Meaning of SOCIAL SERVICE in English


also called welfare service, or social work, any of numerous publicly or privately provided services intended to aid disadvantaged, distressed, or vulnerable persons or groups. The term social service also denotes the profession engaged in rendering such services. The social services have flourished in the 20th century as ideas of social responsibility have developed and spread. The basic concerns of social welfarepoverty, disability and disease, the dependent young and elderlyare as old as society itself. The laws of survival once severely limited the means by which these concerns could be addressed; to share another's burden meant to weaken one's own standing in the fierce struggle of daily existence. As societies developed, however, with their patterns of dependence between members, there arose more systematic responses to the factors that rendered individuals, and thus society at large, vulnerable. Religion and philosophy have tended to provide frameworks for the conduct of social welfare. The edicts of the Buddhist emperor Asoka in India, the sociopolitical doctrines of ancient Greece and Rome, and the simple rules of the early Christian communities are only a few examples of systems that addressed social needs. The Elizabethan Poor Laws in England, which sought relief of paupers through care services and workhouses administered at the parish level, provided precedents for many modern legislative responses to poverty. In Victorian times a more stringent legal view of poverty as a moral failing was met with the rise of humanitarianism and a proliferation of social reformers. The social charities and philanthropic societies founded by these pioneers formed the basis for many of today's welfare services. Because perceived needs and the ability to address them determine each society's range of welfare services, there exists no universal vocabulary of social welfare. In some countries a distinction is drawn between social services, denoting programs, such as health care and education, that serve the general population, and welfare services, denoting aid directed to vulnerable groups, such as the poor, the disabled, or the delinquent. According to another classification, remedial services address the basic needs of individuals in acute or chronic distress; preventive services seek to reduce the pressures and obstacles that cause such distress; and supportive services attempt, through educational, health, employment, and other programs, to maintain and improve the functioning of individuals in society. Social welfare services originated as emergency measures that were to be applied when all else failed. However, they are now generally regarded as a necessary function in any society and a means not only of rescuing the endangered but also of fostering a society's ongoing, corporate well-being. The majority of personal social services are rendered on an individual basis to people who are unable, whether temporarily or permanently, to cope with the problems of everyday living. Recipients include families faced with loss of income, desertion, or illness; children and youths whose physical or moral welfare is at risk; the sick; the disabled; the frail elderly; and the unemployed. When possible, services are also directed toward preventing threats to personal or family independence. Social services generally place a high value on keeping families together in their local communities, organizing support from friends or neighbours when kinship ties are weak. Where necessary, the services provide substitute forms of home life or residential care, and play a key role in the care and control of juvenile delinquents and other socially deviant groups, such as drug and alcohol abusers. also called Welfare Service, or Social Work, any of numerous publicly or privately provided services intended to aid disadvantaged, distressed, or vulnerable persons or groups. The term social service also denotes the profession engaged in rendering such services. The social services have flourished in the 20th century as ideas of social responsibility have developed and spread. Efforts in Europe to organize private charity and place it on an institutional basis date at least to the Elizabethan Poor Law of 1601. Sustained and rationalized action to that end, however, developed only in the latter part of the 19th century, primarily in Great Britain, Germany, and the United States. In particular, the founding of Charity Organization societies in London, New York City, Boston, and elsewhere began a process of rapid development of purposes, institutional forms, techniques, and doctrine that has had far-reaching consequences. The training offered to volunteer workers by Charity Organization societies led directly to the founding of the first schools of social work or social service. The emergence of social work as an organized profession, and the adoption by the profession of social betterment and even social change as operational goals, were contemporaneous with the spread of interest in socialist reforms generally. Both movements were instrumental in prompting and guiding the assumption of increasing governmental responsibility for the welfare of groups and individuals that has occurred in most countries in the 20th century. Among the great many forms that social and welfare services may take, the following are commonly encountered: Additional reading Key texts from the extensive British literature include the Report of the Committee on Local Authority and Allied Personal Social Services (1968), known as the Seebohm Report; Eric Sainsbury, The Personal Social Services (1977); Social Service Teams: The Practitioner's View (1978); and Eileen Younghusband, Social Work in Britain, 19501975: A Follow-Up Study, 2 vol. (1978). The historical development of these services is analyzed in Joan Cooper, The Creation of the British Personal Social Services, 19621974 (1983); and Social Workers: Their Role & Tasks (1982), known as the Barclay Report, which brings together different views of the role of the personal social services. The Future of Voluntary Organisations (1978), known as the Wolfenden Report, gives a clear account of voluntarism in Britain; and Hugh W. Mellor, The Role of Voluntary Organisations (1985), provides more recent analysis. Martin Bulmer (ed.), Neighbours: The Work of Philip Abrams (1986), studies the role of informal care and reviews the debate on the relationship between the formal and the informal sectors. See also Rudolf Klein and Michael O'Higgins (eds.), The Future of Welfare (1985).There are a number of useful comparative studies, including Barbara N. Rodgers, Abraham Doron, and Michael Jones, The Study of Social Policy: A Comparative Approach (1979), on the United Kingdom, France, Israel, and Australia; Alfred J. Kahn and Sheila B. Kamerman, Social Services in International Perspective: The Emergence of the Sixth System (1976, reissued 1980), which covers Canada, the United Kingdom, France, West Germany, Poland, Yugoslavia, Israel, and the United States; Sheila B. Kamerman and Alfred J. Kahn (eds.), Family Policy: Government and Families in Fourteen Countries (1978); Joan Higgins, States of Welfare: A Comparative Analysis of Social Policy (1981); Neil Gilbert, Capitalism and the Welfare State (1983, reprinted 1985); J.A. Yoder (ed.), Support Networks in a Caring Community: Research and Policy, Fact and Fiction (1985); and Else yen (ed.), Comparing Welfare States and Their Futures (1986). See also Catherine Jones, Patterns of Social Policy: An Introduction to Comparative Analysis (1985).Comparative studies on socialist policies include Vic George and Nick Manning, Socialism, Social Welfare, and the Soviet Union (1980); John Dixon, The Chinese Welfare System, 19491979 (1981); and Bob Deacon, Social Policy and Socialism: The Struggle for Socialist Relations of Welfare (1983).Key issues on personal social services in developing countries are discussed in James Midgley, Professional Imperialism: Social Work in the Third World (1981); and Margaret Hardiman and James Midgley, The Social Dimensions of Development: Social Policy and Planning in the Third World (1982). Discussions of personal social services can also be found in studies of social security, such as Harold L. Wilensky et al., Comparative Social Policy: Theories, Methods, Findings (1985); Peter A. Khler and Hans F. Zacher (eds.), The Evolution of Social Insurance 18811981 (1982); M.A. Jones, The Australian Welfare State: Growth, Crisis and Change, new ed. (1983); Brian Easton, Social Policy and the Welfare State in New Zealand (1980); and James Midgley, Social Security, Inequality, and the Third World (1984). Robert A. Pinker The Editors of the Encyclopdia Britannica

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