The African family has been the basic structure that performed the functions of a social system even before contact with European and other white cultures. These included not only the organization of behavior and economy, the preservation of culture, the realization of political goals, the control and integration of the members but also the provision services classified today as social welfare.

However, sweeping changes have been taking place in the African family and these have seriously affected its function as a social system. The roles of men and women, religion, education, in short, the African culture itself has been experiencing a lot of changes. These changes have weakened the family as a social system. This has also affected the role of the family as a social welfare system. That role is also changing. Nevertheless, it is strongly suggested that the African family is still capable of assuming that role. It should be encouraged and aided to continue to do so. The importance of community development as a more effective and more relevant model of social welfare in Nigeria is emphasized.

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