The Christian Church and other religious groups have long been associated with doing charity work wherever such ministry is needed. Constantine was a Christian emperor of Rome, and he is the first ruler on record as having funded the Christian Church's alms work. In the 1800s in England and the United States, the first government programs began for social work that paved the way for the work and education of social workers today.
England was a leader in establishing laws and programs to help the poor and needy within its borders. The laws provided for low-income and less fortunate people to fit into categories that would serve them in the best way. As examples, the able-to-work poor were in a different category from the infirm and helped according to their need.
In the United States, a growing problem was the overwhelming number of immigrants who arrived in the country and had no money or means of support. Aid programs sprang up and individuals and organizations donated time, supplies, food and medical help to the stricken people. Eventually, hospitals saw the need for some type of social workers and hired skilled nurses for the task. Massachusetts General Hospital was the first with others soon to follow that employed nurses as social workers.
Today, social workers are often on the front lines in the fight against social injustices. They work with the poor and needy and strive to protect human rights. Those interested in a career in this field find many private and public colleges and universities that offer social work degrees. These institutions of higher learning are a positive presence in local communities, and they advertise on radio and television as well as in relevant printed material and webpages. They will sometimes list their bachelor's degree and masters degree in social work in the advertisements. Especially do they advertise social work coursework to target audiences on the internet.
Social workers hours or benefits might be cut when the economy is struggling, and more social workers may be hired during times of economic highs. However, those in government realize that the poor need the social work programs in place. Schools offering education for careers in the social work field encourage students to enter this career path by showing the accomplishments and rewards of working for social needs. Certainly, government-funded social work and programs will continue into the foreseeable future.