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high but probably surmountable with a vigorous boost
from public opinion. The district attorney and corporation
counsel have ruled the Group Health Association illegal.
Now the association awaits an answer to its petition for a
declaratory decree, filed with the federal district court.
William Kilpatrick, president of the association, has an-
nounced also that suit will be brought against the Medical
Society for "conspiracy" to prevent free choice of staff
physicians by GHA and of staff physicians by members.

Even more impeding are functional difficulties which the

APRIL 1938

opposition has raised. Hospitals have discontinued services
and courtesies to CillA -taff physicians and Medical So-
ciety opposition has made it virtually impossible for GHA
to recruit a staff of physicians in Washington. Recently it
expelled on technical charges the one GHA physician who
still retained membership in the society.

Meantime, for a monthly $3.30 per capita, GHA mem-
bers are receiving medical services which, from all reports,
are thoroughly satisfactory to them.

Free for the Future

IN order to "free the future from frozen funds and 'tired'
endowments" the Rockefeller Foundation and the Gen-
eral Education Board have acted to liberalize provisions
affecting endowments of $51 million given to date by the
foundation and $148 million given by the board.

The new terms provide : that ten years after the date of
the gift the income may be used in whole or in part for pur-
poses other than those originally specified ; that after five
years 5 percent of the principal may be used each year for
other than specified purposes; that after twenty-five years
the principal may be so used. In each instance it is stipu-
lated that the new purpose is "to be as reasonably related
to the old purpose as may be found practicable, having re-
gard to intervening changed conditions."

Gradually the organization structure through which the
Rockefeller benefactions have been dispensed for twenty-
five years the foundation was incorporated in 1913 is
being simplified. The Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memor-
ial was merged with the foundation in 1929. Last year the
International Education Board was liquidated, and the
General Education Board is now approaching liquidation.
Ot the future Raymond B. Fosdick, president of the foun-
dation says:

How long the Rockefeller Foundation may continue depends
upon the opportunities for expenditure that lie ahead.

The temptation to visualize the future in terms of the
present to think of the needs and methods of today as hav-
ing a sure claim to immortality is one which confronts
trustees as well as founders of philanthropic foundations.
... In endowing what they thought was of permanent im-
portance, earlier generations made wrong guesses which em-
barrass us today. How can we assume that our guesses have
any greater validity or are made with any clearer foresight?

And So On

IN an effort "to look at a hot world with cool heads"
scientists, professors and officials held a three-day con-
ference in Washington last month under the chairmanship
of Eduard C. Lindeman of New York. Among those par-
ticipating were John A. Kingsbury, Margaret Sanger,
Prof. Charles A. Beard, John Ihlder, Prof. William H.
Kilpatrick, David Cushman Coyle, Robert P. Lane and
Lawrence K. Frank. With the passage of enabling
legislation in Virginia and California, thirty-two states
now have laws under which they can share in the benefits
of the federal government's slum clearance and low cost
housing program. With the exception of Illinois, Massachu-
setts and Montana, all these state laws provide for tax
exemption or remission on projects built under the Wag-
ner-Steagall housing act. The Civil Service Assembly
of the United States and Canada is undertaking a nation-
wide survey of civil service operations from which it pro-
poses to prepare an authoritative guide to policies and prac-
tices in the field of public personnel administration.


The Social Front


*~pHE clear-cut clash between the WPA
program, which goes forward with
the unflagging endorsement of the ad-
ministration, and the general relief pro-
gram for federal aid to states and locali-
ties, which is proposed by a Citizens'
Committee of the Community Mobiliza-
tion for Human Needs, came squarely to
issue at a recent Washington meeting of
the 1938 Mobilization, under the aegis
of Community Chests and Councils, Inc.
In welcoming the conference at the
White House President Roosevelt ex-
pressed his cordial approbation of the
work of the private social agencies, but
stated also that he is "definitely committed
to the giving of jobs instead of relief."
Mentioning also federal supplementation
of state social security programs and the
responsibility of states and localities for
unemployables, the President held that
while "the national economy does not
now permit" WPA jobs for all the em-
ployable needy unemployed, the federal .
government is however providing WPA
employment in the great majority of such

At a session immediately following
the one at the White House, Charles P.
Taft of Cincinnati, chairman of the 1938
Mobilization, said, "We are evidently in
the position of disagreeing with the Pres-
ident of the United States on a matter of
vital national policy, the problem of re-
lief and unemployment." Mr. Taft em-
phasized how far the WPA program
falls short of giving employment to all
"unemployed needy employables," and in-
sisted that the program of the Citizen's
Committee [see Survey Midmonthly,
February 1938, page 37] was not op-
posed to WPA as a works program but
asked only for "decent care for all those
on relief instead of the creation of a
doubly underprivileged group represent-
ing about 60 percent of the load today
who are left to local resources, more
than half of whom are employables not
distinguishable in any sound way from
those on work relief."

"We advocate a flexible national re-
lief program," he added, "including work
relief, sensitive to local needs and man-
aged by local officials but financed joint-
ly by federal, state and local government.
. . ." Mr. Taft expressed the opinion
that, even if WPA jobs were provided
for all employables, local relief for un-
employables, without federal supervision
and aid, still would remain inadequate,
hut that the combined resources of all
three should provide decent and equitable

relief, direct or by work programs, for
all persons in need.

A vote by show of hands of the 400
delegates from 150 cities showed not a
single negative to Mr. Taft's question:
"Assuming cooperation on the part of
the federal government, how many of
you think that the proposed program
could be made to work better than the
present relief program?"

Relief in Chicago Again faced with
the prospect of exhausted funds for re-
lief purposes, Chicago now sees the end
of April as the deadline, so far as pres-
ent provision goes. Unlike former crises,
however, this one has been receiving at-
tention in advance. Clients, social work-
ers and the press have been saying, "Our
relief funds will be used up by the end
of April." The clients, the Workers' Al-
liance and social workers with labor
union affiliations have demanded atten-
tion to the impending situation. Chicago
relief administration case workers are
laboring under a load of around 300 fam-
ilies each; the city is paying only half
rents; the number of single men in shel-
ters has increased by 65 percent since No-
vember 1937. Clients in picket lines al-
lege that only about a third of the sales
tax collections in the state treasury act-
ually are being used for relief purposes
and that there is now in that fund about
$80 million.

New York's Relief Nearly a year
after Mayor La Guardia's appointment
of a board of survey to study New York
City's relief set-up and the problems in-
volved in its transfer to the city's perma-
nent department of welfare, the board
has reported that "we sincerely wish
that all our citizens could know the facts
as we now know them. . . . There would
be fewer idle and silly stories to the effect
that relief money is to be had by any who
ask for it, or that vast sums are being
spent extravagantly, with little check."
Although New York relief standards
were found to have increased during the
past six years until now they are higher
than in any other of the country's ten
largest cities, they still reach only about
70 to 75 percent of the "emergency stand-
ard" of living defined in two recent,
WPA-published studies by Margaret L.
Stecker. A preliminary "leak" of the re-
port into the newspapers stressed this de-
ficiency and the failure of the city to
make any regular provision for clothing
or personal expenses, but the report as
finally released tempered its emphasis on
this deficiency by pointing out that "the
present resources available to the city

have made it impossible systematically to
include these items in every relief bud-

Matters of administration and method
constitute the major recommendations of
the board of survey, which was headed
by Peter Grimm, business man and for-
mer president of the Real Estate Board
of New York, with Donald S. Howard
of the Russell Sage Foundation as sum
vey director, Philip Ryan of the Commit-
tee on Care of Transient and Homeless
as his assistant, and Hugh R. Jackson of
the State Charities Aid Association as
consultant. The New York Times, com-
menting editorially on the report de-
plored the illogic of relief supplemen-
tation of unemployment compensation
(during waiting periods and when bene-
fit is insufficient), as recognized in the
report, and its failure to discuss the ' 62
percent of persons on home relief who
had received some form of relief contin-
uously" since they first received such
aid. The complete report, of which ther
present release is a summary, was sched-
uled for later publication.

Important lacks and needs which the
board of survey found in New York's -
present relief set-up were presented in a
series of recommendations. In essence'
these included :

Insufficient information with respect to
individual recipients to make possible
proper control, interpretation and plan of*
relief programs.

Too many emergent demands upon the
time of investigators and supervisors tea
allow for adequate rechecking of eligibil-
ity. In this regard, work involved inj
WPA certifications or lay-offs, resulting
from sudden changes of program, and
special studies and investigations in gen-
eral were mentioned.

More effective effort needed for rehaB
bilitation and return of beneficiaries t
self-support through cooperative effort
of public and private agencies.

More administrative assistance for the
commissioner of welfare.

Longer-range planning, to be made
possible through longer-time appropria-J
tions of funds.

A citizen's board, without administra^j
tive responsibility, to advise on broad
iiiutters of policy.

More centralization of certain admin-
istrative, consulting, clerical and report-
ing services; further decentralization of
all direct services to beneficiaries and ap-

Adjustment of varying standards ot
need now found between categories.
A strong field organization to coor-



din.itr .ind supervise activities of local
district offices.

General "lift" of personnel standards.

After due preparation for the change,
nient ot investigators by territories
rather than by categories of relief.

Formulation and publication of regula-
tions relating to the right of relief appli-
cants to appeal disputed decisions. Estab-
lishment ot appeals boards or offices
apart from district relief offices.

Current Crisis The prevalent ani-
mosities between states and cities over
the division of responsibility and of tax
funds for relief needs have reached into
New York and caused sharp interchanges
between Governor Lehman and Mayor
La Guardia. More serious, they have re-
sulted in a 10 percent cut in the city's
relief allowances. The trouble began with
the action of the state legislature last
year in taking over, for the state's uses,
large revenues formerly collected by the
city from public utilities' taxes. This ac-
tion, says Mayor La Guardia, has caused
a loss to the city's relief funds of about
$12 million. Governor Lehman argues
that New York City is refraining from
using existing taxing powers and from
complete enforcement of sales tax col-
lections. He contends that by these means
the city could raise any funds needed for
relief and that it is therefore not neces-
sary for the city to cut relief allowances.
At this writing an attempt by Mayor La
Guardia to raise additional relief money
through a proposed new program of city
taxes has been "deferred" by the City

Social workers, clients and the press
urged amicable solution of the intramural
squabble by some means other than at the
expense of relief clients. The legislature
adjourned granting Mayor La Guardia
only extension of present taxing powers
for one year and permission to charge to
the city's relief funds $500,000 to bolster
its tax collection agencies. The mayor
then issued a statement warning the leg-
islature that a special session on relief
will have to be called. An extra largx-
allotment of federal surplus foods a re-
source not subtractable from relief al-
lowances became available opportunely
just as relief cuts were going into effect.
I his, it is hoped, will help to ease the
situation for relief clients. Relief loads,
meantime, are rising steadily at the rate
of about 2100 new cases a week.

Public Assistance

A VERITABLE craze for initiative
petitions to amend state constitu-
tions in regard to old age pensions seems
to be springing up as a logical heritor of
the various Townsend plans and their
ilk. A non-partisan league in Omaha,
Neb. proposes an amendment which

would provide, tor all residents over six-
ty-five, $30 a month pension, $75 a year
medical expenses, and $150 death benefit.

Initiation of three new bills for old
age pensions is being agitated in Okla-
homa, which has already its share of
troubles with suspension of payments by
the Social Security Board as of March,
until the state complies in important re-
spects with the social security act and
the state public assistance law. [See Sur-
rey Graphic. April 1938, page 203.]

In California a proposed initiative
amendment would give $30 a week to all
persons of fifty or over, by which provi-
sion a man and wife who did not employ
a servant could draw a joint income of
$60 a week. The proposal would make
employers ineligible for pension.

In Missouri, universal old age pen-
sions to all persons over sixty-five are con-
templated in a proposed initiative amend-
ment. Means tests would be barred, but
the state would hold a lien against prop-
erty of pensioners which at death would
reimburse the state for the amount of
assistance paid presumably when, as and
if such amount existed. Missouri is lab-
oring under the burdens of its present
old age assistance program. A slow re-
duction of the rolls is being effected
which, it is anticipated, eventually will
reduce them (by about 10 percent) to
an approximate 68,000 persons. Original-
ly it was estimated that about 10,000
Missourians would be eligible for old
age assistance.

More Progress For twenty-nine
years an orphanage has been operated
on land adjoining the poor farm of
Boone County, Ind. Welfare workers
recently succeeded in closing the orphan-
age by finding relatives who would care
for the children and by securing awards
for the needy ones under the aid to de-
pendent children provisions of state and
federal social security laws. In 1936 the
orphanage was operating at a monthly
per capita cost of more than $30 per
child and giving care which the Indiana
Welfare News describes as "practically
overshadowed by the bleak, brick walls
of that institution for the poverty-
stricken, a thoroughly unwholesome at-
mosphere ... for children entitled to
rearing amidst normal environment."
The net result of the new arrangement
is a saving of money for the county and
vast benefit to the children.

Recently Franklin County, Ind., also
closed its fifty-two year old children's
home, by finding boarding homes for the
child wards of the county, making use of
social security funds for dependent chil-
dren. Similarly, fifty-two children were
removed recently from the Knights of
Pythias Lodge at Lafayette, Ind. where
they had been housed in an institution
with the aged. With the aid of social se-
curity funds, placement with relatives

or in boarding homes was made possible
for all the children in the lodge. Of-
ficers of the order acted on the advice
of the children's division of the State
Department of Welfare. Placements
were made within a six-month period by
Gladys Spencer, a children's division
worker, who first lived with the children
in the institution for a time in order to
know their inclinations, and followed
this with visits to relatives and talks with
parents and county officials.

Form to End Forms Says Minne-
sota Public Assistance, "It had to come
a form to keep track of forms." The Le
Sueur county welfare board of that state
has designed a form "ingenious and
simple" with which to keep a quarterly
inventory of forms and other supplies.
Among many forms listed are those for
old age assistance, aid to dependent chil-
dren and the blind, child welfare, state
relief agency, audits and finance, social
data cards, statistical cards, county form
letters, warrants, and so on and so on,
far into the month.

One Out of Five In Colorado the
total number of dependents now receiv-
ing some kind of public assistance or re-
lief has climbed to nearly 100,000 or one
person out of five of the population, State
WPA Administrator Paul Shriver esti-
mates. Of a total of 94,852 cases, many
of them involving several persons, WPA
has 30,500; direct relief, 19,300; old age
assistance, 36,000 and the remainder are
included in lesser categories. The "pen-
sion fund" was so reduced by last Janu-
ary's jackpot distribution, mandatory un-
der the present state law, that payments
have been pro-rated and reduced until in
March they averaged only $26.50, which
is less than the average pension payment
before the $45-a-month law went into
operation. ... At a cost of more than
$11 million a month, Michigan now aids
through its various programs of public
assistance more than a million persons,
or about 22 percent of its population at
the last census. The total includes 70,487
old age assistance recipients who receive
an average of $18.90 each.

The Aged in Homes A study of
institutional care of the aged in Alle-
gheny County, Pa., covering 83.3 per-
cent of the county's total bed capacity,
public and private, for care of this
group, has been reported by Katharine
Biehl and Jane Ailey in The Federatur.
publication of the Pittsburgh and Alle-
gheny County Federation of Social Agen-
cies. It was found that in private institu-
tions less than 20 percent of all agen-
cies the average bed occupancy is nearly
20 percent higher than the average oc-
cupancy in public institutions of this
type. The explanation offered by the re-
searchers lies in the difference in type

APRIL 1938


of service given. In the main, institu-
tional care in private homes for old folks
is long time care. A person entering such
a home usually contracts to remain there
for the rest of his life, paying as his en-
trance fee such money as he has or as-
signing his insurance or some other asset.
Since turnover in private homes for the
aged depends largely on the deathrate,
such agencies can operate at near ca-
pacity, or with a waiting list.

On the other hand, public institutions
for care of the aged, like hospitals, must
have a larger reserve of empty beds for
heavy seasonal demands and to care for
a large group of transient and homeless.
Many patients are only in the institution
a short time before assignment to some
other type of care. Many are indigent
and some require continuous medical and
nursing care. For all these reasons, pub-
lic institutions for care of the aged main-
tain a lower rate of occupancy than pri-

Since the homeless and aged are better
able to maintain themselves in milder
weather, public homes se'rve fewer indi-
viduals in summer months than in
winter. Private agencies, on the other
hand, find their beds tending to fill up
in summer months and to be vacated in
winter, when the largest percentage of
deaths occur, according to these findings.

A report on old age assistance recipi-
ents living in institutions for the aged in
Allegheny County (as of October 1937)
has been prepared for the county Moth-
ers' Assistance Fund by Lora B. Pine.
The report finds ninety old people who
receive assistance living in nine private
institutions. They present an age range
from seventy to one hundred years and
receive grants ranging from $4 to $30.
"According to the best information avail-
able," says the report, "the per capita
cost of maintaining each recipient in the
institution is in excess of the sum paid
by the recipient of old age assistance."

Public Welfare

r~\RASTIC change is in prospect for
Massachusetts' time-honored policy
of total local responsibility for adminis-
tration of public relief. A special com-
mission on taxation and public expendi-
tures, appointed by the 1937 legislature
to study the state's financial problems,
selected welfare and relief as the subject
of its first report. With its eventual
goal more efficient and economical use of
state tax money, the commission found
much to criticize and many recommenda-
tions for change in the state department
of welfare. The fat report which it de-
rotes to the subject aims largely at ad-
ministration and relationships between
state and local public relief machinery.
The report takes a long look at the
whole problem of relief, its recent his-

tory, present size and involvements and
probable future including the anticipat-
ed day when the burden now carried by
WPA may fall on states and localities.

Failure of the state welfare depart-
ment to exercise what the commission
considers to be proper supervisory func-
tions over local administrations, failure
to use efficiently the department's exist-
ing staff and set-up, failure to coordi-
nate services within the department are
only a few of the charges brought by
the commission. Not the expenditure of
more money but better use of the money
now spent and improved application of
civil service in filling jobs were suggested
as remedies for some of the difficulties.
The need for financial assistance from
the state for local relief costs is recog-
nized. Some definite recommendations for
new legislation are made, among them
the elimination of "settlement" with all
its complications, as a step towards sim-
plification of relief administration. Final-
ly, the commission proposes new taxes to
meet, in a rational and systematic way,
the future costs of dependency which it
sees as a permanent, inescapable burden.

Following the publication of the com-
mission's reports, it is expected that pub-
lic hearings will be held.

Conference At the call of the presi-
dent of the Essex County unit of the
Overseers of the Poor of New Jersey,
five neighbor counties met recently for
a public welfare conference. Besides the
overseers, social workers from many
fields in the area represented public and
private, state and local got together
over their problems in a meeting which
served both as education and as a discus-
sion forum. Staff members from various
branches of the state Department of In-
stitutions and Agencies discussed the cor-
relation of their work with that of the

Citizen Committees The New

York State Charities Aid Association
has begun a long time effort for state-
wide, county by county organization of
unofficial citizen committees, their pur-
pose to study and promote understanding
of local public welfare effort and its im-
proved administration. With the current
growth of official welfare agencies, the
SCAA feels that local departments "need
also the assistance, advice, and construc-
tive criticism of informed, independent
local public opinion if they are to function
effectively . . . and also . . . state-wide
support for influencing state and possibly
federal action on welfare matters." Com-
menting on the new plan, which in many

Online LibrarySurvey AssociatesSurvey midmonthly : journal of social work (Volume 74) → online text (page 33 of 109)