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amounts of allowances especially for em-
ployables. WPA expansion "fortunately
picked up the pieces." The prospect is for
scanty relief this winter for employables
with non-residents and "unattached per-
sons" getting the hardest pinch. Resi-
dence requirements have been tightened.
Funds supposed to last till April 1 will
be exhausted by January 1 when the new
legislature will be asked for a deficiency
appropriation. WPA seems to be in good
public repute with a number of workers
going into private employment. "The
bulk of client protest is by the old folks
who have been least hit by curtailments.
The hardest hit groups, non-residents
and unattached, are not vocal."

San Francisco, Cal. The relief load
is substantially higher than at this time
last year. Coverage of need probably is
fair, adequacy of budgets "a matter of
opinion." A couple gets $33 a month;
larger families in proportion, with rising

rents a real hardship. State and count]
have provided funds to carry the pro
gram until the next budget sessions. Th<
security services, particularly old ag<
assistance, have reduced relief demands
Unemployment compensation benefits ii
August resulted in a saving of $120,00(
through the closing of active relief cases

Los Angeles, Cal. The direct relie:
load is much higher than last year, es-
pecially in the employables divisior
financed and administered by the state
Unemployables are cared for by the coun-
ties. Los Angeles County has approxi
mately half the state's total case load
Existing need is being fairly well cov-
ered except in respect to unsettled fam-
ilies, recent residents in the county and
employable transient men. The food al-
lowance for employables is considerec
adequate, for unemployables "quite in-
adequate." Rent allowances are "noi
realistic." WPA's failure to take all
employables is evidenced by the fact thai
the state is spending more than a millior
a month for their relief. A feeling against
"reliefers as a class" is apparent, but
not acute. Clients are organized for bet-
ter relief but "lack leadership that will
stay with them."

Frank Bane: in the Public service

r^HE recent resignation of Frank
Bane as executive director of the
Social Security Board roused a chorus
of questions. Why did Mr. Bane, with
unquestioned competence in the job,
suddenly leave it? Had political heat
been turned on? Or "inside" pressures?
What was the "low down" if any?

As a matter of fact there is no "low
down." Mr. Bane resigned for no other
reason apparently than the simple one
that he chose to accept an interesting
offer in a field ripe for development.
He had been with the board during its
first three grueling years; had helped
build the system from a bare framework
of law into a program functioning in
every state in the union ; had helped de-
velop, starting from scratch and in the
face of much political pressure, an able
and devoted staff now protected by civil
service. Certainly to leave at this time
was not to let down either the Social
Security Board or the social security

Naturally Mr. Bane, like other offi-
cials who demonstrate unusual capacity,
had had many financially flattering of-
fers from outside the public service.
The one that finally tempted him away
was that of the Council of State Gov-
ernments, a privately financed agency
with headquarters in Chicago, which
serves as the secretariat of such organi-
zations as the Governors' Conference,
the American Legislators' Association,
the Tax Revision Council and a num-
ber of associations of state officials and
of interstate commissions. As execu-
tive director of the council, Mr. Bane
will continue to exercise his rare talent
for dealing with people of divergent
views; he remains at grips with that
most urgent problem of government
federal and state relationships. In short
he still will be in the public service
though not on the public payroll.

Public service has been Mr. Bane's
career. After three years of teaching
and three with the State Board of
Charities and Corrections of his native

Virginia, he cossed over to Tennessee
to set going and direct a public welfare
department in Knoxville. In 1926 he
returned to Virginia as commissioner
of public welfare, leaving in 1932 to take
hold of the then new American Public
Welfare Association. The three "grow-
ing years" that followed made him a
"natural" for the Social Security Board,
just as that tour of duty has made him
a "natural" for the Council of State




Publicity by Way of the Barn Door


WHEN a teacher of so-
cial work first came to
our district she asked us
what hooks we had for study.
Diil we have Social Diagnosis?
Changing Psychology in Social
Work ? The Art of Helping Peo-
ple Out of Trouble? We did not!
Diil we have The Survey or The
Family.' We did not! Finally in
despair she asked, "Well, what
hooks do you have?" In the mid-
dle of a general silence one of our members spoke up.
"Lady," he said, "there's one book we all have that you can
count on, and that's a Sears Roebuck catalogue."

So it is now, when we are asked about our publicity
methods. Probably a good many unorthodox particles of
hay stick out from them, but for all that we know that
publicity for Main Street is not so different from that for
Fifth Avenue. The catch is in knowing how, when, and
where to put the emphasis.

This matter of emphasis recalls a story about William
Allen White. It seems that at a dinner party someone told
of a family, in the covered-wagon days, that was spending
the night in Missouri before going on to Kansas. That
night when the child in the family said her prayers, she
concluded with "Good-bye God, I'm going to Kansas."
Mr. White took up the challenge. What the child very
likely had said, he insisted, was, "Good, by-God, I'm going
to Kansas." Just a matter of emphasis.

The welfare services for which rural social workers seek
publicity are essentially the same, of course, as those in
urban areas ; and rural publicity has the same two-fold
aim of bringing information to the people and of promoting
rheir understanding of the program, thereby insuring their
cooperation with it. Likewise the tools of publicity are
.illy the same in rural areas as in urban centers: talks
.vith individuals, speeches, newspaper articles, radio, com-
inunity councils, case committees, reports and so on. How
liov tools are used constitutes the distinctive difference
wtween rural and urban publicity, a difference that grows
jjwt of the very nature of rural existence itself and what it
loc> to the minds and life of the people. Before a rural
ocial worker attempts to plan or to engage in publicity
hhe must be very sure that she understands clearly the basis
I or and the nature of rural consciousness and rural conduct.
I An important consideration in any program of rural
Imblicity is the tempo of rural life. Things can't be done
In a hurry. Farmers are accustomed to waiting six months
lr longer for a crop. In western Kansas, we've been waiting


I When the county commissioners come to town to con-
ider welfare matters, or any other county affairs, they
llrive in, stop at the grocer's to leave their milk and eggs,
I rop in at the corner drugstore for a chin with the boys,
ipave word at Aunt Mary's about coming out to dinner
llext Sunday, and finally, around ten or eleven o'clock, turn
Up at the courthouse. Here sitting around a big table or,
like as not, in the small counties, around a big, pot-bellied

Thii is the second of a scries of articles by Miss Strode
on "the process and problems of social work where the
county it the unit of administration and practice runs
out over the back roads to the villages and remote
farms." Material for this article was contributed by
workers in thirty-nine western Kansas counties and was
written originally by Miss Strode for a session of the
Social Work Publicity Council at the Seattle meeting
of the National Conference of Social Work. Coming
next month: Education on the Rural Job.

stove in a room over the hard-
ware store they prop up their
feet for leisurely consideration of
any matters needing their official
attention. But they're in no hurry
about it. Frequently there'll be
silences of many minutes, broken
occasionally by such general re-
marks as, "Well, looks like anoth-
er Methodist crop this year."

(To the uninitiated a Methodist
crop is one which is saved by a

"sprinkling.") Townspeople come in and out to swap bits
of news and ask questions; it may be an hour or so before
the commissioners get around to the business of the meeting.

The wise social worker with a proposition to put before
these men learns to take it easy and to wait. If she has the
"feel" of the tempo of rural life she'll enjoy the leisure,
the humor, the back-chat, and be so much a part of the
situation that the commissioners will not be conscious of
her as an outsider. But let her get fidgety or restive, or
press her point by talking too much, and her proposition
will not get a hearing let alone approval. It will die

I recall a man from a large midwestern school of social
work who came out to us to supervise. He was quick-
thinking, executive, and accustomed to pushing his program
and getting things done. Before his first meeting with the
commissioners we cautioned him about taking his pace from
theirs and he really tried to slow down. But the experience
was painful for him. He was amazed to discover how long
county commissioners can "jes" set."

WHAT this man didn't appreciate, of course, was that
the commissioners weren't "jes' settin'." They un-
doubtedly were "sensing" him out just as surely as if they
had asked him a flood of questions. He was accustomed,
probably, to getting acquainted with people by talking with
them, but rural people appraise a person by means of some
inexplicable feeling about him. The farmer learns to feel
things about the weather, his cattle, his crops, the land, and
the winds. They can't talk to him, so he has to sense their
meaning. Likewise with people, the farmer is deliberate
and slow in his approach to acquaintance. He gets to know
people largely through his feelings for them and the reaction
of his organism as a whole toward them. His silences are
as pregnant with meaning as his speech and he is not
impressed by a flow of words. It takes few words, simple,
direct, meaty in substance, and based on good hard facts,
to touch him.

A recent book by Stuart Chase, The Tyranny of Words,
surely illustrates a point about rural people. He says that
for words to have any real sense to a listener they must
have "referents," that is the listener must be conscious of
the thing or happening to which the words refer. Anyone
who has listened to the talk of rural people knows how
rich in referents their words are. I remember hearing a
county sheriff say that he couldn't walk "hawk and buzz-
ard." It took me some time to figure out that one. You see

0\1 MBKR 1938


when a hawk attacks, he darts straight, swift, sure, direct
to his prey. A buzzard, however, circles slowly in great
deliberate circles, descending gradually on his prey.

Publicity experts stress the importance to interpretation
of knowing the language of a community. The problem
goes deeper than that in a rural community, because in
order to understand the speech, you have to know the life.

Rural people are upstanding, accustomed to dealing with
their own problems. When your nearest neighbor is ten or
twenty miles away, you think and act for yourself and you
learn to be mighty resourceful about it. Just the same we
social workers, it seems to us, can learn a lot from the way
these people help themselves and each other. Cooperation
and interdependence are the very fabric of their life.

As Josh Lee says, "Folks that have lived on oxtail soup
and beef tongue to make both ends meet" are pretty apt
to have something worthwhile to contribute to the business
of budget-making. A farmer who has had his living wiped
out by a summer of drought, or his cattle frozen in one
cold night of winter, or his stand of wheat eaten up by
grasshoppers is going to be able to stand up under the shock
of learning the limitations and restrictions of the welfare
program. Furthermore, he usually can give the worker some
mighty good pointers on how to eke out county allotments,
whether of work, commodities, or money.

NOT only is the rural citizen capable of solving his
own problems but he so has the habit of thinking
things out from scratch that he wants to know all the facts
on which our social work policies are based. It is not enough
to tell him that because of the financial condition, relief
allotments can be only so much. He'll want to know all
about that financial condition, how much it is and why it
is, and how come it isn't enough. Living kind of simple, as
we rural folk do, our mental apparatus isn't very complex,
and we think pretty much in terms of the ABC's of every-
thing. Like children we ask plenty of direct questions be-
cause we want to know all about things, and we've got
plenty of time to find out.

Because of their roots in our democratic pioneer life,
our rural people dislike class distinctions and anything that
makes for differences, such as strangeness in dress or speech,
or in ways of doing things. They are particularly sensitive
to insincerity or artificiality. A worker from the state office
once came out to a far western county in Kansas to per-
suade the county commissioners to hire a trained social
worker from "outside." This particular county is in the
heart of the dust bowl. Heavy black blizzards are almost
daily occurrences in the dust season, and the morning on
which the state worker arrived at the county seat was the
morning after a particularly heavy, dirty storm. Coming in
on an air-conditioned train, the state worker was turned out
all in spotless white. The chairman of the county commis-
sioners, an ex-cattle baron and ranch owner who had ridden
the range as a cowboy from Denver to the Rio Grande,
tells the story:

Here, she come along, all purty as my wife's pet duck after
a swim white shoes, white hat, white dress, everything white!
"My good man," sez she, "my good man, can you tell me
where I'll find the chairman of the county commissioners?"
Me there I was black an' dirty from the dust, sweepin' up
the hallway of the court house so folks could get through the
dust without wadin'. I looked like the janitor would'a looked,
I reckon, if we'd had one! "My good man," sez lh again,
chokin' on the dust I was raisin' with my sweepin', "where


would I find the chairman of your county board?" I never
stops sweepin'; an' raisin' more and more clouds of dust, I sez
to her, "I jes' been up to his office, Ma'm, and he ain't there!"

When a rural social worker understands somewhat the
pattern and psychology of rural life, she can use some of
the usual channels of publicity. In leadership at community
councils she keeps to the spirit of rural living. Her speech,
dress, and tempo of activity is gauged by the place, the
people, the occasion. She is frank, sincere, detailed, thor-
ough, vivid in her presentations. She leaves the responsibili-
ties for decisions with the people, and, if she is intelligent,
furnishes just enough leadership of an inconspicuous sort
to get them working together cooperatively.

IN newspaper and radio publicity, the social worker bears
in mind the feeling of rural people toward too much
talk. In regions where practically all the people have sufi
fered severe hardships, pathetic case stories are in bad taste.
Tragedy and pathos come close to all of them, and they
are not accustomed to talking about their own troubles of
feelings. Rural people are like the two Englishmen who, in
silence, were viewing a sunset in the Alps. Finally one of
them said, "Not a bad sunset, that." "No," said the other,
"but no need to get so bally sentimental about it."

There is really very little that a rural social worker
actually can say in words to get help for tragic cases. Some
of us have found the best way to gain the cooperation of a
group is to ask some member of it to drive out with her
to the home of the particular case. Not a word need be
spoken; once the case is seen the neighborly response is
immediate, substantial, heartwarming. The technique may
not be according to Rule No. 711, but it gets results.

There are times when cases need to be interpreted to
the rural community as a whole, but as a rule case conjp
mittees, as city social workers know them, have not proved
successful. The reason for this, it seems to us, is that the
community as a whole is in itself a natural case committee
by reason of everyone's intimate acquaintance with every-
one else and with everything that goes on in and around
the town. Some of our workers do their best case committee
work at women's clubs, sewing circles and card parties.
When a group of women meets to sew for missions, or
whatever, the history and conduct of some of our problem
clients are discussed with a freedom which would startle
an orthodox case committee. By being present at some of
these gatherings, the social worker can, if she is skilful,
drop a word here and there and lead the gossip around t
points that she wants to emphasize.

It is generally good strategy for rural social workers
confer with people in the fields or in their homes, rather
than to try to get them into town for committee meetings.
A man on our staff used to carry his lunch in a paper pack-
age when he went into the country on visits. He'd eat it
while he talked with a farmer in the field, or while the
two of them sat and talked on the porch at noontime. The
quiet of the leisurely country noon hour is conducive to the
discussion of pressing problems with a minimum of word*
Here again "jes' settin' " isn't all it seems to be.

Frequently we secure our best cooperation through indi-i
rection, by personal contacts or friendly services. One 0*
our county directors got an operation for the mother
the town twins by spending the evening in the swing on
the mayor's porch, talking town gossip with the mayors
wife to the music of the katydids. Another worker wott


over the local newspaper by writing the obituary notices
for the editor.

Some of our social workers have cashed in on chance
happenings, taken with good will and humor. One of them
still laughs about the day when a big burly farmer barged
into the office with blood in his eye. He'd come after a
work order, and was going to get it or "break every winder
and pipe in the d building!" Wishing to appear at ease
until the man had finished his tirade, the worker teetered
back in her chair. Zoom! the chair shot out from under
her and she folded up between the wall and the desk. The
man laughed, and she laughed; and after he had helped
her up, they laughed some more. He apologized for scaring
her and listened to what she had to say. Since then they've
been the best of friends, and the man is now a staunch sup-
porter of the welfare program.

A rural worker must have not only a clear social phi-
losophy and know her social work techniques and programs
but, if she is to interpret those techniques and programs
and gain support for them, she must be knowledgeable
about the physical setting and the state of mind in which
they must be rooted. She must know more than a little
about plowing, planting and marketing, about the granges,
the 4-H clubs, the cooperatives, and the farm labor move-
ments. She must know a combine from a threshing machine,
a go-devil from a disc. She must know the life that goes
through the barn door as well as what passes through her

It is said that when prosperity comes back, it will come
through the barn door. Certainly, if rural social work pub-
licity is to succeed, it must approach through the barn
door of reality.

In-Service Training for Public Welfare

2. The Hows


Administrative Assistant, Works Progress Administration

IN the preceding article [see In-Service Training for
Public Welfare The Whys and Whats, page 310,
Survey Midmonthly, October 1938] we looked at the
possibilities of in-service training in building up the staff
pf a public welfare agency, and the type of training-on-
fhe-job most useful to workers at various levels of academic
ind professional education.

Before going on to discuss the relative merits of various
nethods of in-service training it is necessary to clarify the
elation of in-service training to day-by-day supervision
rithin the agency. Here the most important factor is the
ew of supervision held by each member of the state field
taff and by the supervisors in the local offices. Supervision
lay mean to these individuals merely the direction of the
echanics of the job, a checking up to see if rules and
rocedures are properly carried out, doing no more with
ie staff than to try to fit them into the complicated agency
attern. Such a concept of supervision has no room for the
nd of in-service training that has been described. In fact,
ich a supervisor will have to change his whole concept
id practice of supervision. He must first benefit by the
'pe of education and training which is adapted to his own
xd and his particular job before he can use his supervisory
inction to stimulate and guide the growth of his staff

Supervisors who accept a teaching function and a direct
nubility for the development of their staffs as of the
ice of supervision and organize their own work accord-
ly are already giving in-service training. They focus
ir supervision upon helping each visitor to develop
fledge and skill, and to attain freedom from the prej-
s, conflicts and needs which limit his ability to make
:tive use of his knowledge.
No matter how much these supervisors are able to give
visitors, they will continue to need and want help
lives to grow on their jobs, to improve their meth-
to profit by the experience of other supervisors in the
and outside, and to relate their work to the total

MBER 1938

function of the agency and to the community. And this
additional knowledge and skill in a beneficent, not a vicious,
circle will in turn be used by them in the development of
their staffs.

This type of supervision is the most important of all
the methods which can be used for in-service training. All
other methods are either tools of supervision or auxiliary
to the supervisory process.

When the many current names of methods (I have
recently listed twenty-eight) are sorted out and the meth-
ods themselves reduced to their essentials, there seem to
be three basic tools of in-service training: individual con-
ferences, groups of various kinds, and written material
(typed, mimeographed, printed).

The extent to which these three methods are used and
the ways in which they are used should be determined by
the subject matter to be taught and by the objectives of the
teaching. Certain materials can be handled much better by
one method than by another. The accessibility of the super-
visor or teacher and of the staff members concerned must
also be taken into consideration, as well as the pressures
of the day-to-day job.

There is much to be said about the use of individual
conferences and reading material, but perhaps it will be
more helpful at this point to discuss some of the problems
connected with the use of groups, as this method seems to
have given rise to more confusion than either of the others.

Groups have been used for in-service training in a great
variety of forms. The groups have been large or small;
they have been made up of persons of similar background
and interest, and of those differing widely in both. Groups
have been formal, or informal, meeting occasionally or
regularly for discussion or instruction which has been
planned with a definite sequence, or to consider only im-
mediate problems. The training period has ranged from
less than an hour to a continuous six weeks' institute. The
names applied to these groups are legion and seem to have
no consistent relation either to form or content. In the


variety of forms, staff meetings and every other type of
meeting have been included; round tables of all kinds,
classes and courses of any length and any variety of auspices.
Most confusing of all, the name "institute" has been applied
to almost every kind of group, meeting for any length of
time, from part of a day to several weeks, under a variety

Online LibrarySurvey AssociatesSurvey midmonthly : journal of social work (Volume 74) → online text (page 93 of 109)