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An educated medical profession is equally essential to
adequate administration. It has been found that the laws
have worked out most satisfactorily in those states which
have made contacts with all physicians and have fostered
state and local medical conferences as aids to the thorough
ination of up-to-date information,
ate-wide system of approved laboratories, with ade-
quate personnel for keeping records and compiling statistics,
has also been found a vital factor in the adequate adminis-
tration of the laws. The records of the blood tests in the
laboratories, however, as well as in the state departments
of public health, should be held confidential in order to
inspire the full confidence and cooperation of the marriage
license applicants.

The evasion of these laws has been widespread in many
of the states. During the first year of the Connecticut law,
before the New York law was enacted, the number of
weekend marriages in New York counties bordering Con-



necticut is reported to have jumped 55 percent. The attor-
ney general of Wisconsin recently has ruled that such
instances of evasion may be prosecuted as an offense against
the public health law of the state. But evasion might also
be prevented by state "double-license" laws, which would
withhold marriage licenses to out-of-state couples unless
evidence was presented in the form of a marriage license
from the home state, that the marriage was in conformity
with its laws. Such a law recently was introduced in the
New York state legislature.

Widespread evasion naturally would be impossible if
most of the states joined hands in requiring premarital
examination laws. A large measure of support for the New
York state bill was gained at a Regional Conference on
Uniform Marriage Laws, held last December under the
auspices of the New York Joint Legislative Committee on
Interstate Cooperation and attended by public health and
legislative officials from seven eastern states.

Other regional conferences may be held within the near
future by other state commissions on interstate cooperation.
The Council of State Governments with which these com-
missions are affiliated, is a clearing house for interstate activ-
ity and provides the facilities for the organization of regional
conferences and hearings. Through this machinery for
interstate cooperation which has already been set up, the
states may find a medium for unified action in the field of
premarital examination legislation. In addition, they may
find a meeting ground for state marriage law reform.



Job Finding Joins Relief

By HERMAN M. SOMERS
Wisconsin Public Welfare Department



WHAT is probably the first real attempt in this
country to attain a practical, working correlation
between public employment services and relief
agencies is under way in Wisconsin. While still in its experi-
mental stages, it promises an employment service "coverage"
,ilwa\s difficult to achieve in states with large rural areas,
and it is making available to relief clients the intensive type

!p in job finding which they particularly need.
It all began in the pre-recession days of early 1937, when
distraught relief officials, aware that merely closing relief
doors does not create job opportunities, were faced with
widespread, often ill-considered demands and moves by re-
lief boards to "cut down on relief." Seemingly a reaction
to a continuous program of general relief which had been
ed to them originally as a "temporary emergency," it
was an ominous development, motivated in part by a feeling
hat the country's depression stage had passed and the will-
p-the-wisp of "normalcy" was in sight, in part by a real
shortage in state and local relief funds. The unhappy result
nost often took the shape of local decrees that all "employ-
iblcs" should be summarily dismissed from relief rolls, on
he presumption that if relief were denied they would man-
ige to find jobs.

Fearing severe suffering and finding local boards ada-
nant, relief officials in several Wisconsin counties undertook
ampaijrns to obtain some sort of income-producing work
or their clients. From these spontaneous and isolated efforts
jrew the plan now under way, which represents a realistic

AUGUST 1938



grappling with their mutual problems by the state's relief
and employment services.

In launching the original effort to find jobs for clients,
employers, cities, private citizens, every conceivable prospect
was canvassed. It was a selling campaign, trying to sell the
services of clients to any prospective employer who might
have use for them. And many buyers were found.

The intensive job-quest demonstrated not that relief
clients had been indolent or indifferent to seeking employ-
ment, for they were avid enough when opportunities were
available, but that they needed more help and guidance in
that difficult pursuit. The particular type of help needed by
this group of unemployed differed from that given by the
regular community employment services. Relief agencies
deal with a sector of the unemployed which has a general
level of employability lower than that dealt with by the
employment offices. Partially disabled cases and the psy-
chologically handicapped need special types of attention. As
one observer put it, "The employment service has jobs for
which it seeks suitable men while the relief office has a group
of men for which it must attempt to find suitable jobs."

In Wisconsin, the situation was aggravated by a circum-
stance common to all states with large rural areas. The
State Employment Service could not provide full services
to the less populous localities. It maintains offices in twenty-
four counties, and serves the remaining forty-seven by means
of traveling interviewers working out of district branches.
Because of the limited number of interviewers and the wide



263



geographical area they were expected to cover, the time
spent in any one community necessarily was restricted to a
short visit, at weekly or semi-monthly intervals. Moreover,
it was apparent that local employers were not strongly in-
clined to negotiate with an employment office located in
another county or even in a different city.

THE State Public Welfare Department, alert to the sig-
nificance of all this, was ready to take remedial action.
Early last winter it worked out, with the aid and coopera-
tion of the Wisconsin State Employment Service and the
state WPA, an experimental plan for the expansion of em-
ployment services. The proposal was submitted as optional
to local relief agencies, many of which were quick to adopt
the broad phases of the program. The resulting experiment,
now in progress, promises to have wide significance for re-
lief agencies, particularly in rural communities.

By this plan, welfare departments in counties which do
not contain a state employment service office may assume all
responsibility of employment registration and placement,
operating in cooperation with the state service (WSES).
In effect, the welfare department becomes the agent in its
county for the state service. Relief clients are asked to
register for work and to renew their applications monthly
on the same basis as other work seekers. A county may, if
it wishes, extend its services to non-relief persons who wish
assistance in securing employment.

The WPA and WSES, which helped formulate the plan,
participate in it. In all cases, the applications and renewals
filed by work seekers are forwarded to the district office
of the WSES. If the applicant is a "certified" case eligible
for WPA employment a copy of the record is also sent
to the WPA. This applies also to notices of employment. In
this way, not only are the facilities of all three agencies
brought to bear more fully on the problem, but records and
data are kept more current and complete.

It is mandatory that all "priority number one persons" in
relief families (the most employable member) register and
keep their renewals active. Failure to comply means cancel-
lation of WPA certification and, if need be, termination of
direct relief. The county agency, in its discretion, may re-
quire all employable members of a family to register.

A county agency confronted with the refusal of a relief
client to accept employment may discontinue relief if, upon
investigation, the refusal is considered unwarranted. If
private employment is found for a WPA worker, the WPA
immediately cancels his connection with that agency with
the understanding, clearly stated in the separation letter
to the worker, that he will have full right to reemployment
with WPA upon legitimate loss of private employment. If
the WPA is informed by the welfare department of the un-
justified refusal of one of its workers to accept private
employment it will sever his relief employment, but it con-
ducts an independent investigation and if it feels the refusal
was warranted will reinstate him.

The welfare department also acts as the liaison agency to
locate and place on the job certified persons selected by the
WSES for employment with private contractors on public
works projects.

Unpaid advisory committees composed of interested citi-
zens, members of the county board, employers, labor repre-
sentatives and welfare officers, are important instrumentali-
ties for reaching employers on an intimate basis and keeping
the public properly informed.

This is only the bare framework of the plan. The coun-



ties are allowed wide latitude to adapt it to their owr
needs and special situations. In general, however, they fol-
low the basic pattern.

In addition to expediting employment opportunity, the
Wisconsin Public Welfare Department states some further
objectives of the plan:

By emphasizing the importance of work histories and de-
veloping skills in analyzing past work experience, attitudes
may be changed as to the relative security of private employ-
ment and governmental made-work. The person doing the in-
terviewing should benefit as well as the worker himself.

By extending the state-wide labor clearance system oper-
ated by the state employment service, the number of families
receiving relief might be substantially reduced.

... the employer may be brought in close touch with the
labor market. . . .

By thoughtful consideration of the data . . . counties may be
made aware of the present structure of the relief load. It
should be possible to discover and isolate groups needing voca-
tional training and re-training, long time apprenticeship plans,
and vocational counselling. . . .

Through an employment committee of officials and lay citi-
zens, fully informed ... the community may secure a better
understanding of the problems arising from relief and un-
employment.

The significance of the movement is well pointed in this
statement. But there are additional implications in this ex-
periment in correlating relief with employment services.

Irrespective of how many jobs relief clients may obtain
under this plan, the entire program should have a salutary
effect upon their psychology. It should help eliminate the
tendency to regard the relief office merely as a source of
hand-outs. The client must observe that the agency is active
in assisting him to find employment; he must regularly
register his desire to work; the relief he receives is realis-
tically contingent upon his good faith in seeking work.

IN addition to the public relations advantage cited by the
Public Welfare Department the plan should be a boon
in dealing with a public much skeptical of the worthine
of "reliefers." That public should be very pleased to ob
serve relief agencies actively engaged in the attempt
replace relief with reemployment, and to find aid denie
to those whose unwillingness to work is proved.

Wisconsin owes the origin of this interesting experimer
to P. D. Flanner, director of the State Department
Public Welfare, but execution of the plan is made possible
only with the cooperation of the Wisconsin State Employ
ment Service. Such ready cooperation might be difficult ir
states where the employment offices seem to abhor any dire
connection with relief agencies, fearing that such relation
ship might reflect on the caliber of the employment service's
entire enrollment in the eyes of employers, and thus hampe
effectiveness. This point of view is quite understandable bu
may often operate to obstruct important improvements it
giving service to the unemployed. The WSES has not found
that its cooperation in this plan has reduced its usefulne
in any other sphere. Indeed, it has been a way of extending
employment office services to communities which otherwis
the service could not afford to reach.

The unprecedented fall in employment and the resultir
avalanche of relief applications which occurred last winte
make it difficult to evaluate the accomplishments of the pro
gram at this time. Perhaps it is too early for such appraisa
in any event. Wisconsin officials think of the program
entirely experimental but are optimistic regarding it.



264



SURVEY MIDMONTHL"}



The Common Welfare



The First Three Years

/ TP HE third birthday of the social security act on August

A 14 is a good milestone from which to look back over
the way we have come in the first nation-wide program of
social insurance in this country. All the states in the Union,
the District of Columbia, Alaska and Hawaii, now have
unemployment compensation measures under twenty-five
of which benefits are being paid. About 25,500,000 commer-
cial and industrial workers are covered by these laws, and
to June 11, some $153,500,000 had been paid out in bene-
fits to unemployed wage earners in twenty-five states. In
many communities, delay in compensation payments, com-
plicated record keeping, uncertainty as to the amount and
duration of benefits have caused widespread disappointment.
It is hoped that the study of unemployment insurance ad-
ministration, now going forward under the leadership of
the Bureau of Unemployment Compensation of the Social
Security Board will lead to simpler, less costly and more
satisfactory procedures.

Under the old-age insurance titles of the social security
act. more than 39 million workers have applied for accounts
through which they can in their working years provide an
income for old age. By June 1, more than $5 million had
been paid out in lump-sum benefits to wage earners or their
survivors in cases where the worker had retired or died.

With Virginia's new law effective July 1, every state is
now participating in the assistance program under the social
security act, through which 2,300,000 needy persons are
receiving cash allowances from combined federal-state funds.
The recent difficulties in Oklahoma, disquieting reports
from Colorado and other states, indicate that the assistance
program in many areas falls short of the goal because of
public misunderstanding, pressure group propaganda, lame
'merit systems."

But when the pluses and minuses are added up, few Amer-
icans would fail to see gains in the first three years of the
program, in spite of the obvious shortcomings and defects, or
would want to abandon this nation-wide effort to provide
a measure of security for the least secure groups the aged,
the blind, dependent children, the unemployed.

Problem Calves

WHEN mother cows inconveniently reproduce be-
tween board meetings calves, no less than children,
me problems to county institutions in Indiana, more or
mourns Ruth E. Beck, child welfare consultant of the
Department of Public Welfare. Such bad timing on
the part of a cow can present real financial difficulties, be-
cause the ad interim birth of a calf creates a shortage of
milk in the institution which can be offset only by selling
the calf, standard practice for a bull calf with no lactic
future. But a calf cannot be sold without formal action
by the board. In one county home where a cow thought-
lessly produced twins, a bull and a heifer, the properly
authorized sale of the bull brought enough money to buy
milk; but the following week another cow became the proud
parent of a male offspring with the board no longer in ses-
sion. There was nothing to do but keep the calf and, at the



risk of tilting the budget, buy milk until the next board
meeting.

In another county the bovine problem looms so large
that the chairman of the board in appointing three com-
mittees listed them in order of immediate importance: Com-
mittee on Hay and Feed for the Cow; Committee on the
Sidewalk from the Front Door to the Front Gate; Com-
mittee on Visitation and Placement of Children.

Grim Figures

EVEN an optimist must have difficulty these days in
discerning any hopeful trends in unemployment relief.
To be sure the Social Security Board reports a drop of one
percent in May in number of cases receiving general relief
in urban areas. But even that faint hope is dimmed by the
realization that the drop quite probably means decrease of
funds, not decreased need. It disappears altogether before
the statement from WPA that in June the number of per-
sons receiving public assistance in all forms rose 2 percent
over the preceding month and added up to the grim total of
some 21,666,000 people or nearly 17 percent of the popu-
lation of the continental United States. This is an increase
of 7,538,000 over the "low" of September 1937; it tops
every month since May 1935.

The grimness of these figures lies not in the fact that so
many people are getting relief but that, after all the years
and all the approaches to the problem, so vast a segment
of the American people remains economically helpless, liv-
ing their lives in the twilight zone of relief.

Hard Times

IF the first six months in six big cities is a measure this
will turn out to be a lean year for philanthropy. A tab-
ulation by the John Price Jones Corporation, New York
fund raisers, shows that publicly announced gifts and be-
quests have decreased this year more than 50 percent as com-
pared with the same period in 1937. In Chicago, New York,
Boston, Washington, Philadelphia and Baltimore the 1937
total to July 1 came to $115,103,196; this year to $50,-
713,219. Of the six cities only Chicago and Baltimore
showed a gain. Of the eight "fields of giving," five health,
play and recreation, fine arts, miscellaneous reforms, relig-
ious purposes registered gains. Education was down by
$58,568,188 under last year, organized relief by $10,81 1,693
and foreign relief by $2,526,535. In spite of these sharp de-
clines educational institutions remained, as in other years,
the most popular field of philanthropic support with organ-
ized relief second and health third.



is more important to a nation than the
health of its people," said President Roosevelt in
his message of greeting to the conference in Washington in
mid-July called by the Interdepartmental Committee to Co-
ordinate Health and Welfare Activities which he appointed
last fall. A report of the conference and an appraisal of its
significance by Paul Kellogg will appear in the September
Survey Graphic.



AUGUST 1938



265



The Social Front



Relief



* TEADILY rising expenditures for
ij public assistance reached a new high
in May $39,963,000 above the total for
the same month in 1937 according to a
report of the Social Security Board. The
figures, including all local state and fed-
eral aid, with the exception of aid to
transients and exclusive of administrative
costs, mark the seventh consecutive
monthly rise in public relief costs. Though
the total of $247,750,000, was about 2
percent over that of the previous month,
the WPA outlay was 6 percent higher
than in April.

More Clothing S upplementing
WPA's purchase of $10 million worth of
men's suits and overcoats for distribution
to relief clients, (see Survey Midmonthly,
July 1938, page 239) comes another pur-
chase, this time of women's winter coats
to the value of $3 million. These gar-
ments, taken from stock on hand a glut-
ted market will cost WPA about $5 or
$6 each. Thus WPA hopes to clear the
congestion in the cheaper clothing indus-
try and open the way to the reemploy-
ment of thousands of garment workers.

In Illinois The Illinois legislature,
now adjourned until January, balked at
any thorough overhauling of the state's
relief machinery, and continued its policy
of emergency tinkering. It appropriated
an additional $900,000 a month for relief
in the state until February 1, 1939.

Amendments of existing acts author-
ized the city council of Chicago to use
not more than $2,500,000 of its share of
the fuel tax for local relief purposes be-
tween July 1, 1938 and February 1, 1939,
and authorized county governments out-
side of Chicago to levy taxes or sell bonds
to wipe out past relief indebtedness in
excess of present taxes. No new indebt-
edness in excess of income may be in-
curred, however, without the consent of
the city or county government. An amend-
ment of the present act to provide relief
for needy persons expanded the authority
of the Illinois Emergency Relief Com-
mission, empowering it to make "rules
and regulations" for the administration
of state or federal funds by county au-
thorities. Any local unit failing to comply
with the commission's rulings may be
refused state or federal funds after fif-
teen days' notice.

Most significant were five separate
bills which raised the proportion of relief
funds that can be used for administration
from 8 percent a month in Chicago and



5 percent a month outside of Chicago, to
10 percent a year throughout the state.
This percentage has long been a stum-
bling block to the Chicago Relief Admin-
istration. An increase of 2 percent may
seem no remarkable advance, but the
greater flexibility allowed by 10 percent
a year is a distinct advantage.

Before the ink of Governor Homer's
signature on these bills had dried, Chi-
cago's relief machinery, stalled from May
14 until the middle of June, was again in
motion. Nineteen district stations opened
to resume their former case loads, plus
an accumulation of 1800 new families
applying for the first time. Budgets are
now restored to spring and winter level :
half rent, fuel for cooking, food, medical
care and special diets authorized by
clinics or private doctors. Carfare is
budgeted for working people, board and
room for single minors, aged, ill or han-
dicapped clients. Ice is not supplied, even
in families with babies. Working children,
who were formerly allowed to keep 40
percent of their earnings for their own
use are now allowed only carfare. The
CRA's anticipated needs for July are
$3,180,000. State funds amounting to
$2,700,000 are now available. A proposal
for a consolidated intake service is under
consideration with the possibility that
experimentation will be made in the near
future by combining five district stations.

Bad News Kansas is threatened by
a crisis caused by a $3 or $4 million in-
sufficiency in funds needed to meet the
claims of persons found eligible for assist-
ance under the security services. ... In
Missouri the crisis has arrived and, bar-
ring a financial miracle, the state's 4426
needy blind will receive no further aid
this year.

Challenged New Jersey's tangled and
often challenged relief situation is under
investigation by a legislative commission
"charged with the duty of inquiring into
the subject of unemployment relief . . .
to study all problems relating thereto and
to make recommendations to the legisla-
ture." With the view of determining the
superiority of the present local or of a
state administration the present set-up
will be studied intensively. The com-
mission includes "representatives of the
public."

Westchester County, N. Y. is worried
about being "too good" to the indigent
and has ordered an investigation by a
non-partisan citizen's committee into the
county's increasing welfare and relief
activities. The investigation will cover the
county hospital, the almshouse, home re-



lief, old-age assistance, mothers' allow-
ances and the penitentiary, all in an effort
to discover whether more services are
being rendered than the taxpayer should
be "forced to support."

Among the States

THERE'S never a dull moment in the
old-age assistance division of the
Iowa State Board of Social Welfare
where communications from clients evince
the colorful individualism of the Mid-
west. Finding her five peacocks a burden
one old lady has asked the commission
to help her sell the birds. Another, decid-
ing that she wished to "quit carrying this
insurance," has made arrangements for
her son to refund the amount of aid she



Online LibrarySurvey AssociatesSurvey midmonthly : journal of social work (Volume 74) → online text (page 71 of 109)