Home Sociology Social Work in East Asia
Pre-Professionalized Social Work System Post–World War II Period
Between 1949 and 1977, the United States's economic assistance of 8 billion
USD, together with development of the national infrastructure, had facilitated Taiwan's industrial transformation and economic development, with the latter further boosting Taiwan's social welfare development (Lin, 2002a; Huang, 1988; Yang, 1997). Although Taiwan's withdrawal from the UN in 1972 saw the end of
education institutions; for example, the Social Relief Act promulgated in 1943 governed health services for the poor covering all public and private hospitals. On the other hand, many ongoing projects regarding medical social work continued to progress; for example: the Provincial Taipei Hospital (Now Taipei City Hospital Chung Hsing Branch) the Department of Social Services in 1940; in 1951, the Social Service Office of the National Taiwan University Hospital was established with the assistance of the chair of the UN Emergency Foundation—Taiwan Affairs. Later on the Social Service Department was established in Mackay Memorial Hospital (1956), Changhua Christian Hospital (1963), Taiwan Sanatorium (now Kai-Suan Psychiatric Hospital, 1966). Children's social welfare was also given high importance, owning to UNICEF's influence. such economic assistance, community development continued (Huang, 1988; Lai, 2002). This development also unexpectedly had a critical influence on Taiwan's social work system.
Period of the Forming of a Social Worker Employment System
Although the Executive Yuan had once mentioned the establishment of a social worker system in the 'Republic of China Social Construction Project Phase I',3 it was not until 1972, when the Taiwan Provincial Government promulgated the 'Experimental Project of Social Workers' Placement in Taiwan Provincial Cities', that social work was included in government policies – this project also clearly specified the service targets of social work – and in 1973, Keelung, Taichung, Tainan, and Kaohsiung started the placement of social workers. Although after two years the results were evaluated as ineffective, with the Chair of Province Hsieh Tung Min's positive attention being focused on the Taichung Dali Township experiment,4 this method of social work continued to be adopted in another project: the 'WellOff Family Project'. This project, in conjunction with community development, aimed at terminating poverty. In chapter 6 of the 'Economic Constriction Six-Year Project of the Republic of China', published by the Executive Yuan in 1976, the establishment of a social worker system was mentioned for the first time; in 1980 there were 17 cities and counties with social workers.
The Period of Increasing Social Worker Replacements with Graduates from Related Departments
By 1982, the social worker apparatus was nearly finished, and the alliance of social work organizations was growing gradually. During this phase the social worker system applied to the whole nation,5 yet this project remained experimental; although with the number of the contract social workers growing, group pressure for incorporating social workers developed.
Professional Organization Developing Period
In the late 1970s, Taiwanese scholars started to promote the establishment of a nationwide professional social work organization to boost collective strength and consensus. Under the pressure of professional medical groups, the Taiwan Medical Social Services Association6 was founded in 1983 with the objectives of taking over medical social worker training and increasing medical service quality. Following the abolishment of martial law, the Republic of China Association of
2 The content mentioned that the ratio of residents to social worker should be 200:1, while that of poor families to social worker is 500:1.
3 Taiwan's withdrawal from the UN suspended funds from UNICEF, the Taiwan Children's Social Welfare Research Center also faced a crisis of funding withdrawal. In 1974, the Social Affair Bureau of Taiwan Province transferred research centre employees to Dali, Taichung, for the Well-Off Family Project that the government was promoting.
4 In 1988, social workers existed in 21 cities and counties.
5 Later, this association changed its name to the Association of Medical Social Work. Professional Social Workers7 was founded, in spite of countless obstacles.8 In the early period of its inception, this association took as its top tasks the assisting of social worker incorporation and the upgrading of the hierarchy of social welfare organizations. After the Executive Yuan published the incorporation plan, in reaction, this association held several seminars and discussions and even launched protests (Lin, 2002a; Yang, 1998).
During this period, the professional social worker system was established under the government's experimental project and regulations, yet the service areas and service details were still restrained by government policies. The establishment of professional organizations and their action plans were often ignored by the government. The 'professional system' in this period was still confined by the ideology of government agencies and laws/regulations without considering the construction of a local social work system.
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