objectives who determines the character of the public welfare agency. The other professional persons acquire viewpoints which are essential in social work, but they remain primarily specialists. The social worker is the professional person par excellence who is concerned with the relief of distress caused by economic and social conditions and with the development, restoration, or maintenance of full, all-round working capacity. The view- point of social work has regard to the whole person in the person's natural and social environments. Therefore professional training is needed for the social-work personnel if they are to give a maximum of service.

Professional education for social work had its formal beginning when the Charity Organization Society of New York organized a six-week training course in 1898. About two years later the first start toward schools of social work was made in Boston and Chicago. By 1903 the New York course of study was expanded into a six- month course, and in 1904 this curriculum was given the name of New York School of Philanthropy. The course of study at Chicago

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