The settlement house movement is synonymous with the plight of America’s urban poor. These urban poor Americans lived in such appalling conditions is hard to imagine that plant life could survive let alone human beings. This movement took place in the late 19th century and continued in the beginning of the 20th century. Crusaders of this era were burdened the task of getting the rich and poor to live harmoniously and collectively in an interdependent community. It was this call to duty in which the establishment of “settlement houses” were born and produced. These houses were manufactured in poor urban parts of the country where they had settlement house volunteers who would live; share their culture, knowledge, and education as well as helping to improve the poverty line of their low income ...view middle of the document...
Reform during this era meant that “accepting the forces of urbanization and industrialization, they went about their task of eliminating the causes of poverty and making the city a better place in which to live. Because they had a realistic understanding of the social forces and the political structure of the city, and nation, and because they battled in legislative halls as well as in urban slums, they became successful initiators and organizers of reform” (Knight, 1999). These leaders of the progressive era had a very pragmatic attitude and position on the way the 20th century should be greeted. “Settlement house residents also equated human betterment with middle-class values and supported volunteerism and anti-radicalism as well as Americanization” (Knight, 1999).
As much as reform had to do with policy formation, research was equally important. The research aspect was not immediately noticed but was clearly evident after the first couple of years of this period. “Their research and the support of others’ also had wide ramifications. Jane Addams and other residents were influential in persuading President Theodore Roosevelt and Congress to launch the important federal investigation of women and child laborers in America which ultimately resulted in the enactment of federal child labor legislation” (Knight, 1991). This was just one example of how imperative and essential research is especially pertaining to social work. During this era many challenges were faced and defeated. The ideas and policies of this time period have proven to be the foundation to modern social work. It is because of this past determination that the social workers of today enjoy the luxury of a very advanced system.
Trattner, W. (1999). From poor law to welfare state: A history of social welfare in America (6th ed.). New York. The Free Press