Social Welfare

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  • Organized educational, cultural, medical, and financial assistance to those in need. Measures of assistance include care of destitute adults; treatment of the mentally ill; rehabilitation of criminals; care and relief of the sick, the handicapped, the young, and needy families; and educational activity for children. Access to such programs is considered a basic or inalienable right of those in need. Nations that provide social welfare programs are known as welfare states.

    In the 16th century, the English poor laws made local authorities responsible for the collection of voluntary contributions to employ paupers on the one hand and provide direct relief to needy citizens on the other. The poor laws demonstrated a progression from private charity to a welfare state whereby the care and supervision of the ...

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