The response to social welfare and social work services in any country is determined by the social policy. The social policy includes the ways in which welfare is developed in a society, the policies of the government in the social welfare and the social protection of the citizens. Social welfare in the country is also determined by the social, political and economic conditions which shape the development of the social services and welfare in the country (Aluffi-Pentini and Lorenz 1996). Social welfare and social work services have traditionally focused on narrow social services which include health administration, social security, employment services, housing and community care management. However, over the recent past we have witnessed social work services being extended to emerging community welfare issues like crime prevention, disability, learning disability, old age, child protection, and poverty and gender empowerment. Social welfare generally refers to the people’s well-being and includes the range of services which are availed in different areas like sickness and old age (Adams, Erath and Shardlow 2001).
In most European countries, social welfare is used interchangeably with social protection which is intended at protecting the minority and the disadvantaged in the society. Basic arguments for social welfare and social work service have being advanced like the democratic rights of the citizens to receive social services from the state, the humanitarian aspect and concerns about poverty, the religious point of view like mutual social responsibility and charity. Another argument for social welfare is the mutual-self interest where all the agencies have a duty to provide social services to the disadvantaged in the community. However, individuals against social welfare postulate that one has the right to utilize is property as they wish and that the rights of the individuals are paramount and should be protected hence redistributive arrangements are based in compulsion as people have not consented to welfare provision (Adams, Erath and Shardlow 2001). Welfare state involves the responsibility of the state for provision of the basic welfare means to the welfare of the citizens. It includes the government activities which are geared towards poverty alleviation, individual retirement benefits, housing and healthcare. The social policy is usually geared towards the redistribution of wealth in the country through taxes by progressive taxation and also maintaining minimum standards of living for the citizens. It also involves helping the disadvantaged social groups in the society like the minorities who include the elderly and the disabled in the society (Hugman 2010). In this research essay, we shall compare and contrast the development of social welfare and social work services in England and France. We shall also focus on how similar and differently the two countries have tried to address the problem of child protection. We shall further analyze the social, political and economic processes which affect the social welfare of each country and the globalization of the social welfare of these countries. We will briefly state the impact of EU level social policies and the European integration process and the problems brought about by migration and citizenship, changing family size, social exclusion and cohesion. Development of social welfare and social work services in England. The history of social welfare in England has its roots in the industrial revolution which altered the social lives. With the enactment of the poor law in 1601, the government of England committed to providing social services to the poor citizens by providing for compulsory poor rate, creation of overseers relief and the provision for setting the poor to work. The poor law commission stressed the workhouse test where there was no relief outside the workhouse and the eligibility principle. In 1942, Britain