In the past fifty years there have been significant changes in health and human services. The most significant change has been in technology. Advancements in communication and data processing have allowed human service workers and agencies to react faster and more efficiently than in prior years. As well as technological improvement the sheer size and accessibility of human service organizations has expanded tremendously. Coinciding with computer technology, pharmacological advancements have begun a movement of deinstitutionalization.
As well as technological and pharmacological changes, attitudes and responsibilities have also changed. In the last ten years there has been a larger focus placed on quality of care and individualized care. The needs of the individual have become paramount to the needs of society. Society, liberals and conservatives, have both recognized the need for human services but in recent years the delivery system has become the subject of much debate. Privatization of many government institutions has become hotly debated on all political fronts.
One would think that human service needs would be determined by the professionals who work in the human service field, but politicians and special interest groups seems to have more control over this determination. In the future, health and human service needs should be determined by statisticians working in conjunction with human service workers. A system of need determination should expand to be as strong as our societies ability to determine economic changes.
In the future, with an ever expanding population and a larger disparity between rich and poor classes; the major role for human service workers should be in the area of prevention of these growing problems. New and innovative approaches are needed to safeguard American society from an ever expanding poverty stricken class. As well as preventing further generations from falling into the poverty trap, prevention of disease and mental illness will also become important as an ever expanding population will inevitably bring more disease and psychological problems.