Overview of Taiwan's Social Work System

Although not perfect, a social work system has long existed in Taiwan, dating back to the Ming and Ching dynasties,social welfare introduced in the Japanese colonial period became the root of Taiwan's social work system. In the following section, three phases, defined by the degree of completion, will be introduced to explain the development of the social work system in Taiwan. The three phases are

(1) Under-Construction, (2) Pre-Professionalized, and (3) Professionalized Social

Work System.

Under-Construction Social Work System

Japanese Colonial Period

The social welfare introduced by the Japanese authority after colonization in 1895 is the root of Taiwan's social work (Lin, 2002a), and its measures and development were heavily influenced by Japan's colonial policies, with Japan's own benefits and developments as the foundation. In the early period of colonization, social welfare was ignored because of frequent revolts and the Japanese government's repressions. During the 1920s' Kominka movement and the 1930s' 'period of expansion', when Taiwan was used as Japan's Southern base, social welfare measures underwent a huge growth. This was not only a continuation of the disaster-relief methods of the Ching dynasty, but contributed to social welfare with expansibility (Lin, 2002a; Huang, 1988).

Owing to changes in governing policies, influences from the West, and the hierarchical diffusion of the colonial government, social welfare then could be seen as an embryo of the social welfare system today. Although Japanese people accounted for most of the personnel involved, this social welfare system had gone beyond disaster-relief affairs with more progressive ideas and structures (Chuang, 2004). Other social welfare areas were also gradually promoted during the same period, for example: the probation system, reformatory education, community centres for poor families, and kindergartens (Lin, 2002a).

To conclude, the Japanese colonial government's implementation of social welfare–related affairs targeted mainly systems and regulation constrictions. On the one hand, this can be seen as post-protest appeasement with the goal of achieving legitimacy for the Japanese government's political power; on the other, during Japan's capitalization development, the implementation of these measures was important for capital accumulation (Lin, 2002a; Huang, 1988).

The Period of Kuomintang Government

In this period, the Kuomintang government continued working on social work affairs based on the thoughts and experiences from mainland China.2 At that time social work was considered a

In 1949, the Kuomintang government migrated to Taiwan. Lin Wan Yi (2002a) and Huang Yan Yi (1988) thought that in this period, the development of the economy and national defense were the emphasis of government policies, social welfare was less important. During that period the social welfare services covered merely disaster-relief and
political affair and the base of revolution to retake mainland China, in the hope of achieving social consensus and political control. Despite the fact that social welfare was not the top priority of the government, insurance laws regarding labor (1950), soldiers (1950), and civil servants (1958) were introduced during the 1950s, along with the implementation of land reform. These measures are believed to be means of political power, reassuring and appeasing citizens.

'Current Social Policy of the Principle of People's Livelihood' Period.

The Kuomintang started to promote social policies that could meet the needs of the local environment, specifying that community development was one of the seven measures of social welfare, marking the first step in the development of a professional social work system. Although this policy diminished into a political slogan due to the militaryand economy-led policymaking focus, it took the promotion of professional social work system one step forward. Community development started to be proactive after the Ministry of Interior drew up the 'Regulations on the Work of Community Development' and the Social Affairs Bureau of Taiwan Province published the 'Eight-Year Community Development Project in Taiwan Province' in 1968. In 1970, with guidance from the UN Development Plan, the Ministry of the Interior established the 'Republic of China Research and Training Center for Community Development', which governed the research and dissemination of related affairs (Lin, 2002a; Huang, 1988).

In the 'Under-Construction Social Work System' phase, social work in Taiwan transformed constantly and became more in line with local needs although, with some pivotal regulations established, the legitimacy of the nation's power was still the main function of Taiwan's social welfare system during this time.

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