Equity is a word, like community or welfare , that began by signifying a general social condition and then, over time, developed more specifi c senses while still retaining its original meaning. The first meaning of equity in English was a direct translation from the original Old French ‘equité’, a word whose Latin root means ‘even’, ‘just’ and ‘equal’. It could refer to the quality of being impartial, reasonable and fair, and contemporary social service providers are expected to operate in ways that demonstrate an ‘equitable’ incidence of the costs of provision and management (burdens) and an equitable distribution of the outputs (benefi ts).
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