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Because it shed light in dark places, and focused public
attention on a problem still unsolved.

PROBATION AND DELINQUENCY, by Edwin J. Cooley. Nelson.

Because it was the first scientific attempt to outline the
administrative and diagnostic problems of probation.


AND ENFORCEMENT. George W. Wickersham, Chairman of
the Commission. Senate Documents, 1930-31.

Because it offered a thorough and complete analysis of
many current problems surrounding crime and prevention.

20,000 YEARS IN SING SING, by Lewis E. Lawes. Long and
Smith. 1934.

Because it popularized the case for the prisoner behind
the walls.

1937 BOOK [Added by The Editors]

PRISONS AND BEYOND, by Sanford Bates. Macmillan.

Because its discussion of prisons and prisoners is informed
by humanitarian philosophy and written out of practical

Some there are who believe that the state alone should
be entrusted with administration and see the program as
one of federal-state participation. Others hold that the
democratic administration of relief and welfare requires
that responsibility for administration be placed upon the
locality with state and federal authorities in a supervisory
and consultative relationship. Under any alternative a
centralized unit of finance and administration becomes nec-
essary, and by its very nature this brings a degree of rigid-
ity, whether the unit is operated locally or under the far
spread federal jurisdiction. Only those who have been
working in the preparation of rules and regulations, pro-
cedures, methods and forms can appreciate the difficulties
inherent in correlating the views of accountants and audi-
tors who deal with fixed quantities and social workers
whose measurements properly are in terms of wide flexi-
bility. For more than a year the state of New York has
been trying to codify a manual of its procedures and the
document is still in process, itself caught in the web of ad-
ministrative relationships in which we operate.

ON all levels of government we must be able at no dis-
tant date to define specific jobs, as to the nature of the
function and the necessary qualifications of the worker.
The complications are endless all the way from local
sentiment in favor of hiring only local people to civil ser-
vice or recruitment of workers through personnel divisions
subject to political bedevilment.

The local units must have administrators, case work
supervisors and visitors, auditors, statisticians and a cleri-
cal force. On the state and federal levels there must be the
same functional groups, but made up of people with the
capacity to carry on larger and more complicated opera-
tions, plus ability to plan, organize, stimulate, restrain
and interpret.

Let's look at one or two specific positions. What, for
example, is the job of a state welfare administrator? It is
his task to determine the scope and the course of develop-
ment of a state-wide public welfare program within legis-
lative and financial boundaries ; he must understand inter-
governmental relationships and those defined only by public
opinion; he must have the ability to interpret and carry
along with him the public officials of his state, from the
governor himself down the line to the village selectman.
His organization needs executive direction and planning.
He and he alone can decide the assignment of leadership
within the organization and secure the necessary decen-
tralization of administration with integration of authority.
He will be expected to establish a pattern of administrative
controls, functions and levels of responsibility. On him
depends the maintenance of a balanced cooperative rela-
tionship between local, state and federal agencies, govern-
mental boards and the public at large. He must give prac- ';
tical emphasis in policy-making and then accept the task
of interpretation and implementation of the present pro-
gram with future planning. He must see to the carrying
out of continuous surveys and analyses of current and anti-
cipated organizational problems as they relate to the local
and state units. He must be responsible for developing per-
sonnel standards, methods of recruitment, and training
services, and in this field must be deft in leading the public
far beyond its present concept of the social worker. In the
process he will have to evolve equivalents of experience and
education as a guarantee of competence which are within
the realm of reality and yet insure at least a semblance of



the case work processes. With all of this, he is faced with
the task of leading the public to an acceptance of his
program and, even more difficult, of its c <MV

At the other end of the line stands the visitor. What
does a visitor in a public agency need to know? Well, she
ought to have some knowledge of basic case work, an under-
standing of the agency's program and its administration,
and of the extent, purpose and procedures of her own job.
She should have a sense of responsibility to the client, the
community and the agency, should be amenable to super-
vision and alert to opportunities for additional training in
order to become increasingly adept at the task.

In between these two, the state administrator and the
visitor, is the supervisor in perhaps the most difficult job
of all. It is her task to interpret and to apply accepted
case work concepts to the education of visitors and to
rounding out the agency program. The successful super-
visor needs a sixth sense in evaluating the state and com-
munity pattern within which staff, professional standards,
methods and relationships are to be developed. Her in-
sight, tact and skill will, I firmly believe, determine the
future development of the public welfare program and the
effectiveness of its administration.

So far we have been discussing merely the programs,
problems and relationships within the public welfare struc-
ture itself. But we must also consider the private agencies
which not only are necessary to a rounded social work pro-
gram, but which provide our only social work laboratory
and testing ground for new methods and the development
of refined skills.

The first 'difficulty is to draw boundary lines, to deter-
mine when the public agency is responsible for this and the
private agency for that. To do this, we want to know the
amount and the nature of the private social work which
we may reasonably expect the community to support, in
addition to those activities maintained by tax funds. But
this is a question impossible of answer at the present stage
of welfare development. Community variations, differing
levels of consciousness and participation, defy any attempt
to define norms. We cannot even fall back on the old
formula that the public should carry the long term prob-
lem, leaving to the private agency the services character-
ized by immediacy or intricacy. The public program has
developed far enough to necessitate its operation in one
degree or another in both these types of problems. What is
certain, however, is the unwisdom of developing private
programs to include tax-fund subsidy which not only gives
the public authority undue control over them, but also leads
to lack of clarity and resourcefulness in the private agency

THERE is a word in social work which is acquiring
great meaning and value: "reasonableness." At the
present moment it would seem that the fields to be shared
in a definite partnership by public and private agencies can
best be determined by that social planning which is gov-
erned by an attitude of "reasonableness."

We can reasonably expect an urban community to pay
more than the rural to establish and maintain high stand-
ards of social work. Yet many of us believe that we need
our best workers in the rural communities. It is my opinion
that sound personnel standards can be achieved in the local
community only when the state and federal governments
back up their financial contribution with standards founded
on reasonable equivalents of education and experience.

MAY 1938

For example it would be reasonable to say that in most
sections of this country the basic educational requirement
for visitors should be graduation from a standard high
school. To this might be added paid experience in related
fields, such as nursing, with equivalent education and
experience counted possibly in the ratio of two to one. How-
ever, if we are to have our communities accept those stand-
ards, we must be willing to spend many hours in close
contact with community leaders, interpreting and explaining
the reason for such measure of capability. Complete vic-
tory is seldom achieved in a single battle and one should
know how to retreat without endangering the minimum
standards below which we refuse to go. It would be im-
possible today to set a single standard for every Ameri-
can community. Standards must vary with the economic
and social levels of states and localities.

Of one thing I am certain. Standards of personnel will
be accepted in communities only as we stress the value of
the services to be rendered rather than the possible economy
to be achieved. It is not my experience that good personnel
will always effect economy as the taxpayer understands it.
Good personnel is, of course, more economical in the total
effect on the community, but it is not always possible to
demonstrate this in immediate dollars and cents. But, nev-
ertheless, adequate interpretation of social work will in
the end show any community that there is a price for ser-
vice below which it cannot afford to go.

Many public social services are still too new to provide
a sufficient body of data upon which to develop opinion and
conclusion. Here is the need for the dynamic cooperation
of all other branches of government which deal with social

Juvenile Delinquency

Boys' Clubs of America


Breckinridge and Edith Abbott. Russell Safe Founda-
tion. 1912.

Because it was the pioneer work on juvenile delinquency
by two indefatigable champions of the juvenile court.

THE INDIVIDUAL DELINQUENT, by William Heulv. Little,

Brown. 1915.

Because it was the first painstaking attempt to analyze
problems of the delinquent child from the individual view-

YOUTH IN CONFLICT, by Miriam Van Wateri. New Republic.

Because it presented an understanding discussion of the
problems of modern youth.

500 CRIMINAL CAREERS, by Sheldon and Eleanor T. Glueck.
Knopf. 1930.

Because, with its companion volumes, it represented the
first major scientific attempt to evaluate the effect of the
penal institution.

JUVENILE DELINQUENCY, by W. C. Reckless and M. Smith.
McGraw-Hill. 1932.

Because of its thorough and intelligent treatment of the
whole subject in the light of scientific development.

1937 BOOK


Pauline Young. McGraw-Hill.

Because of its painstaking scholarship and broad usefulness.


maladjustment. We in the social work field can labor to
identify ourselves with such a cooperative scheme. We can
bring to it much from the past in terms of methodology and
social skills. But we must learn to adapt ourselves to those
values and modes of association which have been developed
in the field of political action, to accomplish our purposes
within the pattern of institutions which democracy has
developed for its own service and stabilization.

We may not like a particular political program or we
may have reservations with reference to certain political
activities. The fact of the matter is that these are ele-
ments of the scene in which we must work today. For in-
stance, to learn to think of relief, not merely as a means

of conserving the family unit and the personalities involved,
but possibly also as a means of redistributing national in-
come, brings us out of the narrowness of our own profes-
sional concepts into a larger realm where it should be pos-
sible to develop some form of political philosophy.

The achievement of anything so basic as this would be
in itself a great step forward for social workers. In the
process we would have learned to see the point of view of
other governmental officials and of the taxpayer, and to
look at our activities in relation to the going economic
order. It seems clear to me that only as we social workers
launch out into this Deep will we succeed in contribut-
ing to the more purposeful direction of the ship of state.

The Insurances and Social Work


PRIOR to the last great depression there existed in this
country no form of social insurance except compensa-
tion for industrial accidents. Today there are fifty-one
state unemployment compensation laws in operation and we
have a federal system of old age insurance for which (in-
cluding those covered by the railroad retirement act) about
40 million account numbers have been issued to American
workers. Great changes in social thinking preceded and ac-
companied the rapid enactment of this sweeping legislation.
Several years of deep depression were required to make us
as a nation realize that there are emergencies in the lives of
wage earners due to factors over which the individual has
little or no control.

Social insurance is a method of extending a measure of
security to individuals and families in the face of some of
these hazards. Many considerations have helped shape the
present program. Thus, unemployment compensation and
old age insurance under the social security act were made
contributory in order to cover a large proportion of the
population; and they were established as rights to avoid
what was considered the degradation of the needs test.

In addition to these insurances, the social security act
provides aid to certain categories of the needy the aged,
the blind, and dependent children. This assistance program
follows recognized relief patterns and rests on a needs test.
Neither the assistance nor the public health titles of the
social security act enter into the present discussion which is
confined to the effect of the social insurances upon relief
and social work, and upon public welfare generally. There
are a number of points which seem to me to be of great sig-
nificance in this connection.

First, social insurance must undoubtedly increase the
emphasis upon society's responsibility for the welfare of the
individual worker and his family. Such an extension will be
the almost inevitable result of the steps which already have
been taken. For example, in unemployment compensation
the worker will receive benefits for a maximum period of
perhaps three months of unemployment. But can we then
turn him loose on his own without further consideration,
if his unemployment lasts beyond that period ? So long as
the great majority of workers get jobs within the benefit
period, no serious problem will arise ; but in a depression
when many, if not most workers will exhaust their benefit
rights without finding work, there will certainly arise a

demand for further action. In England such pressure first
forced the extension of benefits beyond the contractual
period of unemployment, and finally led to the establish-
ment of a comprehensive post-benefit system of unemploy-
ment assistance on a modified needs basis.

Another example of the same point is sickness as a factor
in economic insecurity. This problem already has arisen in
state unemployment compensation administration. At present
the unemployed worker who is able-bodied and available for
work can draw benefits up to the limit of his wage credits,
but if he has the misfortune to get sick his benefits stop.
Thus at the very moment that he most needs money, even
his compensation payments are cut off. Compensation for
illness is, of course, distinct from unemployment compensa-
tion and if undertaken at all, it should be made a separate
risk; but from the point of view of the unemployed sick
worker, the distinction is somewhat artificial. Therefore, it
is my feeling that the present social insurance program must
lead to assumption by the community of further responsi-
bility for major social and economic risks.

THERE is a likelihood that the widespread extension of
insurance rights plus the rapid growth of various special
types of public assistance may lead to a decline in the stand-
ards of general relief. The selection of certain classes the
aged, dependent children, the blind for special considera-
tion in our social security system undoubtedly implies
favored treatment for those classes, which is desirable. How-
ever, this development may also foster the notion that those
in need who are left to depend upon general relief are ne'er-
do-wells and misfits. In a number of communities there has
been evidence within the past year of a return to old poor
relief concepts and practices. These always have been based
on the assumption that relief is essentially degrading, and
that recipients of relief should be treated as paupers.

It will be difficult at best to counteract this trend in
popular thought, especially since general relief will be the
catch-all to which the least fortunate members of society
must turn. Social workers have a distinct part to play in
helping the general public realize the basic position which
general relief necessarily must have in any effective system
of social security, and in demonstrating the essential unity
of all social services.

Clearly the administration of previously existing welfare



activities general relief, work relief, public assistance, and
so on will be markedly affected by the development of the
insurances. The operation of unemployment compensation
in twenty-three states during the early months of 1938
already has shown the close administrative interrelationships
which must exist between compensation on the one hand,
the Works Progress Administration and the relief agencies
on the other. The problem is acute at the present time
because the business recession in the latter half of 1937
brought many workers to the WPA and to general relief
before they were eligible for unemployment compensation
which began in January 1938. As a result, these workers
find themselves in the difficult position of being transferred
from WPA or from relief to unemployment compensation,
sometimes to receive benefits for only a short period of time,
and without any assurance that they can regain their former
relief status.

FOR the future, the relief authorities are now discuss-
ing what they will do with applications from jobless
workers during the unemployment compensation waiting
period of from two to four weeks ; to what extent they will
give supplementary relief to families in which there is a
worker currently drawing unemployment compensation
benefits; and what they will do to speed relief to those
workers who have exhausted their benefit rights while still
unemployed. In the longer run, also, the WPA will have
to consider the question as to when and under what circum-
stances insured workers will be permitted to accept work
relief jobs. i

These necessary administrative relationships probably


Social Security

The Survey
MM. m, INSURANCE, by I. M. Rubinow. Holt. 1913.

Because it was the first comprehensive statement of the
social insurance principle applied to American conditions,
by an outstanding pioneer in the field.

THE CHALLENGE OP THE AGED, by Abraham Epstein. Van-
guard. 1928.

Because it stirred and directed public thought and action
on behalf of the needy aged.

Beveridge. Longmans. Revised, 1930.

Because it has profoundly influenced current thought on
unemployment and the responsibility of industry and govern-
ment in meeting it.

SOME POLKS WON'T WORK, by Clinch Calkins. Harcourt.

Because it showed us in human terms the cost of insecurity.

TOWARD SOCIAL SECURITY, by Eveline M. Burns. McGraw-
Hill. 1936.

Because it analyzed the provisions of the social security act
in relation to the larger issues involved in a program of
social security.

1937 BOOK


Wyatt and William H. Wandell. Graphic Arts Press.

Because it shows the actual functioning of the social se-
curity program in this country.

will underscore the need for a comprehensive, integrated
insurance and welfare program affording a real measure
of security to wage earners and their families.

Further, the administration of the insurance programs
seems likely to lead to increased emphasis upon mass treat-
ment rather than individual treatment by case work meth-
ods. Naturally, many beneficiaries of social insurance have
no need for individualized treatment. Yet it will be a major
misfortune if the insurance administrators, in rejecting so-
cial case work, lose sight of those considerations of individ-
ual treatment involved in the insurance systems.

FOR example: the placement of unemployed workers
through public employment offices is a specialized process
related to case work, although it proceeds along very differ-
ent lines. The appeals of insured workers against the deci-
sions of unemployment compensation agencies in regard to
benefit payments will certainly involve consideration of indi-
vidual circumstances. In old age insurance the provision
that benefits are payable only upon retirement from regular
work will necessarily require some continuous contact with
the beneficiary.

It is natural that the substitution of rights for needs as a
basis for benefit payment should lead to increased emphasis
upon legal forms and procedures, but it is most important
that this should not in turn foster a mechanical or legalistic-
type of social insurance administration.

In the light of these insurance developments, social work
itself, while preserving its fundamental philosophy, must
modify its methods in many respects. Notably, social work
must shift its former reliance on long time family case work,
psychiatry and the clinic, to a method involving short time
contact, administration and research. It is most important
that social workers should adapt themselves to this new
opportunity, and that they should contribute to this new
field the valuable experience and the techniques which the\
have acquired in their former practice.

There should be no illusion about the possibilities in this
direction. Other professions and skills are of course required
in insurance administration. The question is whether social
work can adapt itself quickly enough to make its important
contribution in the formative years of the program which lie
just ahead.

Finally, the development of social insurance in a broad
federal-state program has brought to light new problems of
personnel in government service. In these new fields no
large groups of trained workers are available. This intensi-
fies the need, first, for merit systems to bring into the pro-
gram the best personnel there is, and second, for training
programs to develop skills which now do not exist. This
prospect offers a great opportunity for supporters of civil
service and merit systems, and also for those who can offer
training facilities.

At the same time, these very circumstances offer unusual
opportunities to the politicians, since in these new fields it
is not yet possible to establish effective personnel standards.
There is today an active struggle between politics and merit
and the issue is not yet clear. If the merit system wins, we
shall be able to administer efficiently these great systems of
insurance. But for politics to obtain a hold on the insurance
field would be a serious threat to the success of the entire
program. This situation constitutes a challenge to all those,
including social workers, who are committed to the princi-
ple of merit in the public service. It must be met promptly,
for ground lost now will be hard to regain.

MAY 1938


MAR later


From priva
to pubi

vO** * <i*

^^ V<'<

social work



*//) *Ctft Oi. <*&*.

Medical Care- But How?


TRADITION and the law accept the principle that
care of the sick poor is the responsibility of society.
. But that principle has been applied haphazardly over
the years until today even a cursory examination shows a

Online LibrarySurvey AssociatesSurvey midmonthly : journal of social work (Volume 74) → online text (page 44 of 109)