casework can be traced to the appointment of the first medical almoners in Britain in the 1880s, a practice quickly adopted in North American and most western European countries.
Because perceived needs and the ability to address them determine each society’s range of welfare services, there exists no universal vocabulary of social welfare.
Elsewhere secular and religious charitable associations providing financial help, educational welfare, and housing for the poor began to employ social workers.
By the turn of the century there were various schemes for organizing charitable work on “scientific” principles according to nationally agreed standards of procedure and services.
Religion and philosophy have tended to provide frameworks for the conduct of social welfare.
The edicts of the Buddhist emperor Aśoka in India, the sociopolitical doctrines of ancient Greece and Rome, and the simple rules of the early Christian communities are only a few examples of systems that addressed social needs.