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smuggle them all inside the public agency without benefit
of law. He must know much about human behavior, about
medical problems, so much in fact that Miss Chickering
demanded for him a college education before he even
started.

A session on the federal child welfare services, consid-
ered on federal, state and local levels of operation, stressed
the increasingly evident need for their coordination with
public assistance, and for the development of a permanent
structure rather than the use of federal money for ex-
perimentation in areas of service already explored.



Ralph G. Hurlin, director of the department of statistics
of the Russell Sage Foundation, dealt with "the uses of
statistics as a medium of interpreting and servicing the
administration of a public welfare program." He pointed
to the impressive development of statistics in welfare ad-
ministration, but credited that development primarily to
the pressure or emphasis of the federal agency. Its cause
has been not an academic interest but a direct administra-
tive need for statistics as a basis of planning legislation and
allotment of funds, and as a medium for administration,
supervision and control.

The American Public Welfare Association carried on
a spirited sister (or brother) act to the section meetings
on public welfare. Of particular interest was a meeting on
the transient and migratory worker, sponsored jointly with
the National Association for Travelers Aid and Transient
Service and the Committee on Care of Transient and
Homeless. A paper, prepared by Congressman Voorhis,
showed him to be thoroughly committed to the thesis of
federal responsibility, in cooperation with the states, in
meeting this problem. For thousands of displaced agricul-
tural families, he thinks in terms of a "new national
domain" on which they shall be resettled under federal
auspices. To provide relief for present hardships, he would
have more migratory labor camps and would broaden the
scope of the farm placement service and of the federal
employment service.

At an APWA session on the relationship between un-
employment compensation and relief, Ewan Clague of the
Social Security Board declared that the "basic pain" in the
difficult adjustments between these two is that the cart has
got before the horse ; that logically unemployment com-
pensation should come first, but when it began to operate
people eligible for it already were ensconced on WPA or
relief, often drawing more than they would get as com-
pensation "a natural but temporary situation."

A STRONG STREAM OF INTEREST IN THE PROBLEMS OF

spreading medical care ran through the conference, often
cropping out in unexpected places. With it went an under-
current of feeling, sometimes welling up in fervid discussion.
At a session of the conference Committee on Medical Care,
Alexander Ropchan, of the Chicago Council of Social
Agencies, made a forceful plea for general availability of
medical care, stressing the social factors involved and the
place of the social worker in interpreting health needs in
terms of community action. At the same session, Dr. R. G.
Leland, director of the bureau of medical economics of the
American Medical Association, spoke on the relations of
social work and medical care from the standpoint of the
medical profession.

A stormy petrel at the conference, Dr. Leland, by the
time the week was over, had turned at least verbally con-
ciliatory. "I don't know whether the AMA has done itself
any good by sending me out here or not," he said some-
what ruefully at the close of a session where he had ex-
plained that the doctor is quite justified in unwillingness
to work with social workers unless he can depend upon
them not to defend or encourage health insurance, plans
for group practice and so on, which the physician believes
work toward the ultimate harm of the highest quality of
medical care. Dr. Leland asserted that the insurance prin-
ciple cannot be applied to health since sickness, unlike
death, is unpredictable. Alluding indirectly to the findings
of the National Health Survey, he said: "Remember that



233



of the reported thirty or forty million sick persons not re-
ceiving the medical care they need, many of them don't
want it! Probably these represent a sizeable proportion of
that total." He urged social workers to realize that the
medical profession was experimenting with means of
spreading medical care and to "remember that the central
figure is the sick patient." The one aim of the doctors in
this problem, he said, is "to keep the demand and supply
of medical services in constant balance. . . . We hope you
will help us."

In closing the meeting its chairman, Helen Hall of New
York, assured Dr. Leland that his audience would agree
with him that the central figure is the sick patient. "If
we can work with Dr. Leland in getting some kind of
health security for neglected groups, we'd like to. But if
we can't, I guess we're just going to work."

Although it carried an extensive program, the section
on social case work stuck quietly to its knitting through
the week and was satisfied with making its imprint on the
professional techniques of its own practitioners. By and
large it made comparatively little noise in the conference.
A thorough-going review of principles of present case work
procedures, with group sessions designed to instruct on
sound practice in a variety of situations, occupied much of
the program. At a session on the preparation and direction
of case work personnel, Leah Feder of Washington Uni-
versity, St. Louis, stated her belief that: "What has hap-
pened in the last few years as the result of the rapid growth
of the public services is only the beginning of a whole new
educational structure which will expand and change in its
turn as the social security act continues in operation. The
inevitable struggle for qualified personnel has only just
begun. . . ."

The conference seemed to have left behind much of the
earlier vagueness about "this group work." The section,
with Charles R. Hendry, Boys Clubs of America, as act-



ing chairman, presented an extensive program with atten-
tion concentrated on simple and practical problems in
adult education and work with young people. Throughout
the programs there was strong emphasis on the democratic
ideal and its implications for group work. In a poetic,
Glenn Frankian paper on that subject, Howard Woolston
of the University of Washington called group workers
"the cowboys of social work," and told them:

You must understand the principles of democracy better
than lawyers, teachers and preachers . . . democracy is being
attacked in many quarters. Your boys and girls must defend

it, if it is to be maintained Young people can be shown

how to govern themselves. Such ability is the basis of civil
liberty, because it makes autocrats ridiculous and tyrants in-
tolerable. An autonomous group requires only helpful sug-
gestions, not dictatorship.

In reporting a committee study of how group work agen-
cies function cooperatively in the community, Moses
Beckelman, of the New York City Welfare Council, dis-
tilled from his findings an interesting analysis. Group work
activity in councils of social agencies, he said, divides into
three levels: the pre-group level, roughly called character
building, recreation and the like, concentrating on such
activities as studies of juvenile delinquency and promotion
of leisure time activities; the group work stage, which adds
the study of standards and objectives, recording and case
work relationships; the post-group work stage which be-
gins to invoke such terms as education, neighborhood and
community organization and to reflect, in its activities,
concern with personnel standards, training not limited to
the acquisition of recreational skills, democracy in struc-
ture of group work divisions and agency participation in
broad social problems.

A comparatively new organization, the National Asso-
ciation for the Study of Group Work, announced that its
membership has doubled since the Indianapolis meeting,



Hon. David G. Adie

Commissioner, New York State Department of Social Welfare



IF the precious ore which has been
mined from the private social agencies
is to be a measuring factor in social coin-
age which we use, then its true value
must be interpreted to a highly critical
and skeptical public. It would seem
clear to me that no one can have traveled
very much among the general public with-
out being conscious of the fact that we
social workers are viewed as excellent
people who have little of the practical
wrapped up in our natures. The mem-
ber of the political organization, how-
ever, is viewed as a very practical person.
His motives may sometimes be ques-
tioned; his methods may not always undergo keen scrutiny;
but it is freely recognized that his operations and public
relations are skilled and real. He apparently knows people,
retains his affection for them in spite of their defects and
has a warm personal regard for human personality. . . .




The wise administrator, then, who has
his mind fixed upon a successful inter-
pretation of what the governmental
agency is trying to do to serve human
beings, must find a language which is of
the newspaper variety rather than the
textbook. He cannot, of course, depart
from the basic values, but they must and
can be couched in a language easily un-
derstood by the average person. Experi-
ence has taught me that the use of
scientific terms and professional short-
hand has been one of the greatest barriers
between the mind of the legislator, for
example, and the social worker. . . .
I believe we will win public approval for our program
in very much the same way as the representatives of the
people are elected by going to the place where the people
are, talking to them in homely language, and stressing the
human values paramount in our concern. . . .



234



SURVEY MIDMONTHLY



and presented impressive, even formidable studies and re-
ports. Its chairman, Charles E. Hendry, warned:

In the early stages of any professional development there
i> usually a tendency for those most concerned to become
narrowly pm.vupied with definitions and technical details.
\ ; infrequently this . . . leads to the substitution of subtle-
ties for simplicities and there arises the danger of making
obscure the obvious. If we are to avoid becoming just another
sect of specialists, if we are to avoid becoming encased within
\ed and final group work theology, we must make abso-
lutely certain that the many elements which ultimately may
combine to yield a generic group work are kept fluid and in
solution. Premature crystallization would be deadening.

The section on community organization rolled up its
sleeves and took on its problems in a series of "relation-
ships" programs relationship of community organization
to professional and non-professional leadership, to organ-
ized labor, to the educational process, to public welfare
and national agencies. In the course of the week, a num-
ber of utterances drew fire and aroused healthy discus-
sion. It was somewhat of an innovation that an official of
a militant labor organization, Richard Francis, regional
director of the CIO for Seattle, should appear in this
section. In another program Pierce Atwater drew the fire
both of the local press and of the Joint Committee of Trade
Unions with his declaration that the American Associa-
tion of Social Workers should keep its hands off politics:

Regardless of how sympathetic our membership may be to
any economic theory or political concept, the clear fact re-
mains that we will act wisely as a professional organization
to function collectively on matters within the sphere of our
professional competence. . . . This, regardless of how sym-
pathetic the membership might be to any economic theory . . .
or how active individual members might be in a labor organ-
rion or political party.

( )n the other side was a paper prepared by Jacob Fisher,
president of the Social Service Employes Onion of New
k City, in which he held that: "The trade unions in
al work reflect the problems of the profession and those
of the general social situation in which the profession of-
fers its services."

( K THE THESIS THAT "OUR KIND OF PUBLICITY CAN'T BE

divorced from the practice of social work," and that the
thinking of social workers about their immediate prob-
lems is the blood stream of the publicity worker, the So-
cial Work Publicity Council this year concentrated on
joint programs with a variety of organizations. A realistic
ng of problems with practical social workers went hand
in hand with efforts to find concrete, helpful ways of in-
terpreting those problems.

An outstanding paper, the stuff of good, homely, honest-

( iod country life, came from Kansas for presentation
at the joint session of the publicity council and the Amer-
ican Public Welfare Association. County supervisors and

^workers from thirty-nine counties collected the ma-
terial, Josephine Strode, formerly of the Kansas ERA,
helped prepare it and Helen Maxwell, welfare director
Grant County, Kansas, gave it final form. Too full
of color to be reflected in a few sentences, it carried real
insight into rural social work as it actually is lived. "We
have heard it said that when prosperity comes back, it
will come through the barn door. Publicity for rural social
work must have the barn door approach to reality."

At least one participant in the delegate conference of



Hon. Joseph N. Ulman

Judge Supreme Hench, Baltimore. Md.
to ike National Probation Association



IT wouldn't be so bad to
preside in the criminal
court if the judge were as
blind as Justice. I do not
fear the sneers of those who
try to make the public be-
lieve that probation and
parole are twin daughters of
darkness. I stand firmly upon
the rock that each person
convicted of crime is an in-
dividual human being who must be studied as an individual
and treated as an individual. . . . But let this be determined
in respect of each individual by a cool and dispassionate study
made by trained persons, not by an emotional outburst or
iihtl> stimulated popular outcry. ... I insist that the admin-
istration of probation and parole must be put on the highest
plane of good social case work. And I insist, too, that
probation and parole are but parts, essential though they
may be, of a planned system of penology. Standing by them-
selves, they may be dangerous. Integrated into and forming
parts of a rationally conceived system, they will prove
invaluable.




the American Association of Social Workers, which met
in advance of the NCSW, felt that in those sessions, more
than in any subsequent ones, was "creative discussion at its
best." And, he added, "There are signs that New York
is no longer the Mt. Olympus from which pontifical pro-
nouncements may be issued, whether it be in the AASW
or other fields of social endeavor."

In any case the delegate conference, with sixty-nine of
the seventy-nine chapters represented, engaged in healthy
introspection considering two primary issues: how to give
chapters a larger voice in shaping the policies and directing
the affairs of the association; how to help chapters meet
the increasing need for broadening their own local pro-
grams. "Further discussion" was recommended on both
issues. In the discussion of the report of the division on
government and social work, presented by Donald S.
Howard of the Russell Sage Foundation, it was evident
that local chapters want the services of the national organ-
ization strengthened rather than curtailed.

Community Chests and Councils, Inc., as is the custom,
gathered for three days of "shop talk" before the opening
of the conference proper and carried into the week with a
wide participation of "chest people" in the programs of
other groups. The "shop-talk" sessions were capped by an
address by Bradley Buell, national field director, on devel-
opments in the field of council and service programs.

A vigorous six-day session of the National Probation
Association opened two days ahead of the conference and
brought to Seattle a stellar cast of penologists and experts
in juvenile delinquency, probation and parole. Judge
Joseph N. Ulman, of Baltimore, speaking of the recently
published book, Youth in the Toils, by Leonard Harrison



JULY 1938



235




Arriving in Seattle by The Survey's special train: Robert P. Lane, New York; Ruth D. Mack, Survey
staff; Edgar M. Gerlach, Washington, D.C.; Dr. Ellen C. Potter, Trenton, N. J.; Hazel Newton, Boston



and Pryor Grant, saw there new proposals applicable to
every violator of the law, which would make possible a
rational plan of treatment, through operation of a "dis-
position board" of persons especially trained to have juris-
diction over the offender during his whole period of treat-
ment. This board would determine the offender's length
of detention and use all the social and correctional facili-
ties available for his particular case. Judge Ulman believes
that this plan holds the possibility that "the sorry spectacle
of repeated cycles of crime, arrest, imprisonment and release
may become less and less common."

The second year of the National Association of Train-
ing Schools as an associate group of the NCSW was de-
scribed by a participant as "a landmark in a developing
program and a reaffirmation of the need for further in-
tegration with the educational and child welfare fields."
Outstanding on the association's program was Jacob Kepecs
of Chicago who spoke on the responsibility of training
schools in the child welfare program, and emphasized the
essentials which will help remove the schools from the penal
field : "The training schools must recognize that they are
child welfare institutions dealing with handicapped chil-
dren and not with little prisoners."

It is an old custom for the president-elect of the con-
ference to speak at the luncheon of the Child Welfare
League of America. The league's sessions at Seattle dealt
with county units, with relations of public and private
services, with adoption and child placing in the world
today. At the luncheon Paul Kellogg, president-elect, talked
on Growing Up, in terms not so much of children as of
the evolving work for children and the changes in the
community life into which children go. The children's
agency knows at first hand every cause and trouble that
brings its charges into its care. It is steward of an aware-
ness it can and should put to work. The private agency
especially finds itself today in a unique position to serve
as an interpreter, champion and critic in the rapidly ex-
panding field of public child welfare.

In a week of programs of the special conference com-
mittee on social aspects of children's institutions; at the
luncheon session of the National Child Labor Committee



where Homer Folks spoke on changes and trends in child
labor, and its control ; and at a session of the same group
addressed by Senator Schwellenbach on the constitutionality
of child labor legislation, the child was emphasized as the
key figure of today and tomorrow.

The landscape is far from complete. From sheer physical
inability to "cover" (both on conference territory and on
paper) the feast spread for conference-goers much must
be slighted. Staccato mention serves only to suggest a few
of the possibilities:

The National Conference of Jewish Social Work, which
in a one-day session reviewed the past and present and made
a "blue-print" for the future of Jewish social work. . . . The
Church Conference of Social Work which got down to cases
of joint efforts between social agencies and churches. . . .
The Association of Schools of Social Work with developing
plans to organize social work students in the interests of
articulateness and exchange of ideas. . . . The Committee for
the Prevention and Social Treatment of Blindness which set
up a real milestone on a march toward integration of service
to the blind with social programs for all those with special
handicaps. . . . The National Federation of Settlements
which carried out an "idea exchange," North to South, East
to West, especially on consumer problems, cooperatives, credit
unions. . . . The National Committee on Volunteers in Social
Work, with delegates from Texas, the Carolinas, New Or-
leans and the East to meet with volunteers of the North-
west. . . . The Western Conference of Public Welfare Of-
ficials which, in a specially called meeting, brought in other
state officials to demand federal support for migrants and
non-settled. . . . The Social Worker's Committee for the
Spanish Democracy which faced the challenging need to raise
$3000 from social workers toward a relief ship, scheduled to
sail this summer.

The session of the American Association of Medical So-
cial Workers where Dorothy Deming of New York and
Ruth E. Lewis of Washington University put cards on the
table on the working relationship between medical social
workers and public health nurses. . . . The distinguished ad-
dress of Dr. Samuel W. Hartwell of Buffalo at the dinner of
the American Association of Psychiatric Social Workers. . . .
Likewise the presidential address of Stanley P. Davies of New
York before the Family Welfare Association of America.



236



SURVEY MIDMONTHLY



If anyone left the Seattle conference without attending
tin- Social Work Publicity Council's Follies and giving a
good look at the exhibits and consultation services, his luck
or his judgment was bad. If there is one thing which social
workers have learned in the last decade, it is how to snap
out a vaudeville program at least, such was the evidence
of the 1938 Follies. Efforts at "funning" in past confer-
ring all were outdone by this year's performance. The
Chicago team of Barbara Abel, versifier, and Helen Baker
and Audrey Hayden, performers, placed a nice peak on
tine with The Clean Up. "Social workers ain't like
ordinary people," said scrubwoman Audrey Hayden
( )'Hara to side-scrubwoman Helen Baker Mahoney. "They
don't have politics or religion or sex." "Gee whiz, Mrs.
O'Hura, what do they have?" "Oh, they have organi/.a-
tion, administration and education," offered Mrs. O'Hara,
more in pity than scorn.

An important change in conference procedure was ef-
fected at the annual business session of the NCSW w : hich
adopteij a committee report offering a well thought out
regional planning scheme for selection of the conference
time and place of meeting. The plan will be published in
full in the next issue of the bulletin of the National Con-
ference of Social Work. For 1940, while the new scheme
is getting into its stride, St. Paul, St. Louis and Atlantic



City, were suggested as "eligibles," with all the easterners
holding their thumbs for the boardwalk.

Before concluding this all-too-inadequate report of so-
cial work's big annual confab a word must be said of the
Canadian Conference of Social Work, held in Vancouver
just prior to the Seattle meeting. Margaret Bondfield was
a guest speaker there; and so too were Fred K. Hoehler,
Margaret Rich and Paul Kellogg. Helen Hall spoke at the
closing session with Dr. H. M. Cassidy, director of social
welfare of British Columbia and president of the Canadian
conference. The imagination of the visitors, both from
England and the United States, was caught by the group
of younger social workers, personified by Dr. Cassidy, who
at key points from the Atlantic to the Pacific are giving
fresh caliber and leadership to the Canadian movement.

A Westerner, looking back over conference week con-
cluded: "The conference came to Seattle at the right time,
for social work hereabouts is at an impressionable age. It
has afforded this region a coveted opportunity for appraisal
of its social work and for better orientation of its workers."
This reporter, looking back, concludes: The 1938 national
conference arrived gasping; it went home with that greater
peace which follows a nourishing meal. And those who
would took back with them well-filled hampers of food
for thought, enough for months of mental digestion.



SEATTLE is " long way off" from
the country's center of social worker
population and despite vacation allures
the total registration of the 1938 Nation-
al Conference of Social Work stopped
at 3348, considerably below the totals
of the last few years. Afternoon and
evening sessions which were "open"
drew, it is estimated, about a thousand
additional persons whose interest did
not quite extend to a three-dollar regis-



Online LibrarySurvey AssociatesSurvey midmonthly : journal of social work (Volume 74) → online text (page 63 of 109)