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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis


Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



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Letter of transmittal_______________________
The Mothers’ Pension Committee: Mary F. B ogu e___________ _______ ________




Analysis of budget questionnaire returns : Frank W . Goodhue_____________
,Budget schedules
u sed _____________

2 -9

Application of budget schedules by 30 agfencies________________________
Deviations from the schedule_____________________ ___ Spi________________
■Nationality___ ._____________________ __________________________________
Former standard of living-__________ _________________________ _____
Health of family__________________________________________^__________
Families living in the country^.___________ _ _ __ ___________________
Adequacy of g ra n ts______ ___________ :L_____ ___________________________
Use of expense accounts____ __________ - _________ ________ ^______________

4 g

Employment of dietitians_____ ____ 1 ________________ |_____ --W § .________
Standards of living______ ___________________ ¿ ¡^ ______________________ _
H ou sin g-_________ _________ ._________ _____________________ _
1________________ _ ___ >Ju_____________________, ____________
Clothing______________________________________ ___L A j____ ___ ____
F u e l____ _________ l_____________ _____;___ ________________ __ _________


Household equipments__________________________________ ___ _________
Education______ _______________________ j___________________________
Recreation____ ______
H e a lth _____________r________________ ____________________ ______ ___
Analysis o f g ra n ts________________ iL„_________________________________ ___
Conclusions_______— _____________m____ ______________ J____________________


Study of standards of a id : Florence Nesbitt___________________ ____________
Recommendations of the committee: Mary F. Bogue_______________________
General discussion (led by Mrs. Daniel Ancona)_____________________________
State supervision:
Massachusetts: Mrs. Elizabeth F. Moloney 1_______________________ ____
Pennsylvania: Mary F. Bogue____________________________________________
Minnesota: William Hodson___ ________________ _______________________ _
Ohio: Lucia B. Johnson_____________
M aine: Dr. Gertrude H all________________________________________________
New Y o r k : Mary A . Steer-________ _______________________________________


Minutes of the meeting of the Mothers’ Pension Committee_______________


Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

3 1 3X 3


Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis


U. S.

D epartm ent


L abor ,

C h il d r e n ’ s B u r e a u ,

Washington, August SO, 1922.
I transmit herewith a report of the Proceedings o f Confer­
ence on Mothers’ Pensions held under the auspices o f the Mothers’
Pension Committee, Family Division o f the National Conference
of Social WorK, and the Children’s Bureau, TJ. S. Department o f
La]por, in Providence, R. I., June 28, 1922.
Respectfully submitted.
G race A bbott , Chief.
Hon. J a m e s J . D a v is ,
Secretary o f Labor.
Sir :

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Held Under the Auspices of the Mothers’ Pension Committee, Family Division
of the National Conference of Social Work, and the Children’s Bureau, U. S.
Department of Labor.

Wednesday, June 28,1922.
The conference convened at 3.30 p. m. in the ballroom o f the
Providence-Biltmore Hotel, Providence, R. I., Mr. Frank Bruno,
chairman of the Family Division o f the National Conference of Social
Work, presiding.
The C h a i r m a n . A year ago, at the National Conference of
Social Work, the Division on the Family was asked to appoint a com­
mittee to cooperate with the Children’s Bureau of the National Gov­
ernment in a study of mothers’ allowances. That committee was
appointed, with Miss Mary F. Bogue, State supervisor o f the mothers’
assistance fund of Pennsylvania, as chairman. I will ask Miss Bogue
to outline the purpose o f this meeting and the business which will
come before it.
Miss B ogue . Those o f you who were present at the National Con­
ference at Milwaukee last year, and who attended the round-table
discussion on mothers’ allowances, will remember that the group of
20 or 30 officials, men and women, who were gathered there author­
ized the appointment of a committee of three, who were to call a
meeting here this year and plan a definite program. It was the
thought o f that group that the small committee would be incorporated
in a larger committee to be appointed by the chairman of the family
division, and«this action was taken.
The personnel of the committee is as follow s:
Chairman, M a r y F. B ogue , State Supervisor, Mothers’ Assistance
Fund, Department of Public Welfare, Harrisburg, Pa.
M a r y S te e r , Supervisor, Boards o f Child Welfare, State Board of
Charities, Albany, N. Y.
F lorenc e N e sb itt , District Superintendent, United Charities, 102
East Oak Street, Chicago, 111.
A m y S t e in h a r t , Chief, Bureau o f Children’s Aid, Department o f
Finance, Sacramento, Calif.
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F lorence H u t s in p il l a r , Executive Secretary, Bureau of Charity,
Department o f Health and Charity, Denver, Colo.
F r a n k W. G o o d h u e , Director, Division o f Aid and Relief, Depart­
ment o f Public Welfare, Boston, Mass.
M rs . A l ic e R ead S a x b y , Chief Probation Officer, Shelby County
Probate Court, Mejnphis, Tenn.
The round-table conference in Milwaukee discussed a number of
phases o f the mothers’ allowance work and showed by far the greatest
interest in the use o f a standard budget schedule. In fact, so much
interest was manifested in that subject that it was chosen by the
committee for its first study.
The committee immediately drafted a questionnaire on the use of
the standard budget, and I presume that a great many of you here
to-day answered those questions. The questionnaires were sent in
February to 125 mothers’ allowance and other public agencies
throughout the country, and we have received 45 well-considered
They were made with great care and form the basis of a
study that we feel is going to be o f real help to us.
The purpose of the committee was, perhaps, first o f all that we
might “ find ourselves ” in this particular branch o f public welfare,
get acquainted with each other, and know what we are doing; and,
second, that we might gather information from the various fields
o f activity pertaining to mothers’ allowances and their administra­
tion, and make available to all of us the very best that is being done
by mothers’ allowance agencies throughout the country.
Mr. Frank W. Goodhue, director of aid and relief o f the Depart­
ment o f Public Welfare of Massachusetts, has spent a great amount
of time in studying these questionnaires, and his report will follow.

Mr. G o o d h u e . The analysis that I will present to you is of
45 returns that were received in answer to the budget question­
naires submitted by the committee to 125 selected public agencies
throughout the United States. Replies came in from agencies in
the States o f California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa,
Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ne­
braska, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota,
Tennessee, Washington, and Wisconsin. They covered 22,140 fami­
lies, in which there were 68,210 children who were receiving assist­
ance in February, 1922. One important agency in Minneapolis is
not represented in these statistics.
Fifteen of the 45 agencies are not using standard budget schedules,
but at least 5 o f these indicated that they appreciate their value
and importance. Thirty agencies are using a standard budget
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The items considered in the questionnaire were as follow s: Food,
clothing, fuel, rent, light, insurance, car fare for working members of
the family, health, spending money for children o f "working age,
recreation, education, household supplies, and incidentals.

In general, the agencies in the different States appear to have
adopted schedules compiled by local authorities. The food schedule
compiled by Professor Jaffa, of the University o f California, was
used by 2 agencies; that o f the Chicago Standard Budget by 5 ;’ Miss
Emma Winslow’s guide by 4; and that o f the New York Association
for Improving the Condition o f the Poor by 3. One agency in each
case used the schedules of the New York Charity Organization
Society, United States Department o f Agriculture, Michigan Agri­
cultural College, Visiting Housekeepers’ Association o f Detroit,
home economics department of the Associated Charities o f Cleveland,
Ohio, and Massachusetts Department o f Public Welfare. The re­
maining 10 agencies had adopted schedules which had been estab­
lished from their own experience after consultation with specially
formed groups o f interested individuals and study of some o f the
above-named schedules and various governmental reports. The
methods used in computing amounts necessary to provide sufficient
food varied considerably; they include the caloric, unit, percentage
and quantitative bases.
A P P L IC A T IO N O F B U D G E T S C H E D U L E S B Y 30 A G E N C IE S .

As the cost o f food varies so materially'in the* different States,
and the standards and methods of computation are so different, any
attempt to analyze the adequacy of the aid granted would be futile.
A ll the agencies had schedules for food and clothing, and 29 pro­
vided for fuel, or for fuel and light combined.
Rents were generally included as an item o f the budget, but the
standards o f allowance varied. Some schedules established a maxi­
mum that might be allowed for rent; others allowed rent “ as paid,”
or “ according to needs of the family.”
Thirteen agencies made allowance for insurance, and undoubtedly
this item was considered in some instances in the allowance for
Fourteen agencies included car fare for working members o f the
Nine agencies included health in the schedule. The replies on
this subject were somewhat disappointing, since they did not indi­
cate the scope o f consideration.
Fourteen agencies allowed children o f working age to retain a
certain amount of their wages.
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Maine allowed 50 cents to $1 per week.
In Grand Rapids, Mich., the allowance depended upon tlie stand­
ard o f living.
Granite Falls, Minn., allowed one-fourth of the earnings to be
used for clothing and spending money.
Cincinnati, Ohio, allowed one-third o f the earnings.
Denver, Colo., allowed an amount decided upon by the investi­
gator, in conference with the mother, to be used for recreation,
books, etc.
New York City had a set scale dependent upon wages.
Eight agencies made allowance for recreation and seven for edu­
Eleven agencies provided for household supplies.
Twenty-three agencies allowed fo r incidentals.

Eleven agencies made deviations from the schedule on account o f
nationality. One agency had a Mexican problem which affected
the use of the schedule. Another agency figured a low estimate
for food and clothing for foreign families. A third agency granted
lower allowances for ^Italian and Czechoslovakian families.
Former standard of living.
Fifteen agencies took into consideration the former standard o f
living. One agency added 10 per cent to the food budget for hightype ^families. Another agency did not reduce the widow o f a
clerical worker or skilled mechanic to the same standard as the
widow o f a laborer.
Health of family.
Twenty-five agencies made some deviation from the budget sched­
ule on account o f the health needs o f the family.

Oakland, Calif., in some instances increased the food allowance
25 per cent for a child with tubercular tendencies.
San Francisco, Calif., increased the food allowance 20 per cent
for a tubercular family.
Detroit, Mich., added 10 per cent to the food allowance fo r fam i­
lies having tubercular tendencies.

New York City added 20 per cent to the food budget in tubercu­
losis cases, and milk, medicine, etc., were regular items of the budget.
Westchester County, N. Y., increased the food allowance 10 per
cent when extra nourishment was required, or in tubercular families,
or in families consisting o f a mother with only one or two children.
Denver, Colo., reported that the allowance was not usually changed,
but that expenditures were more carefully directed in cases where
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tubercular tendencies were present. Three agencies made special
allowances when they were needed, and four reported free treatment
by dispensaries and hospitals.
Families living in the country.
In considering allowances for families living in the country the
agencies in general took into consideration the value of, or income
received from, garden products or poultry.
One agency reported a low estimate for food, clothing, recreation,
etc., in rural regions, and another agency indicated in the following
statement how closely the budget problem is affiliated with the social
problem: “ There are opportunities open to families in rural regions
where mothers can live on farms and secure rent, food, and fuel by
keeping house for single men, widowers, etc.” I think most agencies
would undoubtedly agree that this is not in accordance with presentday policies in social work.
It appears to "be the general practice of most agencies to make
deviations from their schedules according to individual considera­
tions rather than by a set scale.

In reply to the question as to whether it was the policy to grant
an allowance sufficient to cover the difference between the actual in­
come and the actual needs so far as the maximum grant under the
laws permits, nearly all o f the agencies answered in the affirmative.
The analysis o f the replies to this question, however, indicate in a
large number o f instances either that the maximum grants are in­
adequate, especially in the case o f the small family, or that the ap­
propriations are insufficient to provide adequate grants even for those
families for whom the administrative body has already assumed
Ten agencies reported that public agencies supplemented grants.
Twenty-seven agencies reported that private agencies supple­
mented grants.
The replies of seven agencies implied that grants were supple­
mented only through the natural resources o f the family.
One agency reported that one-ninth o f the families received out­
side aid.
Another agency reported that the poor board contributed heavily
in several cases.
A third agency reported that one-tenth o f the families were aided
from outside sources.
A fourth agency reported that 85 per cent o f the families were
aided by the associated charities.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis


mothers ' pensions .


Twenty o f the 30 agencies using a standard budget schedule re­
quired the families to submit regularly an account of their house­
hold expenses, and provided special forms for this purpose.
Eight additional agencies required such accounts to be kept when
it appeared that the family was not spending the allowance wisely
or was unable to meet expenses.
The accounts were itemized for 13 agencies and grouped for the
remaining 7. Fourteen agencies required the accounts to be sub­
mitted on a monthly basis; 2, semimonthly; 3, quarterly; and 1,
semiannually. These accounts were studied by the agencies for
various purposes— as a basis for estimating future allowances, for
statistical purposes, to ascertain whether allowances were wisely
expended and whether sufficient food or a proper variety was being
used, and for budget study.

A dietitian was employed by only one agency, the Erie County
Board o f Public Welfare, New York. Five •agencies reported co­
operation with such agencies as the home economics department of
the public schools, dietetic bureau, Visiting Housekeepers’ Associa­
tion, and county home demonstrator.

The general question o f standards of living is one regarding which
we hoped to secure more specific information, but for the most part
general statements only were made. Judging from the replies it
would appear that comparatively little thought has been given to
such matters as the formulation o f policies in relation to education,
recreation, health, household equipment, etc. The emphasis has
naturally been placed, at first, upon the more urgent necessities o f
life—such as food, clothing, and shelter.
In this connection we should clearly distinguish between a standard
o f living and the application o f such a standard in computing family
budgets. It is, o f course, not always necessary to make an allow­
ance in the budget for a specific item, such as recreation, if the com­
munity resources are adequate in this respect.
Even though many agencies are not now in a position to live up
to even a reasonably ideal standard, it does seem o f the utmost im­
portance for us to determine and define certain fundamental prin­
ciples of living which are essential to the proper development of
child life.
Fifteen o f the 45 agencies failed to reply to any of the questions
relating to standards; 4 referred to the standards outlined in the
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Chicago Standard Budget ; 13 made only the most general statements;
4 referred to living costs without defining principles ; 9 made specific
replies to some or all o f the questions, as follows :
This appears to have been a difficult problem during the last few
years, and several agencies reported that families had to take what
they could get. One agency limited allowance for rent to $20 a
month ; others reported the following standards : “ Sufficient accom­
modation to insure privacy and comfort ” ; “ well ventilated ” ; “ good
neighborhood ” ; “ sanitary, clean ” ; “ living room and bedrooms ” ;
It seems fair to assume that the food standard depends largely upon
the adequacy of the schedule adopted, as the specific answers were of
little use for the purpose o f analysis. Seven agencies replied in
general terms, such as “ nourishment, no extras” ; “ occasional meat,
lots o f milk ” ; “ sufficient for health ” ; “ proper regard to balanced
diet ” ; etc.
Six agencies replied in the following terms : “ Warm clothes, not
fancy ” ; enough for warmth and to prevent the family from being
conspicuous among its neighbors ” ; “ decent, neat, clean, comfort­
able ” ; etc.
Seven agencies replied as follows: “ One fire in winter, two if
house very cold ” ; “ live in one room during winter ” ; “ enough for
cooking and heating during winter ” ; etc.
Household equipment.
Five agencies replied as follows: “ Recent and plain” ; “ sufficient
for ordinary needs o f a laborer’s family ” ; “ necessities ” ; etc.
In general the agencies appear to be conforming to the educational
and child-labor laws. The eight agencies which replied to the ques­
tion on educational standards in more specific terms than by referring
to the compulsory education laws of their States, reported as follows :
Oakland, CaMf. The majority of State aid children finish the
eight grade, and a large number continue in high school long enough
to receive training in commercial and vocational fields.
F ort Dodge, Iowa.— Eighth grade at least. Usually high school.
Maine.— To the age of 16, and sometimes high school.
Minneapolis.— Parents must learn English, children finish grades.
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Westchester County, N. Y .— Children between 15 and 16 years o f
age not allowed to continue in school if eligible for working papers,
unless scholarship to cover cost o f maintenance is obtained. I f child
is to continue in school after 16, private funds must be raised, in ad­
dition to scholarship, to cover child’s possible contribution to the
Columbus, Ohio.— Children must be in school until they are 16,
and past the seventh grade.
Spokane County, Wash.— Compulsory to 16 years.
Denver, Colo.—Provide for eighth grade education for each child;
allow a newspaper and one household magazine.
Five agencies replied as follows: “ Membership in scouts and
kindred organizations ” ; “ books and vacations ” ; “ encourage family
picnics to parks, paid outings through Y. M. C. A. or other sources
for working members o f family, and summer visits to friends for
mothers and children if possible ” ; etc.
Six agencies replied as follow s: “ Medical examination and follow­
up where necessary ” ; “ teeth filled and cared for, adenoids removed,
false teeth for mothers who need them, etc.” ; “ actual need and pre­

Among 30

Among 15
not using

Average family grant per month:










Average monthly grant per child:

A comparison of the foregoing tabulation o f average monthly
grants indicates that the agencies using a standard budget schedule
grant allowances more commensurate with the needs o f dependent
families than do other agencies.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis




A review o f all the information contained in the questionnaires
leads to the following conclusions:
1. A standard budget schedule is indispensable if public agencies
are to maintain the highest efficiency.
2. The preparation and distribution o f a food standard setting
forfh the health advantages to be gained from the use o f a properly
balanced dietary will be o f great value where a dietition is not em­
3. It is desirable for agencies to require families to render itemized
accounts o f their expenditures, provided the administrative or super­
vising agencies are adequately equipped to give them detailed study.
4. There is need of adopting certain standards of living for families
receiving assistance, as a basis for action in the individual case.
5. Differences in the policies adopted and results secured by
various administrative agencies in the same State show clearly the
value o f some form o f State supervision in the interests of the
standardization and stimulation necessary for effective administra­
The C h a i r m a n . Miss Florence Nesbitt, whose name we natu­
rally connect with budgets, has made for the Federal Children’s
Bureau an extensive study of their use in connection with mothers’
pensions, and she will now give the results o f this study.
Miss N e sb it t . I should like, first, to explain the object of this
study and how it was‘conducted. The Children’s Bureau wished to
collect and analyze material that would be helpful to the people who
are still working out their plans for administration af mothers’
pensions. With that purpose in mind nine places were selected.
They were chosen, first, because the information that the Children’s
Bureau already had in hand indicated that good work was being
done. The second consideration in choosing localities was to secure
a variety o f methods of administration and types o f communities.
The following were selected: Northampton County, Pa.; Montgom­
ery and Westchester Counties, N. Y . ; Denver, C olo.; St. Louis, M o.;
Hennepin and Yellow Medicine Counties, Minn.; Haverhill and
Boston, Mass. These places range in population from Boston, with
nearly a million inhabitants, to Yellow Medicine County, Minn.,
which is one o f the rural counties o f the State, the total population
being about 16,000 and that o f the largest town 1,754.
Various types of administration were represented. Northampton
and Montgomery Counties have independent county boards for the
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administration o f this aid to children. In Denver, Boston, and
Haverhill the work is done in the same department which administers»public outdoor relief. In St. Louis and in Westchester County
it is done in connection with the other child-welfare work, being
administered by the board o f children’s guardians in St. Louis and
by the department o f child welfare in Westchester County. The
juvenile court has jurisdiction in Denver and in the counties o f Hen­
nepin and Yellow Medicine. In Hennepin County the judge usually
accepts the recommendation o f an advisory committee composed of
case workers who go over each case in detail before it comes to him.
In Denver the judge accepts the recommendation, almost without
question, of the bureau o f charities, which makes the investigation
and does all the administrative work.
The object was to get together material which would show the
good points o f these different methods. Records and the time of
workers were placed generously at our disposal. You will not find
set forth in the report many of the errors o f ,your neighbors. What
were believed to be errors, of course, were found but it was not
considered necessary to run the risk o f perpetuating them by recording them. It was feared that, if they were described incorrectly
according to» our light on the subject, some one might copy them,
thinking: “ This must be a good plan because it is being followed
in Boston or Westchester County or Northampton County, where
splendid work is being done, so that this must surely be the way
to do it.”
One aspect o f the inquiry was the standard on which families re­
ceiving aid could live and the adequacy of the estimated budget. A
number o f homes in each place were visited and the actual standards
o f living observed.
The homes, I am glad to say, were usually comfortable homes of
the sort you would like to see children growing up in. The houses
were well kept. The mothers were not top tired out by work to give
reasonably good care to their children. The children were adquately
clothed and apparently well fed. O f course, there were exceptions,
more in some places than in others. One o f flhe chief reasons for the
exceptions was inability to give adequate relief.
In some o f the places where the persons administering the aid had
the very highest ideals of work, they were unable to make sufficient
grants because o f the restrictions under which they were working.
For example, o f the six States represented only two were free from
restrictions on the amount of aid that could be given to the family;
the others were working under the handicap o f being able to give
only a certain amount per child, so that in many instances they could
not give adequate relief.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



O f the States which set a limit to the amount of aid given, New
York State has the most liberal allowance, but taking as an example
the mother with three children (the most’ common size of fam ily),
the maximum grant that could be made under the New York law was
$65 a month. In Montgomery County one family of this size needed
$86 according to the budget estimated for it. The estimate was high
because o f illness, which made it impossible for the mother to earn.
No matter what the circumstances might be which made its need im­
perative, this family could not receive within $20 a month of the
amount it required. In the other States it would have fared still
worse. Pennsylvania had the lowest maximum allowance, and in
Northampton County there were a great many cases where the board
was unable to give adequate aid according to its own calculations.
In some o f the places free from the restriction o f a maximum
amount o f aid per family it was impossible to get enough money ap­
propriated for the work. Denver was the worst sufferer from that
cause. The amount of money appropriated there was not more than
half enough to take care of the families eligible under the law for
mothers’ allowances. The board courageously refused to spread the
money thinly over the needs o f all the families eligible, but was
giving adequate help to as many as the money would oare for.
Seventy-three families were receiving an allowance, while there were
82 others on the waiting list.
The estimated budget in use in all the places was fairly adequate,
as checked up with the cost of living in the community. The difficulty
came with bringing the income up to the estimate. The highest pro­
portion o f cases in which the income was equal to or slightly over
the estimated budget was in Denver, where 73 per cent o f the fami­
lies were up to the estimate and a further 20 per cent were within 10
per cent o f it.
The question o f earnings by the mothers is closely related to the
amount o f aid they receive. Several places had made rulings similar
to the recommendation o f the State supervisor o f Pennsylvania—that
the mothers should not work away from home more than three days
a week. There were, however, some instances where the women were
being overworked, and others where they were away from their fam­
ilies too much, or where the children were not being properly cared for
during the mother’s absence. The percentage o f mothers working
varied. In Boston, only 20 per cent were reported as earning ; in Yel­
low Medicine County, Minn., 75 per cent were working.
In Boston the case workers—both the local visitors and the State
supervisors— were carrying such an enormous load o f work that it
was not possible for them to see the families very frequently. It
seems probable that some mothers were working without thé knowl­
edge o f the visitors.
10165°—22----- 3
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



In all the places work in the care of health was found carried out
as well as was possible with existing local facilities. In St. Louis a
medical examination o f every child was a routine part o f the work.
A physician from the board of education made the examination at the
office o f the board o f children’s guardians and left there the medical
record of the child’s condition, including recommendations as to the
treatment needed. In Westchester County the board had the enor­
mous advantage o f a mental clinic, which had been established in its
own department, where any child who appeared to need it could have
a mental examination. Decisions as to what treatment would be best
for the child were reached by conference between the clinic staff and
the visitors. Securing dental care was a serious problem in many
places, particularly in the country. In Northampton County, the
board had secured the volunteer service o f private dentists.
The benefit o f State supervision is one o f the things which came out
most clearly in the course o f our study. It is the only hope of the
rural communities where social work is still undeveloped. It seemed
very wonderful to find work of the grade being done in Northamp­
ton, Montgomery, and Yellow Medicine Counties, and in the small
towns o f Massachusetts. Under the stimulus and leadership o f the
State visitors the local administrations had worked out plans for
giving adequate relief and excellent service to the families receiving
aid. There were well-cared-for children in comfortable homes, instead
o f mothers overburdened by work and worry and children ill-nour­
ished and poorly trained, such as are so often found among those
receiving public aid in rural counties where there is no such outside
In Massachusetts I was fortunate in being present at a conference
held by the State supervisor o f mothers’ aid and the State visitor
with the local overseers o f the poor of a small town on Cape Cod.
Among the matters discussed was the desirability o f having fresh
milk for the children in families receiving aid. According to the
overseers, fresh milk was practically unknown on the Cape, and
children there have been brought up from time immemorial on canned
milk. The conference ended with the promise of the overseers that
they would display posters illustrating the importance o f fresh milk
lo r children and in other ways encourage the mothers to buy it.
I was impressed during the study by the difficulties arising from
inability to keep complete case records. The staff in many places was
handicapped by lack o f sufficient clerical help. Westchester County,
where the department o f public welfare is supported partly by public
and partly by private funds, furnishes an example of the attitude o f
public departments toward paying for clerical service in social-service
work. O f 16 field agents in the department o f public welfare 11 were
paid from the public fund, but of 6 stenographers there was public
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



pay for only 2. In general, the public departments were willing
to pay for workers who made visits and investigated applications
for relief, but they could not see the importance o f keeping adequate
records. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to give adequate serv­
ice to a family if the important facts about it are not recorded. In
some o f the places there was so little clerical service that the case
workers had to write their records in longhand; in other places the
records were adequate. In Denver and in Westchester County the
case records contain a carefully written history of each family so
that this information may be available at any time in working out
plans for their benefit. In the Denver records the physical condition
o f each child was recorded on a separate sheet. His weight, measure­
ment, and other data were recorded at intervals, and also the habits
o f the child which had an influence upon his physical development.
A ll this became a part of the permanent record, which could be re­
ferred to year after year.
The C h a i r m a n . I should like to call your attention to the fact
that there will be two opportunities for discussion from the floor.
This is not a cut-and-dried program, but we are running close to
schedule in order that you may all have the time allotted for the
Miss Bogue, to whom great credit is due for the initiative and
leadership o f the study, will now make a report for the committee.
Miss B og u e . It does not seem right that this study on which so
much time has been spent should pass out o f our minds without some
definite crystallization of its results. And so Mr. Goodhue’s report
was presented to the full committee, and the committee made certain
tentative recommendations with regard to the whole subject o f the
use o f standard household budgets.
We are submitting them now to you with the hope that you will
criticize and discuss them.
The group o f mothers’ pension officials which gathered at M il­
waukee were unanimous in their desire that the committee make*
their first study a budget study; it was the hope o f the conference
and o f the committee that the report would incorporate certain
recommendations which might serve as a guide in the field o f budgets;
The recommendations refer to minimum standards only. Many o f
the agencies which responded to the questionnaire are doing fa*more comprehensive and intensive budget work than these recom­
mendations contemplate. The latter cover only what the committee
considers to be the minimum requirements o f a sound administrative
policy. The committee believes—
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(1) That constructive work with families is conditional upon ade­
quate relief.
(2) That adequate aid can be determined only by accurate knowl­
edge o f the necessary expenses and income.
(3) That the expenditures necessary to health and wholesome
living can be determined, especially at the outset, only by the use
o f a standard budget schedule subject to individual and family varia­
tions and other variables.
(4) That even when the relief is not adequate the agency should
know how inadequate it is.
(5) That itemized household expense accounts should be required
from families receiving assistance. The advantages o f the house­
hold account are:
(a) They provide detailed and complete knowledge regarding
actual living expenses o f the family. Moreover, as Miss
Nesbitt says, such accounts often tell a quite different
story from that gained through conversation with the
mother. “ They bring to light not only ways in which the
money can be laid out to better advantage, but the pitiful
makeshifts by which the family is making an inadequate
income do.”
(b) They provide a test o f the adequacy o f the budget esti­
mates and o f the grants, and when the latter are inade­
quate offer unanswerable arguments for the raising o f
the standard o f relief.
(c) They offer opportunity for instruction in food values, buy­
ing, and household management and may thus be made
the basis of educational work.
(d) They can be a real contribution to our knowledge o f bud­
gets, particularly rural budgets. In Berks County, Pa.,
the board o f trustees administering the law tabulates
each month under various heads the expenditures o f all
families. A valuable body o f material is being built
up which will be useful in a variety o f ways for com­
parative purposes, for legislative and publicity work, and
as a contribution to our knowledge o f living expenses in
(e) They provide helpful information as to methods o f manw
• agement which can be passed on to other families.
However, household expense accounts should not be required pri­
marily for the purpose o f statistics, nor even for the purpose of
investigation, but because they offer unusual opportunities for serv­
ice to the families under care. They should not be required as a
mechanical routine, nor unless the workers are prepared to give
detailed study to them. Their value is dependent upon the adequacy
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o f the administrative staff. It is exceedingly desirable that the
mothers themselves see the value o f the accounts in helping them
to plan their household expenditures more efficiently, and in making
a contribution to the general knowledge o f living costs which will
enable the administration to be o f greater service to other families.
Care should be taken that the mothers themselves understand that
the desire of the agency is not to reduce alb standards to sameness,
but to assure the fundamental essentials o f physical and mental
That some form o f State supervision is essential for the ef­
fective administration o f mothers’ pension laws.
The committee, therefore, makes the following recommendations:
1. That mothers’ pension agencies make it their policy to grant
aid sufficient to meet the deficit in the family budget, so far as the
maximum grant under the law permits.
2. That as an aid in determining what the family budget should
be, not only should the mother’s estimate be considered, but a stand­
ard budget schedule should be used as a guide.
3. That the principal items o f a reasonable budget should in­
(a) Housing.
( b) Food.
(<?) Fuel and light.
(d) Household supplies.
(e) Health.
( / ) Incidentals:
1. Recreation.
2. Education.
3. Emergencies.
4. Car fare.
5. Insurance.
6. Spending money.
Expenditures for health and household supplies may for conven­
ience be included under incidentals, i f the necessary allowance is
made for them.
4. That all mothers’ pension agencies require at intervals itemized
household expense accounts from families receiving assistance.
5. That mothers’ pension agencies either directly distribute, or
have distributed through other sources, literature on health, food
values, menus, school lunches, etc., such as are put out by the exten­
sion departments o f the State colleges, the United States Bureau of
Education, the Child Health Organization o f America, etc.
6. That some form o f State supervision be adopted in those States
not yet having it, for the accomplishment o f effective administration
o f the mothers’ pension laws.
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That careful consideration be given to the formulation o f gen­
eral minimum standards o f living, including housing, food, cloth­
ing, heat and light, education, recreation, health, household equip­
ment, etc. In this connection this committee would like to call the
attention o f the mothers’ pension agencies to the Chicago Standard
Budget, which outlines in specific terms the standards which the
social agencies of Chicago have accepted as fundamental to whole­
some living, and also to “ Household Management,” by Florence
Nesbitt, published by the Russell Sage Foundation.
In view of the vital importance o f this subject the committee fur­
ther recommends that continued study be given the question o f stand­
ards next year.
The C h a i r m a n . Opportunity will now be given to discuss these
recommendations or reports from the floor. This discussion will be
led by Mrs. Daniel Ancona, vice president o f the Berks County
board o f trustees of the Pennsylvania Mothers’ Fund.
Mrs. A n c o n a . The mothers’ pension board of Berks County, Pa.,
began its work about three years ago. Six months later, under the
guidance of Miss Bogue, an expense sheet was introduced which the
board felt very skeptical over, or rather reluctant to use. Only those
mothers were selected who were able to keep to the expense account
We heard nothing about it for about six months, when an accident
showed us that the expense sheets were being stored in a drawer.
I explained to the board that we must get something out o f these
expense sheets or that we must give them up, for it was a great waste
o f paper. We had an enormous sheet. It took 8 cents postage to
send out a month’s supply. O f course, it took considerable time on
the part o f the mothers. And so, since I complained most of all,
they asked me to see whether these expense sheets were worth any­
thing or not.
The only thing I could do was to tabulate the results, and I took
an evening off and reduced them to a per capita unit, in order to get
comparative figures. And then we had a most interesting time.
We had all sorts o f revelations and some o f our most puzzling
cases became intelligible to us. We had one family that took up
the greater part o f every one of our meetings. The children were
forever being taken to the hospital. My sheet showed that their
daily" per capita expense for food was lower than that o f any other
family we had, and that they were trying to live on bologna, bread,
and candy. O f course we knew then what to do for that family.
We had one revelation after another. We could now correct ex­
travagant and indiscreet purchases; and as a taxpayer, as well as a
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trustee of the mothers’ assistance fund, I am much interested in see­
ing that justice is done to the State as well as relief given to the
So the board found that the expense sheet enabled it to give intelli­
gent aid. The mothers objected a little at first, but very soon objec­
tion ceased. Within a short period it was taking up very little o f
their time, and the use o f these sheets was decidedly educational.
Every now and then something very funny happens. A mother
had just been given a grant, and we used Miss Nesbitt’s schedule in
estimating her budget. We gave her our limit, which together with
the earnings in the family should have met her needs. However, she
claimed that she couldn’t get along. The natural thing to do was
to examine her expense sheet more closely, and it was found that she
was quite extravagant in the way o f buying. She bought coal by the
bucket, and so on. The investigator took the trouble to talk to her
and help her and teach her what she could do. The next time the
investigator called she welcomed her and said: “ I have saved $4.79
on my grocery order.” And then she turned proudly to her girl and
said: “ Maybe yet we get some brains, too, ain’t we, Mary ? ”
Now, we have a little by-product o f our work. It is sometimes
charged that it is on account of that by-product that we are such
earnest advocates o f expense sheets. That is not so; we feel that we
couldn’t do intelligent supervising without them. Nevertheless, this
by-product is very interesting to social workers, and also a part o f it
is very interesting to mothers’ pension workers as propaganda mate­
rial for increased appropriations.
Our budget for the State year ran from June 1, 1921, to May 31,
1922, and from a partial analysis I find that there were 257 children
under 16 years of age who were truly wards of the State. Counting
the pension received by those families and the proportion of admin­
istration expenses for the county and the State, the cost to the public
for maintaining these children per person per day was 34| cents.
In the same county, for almost exactly the same period, the ex­
pense per person per day in the county poor home was 68 cents, or
$4.76 a week. In one orphans’ home it was $4.15 per week; in the
home for friendless children it was $4.18 a week; in another orphans’
home, $2.87 a week; and in still another, $2.45. But for mothers’
assistance it was $2.41 a week.
So we can go out and tell the people that they will have more money
in their pockets if they will support these children through the
mothers’ pension bureau instead o f through public institutions.
The C h a i r m a n . I s there anyone else who wishes to partici­
pate in the discussion ? I f so, please give the name and speak where
you are standing. We have five minutes more for discussion on the
use o f the budget.
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Mr. H a r d y , Boston, Mass. I have been listening to the various
statements made by Mr. Goodhue and Miss Bogue and the others.
They seem to be generally satisfactory, but I should like to know if
it is possible to have a budget that would be standard, so that we shall
all understand just what is considered in various parts o f the country
a sufficient amount o f aid for adequate relief and good living; and
whether we can agree on the percentage in regard to food, clothing,
rent, light and heat, and incidentals.
I find in my city that we have varying situations, and I can’t get
any two organizations to send me a list that will agree on the things
which I have mentioned. It seems as though a study made by mem­
bers o f the State Board of Public Welfare o f Massachusetts comes
near to what we could consider reasonable percentages for these d if­
ferent items. That allows about 45 per cent o f the income o f the
family for food, about 20 per cent for rent, about 16 per cent for
clothing, perhaps 10 per cent for fuel and light, and the rest for in­
cidentals, if there is any left. O f course, you understand, I am giving
these figures approximately. It strikes me that here we are getting
the nearest to a budget that can be understood.
It is well enough to say that the children must have nourishing food,
but how much food do they need? That is what we want to find
out. I f we have a definite standard o f food and follow it as closely
as we can, if some one else recommends something else, are we to
follow that? Perhaps the family needs more nourishing food, but
we can’t tell what kind o f food they want.
Mr. Rice made a study o f caloric quantities, to find out how much
food the child would need, and we are now working it out on that
basis in Boston. I hope that the State will eventually take the
matter up and study it very thoroughly, and then perhaps we may
get a budget that will be satisfactory to those engaged in the work.
Miss B r a d s h a w , Reading, Pa. In the study that Mr. Goodhue
made o f the questionnaires, I should like to know i f the question
o f inducing the foreign people to learn English was taken into
consideration ?
Mr. G o o d h u e . I am not prepared to say that it was. Miss Nesbitt’s
study is more valuable, because she was actually on the ground and
could follow out all the conditions.
Mr. W il l ia m H odson , Director o f the Minnesota Children’s Bu­
reau, State Board o f Control. In Minnesota the statute provides
that the juvenile court may require the mother, as a condition o f re­
ceiving the allowance, to use the English language in her home. I
don’t know o f any place in Minnesota where that condition has been
met except Minneapolis. I am not aware that it has been required
in any other places in the State.
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The C h a i r m a n . The schedule as arranged by our “ steering com­
mittee” now calls for a shifting of the discussion from the sub­
ject o f budgets to the subject of State supervision of the administra­
tion of mothers’ allowances.
Your committee has suggested that a certain number o f people
from different parts o f the country each give in five minutes or less
their opinion in respect to this subject.
Mrs. Elizabeth F. Moloney, State supervisor o f mothers’ aid in
Massachusetts, will now contribute to that part o f the discussion.

Mrs. M o l o n e y . The Massachusetts mothers’ aid law was enacted in
1913. It is 9 years old this month. It has remained unchanged to
Those who framed the law had in mind two distinct purposes:
First, to prevent the breaking up of the homes o f fatherless fami­
lies; and, second, to raise the level of public relief. O f the two
purposes, that o f raising the level o f public relief was the more
important and far-reaching.
The mothers’ aid law proposed direct benefits to comparatively
few o f the large number of applicants for public relief, but it was
to serve as an entering wedge.
Prior to 1912, public aid in Massachusetts (as in other States)
was a mere dole, limited by statute in State cases to $2 a week per
family from May to September and to $3 a week for the remaining
months o f the year. The fact that the State reimbursement o f cities
and towns in State cases was limited to $2 in the summer and $3
in the winter served to establish these small sums o f money as
standards o f relief^for all public aid.
Chapter 331, Acts of 1912, amended the statute by adding that
more money might be given “ if so ordered by the State board o f
charity.” But comparatively few overseers made use o f their en­
larged powers for some time after this amendment was added to
the temporary aid law.
The mothers’ aid law (ch. 763, Acts o f 1913) was a new depar­
ture in public relief in that it not only permitted but specifically
required overseers o f the poor to grant adequate aid in their homes
to mothers with dependent children. The amount o f aid per capita
or per family was neither prescribed nor limited, the law stating:
“ The aid furnished shall be sufficient to enable the mother to bring
up the children properly in her own home.”
Here for the first time we find expressed in a relief statute the
belief that home life under the care of the mother is the best kind
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o f child care. Here, also, we find it stated that the mother and her
dependent children aided under this law shall not be pauperized
thereby. Moreover, for the first time in the history o f public relief
in Massachusetts, the primary emphasis was placed upon relief, and
legal settlement became a matter of secondary importance. No re­
quirement as to citizenship nor as to legal settlement within the
Commonwealth was made, three years’ residence within the Com­
monwealth being the only residence requirement.
Before the passage o f the Massachusetts mothers’ aid law State
supervision of aid in the homes was limited to State cases. Under
that law the Commonwealth agreed to reimburse cities and towns
for one-third o f the amount o f aid rendered in each and every Massa-.
chusetts aid case, as well as for the full amount in cases where the
mother had no legal settlement. Where the State’s money goes,
there supervision must follow, and so it came to pass under the
Massachusetts aid law that the State was granted supervision o f all
cases with local settlement, as well as o f State cases.
This made for uniformity: No longer were the overseers o f the
poor relieved o f their responsibility in State cases. They were ex­
pected to investigate and decide upon the amount o f aid to be granted
in State cases, and to use the same degree o f interest and economy
in relieving cases where there was no settlemeiit or where there was
a legal settlement in some other town as they were wont to use in
aiding persons settled in their own towns.
The Massachusetts aid law recognized the right o f local relief
boards to initiate aid under this law and to place upon the overseers
the responsibility o f determining whether an applicant for Massa­
chusetts aid was eligible—by requiring the overseer to make a care­
ful and thorough investigation o f each case before granting aid.
Since reimbursement by the State, for its share o f the expense de­
pended upon approval by the State, the overseers ran the risk o f
having their bills disallowed if they aided cases that were not eligible.
The Massachusetts aid law allows the overseer o f the poor to grant
immediate aid without first awaiting the approval o f the State de­
partment. This is a most valuable feature of the law, as it pre­
vents long delays and possible suffering on the part o f the applicant,
such as is sometimes entailed in States where approval by the State
or county board must be had before any aid can be granted. Though
the Massachusetts law allows for necessary interim relief while the
investigation is going forward, it does not relieve the overseers o f the
poo* of their full responsibility for the aid granted.
The Massachusetts aid law provides long-continued aid if neces­
sary, up to the time when the youngest child becomes 14 years o f age.
It requires the overseers of the poor to follow up the cases by visiting
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the homes at least once every three months and by reconsidering each
case once a year.
It requires the overseer of the poor to keep careful records not only
o f the first investigation but o f the, quarterly visits, so that the Mas­
sachusetts aid law case records are complete histories o f the cases
and are kept on file in the local overseer’s office as well as at thé statehouse. The adoption o f uniform application blanks and other forms
tends to make these local records uniform throughout the State.
Formerly the case records of public relief were principally settle­
ment histories and statements of amounts o f aid granted or desired.
The fact that family history records were required under the Massa­
chusetts aid law gradually brought about the adoption of the casehistory plan for all kinds o f public aid.
In 1914, no such thing as a family budget was required. The Mas­
sachusetts aid budget adopted in that year was a first attempt. Now,
in all forms o f public relief, the overseers of the poor are thinking
in terms of weekly expenses o f the family for rent, fuel, food, and
clothing and are comparing the sum total of expenses with the total
income o f the family from all sources. The law requires adjustment
between the two columns, and the overseers o f the poor are en­
couraged to increase the amount o f aid in times of greater need, and
to decrease it as the family becomes gradually more and more selfsupporting. The duty of changing the aid to meet the changing needs
o f the family is placed squarely upon the shoulders of the local over­
seers, who are best able to check up the wages o f earning members of
the family and other data affecting its resources.
Very early the overseers o f the poor asked the State department o f
public welfare to define its policies, and a number o f so-called policies
were drawn up. These have several times been revised and changed.
They are not additions to the law but interpretations o f it.
Summing up, I would say that State supervision makes for uni­
formity and efficiency in the granting o f aid to mothers with depen­
dent children.
The C h a i r m a n . A report on the Pennsylvania system will be
made by Miss Mary F. Bogue, State supervisor, mothers’ assistance

Miss B ogue . The Pennsylvania law gives the administration o f
the mothers’ assistance fund exclusively to unpaid county boards of
women trustees, five to seven, generally seven, in number. The State
legislature at its biennial session makes the appropriation, which
is apportioned among the counties o f the State and is matched by
them on a 50-50 basis.
There are two points which I should like to make: First, through
tins system we are trying to build up in the State a body o f lay
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workers, experienced in handling the problems o f child welfare,
understanding something of the technique, having a sense of State­
wide solidarity and a common purpose, and capable of interpreting
this new gospel of child care to their own communities. In only
22 counties do we have funds sufficient to provide for the employ­
ment of paid or trained workers. In the remaining counties, 29 in
all, the trustees themselves do all the work o f investigation and
supervision and the clerical and visitation work. In the counties
which employ workers the boards assume large responsibilities for
actual family visiting, for tabulation of statistics, for health and
other special studies, for budget work, and for legislative and pub­
licity work. These volunteer county boards are thus the bedrock
o f the whole plan. They become a form o f county organization
which is capable o f initiative and much independent action and
which has its roots firmly and substantially embedded in local con­
sciousness and custom.
My second point refers to State supervision and grows out o f the
first. The law provides that the State supervisor “ shall have gen­
eral supervision over the boards of trustees,” shall “ issue rules of
procedure by which they shall be governed,” and shall visit each
board at least twice each year. In accordance with the spirit o f the
law, all responsibility for administration is thrown back upon the
local boards, and it has been demonstrated to the complete satis­
faction o f everyone that they are thoroughly Capable, economical,
and conscientious administrators.
Thus within the framework of a unified and coherent State pro­
gram special methods and forms o f administration suitable to local
needs have grown up. The boards have also developed special in­
terests. Some are most interested in dietetics and household budgets,
some in health work, some in school supervision, some in recreation
'and extra-educational opportunities. This has not, however, been
at the expense of all-around supervision.
As the State office is not an administrative agency, neither is it
a bureau o f inspection. In a limited sense it fulfills a function simi­
lar to that o f a central office in a city charity organization society:
Jb'ace cards with summaries are filed there; statistics are compiled,
grants approved, and policies outlined. But the first and foremost
function of the State supervisor is the establishment o f standards,
and the chief means to that end is the instruction of the county
boards in the method and technique o f family case work and child
care. It has been found that* while it is not possible to insist upon
absolutely the same standards in counties where boards are doing
all o f the work as in counties where there is a staff o f highly trained
workers, it is possible to develop among all the boards a realization
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o f fundamental ends to be achieved, and something of the machinery,
for attaining those ends. Thus in Pennsylvania there are few boards
which do not appreciate the fact that the all-around well-being
o f the child is their responsibility, and that this involves supervi­
sion over at least health, education, dietetics, and home care, and
that a minimum of supervision requires a monthly visit to the family.
Summing up, the State office in Pennsylvania has served as a valu­
able instrument in gathering and utilizing a vast amount o f hitherto
unorganized service and in arousing the social'instinct in behalf of
the dependent, fatherless children o f the State.
The C h a i r m a n . Mr. William Hodson, director o f the Children’s 1
Bureau o f the State o f Minnesota, will now contribute to the dis­

Mr. H odson . I rise to discuss this question with some hesitation
because o f the interesting way in which the State of Minnesota
has failed to meet the obligation which is placed upon it under the
statutes. Under the law in Minnesota it is required that the State
return to the counties one-third of the amount which the counties
have expended. At the time the law was passed the chairman of the
appropriations committee o f the senate informed us that he had voted
for the bill, but that he didn’t know it called for this appropriation,
and therefore he couldn’t meet the obligation. During the second
session o f the legislature in 1919 the chairman of the finance com­
mittee informed us that inasmuch as it had not been done previously
he didn’t see any way in which the appropriation could be made
during the second session. In the third session we were informed
that, although the obligation still existed on the statute books, never­
theless the amount o f money then due was so great that the finance
committee was afraid it couldn’t possibly meet the obligation. Then,
to cap the climax, we were told that the whole proposition was social­
istic, and they were not going to listen to it any longer.
Fortunately, however, we have been able to work out in a very
limited way a splendid cooperation between the State office and the
local offices outside the large communities, where the work is very
well organized. You have probably heard from Mr. Hush, who is
engaged in this work in Minneapolis. Outside these large commu­
nities we have established a rather close contact between the State
office and the local units; and it is based not upon the power which
the State office might have had if there had been appropriations, be­
cause the money would have been given upon the approval of the
State office, but solely upon the fact that the local community, the
juvenile courts, and the local child-welfare boards were really in­
terested in knowing how much the State officials knew about the
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subject. They didn’t throw a great deal of light on this subject, but
we do keep in very close contact with the county child-welfare boards,
which cooperate with the juvenile court judges in the administration
o f the statute.
I believe sometimes that in this unofficial and purely cooperative
way we may accomplish in the long run almost as much as it would
be possible to accomplish with the appropriations. I am not sure that
that is absolutely so, but I think that it has been a very great, ad­
vantage to have the local community ask for this assistance from the
State, in view o f the fact that the State has failed to meet its finan* cial obligations to the local community.
In conclusion, there are two things which it seems to me are in
point in considering the problem, at least from the experience' of
Minnesota. One is that we have not gotten away in the rural com­
munities from the thought that this aid is a pension, and that the
mother by virtue o f being a widow is entitled to an allowance irre­
spective o f all other considerations. And we are trying very hard
to get the proper educational program across which will make it ap­
parent that she is entitled to that aid if she enters into partnership
with the State on the right basis, but not otherwise.
Second, very frequently juvenile court judges look upon the allow­
ance as a method o f plugging up the hole in the wall of support for
the family and not as a means o f doing a constructive job in bringing
that family up to better standards. Once having taken that point of
view, the thought is : “ What is the smallest amount that will plug up
the hole in the wall ? ” Therefore, we find some judges giving aid of
$8 a month to every family irrespective o f the conditions which obtain
in that family and not recognizing that this is a partnership between
the State and the mother for the purpose o f raising good citizens;
that the dividends are good citizenship, and that this point o f view
offers the opportunity o f working out the right solution o f the
The judges are still taking the other point of view : “ We will give
you $8 per month per child, so that the family may get along.” That
is about all they are concerned about. I hope we shall be able through
this cooperation to bring home to the judges of the juvenile courts
o f our State the fact that they have here a means o f great power, as
Miss Bogue has pointed out, if they will use it in the development o f
family life and not merely for giving the smallest possible sum they
can to the family. I f they realize this, they can make a real contri­
bution to the State of Minnesota.
The C h a i r m a n . The next discussion will be b y Miss Lucia B.
Johnson, director o f the division o f child welfare, Ohio Institute of
Public Efficiency.
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Miss J o h n s o n . In Ohio we look upon this aid as a matter of
great advantage to the mother and the unlucky children whose
fathers have deserted them or who happen to be born in unfortunate
situations. We have no State supervision, and what is being done by
the Ohio Institute for Public Efficiency is a sort of “ feeling around,”
in order to get a more efficient administration, and to arouse public
opinion and to help develop the work.
During the war Governor Cox asked the women’s committee of
the Council o f National Defense to find out what was wrong with
this “ mothers’ pension business,” as he called it. We made a little
investigation, and the women o f the State got very much excited when
they found that one county was doing extremely well but that three
counties were not getting anywhere and were practically throwing
the money out of the window. They wanted something done. Then
the war stopped.
At last we called a meeting of the judges and the probation officers,
and got the judges talking upon this very topic. Before the meeting
was dissolved— we don’t know exactly how it happened—the judges
voted to have a committee make a study and to hold a series o f con­
ferences over the State.
During the last year we had eight district conferences in different
sections o f the State, attended by judges and volunteers and by pro-,
bation officers and any social workers who wanted to come and dis­
cuss this matter.
Another important thing was that out of these meetings came a
desire to have some sort of State supervision. We are not hurrying
this matter and are not promoting it, but are-waiting to see what hap­
pens. In the meantime, the Ohio State University has also discov­
ered the advantages of this work and has asked for a little money to
spend on it. Last summer, and again this summer, it is giving a
two weeks’ institute course for probation officers and judges. And
they come, even the judges. They talk these things over, and are
digging up little ideas here and there. We are very fortunate in
having with us this summer Miss Nesbitt, who will talk to us on the
We think there are three important things to get across: First,
the matter o f budget keeping; second, the matter o f standard face
cards, and we have a committee o f the judges themselves preparing
these standard face cards. In the third place we are trying to get
an advisory committee on the mothers’ pension and the probation
work, that committee to be composed o f volunteer workers and rep­
resentative social workers who will advise with the probation offi­
cers about the grant.
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At this point Chairman Bruno relinquished the chair to Miss Mary
F. Bogue, who presided during the remainder of the meeting.
The next speaker on this program was Dr. Gertrude Hall, State
supervisor of mothers’ aid o f Maine.

Dr. H a l l . The Maine law is very satisfactory to the people o f
the State and we have no thought o f changing it at the present time.
The administration of mothers’ aid is in the hands o f the State
board o f charities, under the name of the State board o f mothers’
aid. This is an unpaid board o f 5 members who meet monthly.
They have a secretary, a supervisor, and 10 agents. There are 1,500
municipal boards of mothers’ aid, also unpaid. A board in a large
town or city that needs a paid agent employs one, otherwise the
members do the work themselves.
The Maine law provides that the applications for mothers’ aid
shall originate in the towns. The municipal board may receive them,
or the county or State board, after which the State investigates the
case and passes on it. The municipal board makes monthly visits
to the families, and the State agents visit them twice a year at least.
The advantage of the State system in Maine is that it makes the
work uniform throughout the State. I could not mention any coun­
ties or cities in Maine that are doing poorer work than others, be­
cause the work is all pretty well standardized.
The State board is the instrument for securing free hospital treat­
ment for the mothers or children who need it. The members go
around and give competent advice and teach the municipal boards
how to do the work. They study the reports that come in from all
the mothers and from the municipal boards, and supervise. There
is no limit to the mothers’ aid that can be given in Maine. We give
what is necessary, and on that account we raise and lower the rate
each summer and winter, or whenever there is special hardship in
the family.
The C h a i r m a n . We shall now hear from Miss Mary A. Steer,
supervisor, boards o f child welfare, State board o f charities, A l­
bany, N. Y.


Miss S teer . I can not begin without speaking for just a moment
on the size o f our problem. I think Pennsylvania has about 3,000
cases, perhaps only 2,500; and in the current year, I think, Massa­
chusetts has about 3,000. In the State o f New York we have almost
12,000 cases, and probably about 37,000 children are being cared
for to-day through boards o f child welfare under the mothers’ aid
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The theory and organization o f our plan of aid in New York
State is very similar to that in Pennsylvania. We administer aid
through local boards of child welfare composed o f seven members,
six of whom are appointed by the county judge, the seventh being
the superintendent of the poor, ex officio. At least two members
o f a board must be women. The members receive no compensation
for their services, but are entitled to the actual and necessary ex­
penses incurred by them in properly discharging their official duties.
Thus the unit of administration is the unpaid board, except in
Westchester County, where under special statute mothers’ allow­
ances are administered by the department o f child welfare under
the county commissioner o f public welfare as part of its work of
caring for all dependent and defective children. A ll the funds ex­
pended for the work are appropriated by local financial authori­
ties (namely, the boards o f supervisors, in all counties except the
five included in the city of New York, where the board of estimate
and apportionment is the appropriating body). The principle be­
hind our organization is that of local autonomy with full responsi­
bility placed upon each county outside of New York City and on
the city o f New York to administer the law.
Responsibility for supervision over the several local boards of
child welfare rests with the State board o f charities, both by con­
stitutional provision and under the State charities law, as well as
by the requirements o f article 7 -A of the general municipal law,
which governs the boards of child welfare. It should be explained
here that the organization and plan of the State board of charities
in our btate is similar to that o f the boards of child welfare. That
is, it is an unpaid board o f citizens appointed by the governor, which
gives its time and services to problems of administration o f all mat­
ters of charitable and eleemosynary endeavor in the State, just as
a board o f child welfare gives its services for the administration o f
the mothers’ aid law in the county, with the difference that its duties
are advisory and supervisory, while the board o f child welfare is
an administrative body.
Y^hen the law first became operative, in 1915, the State board pre­
pared certain forms for applications, investigations, and the like from
the material and information at that time available. Naturally,
these were crude, and they were soon outgrown. Active opposition
to State supervision was found in certain quarters, and this, together
with the lack o f adequate machinery on the part of the State board
to render to the local boards the kind o f definite assistance (in organi­
zation, policies, and methods of work) which it felt they should
have, was a serious matter. Further, during the period of the war
so many o f the staff of the State board were released for war work
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that it was in no position to undertake new activities in this direc­
tion. In 1919, however, at the request o f the State board the legis­
lature added a supervisor of boards of child welfare to its staff, and
for the first time one person was available in its office to give full
time to public agencies in the State granting mothers’ allowances.
The following year an assistant to the supervisor was secured.
Since that time the State board has been endeavoring to stimu­
late and standardize the work of the local boards through a care­
fully planned scheme of cooperative supervision. The boards have
been advised as to general policies and methods of procedure; opin­
ions have been rendered in cooperation with the office of the attorney
general on the interpretation of the law with reference to particular
cases coming before the boards for decision; the appointment o f mem­
bers has been taken up with county judges, especially where vacancies
have existed for some time; regional conferences have been held
for board members and employees at which both the practical and
theoretical sides o f their activities are discussed; a standard appli­
cation blank has been prepared after a careful study of the forms in
use in various places in this and other States and after consultation
with the local boards and other relief-dispensing agencies; and
finally, detailed studies o f the work o f all but two o f the individual
county boards have been made which have included visits to families,
and the reports of such studies have afterwards been taken up with
the boards in conference.
The net results, so far as we can judge at present, are a general
cooperative and cordial attitude between the State board and the
local boards o f child welfare, practical improvement in the work
and methods o f local board^ a marked tendency toward the employ­
ment o f paid executive secretaries, and an increasing faith on my
part—which I believe is shared by others— in the possibilities of
making the local unpaid board an effective agency in problems of
public welfare.

The C h a i r m a n . W e shall now hear from Miss Lundberg, of the
Federal Children’s Bureau.
M i s s L u n d b e r g . I just want to say a word about the study that
the Children’s Bureau is making, because the group represented
here—the people interested in mothers’ pensions—wanted us to make
the study.
We try to keep our ears to the ground and find out what is wanted,
and mothers’ pensions seemed to be particularly desired during the
last year. I think we will all agree that the idea has now become
accepted. There are only eight States that do not have mothers’
pension laws. We are not ready to say how many there are that
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don t have administration. We keep quiet about that when our
Canadian friends and the people from England write to know what
we are doing over here.
During the past year, in addition to the studies that Miss Nesbitt
has made, we have been making a study—largely by correspondence,
and partly as I have had the opportunity to get around— in which
we have been trying to find out what is the status o f mothers’ pen­
sions throughout the country.
The subject that we are at this moment discussing—State super­
vision— seems to be the most definite thing in the air at this time.
A short time ago I was talking with three o f four heads o f State
departments in the Southern States—the States that do not yet have
mothers’ pensions. They said: “ O f course, we are going to have
mothers’ aid; we know the benefit o f it. But we don’t want such a
law until we can have State supervision with it.”
In some States the feeling is now that they must have some form
of State supervision—not necessarily regulation, but some assistance
and educational promotion by the State.
I have here three or four maps, and I shall not take the time to
show you all the details because you can not see them at such a dis­
tance. They will be here if you care to study them. They illustrate
some o f the material that we are going to give you in our report
The report will give some information about each of the 40 States
having mothers pensions. In one State we had to correspond with
200 local officials. A great many o f the people down there didn’t
know they had a mothers’ pension law, and until they get some form
o f State supervision they probably won’t find out. That happened
to be the situation in a number o f States.
The C h a i r m a n . Are there any questions or any other contributions
to this discussion ?
The committee will be glad to receive suggestions for the con­
tinuance into the next year o f the work that has been done this year.
It did consider following out Mr. Goodhue’s suggestion that we still
continue the study, that has been so very fruitful, of the general
standards o f living under which the children under our care ought
to grow up. There was also the question o f forms for keeping ex­
pense accounts, which we were not able to study exhaustively. There
are two suggestions, and we will welcome further suggestions now
from the floor or in writing.
Mr. H . R oger J o n e s , department o f State agencies and insti­
tutions, Connecticut. I should like to suggest to the committee that
at the meeting next year you do not try to crowd this most important
part o f social work In a two-hour session. I think it is an important
matter throughout the entire country, and its growth since 1911 to
the great success o f to-day warrants that we have at least four two
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hour meetings to cover the field. I earnestly hope that your committee
in arranging a program for the next meeting will give more time.
The C h a i r m a n . That is a very splendid suggestion and one
which ought to hearten us all very much. The gathering this after­
noon certainly does cheer your committee and we will give earnest
consideration to Mr. Jones’s suggestion. Are there any other sugr
gestions? I f not, I should like to say that there are on the table a
few forms that are in use in Pennsylvania and if any of you care to
have them—the cards and school record blanks and budget plans,
etc.—so far as they go, you are welcome to them.
Miss S t e e r . We have had much assistance from all over the
country in preparing standard applications, and revising them, and
they are now in the hands o f the printer. I f you will write to the New
York State Board o f Charities, the Capitol, Albany, I shall be glad
to send samples o f these blanks at any time.
The C h a i r m a n . We shall soon adjourn. I simply want to ex­
press my gratitude for the whole committee for the splendid coop­
eration which the agencies gave us in filling out the questionnaires.
We want you to feel that we appreciate it, that we are an organiza­
tion to help you, that we are your instrument o f expression, and that
we are responsive to this local group o f mothers’ pension officials in
the closest possible way.
I will now announce the appointment o f two members to the com­
mittee in addition to those appointed last year: Mr. William Hodson, of St. Paul, Minn.; and Miss Emma C. Puschner, who is direc­
tor o f the board of children’s guardians, St. Louis, Mo.
The committee will meet here immediately following this session.
Whereupon the meeting adjourned.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

5.30 p. m., June 28, 1922, at the Providence-Biltm ore H otel, P rovi­
dence, R. /.
Miss Mary A. Steer, State supervisor o f the boards of child welfare
o f the State of New York, was unanimously elected chairman o f the
committee for the coming year.
The committee considered plans for the ¿future. It was the judg­
m ent'of the members present that it could make the greatest con­
tribution by continuing its study o f the standards of living now ap­
plied by the progressive agencies granting mothers’ allowances; and
by attempting to define such minimum standards in regard to hous­
ing, food, clothing, fuel and light, education, recreation, household
equipment, etc., as might be considered fundamental to the proper
rearing o f children in their own homes. A report based on this or
any study undertaken by the committee this year will be presented
for discussion at the next mothers’ pension conference to be held dur­
ing the session of the National Conference of Social W ork in 1923.
The committee will welcome suggestions both as to the scope o f
next year’s study and as to the program for the Washington meeting.
Letters should be addressed to Miss Mary A. Steer, State Supervisor,
Boards o f Child Welfare, State Board of Charities, the Capitol,
Albany, N. Y .


Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis