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SOCIAL WORK IN CANADA
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An Introduction
Third Edition
Chapter 3: The History of Social Work
Chapter 3:
The History of Social Work
Social Work In Canada
Copyright © 2010 Thompson Educational Publishing, Inc.
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The History of Social Work
 PHASE 1: The Era of Moral Reform
 PHASE 2: The Era of Social Reform
 PHASE 3: The Era of Applied Social Science
Chapter 3:
The History of Social Work
Social Work In Canada
Copyright © 2010 Thompson Educational Publishing, Inc.
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PHASE 1: The Era of Moral Reform
The Era of Moral Reform – Pre-1890
 Private charities
An early approach to social work that involved private
individuals and religious organizations that provided
material relief to the poor.
 Poor Relief
The Poor Laws signaled an important progression from
private charity to public welfare, where the care and
supervision of the poor was the responsibility of each town,
village, or hamlet.
Chapter 3:
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Social Work In Canada
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PHASE 1: The Era of Moral Reform
 Deserving Poor
People who were poor through no fault of their own;
considered to be of good moral character
 Undeserving Poor
People who were perceived to be poor because they
were lazy or morally degenerate; not deserving of
charity
Chapter 3:
The History of Social Work
Social Work In Canada
Copyright © 2010 Thompson Educational Publishing, Inc.
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PHASE 1: The Era of Moral Reform
Charity Organisation Society
In Britain, the Charity Organisation Society advanced the
concept of self help and limited government
intervention to deal with the effects of poverty.
The organization claimed to use “scientific principles to
root out scroungers and target relief where it was most
needed.”
Chapter 3:
The History of Social Work
Social Work In Canada
Copyright © 2010 Thompson Educational Publishing, Inc.
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PHASE 1: The Era of Moral Reform
The Settlement House Movement
Settlement houses in poor neighborhoods offered
food, shelter, and other basics in the form of charity on
part of wealthy donors, the residents of the city, and
the scholars who volunteered their services.
Chapter 3:
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Social Work In Canada
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PHASE 2: The Era of Social Reform
The Era of Social Reform – 1891-1940
Scientific Philanthropy
An early approach to social work that rejected moral
judgments and encouraged a “scientific” assessment of
human behavior and approach to finding solutions.
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Social Work In Canada
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PHASE 2: The Era of Social Reform
Karl Marx (1818-1883)
 A German philosopher and political economist
 Father of communism and socialism
 Outlined a theory of political economy
 Posited that capitalism will eventually fail
 Workers (proletariat) can bring about change
Chapter 3:
The History of Social Work
Social Work In Canada
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PHASE 2: The Era of Social Reform
The Rise of Trained Social Workers
 Training shifted from agency-based volunteer to
worker with university-based education
 1914 University of Toronto opens Department of
Social Services
 1918 McGill University opens School of Social Study
& Training
Chapter 3:
The History of Social Work
Social Work In Canada
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PHASE 2: The Era of Social Reform
The Rise of Trained Social Workers
 1928 University of British Columbia starts similar
program
 1927 the Canadian Association of Social Workers is
established (CASW)
 1947 Master of Social Work degree is offered at
University of Toronto
 1966 University of Toronto awarded the first
Bachelor of Social Work degree
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The History of Social Work
Social Work In Canada
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PHASE 2: The Era of Social Reform
Social Casework
 Modern casework – systematic methods of
investigation, assessment and decision making –
was strongly influenced by Mary Richmond
 Mary Richmond wrote a 1917 text, Social Diagnosis,
which was used in the training of workers
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The History of Social Work
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PHASE 2: The Era of Social Reform
Social Diagnosis – “The Social Work Process”
1. Collection of social evidence, data on family history,
and data pertaining to the problem at hand;
2. Critical examination of the material leading to
diagnosis: and;
3. Development of a case plan with the involvement of
the client
Chapter 3:
The History of Social Work
Social Work In Canada
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PHASE 2: The Era of Social Reform
Psychology and Social Work
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Chapter 3:
The History of Social Work
Theories of Sigmund Freud played an important role
Freud provided insight into the inner workings of the
individual
Social work shifted from a concern with the societal
context to a concern with a person’s psychological
make-up
Social work moved from an active role to a more
passive role for the worker
Social Work In Canada
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PHASE 2: The Era of Social Reform
Social Gospel, Social Work, and Social Action
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Chapter 3:
The History of Social Work
During this period of social reform, the social gospel movement
had an influence on Canadian social work
Movements for a more socially oriented church began to appear
1907: the Moral and Social Reform League is founded
More scientific perspective, distancing itself from a moral base
1927: the League is replaced by the Canadian Association of Social
Workers
Social Work In Canada
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PHASE 2: The Era of Social Reform
Social Work and the Great Depression
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1930s period of mass unemployment
1933, nearly one-quarter of labor force unemployed
Unemployment requires national response rather than
local charity response
Depression shattered idea that market forces should be
left unregulated
1941 census records 1,805 Canadian social workers
(65% increase over 1931)
Chapter 3:
The History of Social Work
Social Work In Canada
Copyright © 2010 Thompson Educational Publishing, Inc.
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PHASE 3: The Era of Applied Social Science
The Era of Applied Social Science – 1941 and Beyond
 Social Services are not a luxury
 Social Services are vital to a functioning economy
 Legitimization and increase of government
intervention in economy
 Career opportunities and education for social workers
opened up
 Social work opportunities shift to government
departments and agencies
Chapter 3:
The History of Social Work
Social Work In Canada
Copyright © 2010 Thompson Educational Publishing, Inc.
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PHASE 3: The Era of Applied Social Science
Diagnostic Approach
 Emphasizes an understanding of an individual’s
problem by reference to causal events in his or her
early life
Functional Approach
 Based on the belief in the potential of individuals to
determine their own direction
Chapter 3:
The History of Social Work
Social Work In Canada
Copyright © 2010 Thompson Educational Publishing, Inc.
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PHASE 3: The Era of Applied Social Science
The Expansion of Social Services and Social Work
 Demands on private relief organizations grow
 1956 Unemployment Insurance Act provided federal assistance to
the provinces for unemployed
 1966 Canadian Assistance Plan transformed social assistance into
a publicly funded and administered program
 Canada becomes welfare state with public system of health and
hospital care
Chapter 3:
The History of Social Work
Social Work In Canada
Copyright © 2010 Thompson Educational Publishing, Inc.
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Questions for Discussion
Discuss the development of social welfare
provision in your province. Do you see
differences in terms of how social services are
provided in your province as compared to other
provinces?
Chapter 3:
The History of Social Work
Social Work In Canada
Copyright © 2010 Thompson Educational Publishing, Inc.
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Questions for Discussion
In what ways can traces of the Poor Law of
1601 still be found social welfare provision
today?
Chapter 3:
The History of Social Work
Social Work In Canada
Copyright © 2010 Thompson Educational Publishing, Inc.
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Questions for Discussion
In what ways are religious congregations still
involved in social work provision of social
welfare services?
Chapter 3:
The History of Social Work
Social Work In Canada
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Questions for Discussion
Development of social work as a vocation and
expansion of state provision of social welfare
occurred at the same time as significant
immigration to Canada.
In what ways could you see immigrants
contributing to the growth of the social work profession?
Chapter 3:
The History of Social Work
Social Work In Canada
Copyright © 2010 Thompson Educational Publishing, Inc.
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Questions for Discussion
Why does the emergence of social work roughly
coincide with major economic and social
changes in society?
Chapter 3:
The History of Social Work
Social Work In Canada
Copyright © 2010 Thompson Educational Publishing, Inc.
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Websites
 Canada’s Unique Social History
www.socialpolicy.ca/cush
 History of Toynbee Hall
www.toynbeehall.org.uk
 Information for Practice
www.nyu.edu/socialwork/ip
Chapter 3:
The History of Social Work
Social Work In Canada
Copyright © 2010 Thompson Educational Publishing, Inc.
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SOCIAL WORK IN CANADA An Introduction Third Edition