|Organized:||November 1, 1939|
|Secretary:||Esperanza I. Cabral|
|Budget:||P3.557 billion (2007)|
On November 1, 1939, Commonwealth Act No. 439 created the Department of Health and Public Welfare and in 1941, the Bureau of Public Welfare officially became a part of the Department of Health and Public Welfare. In addition to coordinating services of all public and private social welfare institutions, the Bureau also managed all public child-caring institutions and the provision of child welfare services.
In 1968, Republic Act 5416, known as the Social Welfare Act of 1968, created the Department of Social Welfare, placing it under the executive branch of government. In 1976, the Department of Social Welfare was renamed Department of Social Services and Development (DSSD) through Presidential Decree No. 994. This was signed into law by President Ferdinand E. Marcos and gave the department an accurate institutional identity. On June 2, 1978, the DSSD was renamed Ministry of Social Services and Development (MSSD) in line with the change in the form of government.
In 1987, the MSSD was reorganized and renamed Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) through Executive Order 123, which was signed by President Corazon C. Aquino. Executive Order No. 292, also known as the Revised Administration Code of 1987, established the name, organizational structure and functional areas of responsibility of DSWD and further defined its statutory authority. In 1991, Republic Act 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991, devolved the basic services of the DSWD to local government units.