Charity Organisation Society (COS) was a non profit institution that established in the nineteenth century (1869) in the city of England. It was founded with the aim of using scientific philanthropic ideals to help out the poor, needy and distressed individuals in the society that were prevalent (InMobi, 2019). The final and ultimate aim of Charity Organisation Society was replenish in individuals as much as possible the self sufficiency and confidence in them that they could handle. With the activities they had undertaken, the societies became much more aware of the number of social aid and services which could be rendered and made available in their respective communities. They had also laid the roots of undertaking social development and social work could be taken as an occupation as well. It made use of the scientific ideas by investigating, registering and last by not the least administering the individuals for charity. It was leading the efforts within the communities to recognize the resources and the tasks undertaken by private individual philanthropists and of clearing houses who gathered data about the participants who needed assistance.
Despite all this the major criticism in the Charity Organisation Society was that they only helped those individuals who they thought as worth helping. They were biased in the services which they were rendering among various individuals. They were even not on affable terms with the relief individuals. In addition to this they even communicated and interacted with those people in a very intrusive manner (Hansan, 2013). In addition to this context, the participants were mostly middle class women who used to give suggestions to the needy and poor, mostly the working class women of the society on how they should balance their budgets more efficiently. This was showing there believe that women were being held responsible for not managing her family and not the male of the households. This was also showing us a mirror than in those times respectable females in the society were not being allowed to work outside. Only the middle class women were doing jobs because their financial situation was not well enough. This depicted patriarchal society in terms of the work divided in the working scenario.
This reflected that the women were being held responsible for the financial condition and status and not the men in the household. The females in those times ought to be wives of their husbands and mothers to their children and they had to stay at home look after their kids while the men had to go out and work to earn money and bread for the living and sustenance of their respective families. These working women were being enclosed in some sort of a ‘gilded cage’ (Pete, 2015). These women had the option to pursue and undertake charitable work which was at that considered very much respectable in the community. The reason of this was that work done by those the women they were not paid any remuneration for that. This also inculcated in the women the values and ideals of being affectionate and compassionate towards the needy and the poor which were prevalent in Christianity. Therefore, for such middle class women it raised and alleviated there standards and helped then to do something useful apart from getting bored at their respective homes.
In addition with the ongoing theme, charity organisation society emerged as a big competitor as being in response to hue parts in communities and societies. It overshadowed the other charitable organisations and trusts working in the similar perspective and ideals in various areas of Great Britain and in parts of Ireland as well (Marie, 2014). Due to competition in the market it consequently lacked cooperation in these agencies and organisations. This subsequently led to not just in the duplication but it was also being seen as indiscriminate and biased giving in those times. Due to this the major negative impact of this was that not much of personal attention and detailing was being given to examining the requests and the requisites and the requirements of the potential and prospective clients (Sarah, 2015). Now to resolve the issues of cooperation among these agencies the charity organisation society sought of bring together various people and organisations. This includes the police, the mayor of the city, the local charities, , heads of esteemed institutions, private institutions, fraternities, people and individuals who had a keen interest in the organisation and movement, etc.
The churches were also combine and they were taken to be the representative of the assistance and aid which was undertaken privately A superintendent was also hired by the charity organisation society who helped and was made an acquaintance of the areas in which the organisation was functioning and operating etc. in order to form a solid group which would work together in the benefits of the individuals and communities. This would also help in reflecting a strong front which could assists the people, exchange relevant information amongst each other and taking and implementing efficient and effective measures and steps for the betterment of the underprivileged and the needy. Now with the help of a combined force of so many institutions and people they could now segregate and divide the work among the various people in the group which would help recognize the people and individuals who were in desperate and dire need of help immediately so that they could be given immediate assistance and help without any delay. In this manner they were more organized and fast in their work which helped them to give assistance to more and more people and individuals as possible.
Now if we take the ideals set up the charity organisation societies it lays the foundation and the bricks of the development of the present as well as the earlier human services prevalent in the country of Australia. Now the term “human services” has gained momentum in Australia in the present times and has become an important area and field of study in the country. People are now even choosing human services as a proper profession in Australia in which they are excelling. Now the concept of human services was first emerged in Northern America in the 1960s and in the 1970s. In Australia it was first introduced by Kim and Underwood in the year 1991. Kim in the year 1991 conceptualized the term “human services” as “meeting the human needs”. Now a significant thing to note here about Australia in this regard is that over the past century if we see this on an international perspective Australia has gone backwards in regard of it duties towards the society which is definitely not a good sign (David, 2011).
So now if we look in the previous times of the world, there used to be more existential social workers and reformers who used to without any agendas or personal motives used to effortlessly work for the betterment of human society. Their steps were only helping human mankind in some manner or the other. Although there were times these social workers were not much client focused and at times they were also non- judgemental in their ideals towards the needy and the poor. In spite of all the criticisms earlier these societies were working at full potential level to help the poor. In contrast to this after the establishment of the pension system in Australia these societies were not performing as per the expectation. Thus now Australia it seems that it is eventually deteriorating and reducing the standards set earlier in regard to the social welfare for the citizens of the country.
If we take into consideration about Australia, in the early times there was a term which was coined- “social laboratory” which depicted the ideals of socialism in the community. But this term lost its relevance in the 1909 with the Age Pension system in Australia. Now with the advent of 1980s the principles and values which were laid down by earlier welfare organisations and societies seem to be vanishing away in Australia. This started with the great depression that Australia had to face in the year 1929 (R J Lawrence, 2016). The economic depression engulfed the social system in Australia into a miserable and poor situation. Now there was a dire and immediate need in the country to shape a new policy for the welfare of the society. Due to this in the coming decade unemployment rose in the country to around 10% which increased the poverty in the country. Whereas the worst condition was in the 1930s when the unemployment rate further increased to more than 30%. This made the social structure in Australia weak and the economy completely unstable.
As a result of this much level of unemployment and disturbance in the country the government in Australia was not able to cope up with it because of lack of equipments. Due to this there was a widespread and continuing poverty. But in contrary to this to curb poverty and economic instability in the country in the latter part of the 1930s the Australian government carried out welfare schemes and measures aiming at providing better child and health care systems, providing reduced priced houses to the poor and underprivileged. In addition to this, the social insurance welfare measures which got disrupted due to the great depression were again resumed in the mid 1930s. Another important thing which happened in the 1930s was that a movement was undertaken for proper administration and coordination of the measures and steps taken under the social services schemes.
Now by the time in Australia social work momentum and training gained pace, a general layout and pattern of administering and monitoring had been set. In fact, it just changed a little in the 1930s. The paid government officials were taking care of the administration of the social rules and regulations. The voluntary non paid citizens especially women came up in assisting in the political and financial matters. Although the women were recognized in the field of politics they were still much backed up much to stand and actively participate in the affairs of the business and of the world in the earlier 12th century.
All this resulted to a cleavage in the social administration system in Australia. In which there were two aspects involved, on one side of it consisted of an approach and plan of a wide set of rules and regulations which were backed by the political parties and the government comprising of mostly government officials, leaders etc. in Australia. Whereas on other side, had a number of tiny voluntary associations and organisations which were working towards the needs and requirements of the individuals in the societies and communities. These organisations were backed and supported by a large number of individual groups or churches with a majority of work in the hands of the women who were not given remuneration or money in the larger income groups.
To conclude this we can say that the social services and the reforms in the country of Australia were in a much better position and condition than we if look upon in the present time. In the advent of the early 1900s the social reforms were effectively managed and being implemented in the country by taking into consideration the principles laid down by earlier organisation societies like the charity organisation society, settlement house workers etc. But by the mid 1900s the principles and values laid down by these societies lost its relevance and their importance. As a result of which Australia had to face the repercussions and the damages of the great depression which resulted in a spike of unemployment, poverty and unrest which eventually lead to economic and political imbalance in the country. To overcome the situation created by the economic condition the country was facing, later on the government and the societies simultaneously had to undertake again the social services schemes and measures to recover Australia from poverty and depression.
Arnold, S. H. (2015). Gender, Money, and the Charity Organization Society: 1900-1919. City University of New York.
Dorey, P. (2015). The sage encyclopedia of world poverty. SAGE Publications, Inc. doi: 10.4135/9781483345727.n109
Hansan, J.E. (2013). Charity organization societies (1877 – 1893). Retrieved from: https://socialwelfare.library.vcu.edu/eras/civil-war-reconstruction/charity-organization-societies-1877-1893/
InMobi. (2019). Casework and charity organisation society. Retrieved from: https://infed.org/mobi/casework-and-the-charity-organization-society-2/
Lawrence, R.J. (2016). Professional social work in Australia. Canberra: Anu eView.
Weil, M. (2014). Community practice: Conceptual models. New York: The Haworth Press.
Wiles, D. (2011). Human services: Australian explorations. Perth: ECU Publications.
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