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F rances P erkins , Secretary
C H IL D R E N ’S BUREAU - K atharine F. L enroot, Chief


Bureau Publication No. 269


For sale by tbe Superintendent of Documents, Washington, D. C.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Price 10 cents
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



Letter of transmittal______________________________
Foreword____________ ____________________________
The committee’s plan of work_____________________
The case record:
Purpose of the case record____________________
Values of the recording process________________
Principles of case recording___________________
Style of recording_____________________________
Protection of records__________________________
Content of the case record:
Recording related to treatment________________
Request for service___________________________
The problem and the treatment indicated:
Exploration of need______________________
The plan of treatment____________________
The treatment process:
Purpose and methods of treatment________
The child and his family__________________
Treatment of the child and his family_____
The child’s social relationships____________
Services in cooperation with other agencies
Community resources____________________
Foster care as a form of treatment:
Recording foster care_____________________
The foster family_________________________
Forms for recording essential data--------------------------






Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



n it e d

S tates D

e p a r t m e n t of



C h il d r e n ’s B


Washington, May 12,191^1.
M a d a m : There is transmitted herewith Recording Child-Welfare
Services, the report o f the Committee on Case Recording in Public
Child Welfare Agencies in Rural Areas.
The report was developed through study and discussion by a group
o f persons representative of the Nation-wide experience in rural childwelfare work made possible under the Social Security Act. That such
a report could be prepared, addressed to a professional body of work­
ers serving children in every State and Territory, is highly significant
o f the progress that has been made in the last 5 years. Child-welfare
services of the kind described in the report should be extended as
rapidly as possible, so that children everywhere may have full social
protection at the time and in the measure their needs may require.
In order to develop sound principles of case recording the committee
has had to consider and define the basic principles of case treatment,
and the value o f the report reaches far beyond the usefulness of the
record and extends to the quality of the treatment process as it is being
developed within the structure of public-welfare services.
The Bureau is deeply indebted to the members of the committee for
the time and thougnt which they have given to the undertaking.
Thanks are due especially to the chairman, Bessie E. Trout, of the
New York State Department o f Social Welfare. Emma O. Lundberg,
o f the staff o f the Children’s Bureau, worked with the committee
throughout its discussions and in the preparation of this report.

Respectfully submitted.





e r k in s ,

/Secretary of Labor.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

a t h a r in e

F. L



State programs for child-welfare services in rural areas which have
been developed during the past few years with the aid of Federal
social-security funds have had, as their first requirement, personnel
equipped by training and experience to deal with children’s problems.
Thus in rural areas where formerly there was little provision for
social services for children an opportunity has been provided for
establishing procedures of social treatment based on essential case­
work principles.
The plan for a study of case recording with particular reference
to public child-welfare services in rural areas had its origin in one
of the sessions o f a conference o f heads o f State child-welfare di­
visions and supervisors of child-welfare services held in Washington
under the auspices of the United States Children’s Bureau in April
1938. So much interest was shown that the group voted to explore
the subject further through a continuing committee. A Committee
on Case Recording in Public Child Welfare Agencies in Rural Areas
was accordingly appointed by Mary Irene Atkinson, Director of the
Child Welfare Division o f the Children’s Bureau.
The committee was composed of persons administering or supervis­
ing State programs financed in part by Federal social-security funds
for child-welfare services in rural areas. A ll the members were ex­
perienced in private social-service agencies as well as in the public
The committee began its work in the fall o f 1938, and the following
persons have served as members:
B essie E. T rout, New York, Chairman.
Min n ie A lper, Missouri.
I nez B aker . Florida.
W ilhelmina B aughman , Virginia.
M ary L. B uckley , Connecticut.
E lizabeth Cooper, Michigan.

P aula F ran k , Louisiana.
L ouise Griffin , Indiana.
H elen C. H ubhell, Pennsylvania.
E dythe J. Michell , New Jersey.
Cordelia T rimble, Wisconsin.

E m m a O. L undberg, Adviser from the

United States Children’s Bureau

Five o f the members have worked on the committee continuously
since the beginning; the others have served for shorter periods, mem­
bership having terminated for those no longer on the staffs of State
welfare departments, and new appointments having been made to
fill vacancies. In addition to the designated members, several persons
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



representing other fields o f social service have participated in meetings
as guests o f the committee, bringing into the discussion a wider range
of interests. The results of group discussion and experimentation by
child-welfare workers in several States have assured consideration of
the practical application of the committee’s proposals.
As a basis for its discussions the Committee on Case Recording
in Public Child Welfare Agencies in Rural Areas adopted the con­
cept of public-welfare services for children which was later in­
corporated in the recommendations o f the White House Conference
on Children in a Democracy:
Social services to children whose home conditions or individual difficulties
require special attention should be provided in every county or other ap­
propriate area. * * * In a complete community program the local publicwelfare department should be able to provide all essential social services to
children, either directly or through utilizing the resources of other agencies.
Public and private agencies should cooperate in a program which will assure
the proper service to every child in need. * * * Public-welfare services
should be available to every child in need of such help without regard to
legal residence, economic status, race, or any consideration other than the
child’s needs.1

The report presented by the committee which undertook this study
undoubtedly has a broader application than its designation would
indicate, but it is directed primarily to the 500 local child-welfare
workers now engaged in providing child-welfare services in the most
neglected areas of need, and to the workers in State welfare depart­
ments who are helping them to develop adequate service.
The central theme of the committee’s report is that the welfare of
the child depends upon the welfare o f his family. The principles of
case recording are discussed from the point o f view of services needed
by children and not from the point of view of agency functions. Case
recording is dealt with as an integral part of case treatment, and the
discussions o f the committee are therefore focused upon the principles
of adequate case treatment related to the total needs o f individual
children. The committee considers that the most important purpose
o f the case record is to serve as a guide to clear understanding of the
problem and definite direction of treatment. It holds that the record­
ing process should be o f definite value to the child, to the community,
and to the worker.
After 2 years o f work, during which there have been four meetings
o f the entire committee and three meetings of subcommittees as well
as much interchange o f ideas through correspondence, the committee
submits its report, in the hope that it may contribute to the thinking
1 Children in a Democracy— General Report Adopted by the White House Conference on
Children in a Democracy, January 19, 1940, p. 64. Children’s Bureau. Washington, 1940.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



and the practice o f those engaged in developing State and local pro­
grams o f child-welfare services. The members of the committee rec­
ognize the need for review o f its proposals in the light of further
experience in this field o f public service, which is still at a pioneer
stage. As workers apply the principles outlined to the day-by-day
tasks involved in administering child-welfare services in local commu­
nities, the committee will appreciate receiving suggestions growing
out o f their experience in recording.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis


O. L

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Report of the Committee on Case Recording
in Public Child Welfare Agencies in Rural Areas

The Committee’s Plan o f Work
The need for clarification o f the purposes and methods of case
recording in relation to case treatment was brought out in an informal
discussion of case recording at the Washington conference of State
and local child-welfare workers in 1938. Points emphasized in the
discussion included the need for recognizing the importance of the
social case record; for protection of the confidential nature of case
records o f public child-welfare agencies; for avoidance of verbose and
inaccurate recording; and for defining more clearly what should go
into the record.
The Committee on Case Recording in Public Child Welfare Agencies
in Rural Areas, which was appointed at the request of the conference
group, defined its field in terms o f a broad concept of “child-welfare
services,” within which special types of treatment might require special
consideration in connection with recording. Types of service dealt
with by child-welfare workers and problems o f “intake” were con­
sidered in relation to the whole area o f possible services to children
for which local public agencies have responsibility and not from the
point o f view of specialized kinds of care.
Provision of workers equipped by training and experience to give
constructive service is the first requirement of an adequate program
o f child-welfare services. Therefore, the committee, while recogniz­
ing the necessity of temporarily adapting record keeping to con­
ditions now existing in the majority of local units, directed its atten­
tion to developing a workable philosophy of case recording in rural
areas where child-welfare personnel approaches adequacy, hoping in
this way to set a practicable standard toward which all local units may
move as rapidly as staff equipment permits.
The committee began its work by attempting to clarify its thinking
in relation to the purpose and content o f the case record. It hoped to
find a proper balance between essential content of case records and
817443°— 41-
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the development of the child-welfare program in the community, giving due consideration to the specializations in the child-welfare field
as well as to the relationship between child-welfare work and other
social-welfare activities within the local public-welfare department.
The committee considered its function to be the defining of fundamen­
tal principles which directly relate case recording to case treatment.
Tentative premises were formulated by the committee as a basis for
the development o f principles of recording public child-welfare
services in rural areas. As the work progressed, the conclusions
reached by the committee were submitted to various groups o f local
child-welfare workers for discussion and experimentation to de­
termine their practicability. Following each meeting of the commit­
tee summaries o f the discussion were sent to a large number o f State
and local workers throughout the country.
The committee had little to follow in the way o f a standard of
adequate recording o f child-welfare services in either the private or
the public field, in urban or in rural areas. Patterns for recording
child-welfare work have been developed in the past mainly by child­
caring agencies in the larger cities, and therefore they do not meet
fully the needs o f public-welfare agencies in other than urban areas.
The committee approached the problem through the experiences of
persons directly concerned with the development o f child-welfare
services in rural areas under the State programs inaugurated with the
aid o f Federal funds made available through the Social Security Act.
Although the committee has worked from the immediate experience
o f a public agency, it has seen many problems o f case recording as
common to public and private agencies and to those in urban as well
as in rural communities. It therefore believes that the material in its
report may be applicable in a wider area than that with which the com­
mittee was immediately concerned.
In submitting this report the committee wishes to make clear its
recognition o f the difficulties involved in adequate case recording,
especially under the conditions which accompany service in rural
areas where the natural inhibitions and resistance which most workers
have with regard to case recording are added to the pressures of “ doing
the job.” Even those workers who feel quite secure in their perform­
ance o f case work often find it difficult to make a report of the pro­
cesses and results, and perhaps no skill involved in the case-work
procedure is harder for the new worker to acquire.
In the growth o f the practice o f social case work there has been
a lag in the development of techniques of recording in comparison
with the development o f treatment methods. This has been true of
agencies in cities as well as in rural communities, even in agencies
operating largely in the field o f specialized or intensive treatment.
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In relation to social services for children this is probably due to the
rapid development of philosophies and techniques.
The difficulties which workers in public child-welfare agencies ex­
perience in case recording are often related to factors inherent in
the particular setting in which they work. A ll requests for service
which come to a public child-welfare agency must receive attention;
the agency cannot select certain types o f cases with which it will deal
and reject those that do not come within a prescribed definition. In
theory, social service to families is the function of family-welfare
agencies; in practice, especially in rural areas at this time, families
come to the attention o f public agencies when they are in need of
relief or make application for aid under one o f the public-assistance
categories, and the child-welfare agency is looked to for social services
which should be provided by, or in cooperation with, a family-welfare
agency. The pressures of work which accompany the responsibility
for diverse services make it difficult for the child-welfare workers to
practice systematic recording.
Even when public officials recognize the need for recording and
provide adequate stenographic service and privacy o f office quarters,
the rural case worker may find it difficult to plan for uninterrupted
dictation periods because of the demands made upon the public agency.
Rural pleasantries and informal chats, which can be of very great
value to the worker in aiding her understanding of her clients and the
community, make inroads upon her working day, and discipline and
judgment must be exercised in utilizing information obtained in this
way. The mass of information which is available where families
are known to all the inhabitants of the community makes it difficult
to select material pertinent to the record and may lead to discursive
entries and unnecessary detail, or to omission o f essential information
because it is too much in the foreground to be seen in its proper
Recording is a skill which cannot be developed without effort. In
some instances inadequate recording is an indication o f the worker’s
inability to organize her work successfully. Workers need to become
aware of the reasons for their difficulties so that through self-discipline
and organization o f their work they may produce the adequate
Consideration must be given to modifications in recording mecha­
nisms required because o f limited resources, community attitudes, and
the pressures of work in rural communities, but the conditions which
interfere with systematic recording make it all the more necessary
that the purpose of the case record shall be understood and that the
items essential to analysis of child-welfare problems and case treatment
shall be included in the record.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

The Case Record
Purpose of the Case Record
The prim ary purpose o f the child-w elfare case record is to su pply
inform ation which is needed fo r case treatm ent.

The case record sets forth the problems which are to be dealt with
in the case-treatment process. It is an essential instrument of treat­
ment, facilitating analysis and clarification of problems and develop­
ment of succeeding steps in case treatment. It makes available in­
formation needed for continuous evaluation of results and replanning.
Adequate recording is essential in order that there may be continuity
when there is change o f workers. Unnecessary repetition of requests
for information is avoided when facts are recorded in such a way that
they are readily available. In certain specialized services, such as
foster care, the record preserves vital facts concerning the child’s
origin and his family circumstances. •
The secondary purpose o f the case record is to furnish data on the
nature and causes o f social problem s and the w ays in which th ey m ay
be dealt w ith constructively.

This information is needed in order that the community may plan
its social-welfare program intelligently and may provide the necessary
resources for meeting the needs o f children whose home conditions or
individual difficulties or disabilities require special attention. The
case record is especially valuable as a means o f interpreting to public
officials the nature of the responsibility for the social welfare of
children which must be assumed by the public agency.
The record is adm inistratively im portant because the reason fo r
expending public funds fo r child-w elfare service m ust be justified ,
even though paym ent fo r the care o f the child is not involved.

It is important that there shall be a record which shows clearly the
way in which existence of need was determined and the services which
were given. Child-welfare service is something definite and definable.
The development o f public service requires a foundation of knowledge
in regard to the nature of the problems which come to the attention
o f public-welfare departments and the methods by which these
problems are dealt with constructively.
In administration of public-assistance categories, emphasis is placed
upon eligibility for the particular type of aid ; this makes it necessary
to obtain certain specified information from the applicant, usually
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



in the form of a signed statement. In connection with social services
for children, however, to quote from the report o f the recent White
House Conference, “ There should be no question o f eligibility for
service based on legal residence, economic status, race or nationality,
or any consideration other than the child’s need.” The basis for
giving service is, therefore, the need for some form of service to the
child or in his behalf. In ascertaining need, with relation to child
welfare, economic conditions may be involved, but they are not deter­
mining factors. The public department needs the protection of ade­
quate records in regard to social factors in child-welfare services no
less than it needs data in support of financial aid in its administration
o f public assistance.

Values of the Recording Process
Case-w ork recording has specific values fo r the individual who is
being given assistance, fo r the case w orker , and fo r the social agency.

Recording demands clear thinking in regard to the problem and
the purpose of the treatment which has been undertaken. Through
the analysis which is requisite for clear and adequate recording, the
worker obtains an understanding of the total situation which helps
her to focus upon the selection o f material for the record relating to
those happenings, attitudes, feelings, and relationships which are
pertinent to the case study and upon which treatment is to be planned.
Selection of material determines the length of records and their
resulting cost to the agency. Poor selection of material may result
in costly records, either because information is too brief for adequate
treatment or because it lacks pertinence or because it is too verbose for
practical use.
The process o f careful selection o f material, essential to good record­
ing, helps to develop the worker's judgm ent, im agination , and perspec­
tive, and therefore increases her ability to use her case-treatm ent
knowledge and her case-work skills.

The selection o f material for the case record must be largely a
matter of the worker’s judgment in the light of the use the material
will have in connection with treatment. The self-discipline required
for this purpose is especially necessary for the worker in rural areas
where it is easy to excuse sketchy records because the worker “knows
more than appears in the record,” or where records crowded with in­
formation about the individual and his environment, easily obtained,
may be mistaken for detailed recording of material essential to under­
standing of the individual and of the way in which he is being affected
by influences or conditions in his environment. It is necessary for
the worker to strive toward objectivity in evaluating the subjective
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factors which are always present during an interview and in seeing
her place in the total case-work process.
The analyzing and clarifying o f inform ation which is a part o f the
process o f recording is necessary in planning successive steps in
treatm ent.

In the process of recording the worker selects from the information
at hand what should go into the record. She must decide whether
the information has a bearing on treatment—how the individual
is aifected by the conditions under which he lives, how he is meeting
his situation, and where he needs or wishes help. This process should
reveal to the worker whether or not the information is essential, where
information is inadequate, and whether there are inaccuracies which
affect its use as a basis for understanding the situation upon which
continuing treatment must be planned.
In the selection o f material for the record, the worker must con­
sider when to include the process by which treatment is given. This
selection should be determined by the nature of the treatment—whether
the process o f giving treatment is actually a part of the treatment
itself and therefore is essential information, or whether the process is
incidental to the treatment and may be recorded briefly. A single
case record, therefore, may show the process fully recorded at par­
ticular points and not at others.
T he case-worker should find the process o f recordi/ng increasingly
valuable in her own professional grow th .

A worker has the initial responsibility for her own development, and
the help given her through supervision should supplement the help
which she is able to give to herself. Because of her analysis and
evaluation of the case content, the worker is able to utilize supervision
in a way that would not be possible without this advance preparation.
The experience of the worker through the recording process is, there­
fore, o f greater value in the supervisory conference than any use the
supervisor may make o f the record through reading it. The record­
ing process, which affords the case worker a dynamic experience in selfsupervision, is particularly valuable in the agency where the worker
is alone and does not have the benefit o f the stimulation and assistance
o f a case-work supervisor and must, therefore, depend entirely on
herself for continued development o f her case-work skills.

Principles of Case Recording
The fundam ental principles o f case treatm ent, and therefore o f case
recording , are the same regardless o f the setting— urban or rural—
and the structure o f the agency.

In all social services involving children the principles o f case work
should be applied. The child’s problem should be considered in the
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



light o f his individual characteristics and his needs, the situation in
his home, and the family and community resources that may be
brought to bear on the solution o f his difficulties. The case record
should show that these case-work principles have been applied and
should give a clear picture of the problems with which the agency
undertakes to deal and the way in which it approaches its task and
carries out treatment.
A good record shows case procedure w ithin the commu/nity setting
and is related to the developm ent o f the agency's program .

Although fundamental principles of case treatment are the same
in rural and in urban areas, there are forces in the rural setting which
call for adaptation of methods and for differences in approach to
Comprehensive public social services for children have been estab­
lished only recently in rural areas and have not yet reached the point
where the nature of case treatment or the importance o f the case record
is fully understood. As in any newly developing service which is
dependent in part on the understanding of the public, certain adapta­
tions in practice related to the growth of the service may be necessary.
However, necessary modifications should be considered not as perma­
nent alternatives but rather as progressive steps toward adequate
treatment and adequate recording. They should not be construed as
inherent in the rural setting or in the structure of the agency.
The case record, therefore, should be evaluated according to how
clearly it shows what service is needed and how the need is being met
in the light of the community setting and the development of the
program, and not according to some preconceived notion as to form,
nor as a literary production.
The case record m ust he sufficiently concise to make its use prac­




C larity o f expression and accuracy o f statem ent are essential.

The reading time o f the record should be given consideration in
relation to the total value of the record for treatment. Unless the
record can be read conveniently, and through its rereading can serve
for continual réévaluation of treatment, its usefulness is greatly
lessened. The accepted rule o f writing—that there should be unity,
coherence, and emphasis—is particularly applicable to record writing.
The record should include only material that is pertinent to the
situation ; it should not contain information which has no bearing upon
the problems involved or which cannot be substantiated. Material
for inclusion in the case record should be organized from the worker’s
informal notes ; the record should not be used as a catch-all for miscellaneous information.
Brevity o f record entries should be considered in relation to the
essential completeness o f the information; cutting and eliminating
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis


of material should not be done merely for the purpose o f condensing
the record. Completeness of the record should be judged in terms
o f information which has significance in relation to treatment and not
on the basis o f detail o f material. A record may be full during a par­
ticular period when the kind o f treatment given requires detailed
recording of the process, whereas at another period the nature of
treatment may allow briefer recording.
Records should be as concise as possible but should include the mate­
rial essential to good case treatment. To meet this requirement the
case worker must give time and thought to the organization and
selection o f material prior to dictation. The values of selective record­
ing which reduces the record to minimum length warrant the extra
time required. Such a record is more usable by the worker and by
the agency in giving services. It is also more economical in that
it cuts to a minimum the reading time required of succeeding workers
and those in the agency who have supervisory or administrative re­
sponsibility, and it reduces the stenographic time as well as the
amount of paper and file space needed.
Inform ation should be obtained and recorded at the tim e when
the agency needs such inform ation fo r the purpose o f treatm ent.

Information obtained should be relevant to the problem presented
and sufficient for the purpose o f initiating treatment. There should
be an obvious relation between the information obtained by the worker
and the help that is to be given. Facts in regard to the family history
o f a child or knowledge of his early developmental history, for exam­
ple, should ordinarily be obtained if and when such information is
essential in order to give the child the help he needs, and not as a
routine procedure in all investigations. Under certain conditions,
however, it may be necessary to obtain and to record information in
advance of its apparent bearing upon the child’s problem, especially
if there is a possibility that the source of information might not be
available when needed. This procedure would relate particularly to
cases where adoption is contemplated or in other instances where par­
ents will not continue to have responsibility for the child.
When certain types of treatment are indicated, such as study by a
psychiatrist, foster care, or other specialized service, data pertinent
to this treatment should be obtained and recorded. I f technical data
are required for services by a clinic or special type of agency, the in­
formation may be obtained either by the clinic or by the child-welfare
worker. The case record of the public child-welfare agency should
not duplicate the record of the agency giving specialized service but
should summarize the facts that are of importance in the general plan
o f treatment of the child and should incorporate a report from the
specialized agency.
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Sufficient tim e fo r planning and dictating the record and adequate
stenographic services are essential to good recording .


These requirements should be considered and planned for by the
agency as a necessary part of the program o f social services to children.
Regularity o f dictation is important to good recording. Unless
dictation is given the same importance as other phases of the work,
it easily becomes something to be done when nothing else is pressing.
The time required for recording depends upon the time spent in inter­
viewing. However, the ability to achieve adequate recording has a
direct bearing upon the worker’s case load, because of the short-cuts
in treatment which must be resorted to where the case load is too heavy
and the psychological effect of pressure of work to be done. Infre­
quent and shortened interviews result in inadequate information for
the record, and case treatment may be ineffective because it is not
given at the time when it is needed. Methods must be devised which
will facilitate adequate recording regardless of the size o f the case
In planning for recording it is important to consider the following
points: Time is needed for preparation for dictation; this includes
organization of notes on the interview and careful selection of material
which should go into the record. Frequent dictation periods are
desirable; notes “ grow cold” if they are not dictated relatively soon,
but, on the other hand, daily case recording may not allow sufficient
time to give perspective.
Recording time is related to time spent in interviewing. The
worker has only so much interviewing time each week, regardless of
the proportion o f her whole case load which she can cover. Therefore,
her dictation schedule should be planned in relation to the time neces­
sary to record her interviews. However, additional time should be al­
lowed for dictation of necessary letters and reports; such dictation
must be done at more frequent intervals than dictation of material
for case records.

Style of Recording



The way in which information is recorded depends on the nature of
the information, the way in which it was secured, and its subsequent
use for treatment. A single record, therefore, may contain different
styles o f recording. The process of determining social need and dis­
covery o f the causes of such need, for example, should show the se­
quence o f the interview and the interaction between the worker and
the individual. This can generally be shown most satisfactorily
through chronological recording in story or narrative style. The
chronological narrative style of recording, which shows the sequence
o f the subjects discussed and the response of the individual, is gen317443°— 41------ 3
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erally essential when the process of securing the information is largely
through the relationship between the worker and the individual, as
in the early interviews when the need for treatment is being
Material recorded in chronological narrative style needs some device
which will facilitate its use for ready reference and which will give
emphasis to particular points. One o f the most effective methods is
the use o f headings in the margin. I f need is indicated for special
types o f information, such as that required for a health clinic or a
child-guidance clinic, the information can be more readily used if
summarized under topical headings. This is true particularly if the
information is secured through interviews for the purpose of obtaining
specific facts.
Summary recording may be used for various purposes, and may,
therefore, appear at different points in the record where it would
facilitate use o f material, rather than as a routine method of recording.
To summarize certain kinds o f treatment, where the interplay o f re­
sponse between individuals is essential information for the record,
requires both time and skill in the recording process and generally
can be achieved only by experienced workers. However, when treat­
ment can be summarized without the loss of significant elements in the
interviews, summary recording has particular value (especially in the
record o f continued long-time treatment) because o f its brevity and
conciseness. In relation to certain kinds of treatment, for example,
in arranging for vocational or medical assistance or in an instance
where the facts rather than the process o f securing them are important,
summarization is the most desirable style for recording. In instances
where unusually frequent visits are required—several visits a week,
for example—summary recording may be used to give clarity and
Planned summarization of material should not be confused with
“ summarized recording” that is occasionally necessary because o f
an accumulation o f unrecorded material, which must be brought
up to date and which is not a part o f current recording.
As treatment continues some device is needed to high-light trends
in treatment. One of the most useful devices to clarify the direction
treatment is taking is periodic evaluation. This appears in the record
at stated intervals, every 6 months, for example, and is a brief
review of direction o f treatment for this period of time, its effective­
ness, and any changes that seem advisable. It may or may not be as
sharply defined as the more diagnostic elements in planning, and it is
written periodically regardless o f the point o f development o f treat­
ment. Such evaluations if typed in red ink can be referred to more
readily and also serve to break the monotony of the long record.
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Protection of Records
Social case records should be protected against use which may result
in harm to individuals. Workers who appreciate the confidential
nature o f the case records represent the greatest protection to records.
Legislative methods and devices for the education o f public opinion
have been used to bring about the protection o f records. Continuous
interpretation to public officials, agencies, and the general public o
the purpose of the case record tends to minimize the danger of misuse
of the record.
The need for protection of records is greatest in the early stages
o f development o f the social-welfare program in the community,
before the reasons for its protection are fully recognized. Lack of
professionally trained staff is frequently associated with the lack o±
protection of confidential material, particularly in rural communities
where professional practices are not yet fully established and where
there is likely to be less formality in regard to discussion of matters
relating to individuals. Kestraint in the wording o f the record may
give some protection without reducing the value of the record.
Two points of view regarding the interpretation o f “ confidential
use” o f the record are, as reflected in agency practice:
(а) The case record should be used only by the agency by which it was
written. Information to other agencies should he given by individual inter­
pretation, together with written summaries of record information.
(б) The case record should he shared with other agencies which partici­
pate in treatment. Values in interagency use of the record include interpre­
tation through joint conference of what the agency is doing and its method
of giving service. Through reading the record agencies representing spe­
cialized fields of service are enabled to interpret material which is significant
to them in their treatment.

When use o f the record for legal or court purposes is requested
safeguards should be considered, such as a summary which includes
only material relevant to the question at issue. When requests are
made for record material consideration should be given to the dis­
tinction between information which may have a bearing upon court
action and other types of social information. Exchange o f case
records between social agencies should be given thoughtful considera­
tion and should be practiced so far as possible only in relation to
agencies which have an understanding of the problems.
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Content o f the Case Records
Recording Related to Treatment
Treatment should be developed in the light o f services needed by
the child. Therefore the case record should set forth clearly the
existence and the nature of the need and the method by which it is
determined that given forms o f service are to be provided. It should
show the way in which the need was met by the public-welfare agency
itself or that it was referred to some public or private agency
equipped to give the needed service.
The content o f the record kept by the public child-welfare agency
varies in accordance with the problem, the nature of the services under­
taken by the agency, and the relationship between these services and
those provided for the family or for the individual children by other
agencies. The record should reflect the principles o f adequate childwelfare services, whether it pertains to services given by the childwelfare worker alone or to summaries of treatment provided by other
Consideration o f the family situation is inseparable from case work
with children. Therefore, the record should show what is being done
in relation to the family, whether by a family assistance and service
agency or by the child-welfare agency itself. When case work with
the family is being carried by a family-welfare agency, a summary
o f the plan should be incorporated in the record kept by the childwelfare agency, and likewise the child-welfare agency should provide
for the family-welfare agency a summary o f its treatment.
Service to a child should continue as long as the need for service
exists, and throughout this period there should be a record o f the social
services provided for the family as well as a record of services given to
the child. This applies to children who are being cared for away
from their own homes as well as to those remaining in their own homes;
it includes cases in which the public agency arranges for foster care to
be given by private agencies and institutions, as well as those in which
foster care is given directly by the public agency.
When the public agency has accepted responsibility for a child it
cannot delegate its obligation to meet the needs of the child, including
protection o f his relationships to his family. Therefore, the record
o f the public agency must show that this obligation is being met. De­
finite plans made in collaboration with agencies or institutions under­
taking specialized forms of service for children who remain the re-
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sponsibility o f the public agency should be recorded. The record
should also include current information regarding the child’s develop­
ment and his relationships to his family.
Summarizing the main points in regard to content, the record should
show the follow ing:
1. That a child-welfare problem exists, and the nature o f the
2. The kind of help the child needs, and its availability.
3. The measures to be taken in treatment, in relation to the child’s
family, the community, and the individual child, and changes
in treatment.
4. The services given directly by the public agency and those
provided by other agencies.
5. Reasons for terminating the service o f the agency.
Discussion of the essential content o f records relating to social
services for children will be divided into three sections dealing with
methods o f recording: (1) Request for service; (2) the nature o f
problems and treatment indicated; (3) the treatment process.

Request for Service


Every request for child-welfare service should be given attention as
indicating that some form o f social service may be needed, even though
the specific kind o f aid requested may not be required. The method o f
recording the request for service and the details obtained will depend
upon the way in which the request or the information in regard to
need comes to the attention of the agency. Especially in rural areas,
requests for child-welfare services may not come directly to the childwelfare division from parents or relatives so frequently as they come
from other divisions o f the public-welfare department or from courts,
teachers, doctors, clergymen, and others having knowledge of the
situation which appears to require attention. These sources of infor­
mation place upon the agency the responsibility for determining
whether or not the welfare of the child is being threatened to a point
where the agency has a valid reason for making contact with the
family. The record should show clearly the basis for decision to make
a contact with the family.
Information obtained in the first intake interview may be frag­
mentary, but every effort should be made to secure information suffi­
cient for clearing with the confidential exchange or with other agencies
as soon as possible as the first step in determining whether the case
should be dealt with by the child-welfare division.
A case record is not usually made i f the request is followed imme­
diately by withdrawal or by referral to another agency, but it is essen-


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tial that the information obtained should be a matter of record in
some form and preserved for possible use later. I f it appears that the
situation does not require service by a child-welfare worker, the in­
formation obtained and recorded need not go beyond the facts required
in order to refer the case to the appropriate agency.
When a case has been accepted for service a record should be begun
and a face sheet made. (See p. 34.) The following list may serve
as a guide to intake items on which information should be entered in
the case record :
1. The reason for the request. The problem as the person making
the request sees it.
2. The immediate circumstances which indicate that some kind
of service is needed.
8. The kind o f help, if any, which has been or is being given to
the child and his family by neighbors or by agencies.
4. I f the request does not come directly from the parents or other
relatives, a statement showing whether the family knows
that the request is being made, its attitude in regard to re­
ceiving help from the agency, and the information, if any,
that has been given to the family in regard to the agency’s
5. The connection with the family of the person making the re­
quest for service (for example, neighbor, relative, teacher)
and the kind o f service which he thinks is needed. Explana­
tion by the agency of the service which it may undertake.
0. The family’s interpretation o f the problem ; the type o f services
desired by the family.
7. Facts concerning the composition of the family and how it
may be identified and located.
8. The decision that was reached concerning the request : accept­
ance by the agency o f responsibility for exploring the situa­
tion further in order to give service which may be found
to be needed, or acceptance for service on the basis of
information in hand.

The Problem and the Treatment Indicated
Exploration o f Need.

There is usually a period following the acceptance of the request
for service of some kind during which emphasis is placed on explor­
ing the causes o f the difficulty and determining the need for service
which can be provided by the child-welfare worker. Treatment actu-
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ally begins with the initial interview, and exploration o f the needs of
the child continues throughout the period of treatment. No sharp
line, therefore, can be drawn between the process of ascertaining the
services needed and the initiation of treatment. The process of secur­
ing the information essential to understanding the problem and the
personalities involved may extend over a short or a long time, depend­
ing upon the nature of the need and the individual’s ability to discuss
his difficulties.
Determination o f the services needed usually begins with the first
interview, when the parent discusses his difficulties and the kind of
help he wishes from the agency. However, particularly in rural
communities, many requests, some of which may be called “complaints
o f neglect,” come from persons other than the parents and are often
related to conditions in the home as well as to problems o f the
individual child.
Frequently the parent may not have recognized or have been able to
express a need for service. Treatment, therefore, may begin with
helping the parent to recognize the child’s difficulties and to accept the
assistance needed in dealing with them. Exploration of the problems
involved, their effect upon the child, and the potential ability of the
parent to deal with them continues with the succeeding steps in
In some instances the agency’s first contact with the family may
follow a court decision that the child should be removed from the
home, and services to the family before separation therefore may not
be possible. The record should then show clearly the reason for court
action and the conditions under which the child was received, and it
should include definite information regarding the legal status o f the
children. Although in such a situation the agency’s approach and,
therefore, the record begin at a point other than a request for service,
the information necessary for an understanding of the individuals
and the causes o f their difficulty should be obtained and recorded.
Decision as to the kind of treatment needed is based upon an
understanding of the causes of the problem affecting the child, o f what
the family can do for itself, and of the help the family or the child
requires from the social agency. The extent of the information the
worker needs in order to understand the problem, as well as the
point at which the information is needed and the sequence of securing
the information, varies with the personalities concerned and the kind
and degree of help which is to be supplied. The record, therefore,
should set forth clearly the nature and degree o f the family’s ability
or inability to meet the child’s needs, any conditions which prevent
the normal functioning of the family, and the kind of help that is
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needed from the agency. Certain points o f focus in recording this
information are generally essential:
1. The reason for the agency’s approach to the family.
2. The way in which the family and the child look upon their
problems and the kind o f help they wish from the agency.
3. The nature and causes of the child’s difficulties, how he has
reacted to them, and the bearing they have on his total
4. Information concerning the family’s economic situation, its
social status in the community, its cultural interests, and its
religious affiliation.
5. Information concerning the child’s place in the family unit,
his relationships to its other members, and the way in which
these affect him.
6. The process by which the worker obtained information and
determined need; the response of the family, and the points
at which the agency and the family are working together.
7. The areas in which the family is able, and also those in which
it is unable, to deal constructively with the child’s prob­
lems, as well as conditions which prevent the normal func­
tioning of the family.
8. Conditions in the child’s environment outside his home, such
as the school and community, which affect his situation.
9. Potentialities within the child or his family which, if given
an opportunity for growth, could be strengthened to meet the
10. Advice obtained from medical, psychiatric, legal, and other
professional sources as a means o f better understanding
the problems involved.
11. A clear definition of the child’s (and the family’s) need as
seen by the worker, supported by information secured and
12. A statement as to the kind of service that is necessary to meet
the child’s needs, such as assistance to parents in their care
o f the child or specialized services to parents which may be
provided to the child remaining in his own home or away
from his home.
13. Information concerning the family’s financial ability to meet
wholly or in part the cost of special kinds of treatment in
relation to the length of time over which the expenditures
must continue and to other responsibilities carried by the
When foster care is being considered as a part of treatment it is
necessary to obtain certain information in the light of the greater
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responsibility which the agency must assume for the child, as a basis
for decision as to the advisability of separation and foster care, and
for the purpose of choosing the type of foster care best suited to the
child’s needs. This information may differ in degree o f completeness
or in emphasis from that which has already been secured in relation to
previous treatment.
The special information needed when foster care is involved depends
on such factors as the probable duration of foster care, the purpose it
is to serve, and the degree of responsibility which the parents will
continue to carry while the child is receiving foster care. The infor­
mation necessary when foster care is to be provided for a child during
his mother’s illness would differ from that needed when foster carë
is being considered for a neglected child whose parents are unable to
care for him properly and who may need long-time care.
Information in relation to providing foster care may include :
1. Knowledge o f the child’s relationships with his family, particu­
larly the nature of his feelings toward his parents in the
light o f his fundamental needs, his reaction to separation
from his parents, and the cultural interests of the home.
2. Information regarding the parents’ reaction to separation from
the child; their ability to work with the agency in sharing
responsibility with foster parents ; and their potential ability
to resume the care of the child after a period of foster care.
3. Information regarding the child’s relatives, their relationship
to the child, and the part, if any, which they can play in
supplying for the child the security associated with being a
part of a family unit which may be needed to supplement the
foster-care treatment.
4. When permanent separation, such as adoption, is probable, the
record should include more complete information concerning
the child’s health, intellectual and social development, per­
sonality, and heredity. It should also include information
concerning his legal status.
The Plan of Treatment.

During the period when exploration o f the problem is in process,
perhaps accompanied by some action, the elements o f treatment become
crystallized so that a plan can be made. The plan should appear in
the record as a statement of the problems to which the worker intends
to apply treatment; the reasons for her course o f action, and what she
is working toward in the solution o f the problem. The statement may
be brief, perhaps merely suggesting the next steps to be taken. The
nature of treatment may change frequently ; therefore the plan should
be tentative and flexible.
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I f the procedure indicated in the plan of treatment cannot be fol­
lowed, the record should show clearly why the plan could not be carried
out in relation to the child in question.

The Treatment Process
Purpose and Methods o f Treatment.

Social services for children whose home conditions or personal mal­
adjustments or disabilities necessitate assistance by social agencies
Services related to conditions in the home which affect the child adversely
through hindering his physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual growth, or
endangering the development of his personality.
Services to parents who, either because of circumstances over which they
have no control or because of emotional or other personal difficulties, are
not able to meet the needs of their children.
Services related to the child’s personality—his conduct, habits, or mental
and physical health.

When decision has been made as to a course of action, even though
it is known to be tentative, the case record should show clearly the
purpose in treatment and the steps taken toward this objective:
1. Treatment procedures, including a continuous picture of what
happens between the worker and the family, or between the
worker and the individual child, in relation to the child’s
2. Resources made available to the child or his family, the use
made of these resources, and the results obtained.
3. Reasons for modifying or remaking the plan o f treatment.
4. Periodic review of the situation and evaluation of results.
5. When a case is closed (because the child has received the
services required, or because his problems have not yielded
to treatment, or because responsibility has been transferred
to another agency) the reasons for termination should be
Treatment is sometimes complicated and tentative; changes in situa­
tions and consciously planned shifts in treatment need to be high­
lighted in the record in order to clarify the thinking of the worker
and to crystallize the services of the agency. The record should show
these changes at the points where they occur.
The Child and His Family .

In the development of public social services for children in rural
areas child-welfare services center around the child in his own home
and in the setting of his own community. Except in the compara-
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tively small proportion of cases in which a child has no family ties
or in which his custody and guardianship have been removed per­
manently from his own family by court action, social services to chil­
dren, whether given to children who remain in their own homes or to
those cared for away from their homes, are related to the child s
family. The services needed by a child and the forms o f treatment
which may be effective cannot be determined without taking into ac­
count his family relationships and home conditions as they affect his
present situation and his future life; therefore, specialized services,
such as foster care, should be woven into the whole fabric of case treat­
ment from this point of approach.
Social services with special reference to children in a family group
may be required for a variety of reasons, among which are: Conditions
in the home which endanger the health or morals of children, such as
overt neglect or mistreatment, and which necessitate intervention for
their protection; ignorance or mental deficiency or instability of the
parents which makes them unable to provide proper care and protection
for their children or to give them needed guidance; parental discord
which threatens the security of the family life; family relationships
and attitudes which may have a harmful effect upon the emotional de­
velopment o f the children; lack o f opportunities in the home for
healthy development of the children; and inability of parents to un­
derstand or to cope with behavior problems o f their children. I f these
conditions are neglected they may result in maladjustments or behavior
problems, emotional instability, mental retardation, or injury to
When the question o f recording services in behalf of children is con­
sidered, the problem is not to fix a line of demarcation on the basis of
the functions o f various agencies but to point out the importance of
recognizing conditions which affect the welfare of children and of mak­
ing sure that the case record gives a picture of what was done in regard
to the child as a member of the family group and as an individual.
In order to do this, workers must be qualified by training and experience
to recognize child-welfare problems and to deal with them effectively.
Although the major part o f the work done by children’s workers in
the recently developed public child-welfare services concerns con­
ditions or needs directly related to the children’s families, there
appears to be a certain amount of indefiniteness in regard to this area
of service. At the present stage of development o f public child-wel­
fare and family-welfare services in most parts of the country a division
o f responsibility on the basis of organizational functions would not be
likely to bring adequate attention to child-welfare problems. The
principles governing treatment of children’s problems and the con­
sequent recording o f the treatment process are the same, regardless of
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the agency or departmental division doing the work. The recording
of the treatment process requires clear thinking on the part o f the
worker as to the nature of the problems with which she deals, her
purpose in treatment, and the relationship of her work to the activi­
ties o f other agencies or divisions.
Treatment of the Child and His Family.

When case work with the family is required as part of the treatment
o f a child, the case record should show the treatment procedures and
should give a continuous picture of what happens between the worker
and the family in relation to the problems of the child. It should
show that social service for the family has included recognition o f the
health, education, personality, and development of each of the children
in the family, even though actual treatment may be directed to only
one of the children. It should also show that treatment of the child
as an individual takes into consideration the relationship o f the entire
family situation to the child’s difficulties.
The record should show, as part o f the worker’s continuing observa­
tion o f the child’s development, how the child is being affected by the
influences under which he is living and what is being done by the
worker or by other agencies in regard to the family situation.
The causes underlying the parent’s inability to care for his child
may be related to economic conditions under which they must rear
the child or to individual problems or personal limitations o f the par­
ents, such as emotional instability, poor health, subnormal mentality,
or limited education. Treatment, therefore, may be directed toward
bringing about changes in living conditions or toward helping the
parents with their emotional or social problems, particularly as these
may be related to their ability to understand and meet the child’s
Because o f the diversity of family problems and their interrelation,
treatment usually requires a diversity o f services, and several inter­
related services may be given at the same time. The record should
indicate the nature of the services that are being given and the way
in which the individual responded to them or was able to make use df
them. These services generally include:
1. Counseling with the parent on problems on which he wishes
When this service is needed, the record should show that the individual
is able (or wishes) to keep responsibility for dealing with his problems
but uses the agency for consultation and for the help he receives from
talking out his problems with an understanding person.
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2. Education and guidance which relate to the child’s care and
This service may include information and guidance to the parent (or
child) in relation to health care or habit training of the child or ways
of contributing to the child’s emotional security or intellectual growth.
The record should show how the worker was able to stimulate in the
individual a desire to do something about his problem, the worker’s
recognition o f the individual’s capacity to deal with his problems, his
tempo of learning, and his response to receiving such help.

3. Help to the parent in the reorganization o f habits or in the
modifying o f attitudes which may result indirectly in better
care o f the child or which may prevent new or increased
In this service the record should indicate that the worker assumes
responsibility for bringing about change as well as the way in which
this was done. For example, the worker may provide the security of
a relationship in which the individual can reveal his fears and in which
he may develop the confidence and self-esteem he needs in order to deal
more adequately with his situation. The purpose of this service and
its place in relation to the needs of other members of the family as well
as to the needs of the individual should be made clear in the flow of
the record.

4. Supplementing the parent’s care of the child at points where
he is not able to function.
This service may range from a relationship o f encouragement and
support to the parent, to supplementation, direct or indirect, of the
parent’s care of the child in matters such as providing medical attention
or clothing. It may include a relationship between the worker and the
child for the purpose of providing the guidance and security that the
parent is unable to give. The points at which the agency supplements
the parent’s function should be clearly shown in the record, and also
whether the supplementation is for a temporary or a long-time period.

The record should show the emphasis and focus of treatment—that
is, whether the child’s problems are largely the reflection o f the
parent’s difficulties and the ways in which treatment of the parent’s
difficulties may be a means o f dealing with the child’s problems;
whether treatment is to be provided for the parents and the child
simultaneously; or whether the child’s problems are such that the
major treatment must be given to the child direct.
In instances where treatment given to the parent when the child is
in his home is not effective and his removal from the home is necessary,
the record should show the methods by which the worker interprets
the need for this change and enlists the participation o f the parents
and the child in the plan for foster care. I f it becomes necessary to
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remove the child permanently from the home and the legal rights of
the parents are abrogated by court action, the record should give the
facts o f the legal action and the arrangements connected with the re­
linquishing of parental responsibility. The record should also show
the way in which this action was interpreted to the child and to the
The Child*s Social Relationships.

Treatment of the child’s problems must take into account the factors
in the home and in the community which have a bearing on his
physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual development, as well as
physical handicaps, mental status, and personality traits which affect
his social relationships. Although the child’s family and conditions
in his environment are always given consideration in relation to his
difficulties, case-work services to the child may not always be ac­
companied by services to the family.
Disabilities or difficulties such as the following necessitate case-work
services with particular emphasis upon the individual child: Behavior
problems o f the child in the home, the school, or the community;
retarded mental development, mental deficiency, mental or emotional
instability or psychotic conditions; retarded physical development,
malnutrition, disease, or physical handicaps; rejection of a child by
his parents, which endangers the development o f his personality;
overt neglect, abuse, or mistreatment by parents or by other adults;
complete or partial loss of parental care because of the death, chronic
illness, desertion, mental illness requiring institutional care, or im­
prisonment o f the parent, or because of other serious disruption o f
normal family life which necessitates a temporary or long-time period
o f care o f the child away from his own home.
The child-welfare worker not only must have the professional skills
necessary for dealing with problems such as these, but also must know
how to use the resources afforded by other agencies. Many o f the
problems which bring children to the attention of social agencies must
be approached from several angles, and the child-welfare worker en­
lists the aid o f the various forces in the community which may provide
for the child the strengths, the incentives, or the satisfactions lacking
in his home life, as well as the help of agencies giving specialized
child-welfare services. She must know how to find and how to utilize
these resources, and how to integrate her own services with those o f
other agencies.
The record should show the efforts made to give the child oppor­
tunities which may be of benefit to him in relation to the problem
with which the child-welfare worker is concerned. If, for example,
a child’s behavior seems to be related to a lack o f opportunity for
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recreation he may be helped by finding wholesome outlets for his
normal desires for companionship or self-expression or the oppor­
tunity to follow some special bent or hobby. A plan for utilizing
community resources may supplement direct work with the child
or may be decided upon as the sole approach to his problem at a
particular time. The use of community resources should be clearly
recorded as a part o f the plan o f treatment.
Services in Cooperation With Other Agencies.

The manner in which case-work services to a family or to an
individual child are recorded by the child-welfare worker depends
upon whether services to the family or to the child are provided en­
tirely by the child-welfare worker or whether the plan for childwelfare services includes service of some nature by another division
of the public-welfare agency, a private agency, or a clinic. Coopera­
tive services may be recorded as follow s:
1. When case-work services to the family are given by the
child-welfare division in cooperation with another division of the
public-welfare department, the child-welfare record should be
supplemented by periodic summaries of the services given and also
by summaries o f periodic conferences between the two divisions
or agencies.
2. When treatment includes foster care by the child-welfare
agency and case-work services to the family are given by another
agency, the record should include periodic summaries of con­
ferences between the two agencies showing the way in which
the services of the two agencies are integrated, progress made by
each agency, and changes in plans o f treatment.
3. When social services to the family and foster care are both
given by another agency, but with the public agency having con­
tinuing responsibility, the public child-welfare record should
include at intervals summarized reports of the family situation,
the child’s progress, his relationship to his family, and the plan
of treatment. (See p. 25.)
4. When consultation on the problems of the children is given
by the child-welfare agency to another agency carrying the major
responsibility for case-work services to the family, the latter
agency should keep the major family record, which should include
summarized reports of the consultation conferences. The childwelfare agency needs to keep only an index record showing such
items as identification of the family, the reason for consultation,
dates of consultation conferences, and reason for termination o f
consultation service.
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Community Resources .

The case record should show that the worker was aware of possible
relationship between community conditions and the handicaps or mal­
adjustments of the children dealt with. The use made o f community
resources essential to treatment—such as church, school, recreation
facilities, medical service, child-guidance clinic, special training,
material aid and service to families, and foster-care facilities—should
be recorded.
The public child-welfare agency has the responsibility for seeing
that each child is given the kind of service his needs require; and if
facilities are lacking, the record should show why it was not possible
to provide the services indicated in the analysis of the child’s needs.
I f the necessary services are not available in the community, the
record should also show what efforts were made to make them avail­
able or to compensate for their absence.
It has been stated in the section, The Purpose o f the Case Record,
that “ the secondary purpose o f the case record is to furnish data on
social problems and the ways in which they may be dealt with construc­
tively.” The case record may be a most valuable source of informa­
tion which may lead to provision o f resources needed for adequate
treatment o f individual problems and for the prevention o f hazards
to the child’s development.

Foster Care as a Form of Treatment
Recording Foster Care.

Foster care, as has been indicated, is one o f many forms o f service
which may be required in the treatment process. This type o f treat­
ment is dealt with separately because o f the added information which
it is necessary to include in records relating to children for whom the
agency has assumed this greater degree o f responsibility and because
of the change of conditions under which treatment is given.
Case treatment, except in rare instances, continues with the family
as well as with the child when care of the child away from his own
family, either permanently or as a temporary measure, becomes neces­
sary as a part of treatment. The family is dealt with as a unit
regardless o f whether the members continue to live together or are
cared for separately.
Foster care may be provided by the public agency direct or it may
be provided by the public agency through the use of private child­
caring agencies or institutions in the community. Whatever the
type of foster care considered or the means by which it may be sup­
plied, the public agency carries continuing responsibility for the
child and his family.
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Various methods of organizing the record when a child is receiving
foster-care treatment have been used b}' agencies, but the main con­
sideration should be the importance of continuing the record on the
basis of the family as a unit. The method will depend upon whether
the public agency provides the foster-care services direct or through
the use o f other child-caring agencies or institution and upon the
number o f children in the family who are receiving foster care.
Two plans which have been used when the public agency itself pro­
vides foster care are: (1) Continuation of the family record, with
chronological entries o f contacts with the family and with the children
in foster care. This method makes free use of marginal headings as
a means o f easy reference for individual children. (2) Continuance
of the family record for interviews with the family, with a separate
section within the family folder for each child receiving foster care.
The latter method is most frequently used when there are a number of
children in the family receiving foster care. With either arrangement
the record is a continuing family record.
I f the public agency is making use of other community facilities for
full-time foster care, such as an institution or a private child-placing
agency, the record should show the public agency’s continued respon­
sibility for both the child and his family. It should indicate clearly
how the responsibility is shared between the two agencies in relation
to case-work services and to financial support. When the institution
or child-placing agency is also providing case-work service to the
child and to his family, the record should contain periodic reports
from the institution or agency which furnish evidence that the treat­
ment provided is compatible with satisfactory progress of the child.
The record should also contain summarized information on periodic
conferences between the two agencies in regard to the progress o f the
child and his family and the responsibility shared between the agencies.
I f case-work services for the child are not provided by the agency or
institution giving foster care, the record should show fulfillment of
the public agency’s direct responsibility for the treatment needed by
the child. Similarly, definite arrangements for services to the family
by the private organization or by the public agency should be shown
in the record.
Preparation for foster care.—When the need for treatment through
foster care has been determined, the record should show what has been
done to help the child to understand and to accept separation from his
parents and environment and the new experience of living in a foster
home. Such preparation may be a gradual process and may be shared
with the parent. The process by which it was done as well as the
child’s reaction and participation should be shown in the record.
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The record should also show the way in which the parents were
helped to meet separation from the child and their reaction to the
separation and to sharing responsibility for the child with the agency
and the foster parents. The parent’s knowledge o f the procedures
involved in placement o f the child, the arrangements for visiting the
child, financial support, medical care, and the basis upon which treat­
ment o f the family is to continue should be indicated clearly in the
Planning with the foster family or institution for the coming of
the child (including information concerning the child and his parents),
the agency’s purpose in foster-care treatment, and the arrangements
agreed upon for sharing responsibility, should be shown in the record.
The placement o f the child.—Information in regard to the placement
o f the child for foster care should include evidence that the home has
been selected because it will insure provision for the physical, emo­
tional, educational, and religious needs of the child, and that con­
sideration has been given to any special handicaps or problems of
adjustment. The running record of treatment should contain state­
ments regarding the arrangements that have been made with the par­
ents, the foster parents, and the agency responsible for the child. It
should also show the way in which the parents and the child met the
separation and the way in which the child met the new experience, his
acceptance by the foster family, and his response to them.
Continuing service fo r the child—Although the public agency has
full responsibility for the care and training of the child, it shares this
responsibility with the foster parent or with the institution which
provides the child’s day-to-day care. The flow of the record should
indicate whether the worker assumes major treatment o f the child’s
problems or whether such treatment is being carried indirectly through
the foster parents. The reasons for the plan o f treatment should be
clear as they relate to the purpose and length o f placement, the rela­
tionship to the child that is maintained by the natural parents, and
the foster parents’ ability to understand the child and his family and
to be o f help to him.
The record should show that the agency is aware of the child’s needs
and what is happening to the child’s development and his relationship
to his family, whether his needs are being recognized by the foster
parent or institutional staff, and the methods that are being used to
meet those needs.
Treatment o f the child in foster care, and therefore the recording
o f such treatment, differs only in part from treatment o f the child
living with his parents. In foster care, treatment must take into
consideration the altered circumstances under which the child must
live and their effect upon him, and the greater responsibility assumed
by the agency. The child placed in foster care has left the security
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that lies in a familiar world, and with varying degrees of fear faces
an unknown pattern o f family and community life. He must make
continuous adjustments to the changes he encounters and adapt him­
self not only to new individuals but to a new relationship with people
he has known. Authority is no longer centered in his parents but is
shared by the foster parents and by the social agency which places
him in foster care.
Other considerations which relate definitely to treatment of the child
receiving foster care, and which should appear in the record, include the
follow ing:
1. Assurance that the child in his daily life has the security of a
personal relationship with some understanding adult whom
he trusts and in whom he can confide.
2. Continuous observation of the child’s physical condition and
such physical examinations and medical attention as may be
indicated. The condition of the child’s health may be shown
both on health records designed for this purpose and in the
chronological record where its social significance and treat­
ment are elaborated.
3. Knowledge of the intellectual stimulation and educational op­
portunity that the child is receiving both at school and in
the foster home as they relate to his ability, aptitudes, and
social development. For children of school age, progress
should be shown in the record by school reports as well as
by recorded interviews with his instructors.
4. Knowledge of the guidance that the child is receiving in the
development o f character and in an appreciation of religious
and ethical values.
5. Assurance that the child has opportunity in the community for
selective companionship and recreation. Conformity, in
relation to the standards of his group, in matters such as
clothing and spending money should be made possible and
should be practiced.
6. Understanding on the part of the foster parent and agency o f
the child’s relationship to his parents and the help he is
receiving from them in strengthening this relationship or,
when necessary, in bringing about a constructive separation.
7. Consciously developed and consistently maintained relationship
between the worker and the child according to the child’s
8. The process by which the worker learns from the foster parents
the kind of care the child is receiving and how it is meeting
his needs, and the process by which the worker gives the
foster parents the help they need in understanding the child
or his parents and in methods of giving guidance.
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When removal o f the child from one foster home and placement in
another home is necessary, the record should show the way in which
the child was given an understanding of the reasons for the change
and his opportunity for participation in the selection of the new home.
The record should show continued service to the child for as long
a period as is needed, without regard to chronological age. When the
child no longer needs service from the agency, the record should con­
tain evidence that: (1) The child has reached an age and a maturity
that enables him to live as an independent adult, or (2) if the child
is returning to his family, that the family is able to care for the child
and that the services needed during the period of the child’s readjust­
ment to his family were given.
Continuing fam ily service.—During the period o f foster care the
agency gives leadership, as it is needed and can be used, in helping the
parents to work together with the agency and foster parents toward
the child’s adjustment to his total situation. It also gives such help
to the parents with their individual problems as they need or are able
to accept.
Treatment with the parents which should be shown in the record
has points of focus that frequently include:
1. Assistance in bringing about the changes necessary for the
child’s return to his family in relation to the parent’s atti­
tudes or to living conditions; also in planning with the parents
in preparation for the return of the child.
2. When rehabilitation o f the home seems unlikely, but when the
child’s ties o f affection to the parents should not be broken,
help is given to the parents to function as good “visiting
parents.” Sometimes parents who because o f immaturity
of personality have been unable to give adequate care to their
child in their own home, can with help respond to the child’s
needs for short periods of time, such as during visits to him
in the foster home.
3. Help to the parents in recognizing and bringing about per­
manent separation from the child when this is necessary as
a part o f treatment.
The Foster Family,

Recording the process o f finding and selecting foster homes presents
a different focus in content from that relating to the child and his own
family and requires a separate record. The purpose of the foster­
home record is to give a clear picture of the family selected by the childwelfare agency to give parental care to a child who must live away
from his own home and the environment in which the child would
live. The foster home is actually “in the intake process” until
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it is approved or disapproved, with study and diagnosis going on
Since the foster home is to be a substitute for the security which an
own family usually provides, the record should show that there is a
family unit that can provide an environment in which a foster child
can have a growing experience in living and that the child will have
freedom to develop relationships with adults whom he can love and
trust. With this as a goal, the foster-home record will contain in­
formation brought out in the interviewing process that substantiates
the decision by the agency and the prospective foster parents to work
together in the care o f children. This process begins with a study
that is concerned first with the potential value of the home for agency
use. After its acceptance for use by the agency, consideration is given
to the value of the foster home in relation to the child or children
who are to be placed in it.
The application.—The study begins with the foster parents’ appli­
cation, which may have been made by letter, by telephone, or in person.
This application interview should be exploratory and definitive on the
part of the applicants and agency. In the application interview the
applicant makes known his need and his offer; the agency in turn
makes known its need for foster homes in the care of its children and
its way of working with them.
Use may be made o f an application blank in the initial interview
as a concrete method o f making real to the applicants the degree o f
responsibility shared by them and the agency. Also through the use
o f the application blank, much of the necessary information—age and
nationality of the foster parents, family income, number of rooms, ref­
erences, and so forth—can be secured simply and directly, making it
possible to use interviewing time for becoming acquainted with the
foster parents as people.
The recording o f the application interview should include the
following information:
1. Whether the prospective foster parents took the initiative in
coming to the agency to present their need for giving a home
to a child, or whether the agency had to seek the home.
2. How the foster parents expressed their need for a child—such
as a source o f additional income, company for their own
child, or lack o f a child o f their own.
3. How the agency’s responsibility in the care of children through
a foster-home service was presented to the applicant and what
would be involved in the study of the home, out of which
would come the decision as to the use o f the home. This
would also include the agency’s way of working with the
foster parents, and arrangements as to rate of board, pro-
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vision for medical care and clothing, and visits with own
4. The way in which prospective foster parents respond to the
agency’s requirements. An indication o f this might be
whether care is exercised in supplying the information re­
quired ; also, whether time is taken for further consideration
of this step or whether they wish to move ahead immediately.
5. What the applicant reveals about the home he has to offer a
child and his plan for including a foster child in the family
6. The decision made (a) by the applicants as to whether they
wish to withdraw or wish the agency to continue with the
study; (b ) by the agency as to whether the home should be
studied or eliminated at this point and the interpretation of
this decision to the applicant.
The continumg study.—The study continues the process initiated
in the application interview through a series of visits to the home, the
number of which depend upon the development o f the relationship be­
tween the applicant and the agency. The emphasis in this study
should be upon obtaining more complete understanding of the family
as people, their way of living, and their attitude toward a child for
whom the agency is responsible.
In the continuing study the following points are generally covered
and recorded:
1. The continued response o f the foster parents in regard to their
need for a child and the way in which the agency accepts that
need and works with it.
2. Discussion o f aspects of the home, such as make-up of the
family, the conveniences and comfort of the home, the stand­
ard o f living in relation to cultural interests and income, the
family’s health, their interests and activities outside o f the
home, school and recreational facilities which would be used
for own children and for the foster children, and religious
3. The quality of the developing relationship between the appli­
cants and the worker, which would indicate their capacity
for working with the agency in caring for children placed
with them.
4. The characteristics o f the applicants which reveal their suita­
bility as foster parents. Flexibility, personal warmth,
imagination, maturity, readiness for the responsibility in­
herent in caring for a child from the agency, and recognition
that his own parents may play an important part in the
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child’s life—such characteristics would provide the basis for
the selection o f the home for a particular child.
5. Evaluation o f each reference as to knowledge, judgment, stand­
ards, and relationship to applicants. The helpfulness to the
agency of persons used as references is dependent upon the
understanding which they have o f the agency and of what is
involved in foster care as interpreted by the worker. In­
formation pertaining to professional fields should be dis­
tinguished from social or other information obtained from
the same sources.
6. The worker’s evaluation of her experience with the applicants.
This would include the kind o f environment and relationship
within which a child can achieve a reasonable measure of his
potentialities. This evaluation would provide the basis for
the selection o f the home for a specific child.
The home in use.—After the foster home has been accepted for use
by the agency, the record continues with entries at intervals which
high-light the agency’s evaluation of the home.
The use of the foster home in the care of children begins with the
first placement, which is preceded by a discussion of those children
needing placement for whom this home seems suitable. The response
o f the foster parents and their participation in the decision to accept
or reject a particular child has a place in the recording, as it gives
additional understanding of the potentialities of the home.
It is assumed that the experiences of the child in the foster home
will appear in the record o f the child and his family. The foster­
home record will relate primarily to the agency’s use of the foster
home and will include information concerning the way in which the
agency and the foster family are able to work together in the care of
the child, and those experiences o f the child in the foster home which
are significant in relation to continued use of the home.
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Forms for Recording Essential Data
In the foregoing discussion of the purpose of the case record (pp.
4 to 5) it was stated that the case record is primarily a tool to be
used in case treatment, but that it also serves to supply information
needed by the community for interpretation of problems dealt with
by the agency and its methods of treatment. Both of these functions
o f the case record are facilitated by the use of certain supplementary
forms which make more readily available the information contained
in the narrative or chronological record. These forms should be con­
sidered as an integral part of the recording process.
The following forms are suggested as aids in case treatment and
in interpretation of child-welfare problems:
1. Form for intake data.
2. Face sheet o f the record.
3. Index-statistical card.
4. Record cards for children in foster care.
5. Monthly summary.
The mechanism to be used and the specific items to be included
will necessarily be determined by what is desirable and practicable in
relation to the total child-welfare case load and the amount of serv­
ice available. It is intended here merely to suggest items which may
serve as the basis for the development of a system adapted to local
requirements. It is assumed that counties will plan their methods in
harmony with a system formulated by the State welfare department in
order that there may be uniformity of practice in the various local
units in the State, and that the local units will receive guidance from
the State welfare department in compiling and interpreting social
data as well as in methods o f case treatment. Just as composite analy­
sis o f problems and methods o f treatment is helpful to child-welfare
agencies in relation to treatment o f individual cases, so the State de­
partment will become better equipped to help the individual counties
through study of summaries of problems and methods o f treatment in
the various local units and through comparison o f trends throughout
the State.
Form, fo r intake data.—In the foregoing section, Request for Service (pp. 13 to 14), reference has been made to a form for entries of
data relating to the request for service and the disposition made of
the request. In some agencies this form is printed on a sheet, in
others on a card 4 by 6 or 5 by 8 inches. As many of the items as
practicable should be printed on the form so that those applicable
may be checked. The purpose of this form is to provide information
on all requests for child-welfare services which come to the agency
and on their disposition. It should include data needed for clearing
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the case with a confidential exchange or with other agencies, and the
action taken should be entered and the form filed for possible future
reference even when a case record is not made.
Information available on the form for intake data should include
the following:
1. Source of request or referral. (Parent or other member of family;
friend, neighbor, doctor, clergyman, and so forth ; court ; public-assistance
division ; other public official or agency ; school ; private institution or
agency; and so forth.)
2. Brief statement of problem, or service requested.
3. Name and address of family ; race or nationality ; religion ; variations
in spelling of family name; aliases.
4. Members of family group: Names of parents and all children, whether
in the home or out of it; date of birth of each member; whereabouts if
not in the home. Names of relatives and others living as members of
the household.
5. Clearance with confidential exchange or with individual agencies:
Date cleared ; information obtained.
6. Disposition of request. (Accepted for child-welfare services; advised—
minor service only; referred to other agency—after investigation, without
investigation; information sent to agency requesting investigation; request
withdrawn ; and so forth. )

In local units where the size o f case loads and the number of
workers make this practicable information is also entered on this form
in regard to home conditions and problems o f individual children at
the time of acceptance for service, specified items being listed so that
they may be checked if applicable.
For cases accepted for child-welfare service (for which case records
are made) data required for monthly or other periodic reports may be
obtained most readily and accurately if the “ intake” form also pro­
vides for information on the following items, entries to be made as
soon as practicable by the child-welfare worker :
Plans for service:
To be carried by the child-welfare division only.
To. be carried jointly with another division or agency.
Service to entire family group.
Number of children under 18 years in the family.
Service to specified children (names).
Aid to family by other public agencies at time of acceptance for child-welfare
Public assistance through—
Aid to dependent children.
Old-age assistance.
Aid to blind.
General relief.
Earnings from work on public programs—
Work Projects Administration.
Civilian Conservation Corps.
National Youth Administration.
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Aid to family by other public agencies at time of acceptance for childwelfare agencies—Continued.
Medical service received through—
Crippled children’s services.
Health agency.
Other (specify).

The intake-data forms should be filed alphabetically so that they
may be available for reference and for compilation o f information.
Those that did not result in acceptance for service should be filed
separately. The data pertain to conditions at the time of acceptance;
therefore the form should not be amended when the situation changes
but should give a picture of conditions which made it desirable to
provide child-welfare services.
The face sheet.—Although there are differences of opinion in regard
to the type o f data that should be entered on a “ face sheet” and the
ways in which this part of the case record may best serve its purpose,
it is generally thought to be desirable to provide a printed form, to
be filed with the case record, which contains certain facts needed for
ready reference by the case worker. Child-welfare agencies have
usually followed the custom o f family-welfare agencies, in using a
face sheet which begins with information about the family—race or
national origin, name and date of birth o f each member, occupation or
school grade, physical or mental handicaps, and so forth. It is cus­
tomary to include information in regard to all members of the im­
mediate family, whether they are living in the home or temporarily
absent, as well as relatives or others living with the family as members
o f the household. Difficulties involved in attempting to use the face
sheet as a continuing record of shifting facts have brought about con­
tinuous experimentation by child-welfare agencies in an effort to
devise a more workable system than the one commonly in use.
In considering the type of face-sheet information pertinent to social
services for children it is necessary to take into account: (1) That in
child welfare the child’s need for service is the only basis o f eligibility;
therefore an “ application sheet” o f the type used in public -assistance
is not appropriate; (2) that the needs o f individual children must
be considered primarily in relation to their family and home conditions.
The original face sheet should include data pertaining to the situa­
tion at the time when the case was accepted for service—a permanent
record which will not be amended but will stand as a picture of condi­
tions at the time of acceptance. Births, deaths, temporary absences,
and other changes in the household necessitate frequent revision of
data. In order to make available information in regard to changes in
the composition of the family group and essential facts concerning
such changes, it is desirable to make out a new face sheet at regular
intervals (or whenever some significant change has occurred) in order
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that a picture of the family group may be available without the neces­
sity o f finding the facts in the running record.
It may be helpful to include in the case-record folder a form for
information needed for ready reference, such as addresses of the fam­
ily, directions for locating the family, names and addresses of relatives,
references, and similar information which must be changed or sup­
plemented frequently.
Index-statistical card.—In order to simplify the card system, it is
commonly found to be desirable to combine on one card the informa­
tion needed for an index of cases and the data for current or periodic
compilation o f statistics on children receiving service. Since childwelfare services are ordinarily provided on the basis of the family unit
rather than individual children, this card should relate to the family
and should contain information needed for identification o f the family
group and its members. Sufficient space should be provided for en­
tries of changes of address. I f changes in the composition of the
family make a new card necessary in order to keep the information
clear, the revised card should be dated and the old card should be
attached to it.
This card should provide current data on the status of the case and
the type of service being given. Entries should therefore be made by
the worker responsible for the case, or by her direction, whenever a
change is made in the type of service. The following items are
suggested :
Type of service:
а. Case-work services in own home. (Specify whether work relates to
entire family group or to individual children only.)
б. Cooperative service to family (not included in above item) with:
Division of aid to dependent children.
Public relief agency or division.
Health agency.
Crippled children’s services.
Private agency (name).
o. In foster home, direct care of county : *
Boarding home.
Free home.
Trial adoption home.
Wage or work home.
d. In family-foster home under care of private agency but remaining
under jurisdiction of county (name of agency and type of foster
e. In institution but remaining under jurisdiction of county (name of
f. In foster home under care of another county but remaining under
jurisdiction of this county.
* Data on placement with relatives should be entered in accordance with the practice
o f the agency.
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It is increasingly the practice o f local units in which there is ade­
quate provision for child-welfare service to cooperate with State
institutions in providing social services for the families of children in
the institutions, even though they have passed out of the jurisdiction
o f the county welfare department, and to assume responsibility for
assisting the children when they return to their home community.
The necessary items to record such services should be included on the
For cases in which service was discontinued during the month, in­
formation should be entered as to the reason for closing or transferring
the case, such as the follow ing:
Case closed:
No further service needed.
Case transferred to aid-to-dependent-children division.
Case transferred to relief agency.
Case transferred to crippled children’s services.
Child placed in an institution or with another agency, county agency
not retaining jurisdiction (name of institution or agency and whether
child was committed by court or transferred by some other arrange­
Other reason (specify).

Forms relating to children in foster care.—In the discussion o f the
treatment process (pp. 24 to 31) it is stated that foster care, repre­
senting one o f many types o f service given to children, demands
special consideration with respect to case recording because the wel­
fare department assumes particular responsibility for children under
its jurisdiction who are provided for away from their own homes. For
the same reason it is necessary to keep special card records of these
children in order that information may be readily available in regard
to their whereabouts and the staff member responsible for their super­
vision. Such card records should be made for all children away from
their own homes for whom the welfare department is responsible,
whether they are under the direct care o f the department or have been
given into the care o f private institutions or agencies, or are tempo­
rarily in a State institution. I f the welfare department does its own
child placing, it is o f course essential that readily available records
shall be kept also concerning foster homes in use and prospective
foster homes.
Current or periodic reports concerning children under the care o f
public and private institutions and agencies are required by many
State welfare departments.8 These reports are sent to the depart­
ment on prescribed cards or other forms which include data on paren­
tal status and similar items, as well as identifying information about
the child, the care given, and changes in the type of care. Compila* Lundberg, Emma O .: Child Dependency in the United States, pp. 12-46.
League of America, New York, 1931.
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Child Welfare



tion o f reports to the State welfare department will be greatly facili­
tated if local welfare departments plan their card records of children
in foster care so that data required by the department may be ob­
tained readily from them.
Monthly reports.—The monthly summary data relating to childwelfare services has a threefold purpose; it should make available
for social interpretation information which has a direct bearing o n :
What the worker needs to know in order to understand her job.
What the local welfare board or officials and the community need
to know about child-welfare problems and how they are dealt
with, the adequacy o f provisions made for meeting child-welfare
needs, and community action required to provide resources not
now available in the community.
What the State welfare department needs to know about prob­
lems and methods of work in local units in order to promote
the establishment of adequate child-welfare service.
The case record, as has been shown, is an essential part o f welldirected treatment of individual cases. The worker also needs the
perspective which may be gained from a composite study o f her
cases. When a county has two or more child-welfare workers, a com­
pilation and analysis of all cases dealt with makes it possible for each
of them to see their work in relation to the entire problem in the
county and to profit from the experiences o f their fellow-workers.
In addition to data practicable for inclusion in monthly or other
periodic reports, information obtained from the suggested forms will
facilitate special studies o f methods and results of treatment of cer­
tain types o f problems and detailed analyses of case-work service
which do not lend themselves to statistical compilation. The statis­
tical cards, for example, will provide a key to case records which may
be studied in relation to emphasis of treatment—work with the family
as a whole or with an individual child, the types of approach, and
the use of community resources. Through such studies the agency will
attain increasingly effective case work.
Information made available in monthly reports on child-welfare
services not only helps workers to understand better the problems
with which they are dealing but enables them to interpret to the
community what their task is and what they are accomplishing. It
also furnishes facts which may be required in order to obtain necessary
resources for prevention and for adequate treatment. Periodic re­
ports are needed primarily by the local department o f public welfare
in order that it may understand the nature o f child-welfare problems
and resources needed for constructive treatment and that the depart­
ment may interpret to the community the need for action by public
officials, private organizations, and citizens concerned about the wel
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



fare o f children. The State welfare department likewise needs cer­
tain information from local units in order that the State may assist
the county in developing more adequate resources and methods o f
Through the use of the forms for current entries of significant
case-record data accurate monthly reports may be compiled with a
minimum expenditure o f time and effort. Most of the State welfare
departments have already formulated a plan for reports by local
units on “movement of population” 4 and many of them have worked
out forms for monthly reports in local units covering a wider range
o f information. The data made available on two of the forms sug­
gested above—the form for intake data and index-statistical card—
may be utilized on the monthly report, with detailed items under each
topic to fit local needs, under any or all of the following headings
Bequests for service during the month, and disposition of requests.
Sources of requests or referrals.
Aid received by the family at the time of acceptance for child-welfare services.
Types of problems:
Problems relating to the family and home conditions.
Problems relating to individual children.
Families and children given service during the month.
Cases closed during the month— reason for closing.
Children given service on the last day of month:
Case-work service in the home by child-welfare worker only.
Case work in the home in cooperation with another agency.
Foster care provided by county agency—types of care.
Foster care provided by another agency or institution, children remain­
ing under the jurisdiction of county agency.
Case-work services for families of children in State institutions.

The reporting system o f local units should be planned with the aid
o f the State welfare department so that there may be uniformity
in the various counties of the State with respect to items which are
essential in relation to a State-wide plan. The stage of progress of
child-welfare services in certain counties may make it practicable for
these counties to attain a higher degree o f adequacy in reporting social
data than will be possible in all counties o f the State in the near future.
The methods developed in these counties may form the nucleus o f a
continually expanding State-wide plan for case recording and re­
porting that reflects adequate case treatment. The same fundamental
principles apply to the treatment o f individual children no matter
where they may live, and every community should understand its re­
sponsibility for supplying the social services needed for children whose
home conditions or individual difficulties require special attention.
* The Division of Statistical Research of the United States Children’s Bureau has
developed a monthly report form covering the work of local child-welfare workers whose sal­
aries are paid in whole or in part from Federal funds, which may serve as the nucleus of this
part of a county monthly report.

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis