Highlights of Social Welfare History

The 19th and early 20th centuries are filled with fascinating people and events that helped to shape the development of social work thought and practice. This module provides information on Dorothea Dix (mental health advocacy), living & work conditions of the time, the Orphan Trains, Hull House & The Settlement Home Movement, the early years of the Children’s Bureau, and how the Great Migration changed the landscape of the 20th century. It concludes by connecting this history to contemporary events and social justice challenges.

At the conclusion of this video series, participants will be able to:

  1. Understand the forms and mechanisms of exclusion, discrimination, and economic marginalization faced by vulnerable groups in 19th and early 20th century U.S. society.

  2. Understand efforts that were made to promote social justice and human rights on the part of individuals and groups in society.

  3. Apply historical efforts to promote social and economic justice to contemporary events and challenges.

Components of the video series:*

  • The Indefatigable Dorothea Dix

  • Explaining the Exceptional U.S. Social Welfare System

  • The Bad Old Days: Life in the 19th and Early 20th Centuries

  • Riding on the Orphan Train

  • Hull House & The Settlement Home Movement

  • Saving Babies: The Early Years of the Children’s Bureau

  • The Great Migration

  • Conclusion

*An extensive reference section is also available for download.

Estimated Time to Complete video series: 2.5 hours (2.5 CE credits)

Note: All course content must be viewed and an evaluation completed before the CE certificate can be issued.

Price: $25

Course Curriculum

  • 1

    Highlights of Social Welfare History

    • The Indefatigable Dorothea Dix

    • Explaining the Exceptional US Social Welfare System

    • The Bad Old Days: Life in the 19th and Early 20th Centuries

    • Riding on the Orphan Train

    • Hull House & the Settlement Home Movement

    • Saving Babies: The Early Years of the Children's Bureau

    • The Great Migration

    • Black Groundbreakers in Social Work

    • Conclusion: Living in History's Echo

    • References

    • Evaluation

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About the instructor

Founder, OfCourse!

Miguel Ferguson

Hello, my name is Miguel Ferguson. For about 20 years I taught courses in Social Welfare Policy, Poverty, and Social Justice in leading schools of social work around the country. I founded OfCourse! to make dynamic information on these topics accessible to social work students and faculty. OfCourse! Content is engaging and up to date, and can be used to enhance instruction across the social work curriculum: In the classroom, as a virtual textbook, online, or as part of a distance learning program. Now, more than ever, it's important that Social Work Students are competent policy practitioners with both the knowledge of current policies and programs and the skills to engage in policy change. OfCourse! materials are designed to make that happen, and are a great aid to busy faculty who want to provide top-notch content. With OfCourse! the only limit is your imagination!