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ment. Another member is Mrs. Harvey S. Fouse, club
leader of Pittsburgh who is familiar with problems of so-
cial welfare through association with the Mothers' Assist-
ance Fund. The third is Hugh F. Dolan, Jr., of Pottsville.
young and energetic engineer who knows that a job. to be
well done, requires capable workers and able direction,
and who also happens to know the ways of the Rover boys.
It would take a good deal of heat to make this triumvirate
go along with something it considered shoddy.

I cannot say whether it was the lawyer, club leader, or

APRIL 1938


engineer who said, on examining the act closely: "This
says we shall test not only 'relative capacity' but 'fitness of
persons.' How can we test fitness of persons without con-
ducting oral examinations by which to discover whether
staff members who deal with the clients have sympathetic
personalities, understanding, good judgment, alertness to
clients' needs, and a sincere desire to carry out the purposes
of a public assistance act? We can't. Therefore, we cannot
escape the obligation to hold oral examinations."

Thus the board cut the Gordian knot of legal interpre-
tation by announcing that it would hold an oral examina-
tion for all of the 20,000 who were candidates for positions
involving relationships with clients.

When it was announced that boards would be selected
to conduct oral examinations, the Rover boys again licked
their chops. There would be seven or eight hundred board
members! Of course they would be paid, and surely would
control the lists of certified applicants to go to the county
appointing boards.

UT the triumvirate was on its job. In the first place, it
announced, members of the oral boards would not be
paid ; and in the second place it set up the boards in a way
that put them beyond the reach of the Rover boys.

Here was the method of composition : each board was to
consist of a qualified social worker, a person experienced in
the field of personnel or civil service, and an unimpeachable
representative of the general public, called the "lay mem-
ber." I have mentioned already the wide variety of occu-
pations which the lay members followed. Add a sprinkling
of men from chambers of commerce, well-known ministers
and a few other leaders in local communities and you have
the full picture. They were capable and conscientious citi-
zens with no axes to grind.

People from the fields of personnel and civil service also
were recruited successfully, donating their services. For
experienced social workers a call went out to neighboring
states. Wanting people personally unacquainted with the
applicants and free from involvements with the state de-
partment's late troubles [see Survey Midinonthly, February
1938, page 51] the board invited as assistants social work-
ers from Ohio, Indiana, New York, New Jersey, Mary-
land, West Virginia, the District of Columbia. The re-
sponse w y as gratifying, and the examining boards became a

For six weeks, from February 1 to the middle of March,
these examining boards- 700 people in all, in session all
over Pennsylvania examined thousands of applicants,
graded them, talked about them, got to know them to some
extent, and incidentally got to know each other. A care-
fully prepared rating form was used conscientiously. Since
judgment was to be rendered on the applicant's "personal
fitness for the particular position for which he was apply-
ing," the boards had to give special attention to the various
qualifications for the positions of county director, super-
visor, visitor, receptionist and any others "having client re-

I sat on the board examining candidates for county direc-
tor of Allegheny County and later assisted some thirty
boards in examining candidates for all positions in the
Philadelphia area. Among the candidates, of course, were
many provisional employes and many other persons who
have been working for years in the fields of emergency-
relief, mothers' aid and old age assistance. Merely to ex-
amine them was a liberal education.


And that is exactly what the laymen got, the bankers,
business men, lawyers, teachers, department store execu-
tives, engineers, club leaders, and all the rest. They not
only got it but they were delighted with themselves for
getting it. They were interested, attentive, inquiring, as-
tonished at some of the things they learned, eager to learn
more, and a little embarrassed sometimes by their own
sketchy information.

"When this is over I'm going to make a speech to my
chamber of commerce" said one man. "Those fellows are
all wet. They think a department like this just spends
money. I'll tell 'em. Say, this is important. It takes skilled
people. Why, I hadn't been in there half a day before I
was failing everybody who wasn't a trained social worker.
( I'd like to be there when he tells his chamber of com
merce. The state and federal representatives from his dis
trict have cast hardly a vote in the past five years in favor
of any proposal for relief, social security or unemployment
compensation. )

"Mrs. Lane," said another, "these candidates say Penn-
sylvania doesn't pay rent and medical aid out of its state
fund. How can that be? How can a family live that way?
I'm going into our district office next week and figure out'
some budgets. I don't think they're high enough."

"Neither do I," chimed in a neighbor, a banker. "Some
of these families don't know any way to get medical carer
except to beg some doctor for it. At least where there aren'ti
any clinics," he added, remembering something else he hadl
learned the day before.

"Look here, Mrs. Lane," said a wealthy and conserva-
tive gentleman who has small interest in civic affairs, "I'dl
like to employ in our district that social worker who is ore
our examining board. She comes from the New York Schooll
of Social Work and I always thought they were ever*!
worse than the ones from the Pennsylvania school. I guessi
I've been very ignorant."


HY must these offices be scattered all over town?""
asked a manufacturer used to orderly plants. "The<
employment office is in one place, the WPA in another, ther
unemployment compensation office in a third and the PWA\
in a fourth. The man who worked a little last year, them
had relief, then went on WPA and now can get unemploy-
ment compensation, has to run all over the city to different'
offices and after every call go back to the employment office.
Anyway that's what these candidates say. Sounds inefficient'
to me. Legislators pass these bills one at a time; I los
track of them and I'll bet they do too. I belong to a foruir
and I guess we'll ask a Congressman or two to come oven
and tell us what kind of a way this is to run business.'

"Do you know, Mrs. Lane," said a woman club leader
"several of our candidates this morning have been working,
as visitors for three years and all they do is to delivet'
checks. They take no real interest in the families. Why
they don't even think about getting some of these younft
boys into trade schools! Those boys'll grow up able to df<
no more than their fathers just catch-as-catch-can work. .|
think our PTA will be interested in this."

So it went. In one county the local board of publii
assistance had discharged every employe when the ne
department was established, and had filled their place
with "deserving" people provisionally appointed. PresentH
the examination produced a certified list for the count
Nothing happened. A member of the oral examining boar
called the other member? together and, though the boarri



no longer had official existence, they decided to see to it that
their work didn't go for nothing. So they wrote to Gover-
nor Earle and to Arthur W. Howe, Jr., state secretary of
public assistance, and insisted that the certified lists be put
into effect. They lived in this county, they said, and this
was their case load as much as it was anybody's. They
wanted politics cut out and qualified people appointed. In
time the Employment Board certainly would have seen to it
that the certified lists were used, but the volunteer mem-
bers of that examining board didn't want to wait. They
had become intelligently concerned and they proposed to
carry through.

I have not meant to say in this story any more than I

have said. 1 am not taking sides in any of the PetUUylvviU
controversies. I am not defending the absence of a state-
wide civil service system. 1 am not even saying that all
the people appointed as a result of these examinations will
be competent. Certainly I am not saying that all of the
$140 million will be spent wisely. But I am saying that
the Employment Board did an extraordinary job, and that
the Rover boys from now on are being watched by a lot
of newly educated bankers, teachers, business men, leaders
of clubs and chamber of commerce men who are more inter-
ested in good administration of public assistance than they
ever were before, and more conscious of their own responi-
bilities for getting it for their communities.

Thoughts of a rural worker in Pennsylvania
on the eve of the oral examinations

IN this long, long stretch of insecurity in the Depart-
ment of Public Assistance I have tried desperately to
maintain my equilibrium, to remain unbiased and ob-
jective. Do you know how long it has been ? Well, in a
way since the Goodrich committee was appointed at the
end of 1935 to examine the relief and unemployment sys-
tem in the state; certainly since June 1937 when the legis-
lature established the new department.

At that time I whooped and hurrahed with the rest of
the social workers because the principles of the Goodrich
recommendations were embodied in the law. Especially a
merit system. There, certainly, was a rung in the ladder
of security.

And then whispers began to go around, and presently
political pressures became apparent. Oh, definitely. Then
the union of staff workers, the CIO affiliate, came out with
a resolution demanding that because of its members' ex-
perience on the job they should be blanketed into the new

Pooh! pooh! said I, none of that discrimination for me!
I am willing to stand on my own feet. If I don't have what
it takes to hold my job, I don't deserve to have and to hold. them bring on the examinations and the social workers
will come out on top. The appointment of the Employ-
ment Board, three persons of integrity combined with eager
ability, confirmed my enthusiasm for the new set-up. Ah
me, yes! 'Twas back in gay September, six long months

By all means keep your chin up. Don't let little things
get you down, or affect the smooth order of the office. The
job must go on ! Memo No. 66 ... Memo No. 90 ...
blanket rulings . . . reaction . . . compromise. We must
administer the rulings of the state office. A unified front
and the program will be supported by the community.

Then a bombshell . . . de Schweinitz on the pan . . .
panic let loose. Steady now. How could charges so lacking
in accuracy have any real effect on Our Program? And
now the "investigation," perhaps better termed a spree be-
cause it cost money and ended in a headache, especially for
the governor. Keep your chin up, my good girl.

Karl de Schweinitz resigns amidst much wailing and
gnashing of teeth, but Dean Goodrich and Judge Smith
crash through at the crucial moment to set our feet on the
ground. We are fighting for a principle and not a man.
There will be someone else to carrv on the torch. We still

have the integrity of some of the members of the state
board, some strong county executives and directors. The
Employment Board is beginning to function. We mustn't
let loyalty to the old county boards bias us toward the new.

Fond farewells to old board members are scarcely off
the pen when, again whisperings, and more than that, bold
newspaper headlines acclaiming the political countenance
of the new.

Can this be true? What are we in for now? Some few
counties go on much the same, but weird things are hap-
pening in others workers catapulted from one job to an-
other without warning, rhyme or reason.

Come, come now. We must keep our eye on The Pro-
gram, that program which is our thinking and working,
our eating and sleeping. The Program must go on.

The Employment Board's written examination conies
along at the psychological moment and diverts our minds.
An endurance contest but calculated, we fondly hope, to
give the experienced worker a break. By inference at least
the examination recognizes that some degree of intelligence
is required for the job, so do the announced salary scales.
Our spirits turn upgrade.

"The Employment Board announces oral examinations
to determine the personal fitness ..."

LTTLE man, what now ? Whew, an oral examination !
As the time draws nigh it assumes the proportions of
the inquisition. To sit and wait and wait and wait is worse
than pulling the petals off the daisies if you really care
whether he loves you or not. The State Board of Assistance
does not wonder about anything. Theirs is to do or die.
Chop $800,000 a month off the budget and what do you
have? Utopia! bounded on the east by irretrievable loss of
morale, on the north by inadequate housing, on the west by
lowered health standards, and on the south by deterioration
of the human race. Dramatic ah, yes! but we must fight
the taxpayers. But in a weak, small voice we don't want
to fight the taxpayers, we want to do our jobs within The

Alas and alack ! we must be up and away, oral interviews
are scheduled today. A good night's sleep and a clear mind
are all it takes. Interpretation, cooperation, organization.

reorganization, politification, certification, ation,

ation, ation, - ation. We'll fight for the right

and we'll fight for the right and . . .

APRIL 1938


Dear Billy Cogswell:

THE EDITOR, dictating: To' Billy
Cogswell : We are sorry that we
have no material that might be
useful to your class in its study
of crime prevention among chil-
dren and we are not quite sure
where we might direct you for
it. If any promising source of
material occurs to us we will
let you know.

THE EDITOR, cogitating: That's
a new one on me. How old is a
seventh grader? Twelve? Thirteen? Should children that age be
thinking about crime prevention? And yet, and yet. ... If not,
why not? Wonder what the real students of crime prevention

Survey Associates, Sherman, Tex.

Dear Sirs:

The seventh grade of the Jefferson School is studying
about crime and its prevention among children. If you
have any free information suitable for our grade, we
would appreciate it very much if you would send it to us.

Yours truly,

Billy Cogswell

would think about it. Why not
ask a handful of them?

THE EDITOR, to the secretary:
Take these names, quote Billy's
letter exactly as is and then say:
Frankly, I don't know how to
answer Billy whose inquiry, it
seems to me, raises a very in-
teresting question. We hear a
great deal about crime preven-
tion starting with children, but
here is a child, a seventh grader,
who wants to start it himself. Is this desirable, and if so, how
should he start? What has our literature on this subject said to the
child himself; what can we offer him for his own objective study?

. . . learn to understand . . .

A. H. MACCORMICK, commissioner,
Department of Correction, New York

THE question raised by Billy Cogswell's
letter is difficult to answer. My opinion,
based on not too extensive knowledge of
child psychology, is that seventh grade
children should not be allowed to dwell
very much on the problem of crime or its
prevention. I do not see what they can
possibly do about it except perhaps to
understand better some of the children of
their own age who are presenting be-
havior problems to their parents or to the
school authorities. If, for example, they
could learn to understand the child with
the sense of inferiority and especially the
one who compensates for it by over-
aggressiveness, it might indirectly help
the problem child in question. It seems to
me highly dangerous, however, to en-
courage children to think of other chil-
dren as problem cases. If we do, the
"good" children may get a sense of su-
periority which in time will get them into

Another factor is that so many children
who are in danger of becoming juvenile
delinquents, and later adult criminals,
come from the poorer homes and the
poorer parts of our communities. The
most important factor in their cases is
their social and economic condition. If we
start emphasizing that fact to the more
fortunate children, we may again give
them a sense of superiority and empha-
size the feeling of inferiority which the
poor child so often has.

If it can be done tactfully and if psy-
chological concepts can be expressed in
terms so simple that the children will not
think of them as unreal, a great deal of
good might be done by teaching young
children that there would not be quite
so much crime and delinquency in the

world if social and economic conditions
were improved. There is no reason why
they should not learn at an early age
about child labor and its effects, about
the effects of living in slum dwellings,
malnutrition, and so forth. I would be
cautious, however, about discussing with
young children characteristics which may
be inherited, for they are too likely to
think that it is inevitable that the child
shall be like its parents.

I do not know of any literature that I
would feel safe in handing out to children
of this age but a great deal must be
known to child psychologists and others
\vho have dealt with juvenile delinquents.

. . . great deal can be gained . . .

LEONARD W. MAYO, assistant executive
director, Welfare Council of New York

BILLY'S letter came just as 1 was prepar-
ing an article on delinquency for the
March issue of the Junior Red Cross
Journal in which I tried to point out that
delinquency has its roots in so many com-
munity conditions that there are many
approaches to its prevention. This is one
of a series of articles which began in the
Journal in September 1937 based on the
experiences of a highschool group in a
fictitious town of 50,000 and their adven-
tures in learning about and trying to deal
with some of the community's social and
civic problems. I believe that Billy and
his classmates would find that all these
articles have a bearing on the specific
question he raises.

The best book I can think of for this
group is Crime Prevention, edited by the
Gluecks. It is written in a rather non-
technical style and I believe that Billy's
grade could get a pretty good orientation
from it and find in it enough of a familiar
nature to give them some impression of
the range of the problem and the points

at which different types of organizations
can make some contribution.

Crime prevention activities, it seems to
me, may be classified as follows:

1. Those activities of an official and
governmental nature which have to do
with restraint and punishment or treat-
ment of people who have already com-
mitted crimes.

2. Programs, activities and efforts di-
rected to those who, because of some acts
already committed or certain tangible
signs given, show promise of becoming
"offenders." Under this classification we
have special classes in schools, certain
institutions for children, Big Brother
work and boys' clubs, family service, and:
so on.

3. Those activities which relate to re-
moving some of the deep roots of crime,
through the development of health stand-
ards, provision of decent housing, ade-
quate recreation activities, improved re-
lations between teachers and children
and parents and children.

Obviously, the things which a group
of grade children actually can do in fur-
therance of any of these activities are
very limited, but there is a great deal of
education, awareness and insight which
can be gained at this age. This I think is
indicated when youngsters like Billy make
the inquiry.

. . . mores of the community .
ELEANOR T. GLUECK, Harvard Law School

BILLY COGSWELL'S question presents a
very grave challenge to those of us who
are interested in crime preventive work,
among school children. Although we shall
probably fail Billy at the moment because'
we do not know of materials suitable to >
the needs of seventh-graders, his request
undoubtedly will set some of us to think-
ing about how a very apparent need may.



lir Mipplird. Although I am not at all
sure that a school textbook on crime pre-
vention should be prepared for children
as young as Billy, it does seem as though
grade school texts in civics might devote
sections to delinquency and its preven-
tion. Just what should be included would
have to grow out of experimental teach-
ing of the subject to determine what
types of information in this field children
would absorb and benefit from.

It occurs to me also that here is an
opportunity for the vitalization of so-
called "character education programs."
Sociologists so often emphasize that chil-
dren are influenced for good or ill by the
mores of the community in which they
live. Perhaps a crime preventive program
shaped about the building up of a code
of morals designed to counteract the un-
wholesome influences of the environment
would furnish the broadest base for meet-
ing the needs expressed by Billy. It might
well deal with such practical problems
as: Why is it wrong for children to
gamble, to steal, to smoke at an early-
age, to drink, to carry on illicit activities,
to condone engagement in sharp business
practices, and so on?

I hope that out of Billy's inquiry may-
grow a specific effort to stimulate the
preparation of materials which might be
used in grade schools throughout this
country. We know already that most
adult criminals never go beyond grade
school so that preventive work must be
concentrated there.

. . . consider, discuss,
do something . . .

ELEANOR R. WKMBKIDGE, Lot Angeles, Calif.

BILLY COGSWELL'S letter puts a very good
question before the house. We start in
the grade schools to instruct in traffic
safety, dentistry, diet, sports, ventilation,
to say nothing of long division and gram-
mar. But is anything done about mis-
conduct of young delinquents? So far as
I know, even in the best schools, they are
hustled off to a clinic or a court, but the
children have nothing to say about it. In
my opinion, Billy is right, and they should
consider the matter.

I have asked my own daughter in the
eighth grade for suggestions. She says
that children are always interested in
crime stories, and all listen to them over
the radio, "But they are always old. I
never heard anyone talk about a child."
It may be regrettable that children do
listen to G-men and pirate stories. But
the fact remains that they do, so an in-
terest is there to start with.

My first suggestion to Billy would be
that a group of the boys and girls them-
selves decide who are the children in their
school who are getting out of hand, and
after discussion of the matter among
themselves, with their parents and the
teacher, do something about it. They

might invite thcx- children to play in a
game, see that they got better looking
clothes, take pains to say "Hello," or eat
lunch with them, invite them to the club
to discuss behavior in the school yard,
teach the girls to dance, the boys to do
something or other. Better yet, let them
discover what these children do well, and
learn from them.

Several years ago I made a speech in
Texas. A row of small boys on the front
seat asked me questions that were harder
to answer than those of their elders.

. . . keep out of trouble . . .

JESSIE Tui, Pennsylvania School of Social
Work, Philadelphia

I FEAR I am stumped I have no idea
what to tell Billy that he could do ex-
cept to try to keep himself out of trouble.
I question such programs for children
as I question mental hygiene, sex educa-
tion and the like, but meantime you have
to answer Billy and you have my sym-

. . . not by talking about it ...

SANFORO BATES, Boys' Clubs of America,
Inc., New York

MY idea would be to tell Billy Cogswell
to do his lessons well and aim to be that
kind of leader on the playground and in
his spare time to whom his associates may
look up.

I have little sympathy with the alto-
gether too obvious crime prevention
movements among adults and even less as
far as children are involved. If crime
is to be prevented it will not be by talking

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