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family to its own ends, but in the last analy-
sis the family has prevailed. The family molds
the people and in the long run the people
mold the state. STANLEY P. DAVIES, president,
Family Welfare Association of America.

The lesson of strategic abstention is the
hardest, lesson to learn: that the most pre-
cious is the least organizable; that the most
perfect can be least promoted; that the
fincM flowering of men, like plants, must be
left largely to sunlight and air. T. V.
SMITH, professor of philosophy. University
of Chicago.

So They Say

Said an ape as he swung by his tail,
To his little ones, female and male;

From your offspring, my dears.
In a few million years,
May evolve a professor, at Yale.

Quoted, author unnamed, by CHARLES
POORE in New York Times.

The problems of the social sciences are
essentially international. ALVIN JOHNSON,
New School for Social Research.

After a certain amount of economic pri-
vation people get a little sick of hearing
about spiritual values. D WIGHT MAC!)ON-
ALD in The Forum.

Label a man or an action Bolshevik or
Fascist and he or it is damned; make the
eagle scream out for Americanism, and it,
with all the lice that inhabit it. is wel-
comed into homes. The antidote is science.
RALPH GERARD, professor of physiology,
University of Chicago.

Neither religion nor art nor play nor
Snow White is an escape from reality. These
all are, in diverse ways and different de-
grees, escapes from banality, from the tyr-
anny of things, from the inhumanity of rou-
tine without meaning, from the cramping
conception of life as nothing more than a
biological process from all of which per-
sistent and pestilent unrealities, good Lord
deliver us. Editorial, The Christian Century.

It is a literary and intellectual fashion of
today to feel picked on. ISABEL PATERSON
in the New York Herald Tribune.

My experience has made me distrustful
of rules of thumb. They are a lazy man's
expedient of ridding himself of the trouble
of thinking and deciding. The late JUSTICE

Social work has suffered from over-femini-
zation, a fact that has prevented many men
from entering it. PHILIP A. PARSONS, pro-
fessor of sociology, University of Oregon, to
\ational Probation Association.

There is uncertainty and confusion on the
borderline between relief and (public) works,
but under these innocent looking phrases
there lies a wide range of problems of eco-
nomic stabilization. PROF. C. K. MERRIAM,
University of Chicago.

When the people starve in the midst of
plenty there is no need to fear the outbreak of
war, for war is already here economic war
that blights the lives of mothers, infants and
children just as surely as physical war. DR.
FRANK G. BOUDREAU, Mil/tank Memorial
Fund, New York.

We cannot too often repeat the well known
and oft-used phrase of the late Justice Holmes;
"If there is any principle in the Constitution
that more imperatively calls for attachment
than any other, it is the principle of free
thought not free thought for those who agree
with us but freedom for the thought we hate.
National Conference of Social Work.

The Clean Up

GLADYS (Helen Cody Baker): What do social workers do?

o'HARA (Audrey Hayden): Do? Why they do the same kind of work that you and me do they mop up messes.




The Clean Up


Publicity Director, YWCA of Chicago


Gladys Mahoney

(As they talk they mop, dust, arrange chairs,
and pick up papers)

MRS. O'HARA: This way, Gladys. Let's get goin'. Pick
up those papers and then we'll mop.

GLADYS: What's goin' on in this place, Mrs.


HARA: It's a convention, Gladys, a convention

of social workers.

GLADYS: Social workers. Are they sort of social

butterflies, Mrs. O'Hara?

: Not much they ain't. Why, Gladys Ma-

honey, don't you know what a social
worker is?

GLADYS: No. ma'am.

() H \KA: Ain't you ever been on relief?

Gi. \DYS: No, ma'am.

HARA: Ain't you ever been diseased or delin-

quent or demented?

GLADYS: No, ma'am, not yet.

HARA: Well, you're young yet. You got time.

(briskly) And when your time comes, you'll know
who social workers are.

( 'i \DVS: Well couldn't you tell me something

now? What do social workers do?

<>'H\R.\: Do? Why they do the same kind of

work that you and me do they mop
up messes.


HARA: Only not little retail messes like we do

they do theirs wholesale. Now take

EOITOI'S Non: Presented at the annual "after houri" ihow of the So-
il Work Publicity Council at the Seattle meeting of the National Con-
crence of Social Work, this skit was adapted for the occasion by the

ipr from her earlier one of the same title published in Follow the

dership. Womans Press. Price $1.

us, we get a certain number of floors to
clean, and we do it and quit, but them.
My Lordy! They got to clean up the
country the hospitals, the schools, the
churches, the alleys, the politicians, the
laws, the government AND the people.

GLADYS: Gosh, I'd rather scrub floors!

O'HARA: So would plenty of them if the truth

was known.

GLADYS: If they're so busy, why ain't they home

(puzzled) working?

O'HARA: Because, Gladys, every year they gotta

get together in a bunch to sort of give
each other courage.

GLADYS! And what do they do at a convention?

O'HARA: They make speeches and brag about

what they've been doin' in the past
year, and explain why they ain't done

GLADYS: Is that all?

O'HARA: Mercy, no! They complain.

GLADYS: Complain what about?

O'H^"\: Why about everything, Gladys. The ter-

rible way the country's being run, and
what ought to be done about it, and
what they'd do if they had a chance to
run things.

GLADYS: Oh, you mean it's a Republican con-

vention ?

O'HARA: Land sakes no, Gladys! Social workers

(impatiently) ain't like ordinary people. They don't
have things like politics or religion or

GLADYS: My goodness, Mrs. O'Hara, what do

they have?

O'HARA: Oh, they have things like organization

and administration and education.


GLADYS : ( sadly J





(with gusto)











Gee, the poor things. I guess they don't

have much fun at a convention, do


Well, not as much as the American

Legion, but a little more than a Chau-

tauqua. Take tonight, for instance,

they're having a Follies show.

A Follies show? What will they do?

Well, they've been settin' in meetings all
week moanin' about the problems of the
world, so tonight they'll set some more
and try to laugh 'em all off.

What kind of problems, Mrs. O'Hara?

Well, let's see : How to keep babies from
bein' born and how to keep 'em alive
after they get born. How to have bigger
and better juvenile courts and keep kids
out of 'em. How to keep families alive
on a relief budget without making 'em
like it. How to take care of the lame,
the halt, the blind and the old folks.

My, they get you first or last, don't

That's their motto From the womb to
the tomb !

I wish I could understand it all better.

Well, now let's see if I can explain it.
(looks around and picks up conference
program) Oh, here's a convention pro-
gram. Maybe there's something here
that would be educational for you. It
tells about the speeches and such. Now
here's something "Group Work Rec-
ord Keeping." Now what does that sug-
gest to you?

Record? I got an uncle who has a rec-

It's probably a different kind. And here's
another "The Adult Offender"-

Yes, that's my uncle!
Keep your family out of this, Gladys.
(turning pages) Here's a hot one
"Who shall do the 'Little Things' in
medical social work?" That means
they're arguing about who's going to de-
liver the babies.

Here's a funny one, Mrs. O'Hara

"E-vo-lu-tion of Social Con-cepts"

What does that mean?

Sure you know what evolution means,

don't you, Gladys?

It's making people out of monkeys,

ain't it?

Well in social work everything is just

the reverse. See?

Oh, yeah.

Look, here's a notebook. Some delegate

must have dropped it. Now this will be








full of education for you, Gladys. Let's
see what it says: "Notes on 'Test of
American Democracy.' Things to do
wire Herbert for more money. Send blue
dress to cleaners. Cocktails, Olympic
4:30." Well, I can see this is important
to some high up delegate probably a

What is a volunteer, Mrs. O'Hara?

Well, there are two main kinds of social
workers, Gladys the volunteers and
the professionals. The volunteers work
without getting paid for it.

They do? Why?

Oh, they got better rackets of their own.
So they do social work to be obliging.

How can you tell 'em from the profes-

Well, they have pleasanter expressions.
They sit on boards and committees, and
come to meetings.

Gee, is that all?

No, they have other uses. When there's
dirty work to do, like raising money or
savin' the right word to the right poli-
tician at the right time, they get the job.
This is called community interpretation.

Gee, I wish I could see a real volunteer.

(Enter Volunteer)

O'HARA: You don't need to see 'em, Gladys. All

you got to do is clean up after 'em.

VOLUNTEER: Pardon me, but did you find a black
notebook? I think I may have dropped
it here.

O'HARA: (aside) Hist! Gladys! It's a volunteer!

GLADYS: (aside) How do you know?

O'HARA: (aside) A real social worker wouldn't have said
"Pardon me."
Why yes, ma'am, we did. Is this it?

VOLUNTEER: Oh, yes, thank you so much. Oh, what
a relief ! It had all my notes in it on all
the meetings. They were simply price-

O'HARA: They were, indeed! Excuse me, ma'am,

but aren't you a social work volunteer?

VOLUNTEER: Why, yes, I am.

O'HARA: Well, this young girl here is totally

ignorant about volunteers, and she'd like
to know just what it is you do in social

VOLUNTEER- She isn't the only one who would like to
know! Well, I'll tell her

Sings "Remember Me"

I am the volunteer in the community,
You couldn't do without me with im-


I use my brains, when given oppor-
tunity remember me ?
I'\r sat and sat until I'm flat, upon a

And though I don't keep office hours

(thank the Lord!),
I know the high ideals that we are

working toward, remember me?
When you're pressed, and need some

money from the chest,
You'll agree, it usually comes through


I hire all the staff for their agility,
And keep them on until they reach

I take the ultimate responsibility

remember me?

(Exit f'olunteer)

<>HARA: Well, that clears up the volunteers.

Now the professionals are sumpin' dif-
ferent again. They get paid for their

GLADYS : How much ?

HARA: Oh, not much, but enough to keep their

noses to the grindstone. They're very

Gi ADYS: More so than the volunteers?

O'HARA: No, but they work harder at it.

(Enter Social Worker, limping)

Soc. WORKER: Gosh, do my feet hurt. Will I be in your
way if I sit here and rest a minute?

Sure, sit right down. Am I wrong or are





you a social worker ?

You're right. I see I carry the marks of
my profession on me.

Indeed, you do circles under the eyes.
Now this poor ignorant girl never met a
social worker.

She's luckv.

O'HARA: Would you mind telling her what you

do in social work ?

Soc. WORKER: Well, I'll tell her all I can remember
Sings "Remember Me"

\ like to think that I'm the link that

joins us all,
To live a life of service I've received

a call,
I'm just a social worker riding for

a fall remember me ?
Although I've brains the fact remains,

I give no clue,
I never speak in meetings till I'm

spoken to.
I wait till all the members of the

board are through remember me ?
When in doubt what social work is

all about,

Just ask me, and I'll explain it A. B. C.
For I'm the goat that steers the boat

through all the ruts,
Administers all policies with ifs and

I love my job and quietly am going

nuts Remember me?

(Exit Social Worker)

O'HARA: That settles the social workers, and now,

Gladys, you've had a picture of social
work leadership from two important
leaders. Now do you understand it?

GLADYS: Yes, ma'am, all except one little thing.

O'HARA: What's that?

GLADYS: Who follows the leaders?

O'HARA: Follows 'em? Why, you poor dumb-

bell, nobody follows anybody in social
work. Everybody leads everybody.

GLADYS: Where to?

O'HARA: Never you mind where to. Pick up that

pail and follow me!


New Jersey Looks at Its Young Delinquents

Director, Essex County Juvenile Clinic, Newark, N. J.


AW< > years ago the New Jersey legislature estab-
lished a commission to study the causes of juvenile
delinquency and appropriated $50,000 for its pur-
poses. In view of the fact that for many years a large num-
*r of able people have been diligently plowing this field,
nd that the state, in 1936, had many pressing demands on
ts available funds, an extraordinarily heavy responsibility
ras placed on the commission.

Winthrop D. Lane, of the division of parole of the
^tate Department of Institutions and Agencies, was chosen
& director of the investigation. The commission's recently
nihlished progress report its second, but the first to deal


seriously with findings is replete with evidence of the
soundness and balance with which Mr. Lane engineered
a complicated and difficult undertaking. The final report,
with recommendations, is to come. The present little vol-
ume deals with trends in law breaking in New Jersey
among individuals under twenty-two years of age during
the years 1930-1936 inclusive. The commission reports no
sensational findings ; in fact its findings in general serve
to substantiate on a large scale basis certain assumptions
which recently have been crystallizing in the minds of
students in this field. They offer no support to the "crime
wave" cry of the past ten years, but they offer a clear and


definite challenge not only to New Jersey but to every
other state and community- and that means all of them
where juvenile delinquency exists.

With the aid of WPA, Mr. Lane and his associates col-
lected an enormous amount of statistical data, but there
is no evidence that the highly refined statistical techniques
that have recently entered this field have been used. Mr.
Lane, however, has been at great pains to present only
those trends which are so marked that certain statistical
refinements could not conceivably alter their import in
any important particular.

The work of the juvenile courts of New Jersey, meas-
ured in new delinquents per year, has decreased about 42
percent in the seven years covered by the study. There has
been a parallel decrease in the number of youths of sixteen
to twenty-one years appearing before the adult courts in
this same period. However, the age period, sixteen to
twenty, still ranks the highest of any five-year life period
in its proportionate contribution to serious crime.

The commission points out that its statistics do not cover
the total amount of delinquency in the state but only that
which actually came to the attention of the courts. It very
rightly states that there is no proof that the total amount
of delinquency decreased in this period. It is on much
less safe ground in its repeated implication that actually
delinquency has not decreased but rather that it is being
handled much more efficiently without recourse to the
courts. It points out that in every part of the state this
period has seen the rise of all sorts of community projects
for the better understanding and treatment of the delin-
quent. We are invited to believe that here lies the largest
factor in the apparent decrease of delinquency and crime
despite the commission's statement that some of these com-
munity movements were without funds, some without any
semblance of expert help, some of very recent origin, some
representing no more than a general community interest
in the problem.

THIS point dramatizes a dilemma that has faced the
whole field of social work with delinquents over
precisely this same seven-year period. On the one hand, it
is possible that this reduction in delinquency and crime is
real and has been a depression phenomenon. The fact that
in 1937 New Jersey showed a rise in delinquencies and
crimes treated in the courts seems an indication in this
direction. The fact that the commission's findings are al-
most exactly paralleled in the country-wide figures gath-
ered by the U. S. Children's Bureau and the Department
of Justice, figures involving many states where there is
no evidence of the rapid development of community agen-
cies that is noted in New Jersey, again points in this direc-
tion. Social work generally has never relished this possibil-
ity that certain economic and social phenomena noted
during a depression period have been accompanied by more
favorable vital statistics such as lower mortality and mor-
bidity rates, lower truancy and delinquency rates and the
like. These indications do not check with our cry over
this seven-year period that the depression has been destroy-
ing the morale of the people.

The other horn of the dilemma is just as uncomfortable.
Suppose that the commission is right that in this seven-
year period there has been such an improvement in the
handling of delinquency and crime that there has been at
least a 40 percent reduction in the number of persons
under twenty-two who had to be taken into the courts.

This change came in New Jersey at a time of greatlyl
reduced private agency budgets, of hastily and crudely
constructed governmental agencies, of terrific case loads,
of the rise of non-professional community agencies. Does
this perchance mean that complicated training courses,
small case loads, polished and subtle techniques and so on,
are really much less effective than we had thought? Again
it would not fit in with our dearly held theories if we should
find that a dramatic and reassuring development in the
delinquency field occurred in just those seven years that
saw, in this state at least, a pronounced disruption of those
intricate techniques which social work had been fashioning.

Either way we take it the findings of the New Jersey
commission give social workers plenty to think about, and
pose the question as to whether we shall not have to re-
evaluate much of our professional equipment.

Going on to the commission's finding that sixteen is
the age which, in proportion, contributes more to serious
crime than any other. The age period sixteen to twenty
outstrips all others and of this sixteen stands first, seven-
teen second, eighteen third, and so on. It is unfortunate
that the report does not compare this with the delinquency
years below sixteen.

FROM the start of this investigation Mr. Lane and his
associates were interested in what the institution in-
mate himself had to say about his debut into delinquency.
The commission has collected a large number of "own
stories" from inmates under twenty-one but has deferred
publication of them until its final report. Here it offers
only the statistical material collected by means of ques-
tionnaires. About 1500 sets of answers could be tabulated.

A great many of the young offenders said that they
were not understood at home but beyond that they at-
tached little if any "blame" for their plight to their
families. From this it would appear that a youth is totalM
unable to evaluate the forces of his childhood years; or
that the lawbreaker naturally "blames" organized society,
the school, the police, and the like, or that the family-
centered philosophy of the child guidance movement is in
error. Each of us may make our own deductions and will,
probably, from where we sit.

More than half of these youths had been no better than
fair in school; more than half noted trouble with their
teachers. Seventy percent of the older group felt that
teachers had been unfair to them. Two out of three had
been excessive truants. Over half of the truants had been
taken to court on that account and more than a third
were first placed in an institution because of truancy. Some
of the best passages of the commission's report discuss the
responsibility of the school toward the real needs of un-
academic children and challenge the common sense of
treating truancy with institutionalization.

Other factors to which, in the questionnaire, many j
the young delinquents attributed a part in their difficulties
are those long stressed by social workers: "bad gangs :
association with older boys with previous institutional ex-
perience; unsupervised recreation; relatively poor church
connections; authoritative rather than understanding
treatment by police and courts; all these appear in the
youths' own picture of how they got to be the way they are.

Another section of this report deals with the fact that <'
New Jersey cannot extend the juvenile court procedure
to cover the age group just above sixteen without a change
in the state constitution. It also questions the wisdom of !



attempting such a step so lon^ as main of the pn-M-nt
juvenile courts completely lack a socialized point of view.
There is even serious question, it appears, as to whether
the juvenile courts, as now constituted, are operating
legally in the matter of serious offenses. On this last point
the state clearly needs to know where it really stands.

A M-ction i> devoted to discussing the unevenness in
court procedure and recording, and in part to pointing out
that the rapidly growing use of police recorders, referees
and the like, as a decentralizing factor, is a constructive
move. However, the commission is of the opinion that this
latter procedure has been dictated more frequently by fal>e
.if economy and by carelessness than by the hope of
handling the problems of children without formal court
atmosphere and it properly denounces that sort of thing.

Pending the final report and recommendations of the
commission the present report solidly and convincingly
- the cat on certain muscular balances of facts:

Our juvenile courts are doing much less business.

There has been a rapid increase of interest and of agencies
for handling delinquency without recourse to the courts. (This
fact has had something to do with the preceding one and the
commission optimistically poses that it has had a great deal
to do with it.)

In the frustration of the child's development and in the
provision of an environment from which the delinquent is vig-
orously trying to escape, the school stands out as the agency
primarily responsible.

Our hope for the reduction in delinquency lies in every sort

of "pre-court" community service but most easily and effi-
ciently in the realm of school adjustment.

With this as the situation there are but two ways in
which this particular feline can jump. While the commis-
sion undoubtedly will recommend practical steps toward
greater efficiency and richer socialization of present police
and juvenile court machinery, its main drive apparently
must be toward the further development of pre-court
agencies within the community. Will New Jersey follow
the easy way, already widely publicized, of introducing the
police and the methods of the court into these areas, nota-
bly into the schools? Or will she go on the high venture
of reordering her housing, her recreational facilities, her
school curricula, really to finish the job that these seven
years have so well started?

Education in the home, on the street, in the school
is persuasive, not authoritative. It only shackles itself if it
takes over the functions of the law. The juvenile court
has been a forward step only where it has freed itself from
the methods and philosophy of the criminal court. Sim-
ilarly, community agencies of a pre-court sort are mockery
if they merely give delinquency a new name instead of
really preventing it.

The real question, national and local, raised by this
sound, well-balanced study is this : shall we build up more
and better community agencies for pre-court dealing with

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