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History of Health and Human Services - Essay Example

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Name of student: Topic: Lecturer: Date of Presentation: Introduction The health and human services department of the United States is the principal agency for protecting health of all Americans and providing essential human services and its roots go back as far as early days of American nation.1 Human services entail delivery systems such as the social welfare services, education, mental health and other forms of healthcare…
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History of Health and Human Services
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Download file to see previous pages The development of human services is thus affected by the beliefs and values held by the society over time. Since beliefs and values keep changing, the human services field develops accordingly.3 The current health and human services can thus be viewed as representing the current attitudes, beliefs, and values of the contemporary American society. There are also questions as to which group of people and the types of problems should be helped, to what extent and how. Many people and events have also shaped the development and direction of the field. This paper will try to outline the history of Heath and Human Services field from the start of US history up until the year 1880. It will try to explain the main pioneers of this field among other issues such as the main Acts. However, it will first give a brief history of the era before US independence in order to understand the development of the field better and its foundation. Pre-independence Era The US human services are based on the Elizabethan poor laws of 1601 of England. According to Woodside and McClam this law guided the social welfare practices in England and US for the next 350 years by specifying who was to provide what services to those in need.4 Before inception of this law, the early communities used to believe that diseases were caused by supernatural beings such as demons. The work of medicine men was thus to exorcise the evil spirits. As society progressed, so did their beliefs and development of human services field. The Hippocrates were more civilized began to attribute diseases and disabilities to brain malfunction as opposed to demons. Diseases were thus treatable with use of exercise, vegetable diets and change of lifestyle.5 The renaissance era marked the beginning of formal state intervention in provision of social services. The state established the poor laws which segregated people into three categories. The poor were placed in shelters and some were sent to poorhouse or almshouse. These houses were under poor conditions and lacked essential services; they were congested, food was in short supply not forgetting the stigma associated with such houses. Most people were against helping the poor and saw it as a means of promoting laziness. The situation was worsened by the industrial revolution. There was growth of urban centers due to introduction of the factory system. This led to mass migration of people from rural to urban areas hence an increase in urban poor and prompting the need for public institutions to cater for them.6 The new beliefs during this period were centered on the protestant work ethic. This was the belief that hard work portrays virtuousness and deserves to be rewarded while laziness deserved punishment.7 As such, wealth was considered as the reward for hard work and poverty as punishment from God. This philosophy was neither considerate of the poor in society nor those with disabilities or could not find a job. The poor were not to be helped but to be encouraged to work hard so as to earn a living and improve their well-being. The introduction of the less eligibility concept was geared towards encouraging people to work. It maintained that assistance given was to be lower than the lowest wage paid to any working person.8 ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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