View original document

The full text on this page is automatically extracted from the file linked above and may contain errors and inconsistencies.

\/3,W&1 /'J.: 13




Harry L. Hopkins, A(1m1nistrator

Conington Gill
Asri.'i• .:



Hownx-d B. Myer-a, Di1•ector

Social Re search Division

A!lm1n1str a.tor



ol.;t •tc qcc1• n't
o!lo':t rl.t to ~



0£ T


1 I,c


T. .

'IO )
















..,.,, .


'' ...







8'10 '




,~zJa.L£1 1tE


t'~'l.J '






Lt l,'



J: ~ i.






. '

exploratory su1•vey of rur.~ l. 1~oolal work , was
made in the fall of ,l.93~-~i ·' tth'.e:'~tudy pf Esqpmbia
County, Alabama was ·m,ide: bt_., Wi.l ma ·Van· ,~e.i,Je~dqJ;"PJ
. of Redwood County, M1nnes·o t_a '.by Eli,-zap.e.t}?. · ·
McCord; and of ,Wicomico Oounty , . -M~ylan,d by


. ; .·

••.·. · .





, ah··•·

The · survey was carried out i; in ..'c~op~~~t'ion ·:with
. a¢1.v1sory committee, cons1st1rig of J;he ·roi:10:~ \ng
·.: .
.. · .,· ',. ., , ,
· . ·.
. members:
. . ·' ,·· , .. ,, ~.

Josephine Brown, .Adm~ntstrativ;~.').s$l$J;'a,nt,
Works Progress .Administration : • ... ·
Edmund ' 9-eS,. Brunner,, Teacher.~· doii,se;·· : '
Columbia University __ . '.!'. _.:-···· / ·:•_ · . , ... , .
Antoinette Cann.on, New Yor,k ~c'po_ol.- of S9ci_al,. Work
Louise. deB.· FittSimon~, 1 State I?irectox-: of Empl'Oy~
. _ment, Wol'.'ks •F'i-ogre~s "l\dljiini13t~at11:(>n~ Georgia · .
J. II; Kolb, . University ·of ·.wiscon.s1n: . ·: , ,
Gertrude Vaile,· ·un:t:-Je'r"d'lty. of' M:b¢eso.t~

' '

.: ' ·: '

.:\\ .,/1



f '

•: :• •


I, •



Both the ·surTey~a,na. ttfe ·preparatlbn of thie •re,port were under th~: dlrect :f on 'of. T,. •J,. Wo'Ofter_;
. .. .
: '••.•: '. ..
Coordinator ot'
. Ru!'al















• •

All three agr-1cult ural counties included 1n thia aurvey had
experienc e with proteasio nal social work dating back from be£ore
the depr~ss1 on. A welfat-e agency bad been establish ed in Redwood
County, M1nnesota in 1919, Wicomico County, Maryland 1n 1925,.
and in Escambia Co'U.?lty, Alabmaa 1n 1928 .. Those in Redwood and
E1c b1a wer set up by the county gOYernmenta under the atim.ulua
of the state child welfare departme nts. The agency in Wicomico,
was privately initiated , tor the mopt part privately supported
and had no oft1c1al connectio n with the county governme nt.
Pitior to the depressio n, all three agenc1ee were pr1mar1ly
concerned with child welfare. Those 1n Redwood and ·1com1co
also gave aaa1stanc e to the mentally and physical ly hat1d1capped
and to persona needing medical aid• When the deprene1o n came
the thl'ee agenciee assumed the initial burden ot me ting
emergency unemployment needs.
With the coming ot Federal and state relief funcla and the
oatabliah ment o! loc l Emergeno7 Reliet Administ ration 1n 1933,
the old weltaro agencies lost personne l to th• ne• organiza tions.
Although nominally they continued to function in the field ot
aer•1ce to children and the handicapp ed, this work was pi-acttca lly
discontin ued 1n Redwood and Eaoambia and na curtailed 1n
The enactmen t of the Feder l $ocial Secux-1ty Act 1n 19;55
marked a third diatlnct period 1n the history of rural ~oc1al work
in the three countie . The possibil ity of obtaining Social
Security Funds was undoubte dly t~~ ~etermin1 ng factor in the
eatablialm ient of integrate d et.ate weltare iu-osram• 1n Maryland
and Alabama. Wicomico and :Escambia oovntiea 1et up local county .
welfare boards, in accordanc e with atate leg1elat1 on, to cover
varioua type• of rellet and welfare service• , including general
relie~, old age pena1ona , aid to the blind• mothers• a.llowanoes,
and oare of dependen t, delinque nt, or neglected children . · w1th
the eat blisbmen t of th1a new oomprehenaive integrate d progam
in Escambi , the old Oh11d Welrare Departtnent waa oft1c1al ly
liquidate d. The pr1..-ate Wicomico Welfare Department was officiall y
liquidate d. The private Wicomico Welfare Associati on continued
to exist but apparent ly it was to lose its ch1ld•pla c1ng tunctiona
and juvenile delinquen cy work to the new Public Welfare Board,
'!'he third step waa not completed in Redwood Oou.."lty. Minnesot a
no plans to take advantage of Social Security Fund.a
not set up an integrate d state program. The social
work program 1n Redwood County continued under the domlnat1on of
the county comm1ae1onera. Although they a.greed to the eatabliah ment
of a County Board ot Publ1e Welfare under superviai on ot the State
ERA they apparent ly were to delegate to it only the administ ration
of relief to unemploy ables and oertitica t1on of 'WOrkera for WPA.
They themaelye a at the time or the survey directly administe red
old age peneions . poor reliet. and medical care, and shared with

had mo.d
and had.



the probate judge the administration of mothers' allowances. A
local county relief agency under their control administered
generalrelief independent of the State ERA, _pending the setting
up of the proposed Board of Public Wel£arG. The Child Welfare
Board oont:l.nued to eive services to children, feeble•m1nded,
and miscellaneous caeee, under ijupervision of the State Children's
Bureau but also under the control of the county commissioners.
Th& state directly administered aid to the blind, with the
agsistancc of the Child Welfare Boa.rd.
The state soeiai work supervisors in recomn1ending 'these
counties for study said that the general attitudes toward adequate
standards of relief, professional service, state administration,
and the entire soci~l work problem in theae three counties were
more favorable than. 1n neighboring rural counties. They attributed
this fact in part to the longer hi~tory or aid to parsons in need.
Since the statos themselves were chosen because they had relatively
advanced prcgr8Jlta of rural social work, findings of this study
represent a higher quality of rural social work than exists 1n
the country aa a whole.

In none or the three counties. at the time of the survey
waa a coniplete social work progrwn in force, when measured by the
accepted area of social ~ork. The fun~~ental human needs which
an adequate social work program moeta may be li~ted as follows:
{a} The economic need of individuals &nd families who, either
temporarily or p0r1aanently, cannot obtain the basin of 11.fe.
(b} Tho need of cbildren left witr...out gv.ardia.nship or with

inadequate guardia.nsh1p.

{ c) The need of individuals .fol• help with epoo1f1o problems:
children in conflict with the law or ·rith pa:rents, persona

troubled about social relationships, etc


The need of the physically ill for information in regard
to medical resources and care, and help in using them.

or the mentally defective or mentally 111 for
und·e rstanding supervision or for help in obtaining
custodial care.

(e) The need

The county v,elfare boards cst:nblished ln Escamb1a and Wicomicio

orrered possibilities of e:xpana on to moet the first four of these

No action had been taken in the field of mental hygiefe

by the social work agencies in any of the counties or states,

although Alabaua had atipulntad 1n its Depart.nent of: Public
V''elfare Act 01' 1935 that sueh a program shoul'1 be Sf>t up. The
additional need r.or companionship, varied 1nter~sts, and personal

A mental hygiene clinic eonducted ln W1qomico had no direct

connection with the social work azonc1es.

expression had not been reeognized by any of the social work
agencies in the three counties as their province.


At tht time or the survey none or tho aoeial work agenoiea
was actually meeting in tull even those type• of need which it
accepted as its responsibilities. Relief of economic need, on
which primary emphasis was based, was inadequate according to the
agencie~• own standaI>dS; both in the amount of assistance given
to individual cases and in the extent to which assistance reached
all individuals in the community who were 1n need. None of the
counties had ascertained the extent of thia or any other needs
or had accepted full responsibility for meeting them. L1mitat1ona
in rinencial resources, in personnel, in guidance from the state,
and in sympathetic attitudes on the part or the community re t~icted
the ~ractiee of the agencies.
Nature of the Rural Caae Load
'l'he general rel.:t.ef agencies in all three counties and tlle nhild
wel.fare agencies in Wicomico and Redwood had largely undif'fet'ent1ated
functiona. Anal7sis of their ease loads reveals the wide variety
of problems which they were attempting to meet. Inall three
counties. the general relier agency carried oases of unemplo'3lllent,
employment with insufficient income, medical c~e, old age, _and
maintenance of children. In addition, unemployables and feebleminded were on the roll in Wicomico and Escambia. The older
eerviee agencies 1n Redwood and Wicomico carried similarly .
diversified loads, except that none of their cases had applied for
assistance b6cause of unemployinent or employment with insufficient
income, the dominant reaaons for applying to the relief agencies.

. These same . problems would 'be met by social work agencies in, but in no city would any single agency assume responsibility
tor such a wide range of problems~ Except for the private agency
in Wicomico, these rural agencie5 placed no definite limitati~na
upon their field of eervice. other than the amount of funds, the
personnel available, and the capacity of the workers.

Pereonnel ot Staft and GoTern1ng Boards
The professional workers 1n the county were limited in training
.and social work eXperienoe. Onl1 one out of' a total of 18 had
had so much as one consecutive year of formal social work training
and this one was a c ase work supervisor paid by the stat• rather
than by the county. Only one of the five workers in administrative
positions had any recognized social work training.
The education or the 17 locally employed workers ranged
from high school to college graduation. Only two of the work,rs
had had experience in social work previoue to their emploj'ment
in the county. ~welve of the group had been teachers and others
had a background or nursing experience.
All had the advantage or rural backgrounds, and ll'l08t of them
had been residents of the county before their present appointments.
Residents of the county seemed to have an advantage in being more
immediately acceptable to the conmnmity and in satistying the
demand that jobs be given to local persons,. The Minnesota ERA



had ha.d a pol1 y of employing out-of-county res1d nta tor its
but the vi 1to~ so employed 1n R d~ood during th ERA regime bad
been seTerel7 or1t1c1zod by local off1o1ala tor their 1mmatur1ty
re11 f policies.
and their libe~

Tli~ 1 s1z ot st( in relation to the case loads app m•ed to be
in accordanc with tat atandar s ·1n W1com1o and Escambia 1n
Octobe:r 1935. hen activ oa.aes aver gad '75-100 per social worker
and 100-150 pr cler1o l worker. The active oase load• however.
would aoon b augmonted by ld age eneion applic tlons which promised
to double the nUlit'b r o£ a ea per ocial work r in ioomioo and
triple the numb r 1n Escambia, 1f ddit1onal atatr members were
not engaged. A review ot pvaotioe bowed that delay between ·
application d 1nve_a'Gigat1on, between investigation and not1f1oat1on
of rejoct1on, and intl"equent visits to clients were du primarily
to lack of eufti ient ataf'f.
The governing boards of the var1oua agenc1ea repreue-nted .
t the county. including prosperous
the taxpayer and n1Ployor
fal'mera., bua1nea11 men, lawyers, county o.t.ticial, and civic
k was their money
ney sp nt on aooial
leaders. The
neighbors con eq_uentl7 they showed
was betng epent on ho~.o
a vital ·in~ereat 1n all detail~ f t
The county connnias1oner·3 aleo were olooely 1n touch with the

public agencies, and took an active ..1.ntere t 1n cases
work oft
a 1.nvol ed or
and plans., wben the expend! ttu'it or county unda
wh n new p lici~s wera bing e~tahlished.

The social worke~s had to spend muoh time conferring with
governing boards 1.nd the comm1ao1oner. They eeemed to accept
this part of t fr lll)l'k aa neoea~arr d desirabl and to have
oth working r lationshlps with tha boards. In fact, the
exeouti ca tend d to allow ~h r epon~1billty fo~ the d velopment
o~ the ag ncy to reat with the boardo tf.llc1ng little or no
leadership themaelvea. It was clear trom the study that while
this e1tu t1on continued nor l rogr se oould be madeJ yet
h w much respona1b111ty load
it also appe ed que tion
boarda would be willing to delegate and bow long they would
,P an exeout1ve to remain in her pos1t1on 1.t he 1ns1sted
upon having clearcut roapo:!a1bil1t7 or 1i.' ahe •as impatient to aee
Fa 1litiee

In W1com1co and Escfllllbia Oount1ee th re hAd b en recent
expansion in ottice apac, aince the di oontinuanoe ot the ERA.
In turn the ERA. in or the counties bad had better 110rklng
conditi n than the pre~ioll8 local genoy. Privacy or semi~privaoy
waa provided for interviewing clients
On t be o~her hand, 1n Redwood Count7 where relief was in
till un1ntegrat d, ot~lce apac
local hands and weltare aervioe
was extrem ly limited t the t1me of the aurvey.


TI'anaporte.tlon prov1"1.onn ro1• woi•kero in all tnreo

counties appe

R ource

ed to be ~elatively adequat.

for institution l oare were limited fn all three

counties. Provisions to~- tho i"ao\Jl -r,l'.'i.l1dGd were ospscia.Lly
inadequate. Jon of' the couuti s llild ndequELte p:roviaiona to

.met the medic l needs of


Esownbia offer d the least

car , i'rom tho at,uldpoint of both inoti tutional and
d iicomioo Counties both
:ln !vidual tro tment. E ce.mb1

alth service,,

s~me :regular .ublie

bile Redwood 11¢ prnotio lly

Praetiee and Proced•re
g1ng r pidl.y ·t; the
In all. t· o countie pr otio YG.B
fuoh of th do.t obt ined WG8 ba d on
time r..i' the urvoy.

pat under the '• .A. ino eurr$nt practice
mde~ the new orgo.n1~ Hon, 1n each county waa not alway
rea il bee 'I ble. By praoticei 1a me ·. . t he tot 1 cant:.ict
with the cli nt inc.lud;ing mator1 l f.lB&1&t&uce e.nd other con•
Cl'ete sel'v1eeo, and v:it;h the co~ untty in b ,,._f or th cli nt.
An att~t

;rondo to l.eo.rn to


.,ctent the problem.

ot d'lstenoe 1n rural areas affeatod practloe and to d.eterm1n
<r al con ide1 at ion
whe:bhel' ot> nt t rm f oo-,.111e r~c 1v
e found that open country
non-farm. r all tbl'-ee counti9e 1t

dle town and
cases tencl d to b · un er-l'epreEH.;-n ted ou relie
village ce.s-,a were ov r•represented. Wh$t1Lor this r f'lects
lesc t ·Ei:r.u.:iol.. tu t · i! 1' .,1liea
a t nden -v ln '01' •ctie to i
an~ thoee t remote di tan ea or wnet e» it 1nd1oat~e
need tor aid among th vill g end town po~'\.1.1.ationa wa not
clear from thi aurvey. In aoBl!lbl County the .tact that man7
uJ:' 1 1\.0~ l;:Ui t ...on
er under car of th
farm f~tl1e
Cor or t~o :o •tiall xnl ina th ,.r ,lnde~rep1>esent tion on relief.

In $neral, Nagl'oes ~~& nro o tionately nepresented on
the relief l'Olla in i00J1110I) County 01 tha baaia f t c.u- umber
- in the g,aner l popul t1on but or mark dl1 undor-r preo nted ·
on tho :roll ot the nX'iV te welfare e._, noy. ln ·Ea
Oounty there w a no oone1stent ~•lat1onahip between the proportio~
of JI• oe11 1n th g n ra.l popul t:l.011 and tho p1oportion c,£
egm,es in the va:r·h'>us :r.11 f s,unples taken. Tho:.." wa evidence
me visj!lis fi•1,1n I;~... ocia.l workers
that Neg1>oe• r ceived tewo1~
than d.\d the white, and that fl!nount of reli ~ to Negoee were
er bo. od n"l livlng ete.ndard •
less., s inc the b get
oy the r l~et e.gencie
Tho ~rinci $1 type of h lp gi
va ,a.ter1al ■ sietance. So o medical ~al:'•~ health guidanc,
so extend d.
financial advice. e.nd h&lp in t1nding emplo:yl'uent vere
Tho pr1vat weltm.-e agenciee 1n Wicomico and Red ood• on J
other band, gave chiefly aerv1oe• auoh as medical ex.am1n t:l.ona.
placement 1n institutions. advice and friendly contacts. The
private ag noy 1n toomico also gav aom.e dil'ect f'inanoial aid•



Work reliet waa commonly giv n by the relief ag•nc1es 1n
Redwood and Eeoamb1 Countie• but usually in oomb1nat1on wtt~ direct
r•11o.f, from 80-96 per oent ot the ca e1 receiving both t~es. In
W1aom1co County onlJ about halt of the oases rec•1ved work relief
and this aa 1n combination with direct •reliet. In Redwood County
when the survey was mad the tendency w a o giv work relief 1n
ca hand direct re11e~ in kind or orderaJ in Eecamb1a also t e three
types of grant• w•re employed; 1n ico 1co ll relief was in kind
or order, but cash we about to be introduced.
The average m::>nthly rel1et grant per faJ1111y changed very slightly
1n Escambia and 1com1co Counties when the new integrated progam
took the plac of the E.R.A. In R dwood County, on the other h d,
there was a ah81'}) drop, prob bly due to the high average ot 2,
a month under tho E.R.A The avernge groant in September when the
oounty as11U111ed reepona1b1l1ty fo~ 1ta r l1et load was about t11.
T U10unt roae, bowev r, in October to nearly fl.9 month.

In all three count 1e relief continued to be g1ven on a
budgetary det1c1 ncy baa1. In Eaoamb1a and Wicomico Counties the
budget was rela t:ed to' the f'ant:ll1 a' u.BUel. standard or 1,.v1ng, and
waa baaed on tood needs only• All other n eds aro ignored 1n
Eace.mb1 J 1n 1com1co medical car
as provided rat er liberally
and some clothing and b dding were furnished 1n kind, but no rent
was paid. In Redwood under the E.R.A a greater errort had be n

made to base rol1e.f g:rontp on an accept d rninuru

bud et.


the county w1thdr
biom the E.R.A. local relief
al.cul ted to
meet emergencies only. and the uoual- tandard ·ot living so
preYa11ed here.
In th• relief agencies ot all three count:i.e investigation tor
relief and servie had been aocopt
procedµree under E.R.A
Elib111ty in Vlioomico wao e tt\blished: to tandarda
develo d b7 the otate and locality together. Thes had
co e
1n reaaingly liberal in recent -.ont ~ ln Escwnbia County ther l
were no set standard tor eligibility and th& 1nt~~e worker decided
eligibility on . c e -to cao ba is.

The number of contacts "1th clients 1n Esoa.mbia and Redwood
ed 1n general to b relatod to the case load er
worker. Visits of ell nta to the relief oftioe were more numerous
than visi ta


the workers to the client a• homes 1n the e cou.'1'1ti

1oom1oo. on the other heud, home
contacts, th number of home contact
to the numb r of month ~nder
the cl1 nta and the oo1al wo~ker 1n

Redwood County and such contaot



contact exceeded oftloe
bearing a. close relationship
Th re were f
contacts between
tho child wel.fal~



o.genoy in
remostly 1n th

hom • Home cont eta wer also more numerous 1th the
elfare Aesociatlon cli nta.


In ap1te o~ th greater di tanc to be covered in v1sit!ng
oli nta 1n rural area• the- social wrkera approx1matel'J as many
Y1sit to op n countx-y case aa to t .. e mol'G tJ.ccessible village
and town c1.u,es.

ted more to .funds
Closing f oaae appeared to be r
a•a1l ble md to admin1etrat1ve pol1a1ea than to th need ot

re r mov d from
the client&. In Redwood County cli ents
relief when it wn discov red that they wer e new re identa and
c se w r eloaad when e:m.plopnent wa tho,~ght avail ble. ]'.n
Eaoambia r l1et" to the farmer was cut to aoooll".odato land owners

or to encour ge families to ecome Hur 1 Rehabilitation clients.
ncy in Redwood rarely closed caaea, keeping
The Child ~ltar
them o en on the books hen they re not actually ~eceiving
Record ot th r 11 t agenc1 a in aeh county were 1n

better condition than t hoa

of the a.genc1es which had exiated

prior to the E.n.A. fhey wer fairly complete and ad qu te
except tor data on r jection, ond1 in some ease, intervi w
child w agency records
mat rial end closing data. - T
- 1n Redwood rind EBCO!!lb1a were much lee aatiafe.cto:ry:. The
difference to b- lar~ely due to lack of clerical
peraonn 1. The tato child wolftll' tl partrr~nt, l1k--e the E.R.A ••
had set up lll~rioal procedures which the limited staffs had
not been b~ to fQllo •
Pl' o ice 1n regard to child • 1:f'are wae undeYelo_pad 1n

uttl :ont to · meet
01rot1es, Foater home a"1
h apeoial
y county, e.nd no ounty bad a worker
trlJ.ining to h lp 1th r,,roblemn ot oh1ld "tnncltll'ds for
t u..s d and dq, te lnvoatigat ... ons of bomea
~-'board!~ Mm
verd ii -i, .:.i ....t!
all tbr. e


In tb&il' l' 1 tlons w.t h c 11 ntu the workero showed a variety
attempted to injoot thetno l'V s into the
of' • S()
pers nal live ol thei:r c!.ien -or ev&n of p r ons not on rel1et
e.r:d to impos upon th,~ the tr ideas o:..' cori, ct C'.)nduct. On the
other hand, one ~,.orkeri as o f 1cndly 1th cl1.ents that she epent
an un nrr ted ampun.t ot' t i.tue 1. h thom in sacio.l conversation.
rlter toi;,k a. punit1vo 'ttitude toward allcli&nta. In
all count1eo, ho vor, t :ere were workers who were ~V1dently

making a conso1erit1oua ettort to be object1Te~ eon.a1derate, and
bua1nes 11k •


ponmnm1tz Inf'lU!)!\C6'3
!.nterviews \rith l.,ading citizens oi' t he ·three counties
brought out viu•,-il\g opi nions oncerning re11e and o ooial work.
some persona zpre,ssed ap rov 'l of' tho ore li: · r•al standard• ot
r 11 f 1nt.z. duce~ d r tho lh .A. 0tbt?1~s o.,-:: 1nded that gr-a.nta
had been too high ijmde.i9 the i.R· A. and 'that ac,cial work a houl
b limited to a service pro~QM, os oai:ally , o:r children. In one
county some of the laJmen int l"v1ewed expressed opposition to
professional social ,rorJ~ i.n gen ra. ., bPtth becauso of' 1 ts cost
terfpre.. 'w re ~,. •~:re not wanted•"
e so 1 l
and b ·


d lit l

On th whole,laym.en int rviewod t.ili.o

under tanding

ot the eantng and purpose of '. protea ional social wrk. It :te
ate to e y that in none ~ th ae ~un~~, had formal aoc1a1
wrk tra1n1ng been felt to be neo BSi82'7•1 , 'c!al workers wer




pted r r•J cted not on th b s1 ot training or uper1or
ek111 1n handling the detaila ot the work but on the baaia t
general executive ability and ot personal qualities.
Con 1der bl opp,oa1t1on to stat 1nterterenc 1n loo l
matters was expressed. State supervision w a accepted, howev r.
while generoua State and Federal funds w re flowing into th ountiee.
When Federal aid endo 1n M1nne ot • Redwood County immediately
withdrew from etate ,upervia1on, evidently preterring to do without

a small financial contr1but1on from. the et te, than to a -c pt .further
atate control o~ relief. Peraon 1nterv1 w din Redwood and Escamb1
1nd1 ated that they believed work rel1et was the beat typ ot public
aid. Appar ntly th1 ttitude was not ao strong in 1 mico where
glven to rural worker and where much
DU h leas wor r lief
ot the lay leaderehip wa located in town of 10.000•


In Redwood and Wicomico C9unt1ee 1ntluent1al o inion• 1n
tavor ot sterilisation or ~•rta1n typ ot public dopondents.
Sterilisation of unmarried mother•• permitted under Mu-yland law,
and ot teebl••m1n ed women under M1nnesot law, with the cons nt ot
th patient, enoouraged and there waa ome sent ent expressed
tring nt applic tion or the l w.
1n favor t • wider and mor
State Sy.p rvis1on


Int new public wel.t • program wh1 h were .functioning 1n
Alabama and .Maryland t the t1Jn or the study• the single tate public
w ltare agency 1n each state ssume le derah1p 1n the d velo ent
or loeal social work programs nd practice. They at up personnel
qual1t1oat1on for loe l etafta. established record proc du.res, and
reco ended atandarda rogU'ding c ae load or work~rs. amount• of
r lief, eligibility requirements for clients, etc. The oounti
wer not required to accept stat recommendat1ona. but 1n many etate
they wer doing so at the time or the survey.

In Alabama re reeentative ot the atate oft1c• were sent out to
aupervise edm1n14trat1•e detail and oaee work methods, but their
mimber was 11m1 ted 1n view ot the ar a to be oovered. The
representative in E1c bi gaT very little time to case -.,rk
euperv1s1on. In W1com1oo, oaee 110rk uperv1 ion wae oonducted
continuously tllro ha worker employed by tho state, aa bed b en don
under E.R.A. Sino• she wa• aubord1nate to the local executive her

. authority was l1mi t&I'\, but ehe was


pl"actlce th1"ough ,ugge tion and example.

to ettect 1mpro~.mnenta 1n

In K1nneaot the Ohildren'a Bureau of the Stat
auporv1sed the work ot local child ltare boards.

t1eld atatf and no funda with which
we.a seriously handicapped.





supplement local ork, 1t

All three etate g nc1es seom d to take a conc111 toxiy att1tud&\
toward the oount1ea1 striving to introduce theU' m thod without
antagonising local gove~enta.


The influence or the form.or E.B.A. aup~rv1a1on was till apparent
1n the counties. Under the E.R.A. up rv1a1on of county or b7

y bad been 1
the tato
en exp cted
tor c iv .fund••

uthor1 e
e r

not t:rictly follow d th -y had
· e P(>l1c1ee
ount1ea. Undoubtedl7 more
darda 1n t
d as
w emplo7 be ua t E.R.A. st
tly under
to training and e>xper1 nc • Of'tico r c s 1m roved
ia. Case loads
E.R.A. Cash ~~l1•t was introd d 1n
commended by th
l vel
ut a
11 r on th
te •E•
Ev n

tend d to


c . nt w1 h
and wor acce


t1g t1orus or clients

t:roduc d 1n all tbr
l aet 1n pr1nc1pl.




Th auperY1 ory work conduct d prior to the B•R•A• by the
Alabama Child Wolfa.r Department and the Minneaot Childrents
Bureau while handicapped by the lack or r-unda and of legal
uth.or!ty, had holpe4 to bring to public attention then ede
of 1ndividuals, articular y children, and ha.d nco'Ul"a.g d th
oontinuanc ot social work tor me t1ng these need. Without thee
tat departm nts it 1a doubttul wh th r there ould have b n
any organized social wo~k 1n thea t



-No t t auperv1a1on o~ atWlue h d ever be n available tor
lack which
the priv te child w ltare ag noy. in 1comico Oounty,
my ccount 1n p~t to~ the at t1 quality of' the work or thi
stated partment can
The quality and oonttnt or hat
cont ibute to locnl uni ts in th& ,ray ot a permanent p:rogrnr.t 1
reover., th readiness ot
till to be datinitelr tormnlated.
local m:>r-J: rs to accept supervision and. to us it to dva.nt g
N ve~thel a it ppeors thdt the posa1b111ty that good
will vary
work will b done in the11e three counties depends on the 1 adersh1p
tatt1, What the reapect1v atat• dep tmenta do
of the tnt
l ge extent bather or not thea I e countiee
will determin to
will be do tng superio:r work ccording to current t de.rd 10
years henc •


Since aocial agencies were tir t e tabl1abed 1n rural
are the l1mltat1ons of social work pl"actlce 1n the country,
a compared w:t th tha c1 ty • have been a r,parent. now to improve
th$ q al1ty
11r0:rk has be n th conoel'n of ti.11 tho e interested
~n tbe devalQ~r.t ot social agencies.
Pl"Ogrossive citiaena 1n 1-urlll COl1ttllU?l1t1e want tho
1ety: or eoci&l. wot•k aervic trom their single .o mall a~enciea
aa may be obtained f'rom save~al pecialized genc1ea in the c1t1es.
orker going into rural worlt wo.nt the same opportunities
fesa1onal developm.ent that are ~ailabl• to eta.ft melllb&ra
ot well org~a•d city ag nci s. Organ1: rs 0£ rural social
work program, a:r looking tor informstion on hc>w to deal w1 th
looal governments and how to seleot per _onnel that will moat
ttect1vely met rural a1tuat1on • supervisors or rual program
ar searching tor method• or impMving rural practice. Schools
ot social work ai-e asking for help in planning curricula ror
stud nta ·pre a.ring for the rural t1eld


1th th otension ot emergency relief agono1•s int~ ~ac•
t1oall3' 11 rural. oount1ea in the last few year1 and nth the
prospect of mdeepre d development ot pel"mSllent public w l:fal'e ·
p gr om$ 1n rur 1 areas 1n the near t'uturo I the probl
r ia1ng the quality or rural social work pt-a~t1c has r cently
become mor pre sing. As an agency directly concerned w1th the

establishment or emergency aocial . rk programs in r\ll"al area••
the F deral Emerg~ncy nelief Adm1n1 tr.ation undertook to tudy
the nrobl m. In J'uly ot 19851 the Coordinator ot th~ Rural
Rese rch Unit of the Federal Em.erg ncy Relief AOJ11ini trat1on called
togethe~ a numb~r ot p rsons 1dent1f1 d w1th rul'f\l. oe1al work, schoole to'I' ocial ork, and so-eial research to serve
s an Adviaory Committee 1n working out the details of the present
tudy. It wna hOpod that through observat1on or current 1"Ul'a1
aoc1 l
rk pr ctice !nformation would be gain d that. uld be
helpful 1n future policie •
aa decided a
liminary atud7 o~ curra~t pi-actioe
ral widely separated
1 ar u ot the country to detorm1ne
the spec1.fic problems social work meeta in these a.res.

1n a


A plan to make an intensive, ob ervat1onal study ot social
work practice 1n a 1.nglJ count~ ln each of three atates was adopted.
The thre counties, Red od Count;r1 1nnceota_. Vicomico Co -inty!
Maryland, and E camb1a County• Alabama,. were cho1um on th ba.s
ot th tollowing cr1 A•

1. Lo at1on

he. oount1
el et
sho d r pr sent contra ts in
g ogr phical obol"act r1 t1
and typ a of' farm! g.
(b) Tho countie s should bo 1n at tea wher th
t t
departm nt r wolt'ar and other etat ag 1101 s as w ll
a tho rubn,.n1 1trat1va oftio s or th<:) u.11.R.A or .E.R. •
e~ 1ntare ted 1n hov1ng the study made
d illing
to gl
slstan ••
(a) All of' th counti s ahOuld b'ootor.

01" th


pr dominan tly rur 1 in

l populitt 1on, .from 46 to '70 per c nt ohould ·

ng ged in

r arming.

(c) All o unties should h ve usu.

r ther than '1?11qu

robl m.


(a) In each oounti there, hould be at l a t one a nc7! public
o~ p~1v t 1 dealing with ind1v1d u la, which hat ex sted
oont1nu ouair 1noe 1927 or arl1er_ and whioh wQs
ctivel7 tunct1o n1~ t the tiJll~ or the study.

(b) In each count~ thor
hould b a public gency for r lief
ot r than the overs• 1" t th& poor or t
comm! eioner •
er ot the stat

reape1;. ttve

t te


wexaed th

d scriptio n



h y conside red to be doing compara t1v ly ~tfeot1v e work. Thy
to k into account such factors s the prof ee1onal prepara tion
ot t he loc l p rsonn l for ocial ork. the pr
ork r •
f 111 1ty 1th tho community over a p riod or ent
time, the ab nc
of usuul pol1tio al involve ments, and the capaoit 1 t the local
rk r to particip ate in etudy of the pract1o or t 1r
genci •
The study or tho three countie s b gan with the coll ct1on ot
b ok~oun d t on the loc 1 geogt' ph!o
d conom1c aitu&ti ons.
d or OtU"r ntly effeot1
social legisl tton int
et tea
d prov1 iona tor other t te-wtd or ,l cal social
program s rving thea o unties. Th field study wa mad .i nrk Oh
ot the thr e countie s a of Octobe~ l 36J
oo!al worker wa
u igned to tak e oh county w'l'lero h
pent fro thr
t four
w k • Observa tion ot social 'tl0rk pra t1ce was 1:lm1ted to
work ot the county public r lie adm1n1 tr ti.on and of on the
jor aoa1al work ag&noy do ing with 1na1v1 du;J, if uch xi t d
1n th county. &>ur-cera of info
re local c s record •
1ntarvl e
1th social wo~kera, -and influen tial c1t1£on a ot r.h
county, and d1r ct observa tions ot the taff t work~i
I i!ol' o tH.nea and . schidul

e Appendl i








The Co\Inty. . . . . . . . . . . . • . . • • . . . . • .


nevelopment of Social Work 1n Redwood County ••
The Soo1al Wort Agenoiee. . • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 6

Funo ti one • • • • .
Child Welfa:r$
Relief Agency
Govel"n1ng Boa-rd,s •




• • • ,


• • • • • • ,. • • • • • • • • • •


• • • .. • • ' , .. ,. • •


Bo~. • • • • • • • . • • •


• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 10

F1nano1a1 R•aouroea. • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 12
Ohil~ Welf&.:rf Boud , • , • • • • • . . . • •
Relief Agenoy • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Staff. . • . . . • . . . • .


. . . . . . . .




• , 13

Physioal F.aoilities • • • • • • • , •• , ••• ! ~ , 14
Stat• Suparviaio n. • • • • • • • ~ • • • • • • • • • 14
Ohild Welfare Board • • • • • • • • • • • • • • l4r
Rtl1ef Agency • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 15

Public Attitudes • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 17


. . . 1919
. . . . . .. . . . .. . . •. 19
. . .. . .. . . . .. . . . ..• 30ao
. . . . . . . ... . .. • 21
. . .. . . . . . . .. . •, aa
• 22
. . . . .. . . . . . . .• aa2223
. .. . .. . . .. , 23

Ru:ral Soo1al Worlt Praotioefl and Proo•d~r•s •
• !
Types of .A.ss1atano•.
'• • •
Ohild Welfa.tte Board •
• • •
Relief Agenoy •
• •
. • •• • • •• • •• • • .
Standards of Relief. •
. • •
Reoords. •
• • • • •
Child W•lfare Board • • • • • • • •
Relief Agency •
• •
' • .•
Residence of Clients • •
Oh1ld Welfare Board • • • • • • • •
• •
Relief Agenoy
• • • • •
• •
• !
Intake Procedure ..
• • •
• • •
Child Welfare • • •
• •
• •
• •
Relief Agency • • • • • •
• • • • •
Oontinuing Oontaota with Oli•nts • • • • • • •
Qhild Welfare Board
• • •
• •,
Closing Oas••• • •
• •
• • • •
Child Welfare Board
• • • • • • •
• • • •
Relief Afenoy • • • • • • • · • • • • • •
Workers• Rela ion to Boards and to the Community •








. ..



. . . . . ... ' 84
. . . . "• as
• 26




Th• County


Redwood County is in the liveatook and emall g:rain area of
Minnesota about 110 miles southwest of Minneapolis and ~t. Paul. The
entire county is dependent upon agriculture. I~ 1930 nearly two thirds
of the populat1on1 lived on tarme and the others livtd in villages and
the one emall town in the oounty, Redwood Falla.a .More than 61 percent
of the worke~s 1n 1930 were farmers or farm laborers and about half the
remaining workers were eng&ged in trade.

The population is about nine tenths native white and the other
tenth is chiefly of Scandinavian and German birth. There is a ecattering
of lndiane and Negroes~
With favorable olimat1o oonditionB and well cleared land, agr1oultUl'e has prospered here. In the d•~r•saion and drought .period it suffered serious setbaokst and the value of land depreciated, yet the county
was able greatly to improve 1ts roads in the fi•e years 1930-35 and by
means of plows to keep the roads to market clear for farmers during the
Cenaua data show that proportionately more farme~e in Redwood
County had radios and telephones in 1930 than wae true of farmers in tha
state as a whole, more than half of Redwood farmers having these oonvenienoes. O.n the. other hand, the proportions with eleotl'ioi ty ( 10. 7 percent}
and running water (4.8 percent) ware lower than in Minnesota fa.rm hoaea as
a whole in 1930.

The illiteracy rate in 1930 was only 0.6 perotnt3 aa compared
with 1.3 peroent for the state a.a a whole. The eohool system of th•
county has had progress1Te leadership. Of the 111 schools in Ootober 1935
eight were graded and five bad vooattonal training. There was a commero1al
oours• in th• RedwoOd Falle H1gll School, and poet-graduate normal oouraes
tor the training of rural teachers in Redwood Falla and the village of
Lamberton. The majority of the teachers in the rural sohoqls of the ooun.ty
he county had
had reoeived their training in thea• looal normal courses.
one ola s for subnormal ohildren, located at Redwood Falla.
The one pttbl1o) library in the county, at Redwood Falla• was well
housed, had a trained librarian 111'--oharge, and ,m, AJJ1er1oan L1b:rary Assoo1ation standards. However, the rural populatton of the oounty could
use the library only by paying a yea,ly fee of $1.00.

The Agr1oultu:ral Extension Service had maintained a oounty agent
in Redwood since 1~13, the county paying expenses other tha?j sal~. Within the past two years a home demonstration agent had baen added to his
etaff. The members . of the 4--H oluba and home demonstration groups organized by these agents were the children and women from the more prosperou1
farma in the oounty.

!. U.S. Censue of Popuiation, 1930, 30,SOO.

2. Population: 3.552
Aooording to the u. S. Census of Population, there were·94 illiterate,
out ot · a total of 16,120 persona 10 years old and over.


The oounty had done little in the way of publio health wort.
There was no public he~lth nursing serviot, no regular eohool nurse, and
no v1alting teach•~, A private hospital and small maternity hosp1tal w•r•
located in Redwo&d Falls, hut the nea:rest pub11o olinio waa in ](1nntapol1a.
Funds raise~ by the Publio Health Aaeooiation through the sale ot Christmas
e•ala provide~ oooasio~al special health serv1oea in th& sohools, usually
taking the fo%m of a nurse's ee:r.-vioes fo~
few week9, speQ1al olinio1, and
Jlantoux tests,
State i.neti tut ions available tor the u.s e r,f under-privileged or

handicapped residents of the or>Unty inoludtd a hoep1 tal for the insane,
schools for the feeble-minded, deaf, and blind, a colony for.epileptics,

a sanitarium for oonsumpti'vee, a hospital :tor orippled ohild:i:-•n, two
for delinquent oh11dren, and
aohool for dependent ohildr8n.


The one public institution for dependent ohild~~n in Minnesota
inadequate, and a number of private institutions in the etate were frequently used by Redwood County. The state sohoo1e ford 11nquent children
were used relatively little by the oounty, sinoe the looal p~obate judge
wae oft n able to dispose of jUV9Dile oasae without oomm1ttment. The •ohool
for feeble-minded. was oompletaly 1nadeciuate. It had a waiting 11st of mor•
than 1,000 in Ooto~er 1935, and many persons in Redwood County ho had been
committed could not be admitted. The waiting period ha.d usually been from
two to three years.

The sohool for f~eble-m1nde performed the servioe of et r111zing
faeble~mind d women, under & Minnesota law whioh makes auoh praot1C$ legt.l
with ooneent of the patient. Thi ee:v!oe was frequently used by Redwood




Development of Social Work in Redwood County

Redwood County first assumed reepone1 b1lity for itn needy
zens in 1873 whwn it began- to maintain paupers and to pay pllys1cian s 1 citiand
hoepitale * bills. The aged were first given qutdoor ~•lief. Later the
county home was built. With its liber l standarde and good management
1 t pe:rhpps marked an advance over outdoo.r oar•.

In 1901 the Minnesot a State Board of Control was establish ed and
began gradually to develop instituti onal care for speotal g:roupe in the
state. In 1913 a state mother ■' aid law was pa.ased and the fil"St standards
of any t1nd in the etate in regal'<\ to adequaor of rtlter were eetablieh ed.

The war and poet-war years showed a sharp inoreaee in activity
1n behalf of the tv1l•ged , both in the oounty and the state. Under
the influence of the State Bo.g;rd of Control. state legislati on was enacted
in 1911 for the b•tter protectio n of children and handioatJp •~ persons. In
1918 the Ohildren ts Bureau ot the State Board of Control was set up to administer these new laws. Al though the law was not J!1andatory, Red.wood Coun1¥
establish ed a County Ohild Welfare Board in the following year (1919}, and
a paid executive was ngaged in 1921.l At about the same period (1918)
Redwood County appointed a Aohool nuret fo~ the first time, a service which
was lat r disoontln ued.
When emerganoy relief was first eatabl1eh ed in Minnesota 1n September 1932 the State Board o! Control waa made th& agency in charge, under
a St.ate Emergency Relief Administ rator appointed by the governor . The
Children 's Bureau of the Stat• Board was delegated to do the wort. Its
division of relief adnt1niet ued relief 1n the stat• until June 1934 when
it aeparated .from the State Biard becoming the State Er.aergenoy Relief Adm1n1stra tion,3
Federal, state and oounty rtl19f fun~• were administe red by
the state relief organiza tion from December 1933 until Septembe r 1, 1935,
first through the local Ohild Welfare Board and later through a separate
E. R. A. A looal oounty relief oommitt• • earved aa - advisory oommitt•
to the stat -adminis tered agency, lu August 1935 Federal ~•lief ended
in the county. Sinoe the atate oont:e1b·i tion wa.e only 32.000 a · yee.r for
1935 and 1936 the county withdrew from the state E. R.A., thtr by waiving 1ts right to reoe1ve 1tate tunds, but winning tye right to administer relief iteelf according to local standards without stat• superviak >n
or oontrol.

The independe nt oounty reltsf agency set up on Septembe l, 1935
was functioni ng at the time of this survay (October 1935), but the rcounty
was about to aff111at• again with t~s State Emergenoy Relief Administ ration.


Her salary was first paid from Red Oroaa funds and later from county
The State Eme~g•noy Relief .A.dminietra.tion was an extra-leg al organiza tion.


W1th the proepeot of obtaining Fe4eral Sooial Security funds the county
oomm1ee1oners had agreed to appoint a oounty Board of Public Welfare on
November l, 1035, under a plan propoeed by the 8. E. R. A. The plan provided for administra tion of ~•lief by the looal boa.rd \Ulder stat superYiaion; the oounty would provide a fixed sum of money and tbc atate would
attempt to meet the budget dtfioienoy of the county and would pay the salary of ·at least one person to adm1n1ear the progra.m.l The · oounty ~ad tentatively accepted this plan.

Since the state legislature bad not authorized the, eete.'blierun ent

of auoh county departments of publio we1£are, the existence of the Redwood
Oounty Board of Public Welf~r• would be extra-lega l and the county commise1oners would be under no obligation to d•legat~ any authority to 1t. At
the time of the survey the county oommissionel"-8 had entire responsibi lity
for dispensing old age pensions, and motherst aid (given on order from the
prooa~e judge) entirely from oounty :funds and th utate ad.ministe:red blind
pen1iona from state fund.a with the a si.stance ot the looal Ohild \ &lfar•
The function• of the Oounty Board of Public Welfare would be
limited tQ the adminst:rat1 on o:t county :relief funds and servioe to nffdy
unemployab les am to certifying applioa~t• for the Works Program. The
ooia.l wor:ter emplpyed in the county at the time of the survey told the
ebse:n-er that they tXJ)ect•4 th• oounty t~ meet the emergency needs of employable persona eligible for Worts Program jobs but waiting for assignment to jobs. Howev r, they and othen 1nterv1..•d could not p~edict
whether or not this and other relief functions would be delegat~d to the
new Depa.r·t mant of Public Wa].fa:re by the county oonmrJ.aa ion.eJ:a Qr whethez
the ccmm1ss1oners ~ould retain direct xesponsibi lity themselves .
Tha U1luiesota Statt Boar~ of Control had prepared a bill to
1936 state legislature which would est!blish oounty boards
of pubU,.o WC3lfare and detftn W t powers and dutie .. Thie bill • ~
integJ;"s.te relief and other weu·are servic•e of the county with the eervioe



the time of the sur1oy," tiie county was meetin~one of the •~•nee
of adm1nist%at1on of the Board af fublio Welfare and the state waa
supplying the servioes of the oountv relief worker, one vi i:tor >. and
one stenograpb l'. The county wor~•r wae the same person who had administered the local E. 1. A. for th stat durii)g the past year.
Sha had been ~et ined by the oounty whan it with zew from the E. R.4.
The 0111· incorporate d some of the recommenda tions made by the Oh11-

dren• s Bureau of the U.S. Depari:nent of Labor after a study of the
Minnesota Oh11dren•e Bux au in 1927, Katnerine Lenroot in a paper
''First Ten ·• Ro:rlc of the Children!-.s Bureaun, Minnesota ·stat1
Board of Control~ read. before the Minnesota State Conference and
Institute of Social Work at St. Paul held September 8-13, 1930, made
recommendations as fol1owsP (a) study of the finano1a1, needs a.i:ld
resources of tha oounti-s and the etate and of the division of finanoial responsibfl. 1ty between the state and the oountiea w1th reference
to pa"1ent for aerv1oee and for the o _of ohildran in their own
homea, in !oater homea, and in institution s; (b) atate aid to oount1•
to provide for the services of a ·trained wo:rltex in eve1·y county, thus
a~cuxing oontinuoua skilled service to all aootionSJ (o) authorizati on
ot the State Board of Oont~ol to formulate minimum standards of training and experience and to approve appointmen ts of persona employed by
oounty ohild welfare (d) ~e~djuetme nt of state and. looal. r•spons1b111 ty for caee work as-trained servioe· beoomes available; and
(e) encouragement ot county child welfare boa~s to develop a general
oounty welfare program.


to children being oonduoted by the Child Welfare Soard, provide tor the
suppleme ntation of county funds by stat~ tunde for bothl.B.d ministrati on
and ervioe, and give the tat authority to pprove county pereonne l.
Enao"t.tnent of this ·measur
ould place all ete.te e.nd Fed•ral aid agai»
u . dex the Stat Beard of Control as in he Yfars 1932-34. The prospeota
of its being enacted, however, waxe doubtful and it appeared that the
county commie ioners would still have di~•ot control of all relief •xpenditure a in Redwood County.
At the time of th survey th state of Minnesot a had wo:rked
out no plan for the uee of Social Seour1ty fun.di.

----------·--------......--------------------This bill did not get out o committee in
January 1936.

the legislati ve session,




Trip Sooial iork Ag•noiff

As !ndioated in the pravious seotion, the ~•lief and w•lfa~•
p:rogram in Redwood County was in a. tre.ns1 tton pe:dod at the time of thia
survey. Two social · oxik a.ganoiea had. been full.ot1on1ng in the county,

(1) the Ohild Welfare Board, under the ~upervision of tha State Ohildrent

Bu:·eau, and (a) the oounty -relief agenoy which had existed 1n an inde-

psnd•nt etatue for less than two months and wae about to give way to a
state-aupervis ed extra-1 gal Department of Publio Welfare of l:un1ted
powere. Tb ex1st1ng agenoiee wara both puolioly finanoed. In addition
the oounty commissions~, were 4ireotly handling much of the relief work
giving old age pensions and mothers• allowanoe direotly and passing an
all relief eXpenditurea.

Ohild Welfare Boar. Since it was first appQinted in Jun• 1919
by the State Board o Oont~o • the Redwood Oounty Child Welfare Board had
funO'tioned actively in o a.rrying out th program of the Ohildren • a Bureau.
and also in mee1J irg a wide variety o-.f local pxoblems not includtd in thepxog:ram.


.. e

The pro~am ot the State i Ohild:ren•s Bureau may be sumrnari~•d ae



S~ al activities relating to guardianship, plaoemente.
of children, and illeg timaoy and misoellaneoue oases;


Inspeotion:, licensing, and super-v1111on of maternity hoepitals, ¢hildr~n•a in~titutiona, boai-ding homee, day nureer1es, a.n:1 ohild-placi~..g



:.; •

Action in all matter1:t relating to!hip.t eupervieion, entrano•


Compiling ~d coordinating of etatietios on casea under its oare.

to institut;one, vacations, and dieoha~gte of fe ble-mind.ed persons
oommi. tted to the State Boe.rd of
. Control.

Froteot1on of children born out pf •dlook wae a speo1a1 duty
of the bureau since this function was •etabl1shed by law. , The bureau
interpreted. the law to _mean that it ahould oontaot every mother of e.n
illegitimate ohild, establish pat•~nity; obtain support through the arr•st

of the father, whar•ver possible, s&e that the child had a three months•
nursing period, am follow the oa$e until the ohild wae 16, barring
adoption, death 01• some othe:r d finite disposition.
of th

The County Child

elfara Board wa~ the authorized representative

Stat e Ohildren 1 s Bureau 1n oal'ry1ng out thie pror,ram. The additional !unctions which the boal'd aesumed were not clearly defined. The observer

noted that the board aooept d any xaqueet for aid that oa~e to it and attempted to meet all requests in eome fashion.

Annual report of Children•s Bureau, June 1934.


Some 1nd1oat1on of the area the board was attempting to oover
in October 1935 may be given •r analysis of oase reoorns taken from its
files. The board had approximately 150 oases under oara in Ootobar, according to the records, whioh were inoomplete.l Information wa• •~11able for 54 oases.a These were not limited to ohild welfare. oaa,e, u
indioated in Table 1. OnlY about two fifths of the oases analyzed represented epeoial problems of children, including unmarri~d mothexs, mothers1
allowanoa and dependent and neglect d children. oases of feeble-minded
and mentally dieeasttd amounted to nearly . one third of the total and oaaea
requiring medical care accounted for &bout one fifth. Unemployable oaaes
due to old age wer relatively unimpor.t ant on the rolls and th re were no
oases of unemployment alone or employment with insufficient income.

Table l.

Child Welfare Board Aotive Cases, Ootober 1935,
Classified by Type of Oise and Re ■ idenoe
Redwood County



iTotal: Open Ooun;trr: Village: Town




Old Age
:z a
Insufficient Mothers• Allowance: 4
Unmarried Mother
: lO
Dependent Child
Neglected Child
• 2
Mental D1eeaae
ltedioal Care
All Other
































in general, the cases are the type that remain d•pendent for a
long period. Only five of the 54 oases had been und,r oare for leas than·
seven months, while 19 had been under care for mot• than four yeara (Table
5.) On the other hand, the agency's prooedure regarding oloaing of oa■ ea
was suoh3 that many of the eases stlll reoo~ded as aot1ve may .have received no aid for some time.




See Records, p.
It is believed that these caaes are fairly repre,entative of thetotal
case load, although a sound prooedure oould not be used.
Oas•e from Redwood Falla as well a e from rural parta of the oounty were
included since Redwood Falls, only elightly exceeded the Census definition of rural (plaoee under a,500 population).
See Closing of Oaaeet P.

-sA large proportion of the oases had. had oontaots with othe~
agencies. Thirty-nine of the 54 had been aided by other agencies, 36 by
the E. R. A., 88 by the o ounty oommia.eioners, a.Di two by the Red Orose.
The following tabulations •how the number that had received aid f~om one,
two, oi all three of these agenoies in addition to th, Qhild Welfare Board •
Total Cases • • • • • • •

. .... . ..

. .


• 54


~nown_ to othe·r agencies • •
. • • . . • 39
Oounty Board ot Oomm.iseioners only . • • • • .• 3

E. R. A. only • • • • · • • • • • • • , • • .. 10
E. R. A. and County Board ot · oommise1onere. 24
Red Oross and E. R. A.. • . • • • • • • . •


Ommmiasione:rs • • • . • • • • • • • •


Red cross, E. R, A., am County Board ot

It is evident that many o"'f the oases war• kn.own si,mul.tanaously
to more than one agency. a fact that is not surprising due to th~ interrelationships of personnel 1n the several agencies and to the length of
time oasee w•r• retained on the books ot the Child Weltu.-e Boa.rd.

Re½ie:f' .A.genoz:. The oounty relief agenoy had 212 active oasesl
in Ootober 19 5. No data are available on th~s oase load~ but schedules
were filled for the 60 oases opantd or reopened in September af't•r the
agency had w1 thdrawn from the a. E. R. , A. When d a.ta on these gasea art
compared with data on 87 m. R. A. oaaes closed in June and 3l8q June oases
continued from the previous month, some light is thrown on the nature of the
need for whioh the looal reliet agency was assuming responsibility. Analyeis of reasons for ppening the . June and September oases shows that the
oases taken on by the independent county agenoy in September, like those
on E. R. A. Tolls in June, were predominantly unemployment and under-employ- '
ment oases. In both the June continu.ect oa.eea and in. the September opening■,
70 percent or more were unemployment :releif' oases• and almost 20 percent
were oaaes of employment With tnsuff1c1ent income (Table 2). Moreover, in
June the oounty relief wae .. supplementing a large numl;>er of old
age pep.done given by t,1e OOWl°ty Qommiseione.r.e because the amounts of the
pensions were too low to cover the expenses of a single individual.
That the unemp1oyment and under-employment dependency probiems
in the county were of & serious natUl'e 1s indicated by the tact that two
thi.rda o:t the June continued oaees had 'bean on relief oontinuously for
more than 18 months and only about. 10 percent had been on relief for that
short a time as one yea.r or less ( Table 6). None of the oae•e had had a
previous relief period, indioating that once on the r eliet rolls they had




The only town in the oounty, Redwood Falls, wae inolud•d in the enumeration e1noe 1t only slightly exoeeded the Oenaua dlfinition of rural
(places under 2,500 population).
The total June case laod, according to the oft1o1al F. E. R. A. report
was 481~



fable 2. Continued and Closed Cases of the Emergency Relief Administ:ra.tion,
June 1935, and Opened and Reopened Cases of the County Relief Agency,
September 1935, Class1f1ed by Rea.aon for Opening and
by Re91d&noe, Redwood County


Tff• of OIIH lly :au14t:w•
June Continued Cases
June Closed Caa••
:Total: Open :Vill
Open : Vill~: Town
age, own. 'l'otal:;cm,ntry;


Employed - Insut-;
f1c1ent income
Old Age


Insuff1oi8'1'1.t Mot-:

hers• Allowance

Medical CaN






































- ..











Table a - Continued




Employed -

Insufficient Incon:e

Old Age

Septe bar Opened and R•o~ened Ones


Village; Tolfll


















Insufficient Jlothers 1
Aiedioal Care





stayed there, unable to find any other source of livelihood .l
The emergenoy nature of the ~eliaf ag-mcy case load ae 001.llpared with that or the Child Welfare Board is indioated by the small•~
propo~tion of clients that had had oontacte with other agencies tither
prior to or at the same time that they were r•o•i~i~g relief from the
county relief agenoy or E, R. A. Uore than half of the June oontinued am
the September opened am reopened oases had had. no oontacta with other
agencies. Kore than thr•e tourta of the June 010,ed oases had had no
other oontaots. Of 166 June oases that had had oontadts with other agencies, 114 ha.d reoe1ved assistance from the oounty Qommiesioners, fJ3 t:rom
tbe Red. Oorss, 33 f:t"om the Ohild Wel:tare Board, thl'ee had bad drought
relief, and three had had feed relief. Table 3 ahowa that only 51
oases had had oontaota with mora than one of these types of rtlief i~
addition to thei~ contact with the relief agency. Of the 60 oaaes taken
on the ocunty relief rolls in September only nine were known to more than
one other agency.
On the other hand, as in the case ot the Child Welfare Board,
the appearance of oases on the rolls o! more than one ngenoy may reflect
the inadaquaoy of the aid given by any one agency, especially by the county
commission ers, or det1o1enoi es in the records rather than the extent of
need repreeent1t d.
Governing Boards
The Child Welfare Board and th& Oounty Relief Oomm1ttee ·Wh1oh
Redwood County in ootobe~ 1935 had advisory powers only. The
Boa.rd. of County 0ot'l'lll11ssioners had administra tive control of rel1e:t' a.!¥1
welfare services.•
The Board of Oounty Oommisetone:rs inoluded fioe meml)ers •l•ot.i
by the oounty arid paid $50 a year. The ffhild Welfare Board tno1uded five
members - one from the oounty oo~ esioners, the county superintend ent of
eohoole, and three members-a t-large, appointed by the State Boa:-d of Oon•
trol. on the recommendation of th• county, for terms of three years. The
County Relief Oomi ttee also inolud.fd fiv·• m&mbere, two from the Child
Welfare Board, two from the oounty oommitaion ,rs, and one member-at-l arg@,
·The over-lappin g in membership among the three boarde is notett~thy. The observer found that they funot1oned togethex rather closely
like oomrn1ttees of one organizatio n, and the etaffe oooupf d the same offioe •



On tbe otber hand, all but tft of the 60 casts opened or reopened in
September had been on relief once before; Howe•er, their Nt'Uffl to
relief rolla does not mean that they ha.d. been a.ble to suppo!'-t th~Jit..
selves adequat•ly in the period einoe they were last on the rolla.
Vost of them we~e oaaas arbitrarily closed by looal oftioiale in
July when Federal aid endtd and relief roll• were ahal"l)ly reduotd
from 393 tJuly) to 87, including all employables and some ·unemploya.blee, regardless of whether employment' was available.
See Closing of Oases, p.


Table 3. Continued · and Olo&ed Oas•s of the Emergency Relief
Administration, June 1935, and Opened and Reopened Oaoes
of th$ County Relief Agency, September 1935,
Redwood County


, Number of Oas s

June Continued Cases
Red Oroea only

Oounty Board of Oommiss1oners only
Ohild Welfare Boa.rd only
County Board of Oommissioners and Child _Welfare:
Red Crose and County Board of Oorruniesionara
Child. Board a,nd Red O:r:oss

County Board of Commissioners~ Child

Boa.....-d and Red Oro s
Drought Relief only
Feed Relief only


No other Contacts

June Olosed Caees


Red C,ross only
Oounty Board of Oottm1iaaiontre only
Child W lfare Boa:td only
Oounty Board of Oormnissionsra and Red . Oro••
No other Oontaota

8•ptember Opened and ReopGned Oases
Red Cross only
County Boa.i-d of Comm1aa1one~1 only
Oh!ld Welfal'e Board only
Child Welfare Board and Red Cross
Oounty Boai-d of Commiss1cnere and Red Cross
No Other Cont a.eta


3 8











The county oommiasionera wer the dominant group. Their -!mpb.a,ie wae
on saving money; on controlling the use of what money waa expended,
and on retaining authority over rel~ f. They e~reseed th~ opinion
that relief had been given too liberally under the s. E. R. A. and
dioated that they wer opposed. to soma of the E. n. A. prooeduree. They
appeared detel'Ulined to resist anyarrangement that would take ·reliefgiving out of their hands alld eet it up as a epeoializrd job. They
aooepted the new plan of the S. E. R. A. for a Oou:nty Depa~tment of
Public Welftu"e only tentatively because S. E. R. A. $tandards of a.dm1n1a-'
tration and ~elief, if carried out. would entail ~Teater xpendittll."es
of county funds than would b neo ssary und•~ oounty control.



-120n the other hand, they sholfed that they had been 1n!luen oed to some

•~tent by S.E.R.A. policie s. Althoug h they had withdra ,mt the local
relief agenoy trom the state organiz ation, they had retaine d a profe$a1on al worker toa1.mi nister relief. the rune peraon that
paid by the state under E.R.A. }""u.:1!the:tmore, they no lon~erhad
all applica nts person.a lly and e•emed. more r•ad.y to aooept th eooial
worker•s estimat e o! ne•d.



There as no 1nd1oat ion that the county aommiasione?s had changed their
baeio attitud es towa:rd relie! clients . It wa.e the eXpreaaed
of the chairma n ot the Board of County Commissioners that all the people
on :relief wsl"e "rif:f-r af! 11 and that it wae impor-tant to
a little less than they ne d and keep them hungry baoause''glve
they oan help
themael vee if they really have to."
As might be expecte d from its compos ition the County Relief Committee
we.a under the innueno e of the aounty commise ionera and. •xero1a ed its
advisor y functio n to only a limited extent.
'!'he Child ·v81fara Boaxd appeare d to b

tuor$ interHt ed

than the other
boards in the handlin g of problem s other than those of financi
'but, 11ka the others• was not cono l"nOd. i th the d••velol)?nent of a nbroad
program .

F1nm:no1a1 Reeou;oet

elfare Board.

At the time of tha survey, the County Child
'!.-I aB being support ed
entirel y hom oounty poor rel1a! funds. Th county was paying
th ful.l-tim e
sala;y and travelin g exptnet s ot the one social worker, the aalaxy
of the
stenogr apher and. aJ.l o~her adminis trative expenses. Tr.ere was noc'bfin
budget. The county col!lfdi&eioners paaQed o:na.all xpendit ur s, item by item.
The state furnishe d no funds for th county work either !or Rdminist%at1on
or for care
Welfare Board, oi-igina lly$d by Red O:ross funds,

of olienta .

&.~~ef Aa:enoy. The county relief aganoy was aleo finano
entirely by th~ county !n October 1935 wh1oh meant that it was paying thed salar1•
of the full-tim e worker and the steno~a ph•~ beside other adminis t~ative
and relief expense s. This agenoy also had no definit e budget and the
county commiss ioners control led all expend itures.

In October 1935 the Child elfare Board with about 150 activ•
caeea had one worker and one stenogr apher tthoae ti~ ~as divided
the board an~ the relief a.genoy. The :relief ager10:, w1 th aia aot1v
had one full~ttm e wor E.l1', one !ul?--tir: 1 etenog:rapher, and ~he pa::.-t ... ~irn•
ae!'li ta.nee of the Ob i ~.d \7elfa:ra executi ve 'and e -tenogxa.phe:r. Tha
also mploy1ng one wo~ker for W.P.A. intake e.nd oerti!i oation .l state a.a


en th;,
unty ooepted th naw plan ae of -ovemte:r l , this worker
transfa~ red to nothar oounty and the oount1 relief w~·ker was g1Yenwae
respon sibility fo~ intake and oert1fi oation as •~eout1 ve of the new
ep2rtme nt of Public A ne• visitor was later added .to the

staff of the d epartm nt.



Dur1ng the time that Redwood County was ;reoetvi ng state and
federal tunda the average oat• load per worker had been 175 althoug h the
S.E.R.A . he.4 worked to achieve a maximum oaee load of 100. There waa
often a waiting perio~ of three waeks between appl1oa t1on and 1nveati
t1on, but emergen cies we're always taken oare of. Workers average d twogahours a day ovtr-tim e.
Executi ves of both agencie s funotio ning in October had formerl y
been exeouti ves of the oounty E.R.A. The xeoutiv e of the Child
Board had inaugur ated th& E. R. A. program in the county. She was
of the county, 47 years old, the widow of a lawyer, and the mother aofnatiTe
oh1ld:H n. Sha wm a high school grMuat e and registe red
had no fo~mal trainin g in social work but had been a memb~r of the Welfare
Boaid tor y are. Aft•r two aa school nurse tor Redwood County she
had beooma executi ve secreta ry of the Ohild Wel!u• Board.


During the
relief work, althoug h
Board. She was still
salary at the tiae ot

last two years she had devoted moat of her ~ime to
functio ning also as executi ve of the Child Welfare by the county rathe:r than by tbe atate. Her
the surlfey was $135 a month.

This worker did not oonform to the Ohil~re n•a Bureau personn el
requirem ents on two counts : (1) The state require d a collage eduoati
(2) The etate•e policy waa to plaoe workers in oountle a tther than theon;
ones 1n which they lived. Thie work•:: had a kn.owledge of the oounty and
of the people liying 1here, but she ad a profees1 onal. objaoti ve
toward olitnta , even. when she Jatew them persona lly. Sha seemed toapproac
for standar ds Which in her •etimat ion would contrib ute toward the well-be ing of olients .
She hadhad no epeoifi o trainin g to give her oonf1d• nce in her
work. and ability to evaluat e differe nt praotio ee. Henoe,
she somttim es
aooepte d policie s and procedu res whioh oame from a higher authort
ty such aa
the State Childre n•s Bureau even when they did not apply to the individ
case. She had suoh flexibi lity in examini ng her own ideas and in oontemplating ohang•• ~owever that it seemed possibl e that she could develof
greater ability to meat the needs of o11ents and the damande of a diff ult
. profess ional job.
·· •
The exeauti ve of tl\e .relief agenoy wa.yeai,-a old, 'a widow w1 th. 1
four childre n. She had alway lived in the middle 50
west and in Redwood
County sine• Oatober 1934. She h~d a deg;ee of Baohelo r of Science 1n home- ,
eoonomica with a major 1n nutritio n and a minor 1n •duoati on. Sh• had had ·
no formal training in social work. trnttl 1932 her work experie
noe had been
in teachin g and in Teaearoh in food and nutritio n. ln 1933 she beoam•
~•lief worker in anoth•r Minneso ta oounty and two years later oame to Red
wood in a similar positio n. Her salary at the time of the survey was 8150
a month.


ThiB worker had a.mature, posAd, objeot1~e manner~ and her
r•lationsh1pa wlth oliente app~ared definitely protea tonal. Sha seemed
to lik$ the county commissioners and other layment with whom ahe worked.
The obserYer thought that in sp1te of the Caot that she reo91Ted her
training and eXJ)erienoa in another field, her interest in social work
•as so great that with the right sort ot opportunity she would doubtless
develpp a gr at deal professionally.
,!!h7sioal Fao111ties.
The two sooial workers in the oounty in October 1935 had oars
of theiT own and were paid mileage (5 oents per mile) by the oounty oomm1a~
sioners. Mileage as an xpense which the county oomm1ss1onera had gradually aooepted as an outcome of the 9,E.R,A. During the p r1od that the
R~wood. reli ! agenoy waa pa:rt of the S.E.R.A., the agenoy provided tran►
portation by renting care and hiring drivera from a garage, a praotto•

1rhioh had many handbaps.

The two agenoiea har•d offio spac w1theaoh other and with
the county oomm1ss1oners. Both ,xeoutivee were located in a small room on
the first floor of the court house. The deek1 of the two social workers
and one etenographer almost completely filled the spaoe~ The other secr•tary worked in the oounty oommise1oners 1 room next door. One oorner of t:i.
executives• oftioe, large enough to hold two ohaire and a tiny tabla, had
been screened off for 1nt•rt18wing cl ients. 011ents had to wait outside
the door when the~• were not enough to aooomeda:te them.

State Su;eervis1on,

Oh1ld Welfare Boa.rd. The only social wo~}( euper,r1s1on being
proY1d41d in Redwood bounty by ~h• stat• at the time of the survey
of the Ohildr9n's Bureau. This b'tU!'eau had a etaff of 17, inolud1ng th•
director and his assi stant, nine apeoial supervi$ors or visitors of special
de~artments; and •ix distriot ~epreeentatives to oover thestats. These 17
per ons all ,shued in the work of eupeni•ihg the Child Welfar• Board in
the 7'7 oountiea which had them, ae wall as doing the active work on oases
for whioh no oounty or private agenoy assumad responsibility. The main
task of supervision rested with the diatr10, representatives.


Th r1praaentat1ve who oovered Redwocd had 16 otr.~r ommties in.
h r a:re,i . m6!Plt of'-~-leb did , n~t have a paid ch ild w lfare executive. Th• ,
tot .1 oase count t n her di atriot for September 1935 waa 1,493. This volume
of work made f~eilU.ent. visiting impossibl and contact with the eotU\ty had
to bed vot d l ~z ly· to· t h · handling ,f emergeno1ea and obtaining of repol'ts on active oases for the reoor-da.l 'l'his diat:o:1ct rep~esentat1•• waa
a middle-~ged woman who had -b&~n with the Oh1ldren 1 s BUl'e~u s1noe it was
set up an~ _had ~Boently been transferred . to this territory. She had no
social work training.




State Childl'en' s Bureau kept duplicate copie

of all o at;Je :raoords.


The Childre n• s Bureau work1ng unde:r several handica ps.
The law providi ng for local OhildrW elfare Boards was permiss ive rather
than mandato ry; only 17 of the 77 count.!e e with Child Welfare Boards
paid exeouti ~es; no state funds were availab le to supplem ent the looalhad
work. Furthem ore, during the year and a ha,lf the.t the State Childre n•s
Bureau had adminis tered the Emergency Relief program the time and energy
of the staff were diverte d from the regular work. Also, when the separat e
E.R.A. was set up in June 1934 many of the experien oed ate.ff members of
the Ohildre n•s Bureau went ovar to the new agenoy.
At the time of the surver the Childre n's Bureau was requirin g
no monthly or annual reports from Redwood County.
Relief Agency. Before Redwood County withdrew from the B.I.R.A .
it had been subject to supervi aion by the state offioe. The S.E.R.A
. had
selecte d the Redwood Oounty worker and had appoint ed the County Relief
m1tteea in consult ation with local officia ls. The same worker and sameoo,advisor y committ ee continu ed to functio n after the relief agency
from the E,R.A., so that to this extent at ieast the influen ce ofwithdrew
state ~upervi sion remaine d in force.
Since Redwood County had reJeote d state supervi sion
before but was about to:retur n to it on November 1, it is pertinetwo
to describ e the major feature s of this superrt sion.


The state E.R.A. stood for the foilo,1n g policie s:
(a) trained and profess ional personn d.l;
(b) thoroug h investi gation to establis h eltgibi lity;
(c) adequat e standar d of reliet;
(d) objectiv e and humani tarian attitud e tovward clients a
rather than --:.s a g.roup;

individu eJ.s

(e) busines e-11ke and efficie nt amninis tration of ielief.
Supervi sio was conduct ed through the Divisio n of Social
The ·staff of this divisio n in October cons1et e~ of a directo r and a Service
di:reoto r, an assistin 2: central offioe staff of three. 10 uistric t r,pre~enta.ti- ges, two nursing supervis or&, and thr~e members of the ":flying
v..4\.4Cl.dron.•lf Tha aistric t repreae ntativee were directl y :respon sibl for work
in the countie s. A recent bull~ti n outline d the dut1~s and xespon sibilitiee of the ·iistric t xepreae ntative as tollows :

(a) Represe nt S ..• R. A. and act aa liaison worker for S.E.R.A . and
county offioe,



all per ons for W.P.A. employ:nent in out-counti':ls. Assume
co 1pletc responsibility for the eterm1n9.tion of eligibility and
.oe:r·t1f1cation for work and submit monthly report to the state office.

(b) C,ntif

(c) Certify to the tate office that all expenditures~ state,•
and local, a. re in accordance with the rules and regulations laid down
by the state off ice.


(d) Advise with both the county and~ te organizations ae to the professional staff an the policies a s they affect rcl1cf-3iving within
the county.

eview and appxove or disapp-rovf::

All tate and Federal repor Si monthly a.nd se 1..monly irhioh
that office may request, also all surveys and epeoial reports.
All requests fo:r fundE, st•te or Fe eral, to supplement loca.l
!'elief oneia.

(f) Oert1fication of student aid oases, c.c.o. anrollment, and recipients
of su:rplus ooimoditiee in out-oountie •

(g) Oertifica.tion of a.11 intake foi: Ru.ral Resettlement in out-gounties.
Besides Red ood County. the diBtriot representative bad 11 other
ooun·He in her a.:rea, ·all largely rui·a.l, with an average population of
about 17,000. She told.the observer that she iwent about 40 peroent of
her time in public contacts, workin with county boa~d members. county
officials, county :relief committees, labor groups, physicians and othel'
professional person. She spent much t1m with the co ty relief ~orkera;
holdin county Ol' a:rea staff meetings. She supervised expenditures by the
relief workers, rork1ng out budgeta:rt needs w1tJj thehl, and giving suggeetlons !or· curt.ailing .a:ppa ently 'Wl..Y1e essery expendi tu.res. She helped members of th· ocial service staff to ~udget their time, assigned dutie$ to
embers of the tfdf, and inte:rp:reted o t ,te policies to local boe.rde.
Ocoai.ionally r:.he :uperviaed case work :f'rom office observation; or took
direot charge of difficult clients.

tri d to cc:1tact the oount.i s once a. !l1Cl1th, but expeoted
pro 1·~ becE..tue n:.01 e stabl-, i ~ would be 1,oasible for her to
frequent oont9.cts wit:.. t~e counties but to pend a longer time

t .at a.

make les


in mo· • Sh_ h-=- spent an unusual amcunt of time in Redwood County, conta.ct ing public officials, _ece.use of the interest they too4 in all e:xpendi tu.res a.nd ot:1er :phases of the work.

~.i_ district representative had been in the area sinoe Redwood
came into the s.E.R.A. in December 1933. She was a. young woman, quiet,
and CB.pable
th training and previous experience in sooial work. She
seemed to be well liked by the ooial workers, officials and laymen of
the county. Apparently their objection to state supervision was based on
its policies and procedures tather tan on the personality of its representative in the area.


Publio Attitudes
The observer interviewed a number of private citizens conoerning
social welfare p:rograms in general. Two attitudes seemed to be outstanding
on the p ri of- most of the that Redwood County should take ca~e of
its needy citizens and that relief olienis should wozk. Praotioally all of
the laymen .. interviewed expressed the idea tha.t tile county needed a sooial
work progr@.m, but there seemed to be very littl conc~ption as to the fol"JD
that this should take and practically no realization o! the profe s1onal
aspects of sooiel work. They did accept the fact that rel1ef had become
a problem with which laymen could not~al and iith · ich the oowity commissioners needed help. Tuey also axpresse iil!c opinion that tlo social.
workers then employed had done a. goo Job.
The Tax Reduction League had a!~tempted to a:rganize opposition to
all sooia1- ,mrk in the county including botl the Ohil ' Board and the
:relief agr,ncy.

Persons were also approached on thoir opinion of 8.E.R.A •. in par-

The general attitude runong the persons interviewed was one ·of
resentment against the arnou.nt of authority the state had ex.ercieed locally
under the 8.E.P..A. Among the employers the observer found general oritioism of the wage rate of 55 cents &n hour on ork relief Jobs. Famers
said that this made neoeseary a much higher wage for labor than they were
accustomed to pay. One Armer said tha.t fl a day for farm labor had been
customary before the depression but that farmers had been obliged to pay
$2. 50 to i3. 50 during the s1mllller o! 1935. ~l'he head of the Tax Reduction
League, a farmer olaimed. that 30 &, month in sm er and 10 in winter with
11v1ng were good wages for a farm l borer and
ount d ~o more than the
:farmer made •

.1~ere also seemed to be a general feeling among the persons ap-

roa.ohed that standards of r lief were to chigh un er ~.R.A., t. at relief
was too freely given, and that clients were treated oo genlly. Some of
the ld.yment interviewed -.iad that the st;a.te would give money but not
dictate poU.oie • On the other hand, others thoug'"nt the state would have
to give some supervision if 1 t provided funds. T'.c.e county attorney, the
at.l'ongest single fa.otor 1n the county ·overrun t t sai t at he el t the
county needed supervisory a.s well as financial help from the sta.te 11 to

make studies e.nd help ue set up our program.•

Both the cou.nty attorne7 and the oounty engineer, expressed the
opinion that the state law pel'mitting sterilization should be made more
stringent and be applied more widely. Ti.: oountym;torney as
ing a
study of feeble-mindedness in Red.woo County a.nd was planning to text the
children th-rough the

chools ;,._nd to test a l ielie:f cl:.enta.



Other measures o! public interest in social work and welfare

p1ogr6J!lei we;re the policies o:C the newspapers and the col)tri'butions by the

public to private wel!ar& ag6notes.

The ne•apapers . of the county had cooperated with t~e soQia.l
workers, giving good publioity and respecting the social. woekers• wish
to keep facts from public notice which would have made good ns~oriee.'
Private contributions to welfare work in the county were found
to have been extremely small. Praciic lly no private contributions had
been for the eu,pport of social work in Redwood Oounty since 1918.
The Red Cross nad assisted with clothing, churches helped their o•n
membere• and together with clubs and lodges had ooeasional gifts to
indtvidual.s at special seasons of the year. The ~blio Health Asaociatton,
by selling Chrit$tma.e; had proTided funds for medical service in the
sohools •




Rural Social Work Practioes and Prooedurea

E.xcept for conforming to to.te polioies, the <,hild elfare Board
had few established procedl.ll'cs . fur its work. The relief agency had a.
heritage of the procedures introduoed to the OO\UltY by the 8.E.R.A., whioh
favored the following policies.




'l"Aorough investigation.
ObJect\ve establielunent of eligibility for relief on the basis of need.
Use of a budget in planning r~lie!.
Confidential records (inatead of having names publish~d.)
Payment of cash for work relief.
A continuing rel ·t ion 1liP wi-th the client for t:Ue purpose of: having
current knowledge of al.igibilil; ?a.ceting new needs as they al'ise.

The policy of keeping re.ards ooni'idential was :reJeoted outright

by the county commiesione~s who inaisted upon havi~g the names of recipi-

ents of poo:r relief prtnted in the newspape:rs,. The accepted the other
policies in principle, althougA these po11cies were not always carTied out
1n actual practice.


oi Assistana~

Ohild Welfare Board. The types.of assistance which oould be
given by the Child ~elfare Board were no ·hei·e defined. Analysis was made

of the 54 Child Welfare cases
this study in order tocbte:rmine the
of the cases received relief grants
persona •.vere given mental tests nd

for which data ere available for
types of service actually rendered. Non
from the board. The 15 feeble-minded
10 '!fere plaoed 1n inati'tutione. The

10 unmarried mothers were given advice andf.JSsiatanoe in eata.blie:hing

paternity of -<;he child and in obtaining finanaial assistance :from the
father for its support. In ll caaes, nur ing, medical. or uental care wa.e
provided and physical examinations were made in four oases. One case waa

assisted in obtaining a mothers* allowance and two were a.ided in obtaining

blind pensions. In most instances more than one tyPe of servioewa
recorded. In several cases •friendly contacts and interest" were listed
as the only types of se:rvioe rendered.
The Child elfare Board had an arrangmen't. :for transporting
patients by a.mbule.noe to the olinio in Minneapolis. The social worker
herself frequently drove clients there.

The State Children's Bureau dvocated a regular investigation
and set up definite standards tor boarding homes for children. The

Redwood County Ohild elfare worker, however, did not alway.a make the formal investigation. claiming that it was impossible to find home in the
county which were available for p1aoement that would maasure up to the
Ho program of foster home oar had been developed in the
county. The county commis1ioner$ paid the board of few children
in boarding homes.

.Jl~lief Agenox. ln contras t to the Ohild Weli'aTe Board the
tynes ofa3aist a.nce rendere d by the relief agency centere d about
the need
for financi al e.esieta noe.
Data ere noi, availab le on the typee of a sistanc e being given
by 4ihe looal relief
ency in October 1035," but somethi ng of past
may be learned i'1c1u ana.Jssi s of the cases on E. R.A. ;rolls in June.pol1oy

oft e June continu ed and closed E. ~-•• oases, analyse d for this study,
receive d either direct or,ork relief. The great majorit y receive d both
types (80 percent of the continu ed o~ses and 93 percent of the olosed
ork relief was issued in cash but all direct relief waa 1n
the form of orciers. In a number of cases. financi al guida,no e was 11.sted
as a type of ervice given to th~ client. Health guidanc e was also
emphasi zed. There we1·e a. few cases in which medloal oare was provide d.
A t1umber of Loya wer given assisi;a. nce in enrollin g tn the o.o.o.
Standar ds of Relief

The average relief grant givem in Septemb er, the
that ~he oounty'111as entirely indepen dent of the S.E.R.A . and first
the.t th~
county commise ioners were paying the entire bill, was slightly
$11 per fal111ly. In gotober when the county had aooe:p-ted state more
this rose to almost fl9.


This wa.e conside rably less than had been giTen during the first
six months of the year under t1e S.E •• A., but somewh~ t more
than was given
to familie s in SeptemlJel' 1934 (Table 4.) For the 16-mont h period May 1934
to July 1935 inclusiv e the average monthly relief grant per family had been

$24, not includi ng all of the medice.l care given by the ooun~y commis sioner,
The S.E.R ... star.da,r d of l'elief was ba.sed on an estimat ed budget.
which includ~ d the minim,m essenti al of living - rent, ood,
e.nd olothin g. 1.'he food. allowan ce was estimat ed on the basis of the light
nutritio n table re area by the nutritio n departm ent of the S.F:.R.A Sul."plus commod ities were extra. Under the S.E.R.A . most doctor' s bills. were
paid, but the county commis sioners ha.d continu ed to a:y some which the
state conside red too high and also had :for hospi•ta l and insti utional

Familie receivin g work relief were g1yen more liberal
than those r.ecejvi ng direct -r.elief. The grantin g of general :poor g~ants
hic:h h-d been given for over 55 years by the county cornmis sionert., was
based on no consist ent plan. Ainounts speht far hospita l and doctor' s bills
were 1.ibera.l . ..,ent was often peid in full. Orders !or food were
general ly
inadeqll .ate.
The special types of relief given entirel y from county funds
varied widely in its 'Xhe avera~e old pension we.s 6 monthly .
whereas the average for the state as llJ The average mothers • allowan ce
grant as about 30 monthly , while the average for the state was ~21. The
county commiss ioners gave old age pension s quite ·enerall y to persons who
met the qualifio atior1s, not even making investig a.t1ons of the applica nt•

reaou:roes, but they usually gave poor relief instead of mothers' allowances. Consequently, only 10 persons in the entire county we~e receiving
a mothers• allowance in October. The county comru1 eione;~s supplemented


Qld age -pensions with poor relief, in the form of orders 1 and in the past
with Federal or state .funds, rather than raise uensions to a,1 ad:aquate
amount. Interestingly anough the per ca.pita monthly expense for re idents
·1n the eounty home was considerably more than tbe av ?rage old ~:e ens1onfl8 wHhout anJ allo~anoe fol" dete:r.1o:ra.t1on of bui.ldtngs •
Table 4.

A'Ve:rage Relief G ant per








5,347.60 :e1'1.03.
19,841.64 : 11. 45 . ;
15,C58.4-1 • 13.25 ;
16. 5 ;
20,347.35: 24. 3.g. ;

: 1,137


Au"" st




Nov ◄










131. D


3'.J. 41




398. 2



















onth pe._ Famlly and per

Single PP-raon, Ma:y 1934 throu$h JUly 1935 1
Redwood Emergency Relief Adminis .ration.







19,134.41 : 1,37



16,123,15 : 30.69
14,585.62: 27. 47 t
12, 758,63 t 28.04
11,288/27 l 30.43






Ohild. Welfare BoF r~.. The record pi the Child 1wlfare Board
began with tlie letter oi" referraJ. from the State Oh1 dren• a Bureau or so~e
lbtger source, or by the intervi w with t e pplioan'1; r referring person,
and proceeded in more or lass chronological order. Since duplicate records were kept in t e state oi.dce. .M:ueh O- the record was composed of
inte ~iew material.
oorrespondence with the Ohildren•s Bureau as well
Regular forms were supplied by the Ohildren•a Bureau for application

-aato state institution s, investigati on of foster homes, eto. The local
executive evidently an attempt to record every 1mporte.nt interview when time yemitted. Sometimes the reports of interviews gave
an indication of the worker• a pa.rt in the contact with the client ~nd rometimes merely a picture of1he client's situation.
There wue no c ent:r l index file, tha as:t.mct :cecoi:ds bcin; f1led.
no reports of any k1nd~ either mont.nly or
it?, several different places.
yearly ere made inoe none wel'e required by the office. Thus it
ftas impossible 'i.o wtei·mine how me..ny active ca.sea there were at any time
or ho·., 1any ca ea had been ol sed in any ;1 ve11 oeriod. 1'aok of time
on the part of the one worker was e.npa:eently not the only reason fo:r
de:fic:l.enoy . Her l~ck of interest i~1 ofiice routine a!l • the lack of rt:;oth r e. le,n t · ona.
quire, ents from the e.te office
eJ.!ef Ar.ency. Tae .E, R.A. instituted a regula..r :record
~,d card index system in Redwood Cotmty. These records began with the :for iue11 •i:fication and
ici1 carried i.ile in:fo1'matiu neo
face heet
· the :f'amily 1 s budget.
for eeta.'bl1shin g eli ibili ty for .relief,
and in na:rrati ve form.
Inte.rview material
Very fe'il records examined 1n this study 5 muoh idea of the uorker•
cp1 :taot with the cli 11t except 11he11 some defi i. te action wao taken. Although interview material -.vas no-';; oom}>ldte, there had evid3ntJ.y been an


attempt to devel p clear and concise records, with full faoe sheet

de or via: ts to
f a licat1oi1s
ecords ..... i·e 1ot. always kep
oase. Therefor,
the offioe by clients when

no reliable data on reJeote

oases waa ava1la le •

.. :i1e executive of the relief agency ka· t the records faU,.y Uphe uetned to handle the a.dmi
to- ate, an careful reports. Al·~houJ
tely, she e;i,.-preased the
miniistrativ e and routine end. of the wo:rk
y, such as some of th
opim.on tho.t

information on the face sheet. Shes d, however> that she had tried to
ca.r:ry out the regular requiremen ts o:f the ta.te. The observer was told
that fewe1 irregulari ties were discovered. here y the kflying squadron•
of the state E.R.A, than in most other countie& in the state.
Residence of Client.

Onild elfaxe Bo d. Op n country cases were under-repre ented
the cases on the
and. villase and town cases were over-repres ented amo
Child Welfare Board rolls in October an~ analyzed for this itudy. Of the

.!54 cases, a.nalyzed, 39 ' f1•om t~ s villages and towns, (Table 1).

Foli~f Agenoi. The same was true of oases on county E.R.A. roll$
in June and among the cases opened or reopened in Se tember (Table 2). lt
is probuble that v1lla6e and town oases oame more directly to the attention
. re concentxete d in the vil•
o:t the t o agencies, tha.t unemploye.b le oases
may ave tended to reagriculture
lagef; and that seasonal empl~y
duce the open_count ry lo-.a..

Intake Procedu.:re

Cf.nild !£ Board.

The clients applying to the Child Wel•

tare Board for aid were fTequently referree to it by some other individual

or by the Ohildren• s Bureau. The executive as a reporesentative of the
state visited all oases so referred whether the client oxprease any des1rl
• for service or not, and fxequently tried to persuade the client to take
aome action determined by state olioies such as helping to brin about
the arrest of the fataer in cases of unmarried mothers.

The attitude of the Child elf&re Board xecutive toware applioants, whether they were seeking help themselves or were referred by some
one else~ wa s sympa thetic. She frequently ent out of her way to extend
help even when she heard only indirectly that someone was in trouble.
Both executives acoe ted cases without evident disorim.inations.
'!'his a ttitude was not entire1y upneld by the community at large nor11 by the
oounty commissioners> who drew lines between the• orthy" and the u.nworthy". For instances, in the case of one W1I!k~rr1ed mothe~ the county
commissioners did not want to pay for maternity home care because the girl from what they a:.lled a 'disreputable" family. The executive of the
Child telfare Board took a firm stand and finallf got some money :for thie
oaee. Uany laymen e:,cpreer. aritioiam of "worthless people" who were acoe-ted
tor relief and indicated that they thought the social workers were not
strict enough in rejecting oases.


~elief Agenoy. Applications for relief were ueually ~ade by the
clients themselves either by letter or by an office visit. Anplicationa
by letter were accepted because of the inadaquate offioe space for inter,..
viewing and baoau e clients from some parts of the county had to travel
then visited mn his home.
many miles to the office. The applicant
The executive of the Child elfare Board; who assisted with re,
lief was as igned to the important work of the first interview. She too&
identifying information in the offioe but to a great extent the first
real interview always had to be taken in the home of the client because
of the inadquate space for 1nterv1ew.i ng. The exed!utive of the relief
agency said that she would have preferred to have the application taken
in the office since in her opinion an office inteniew emphasized the
business aspects of the relationship and frequently both client and worker
felt more free and comfortable than in the home.


T'ne workers showed consideration toward applicants and und rstanding of some of the problems involved in aeking for help. They were
business-like and rnatter-of...faotl they did not press fo:r information whioh
the client did not have at the moment (such as dates of children• births);
they explained each step of the way with great patience. One -worker in
describing her discussion of the food budget with a :f'armer•s wife said she
en aha
began by asking what it actually cost the :family for food.
failed to get a definite answer she went over actual expenditures with
the woman until together they arrived at as accurate a figure as possible.

The policy of the s.E.R.A. · had been to give relief to
transients in the place in which they were located. The oounty
commis eioners in Redwood County resisted this and were inclined
to give poor relief even when the person did not need it 1n
order to prevent the establishment of residence.

Continuing Contaeta with Olienta.
Child Welfare Board. The Child Welfare Board cases received
few contacts il'ter intake, as indicated by Table 5 which gives
data on 5• active October oases. These data indicate that the
majority of the contacts with clients wex,• made in the home.
Table 5. Ohild Welfare Board Active Cases, October 1935,
Classified .by Number. 0£ Montha under Care and
Average Number of Contacts, Redwood County.
Mor a

-----...- ~


l month or leas
2-3 Months




1~18 "
49 months end over











ATerage Nwnber of' Conte.eta
&r Oase













In its oontaota with clients, the Child Weltare Boerd
plsoed emphaa:t on what the social workers and the dominant

group in the community thought best ror the client rather than
on what the client wanted.
An example ia the case of a Widow who had been on county
relief since 1924. When she complained that her grocery order
was not &nough. the county commissioners directed the Child
/el.fare Board executive to buy all groceries for the woman. At
one t ime this client applied for a mothers' allowance. The
worker persuaded her not to take it on the grounds that she
would got more m_grocer.y orders from the county co:nm1esioners,
but really be ua she thought the woman•s spending would be
ttunwisett 11 she were given oaah •


Anoth r aeo in point ·wae that ot an munar1"1od mother who
waa r .o gard d s "d:tspepu.table" by 1nflu ntial emb rs ot tho
community. Thia wman cam to the Child." ltar& Boal'd £or
aaistanc 1n finding a job, and~ 111ng tog t such help ~ound
job tor herself
housekeep r to man 'Whoa w1te was 1n th
hospital tor the 1naane. Arter a short time ehe lett the job,



telling the Child [elf are ex outive toot t.l e nan had aslted h r
to live •1th h:11!1, She gain i•equeated help :tn .f'inding
job f.or
the girl beonue or the l'eput M.o l h.o girl ha.d. tn sections
of th eori1muni ty
-Io money aa :marr av :tl ble tor boarding
the hlld in home and the moth&l' :refue a ttJ giv the child up
tor doption. "'l'hti one action apparently- taken by tho '\"lOrker
in thi ca. e was to is1t the motheI' dur•ng the :tort tir.Io thtl.t


rklng as housekeepor.


Undex- th E.R.A. home rlait
re inad to r 11ef' clients
on the avers• t once every two to thro months 1n the majority

of ease
according to data obta~nod on June c soe. ,Tl'...e client•
visited he ~t1ce more t'requentl7(Ta lo 6). The lar r
nur.tber of office than of home v1s1tn r fleets th he vy c~se
loads er social work r rather than an ~ency policy of ret'erring
otr 1e visit••

Tabl 6 Continued and Olo d Case or the Emergency Relief
Admin1•t~ation , J-une 1935~ Claa 11'1ed by Number of
Monthe under and Avora.g Numb r of Oontaete per
Case, R dwood County
onteete Eer O se

:~!!""""IOI'::"!::- =':'--~~--




under Cara

l month OX' lo
2-a Month




19-94 "



21 ·






9.o ·





__ ,_

-2.0 -2.0



-.. A-








Int'r quent invest! t:Jou of cli n.t
leo was 1n 11n with
a lib ral pol1o-r or t~ ~>J1.tnt7 tower c~•a 1n .f emil7 reaouro•••


The aatne reltet budget was ma1nte.1ned even ~h$n thet-e had b n
light incre s in ta:m11y 1nco •

S1m1l ly 1n the
e o~ dult hildl'on H.v1:ng t ho
working, the
ency did not e.xpoct them to oontribute all ot
thelr earnings to the family budg t.




On the other hand 1 where relief was given in cash, as 1n the
case of rork relier, the agenoy ad ~ol'merly had the policy 0£
~eq1tring proj~ct workers to kaep aecounts of all expenditures and
present them for the inspection of the octal worker from t to
time. Tv..ia policy had been rejected by the executive at the time
of this survey.


The ,.oi~kers so::netimes used their contacts w1 th o 11ent~ as a.
means or attempting to change the personal lives of the clients, in
such res .. ects as heal th and clea..Tll.iness, child lt'elfare, of"
homeo family relationships, or mor 1 ieaues. For example, they
sometbes withheld blankets until a client had cleaned up his i,
Even with £am111es who were not on relief the social workers
sometime tried to bring out changes 1n their manner o:f livtng. One
ot the workers lisd been. interested in an Indian :family in which ahe
said there w· s great discord between husband and wife# drinking on
the part of bott.> and a recent su1o1de atten!Pt on the part oft he
wife. After this last episode the worker aid slie got the man to
promise that he would give up drinking and suggested definite steps
fol' him '~o t~ke.

Closing of· Cs.sea.

The Child Welfare Board had no definite
At the time o£the survey the executive
seemed to be tending towa,..d 11m1t1ng the work and clarifying l"easons
Child vrelfare Board.

policy regard!n~ c!~sings.

for keeping oases open or for closing them.

Ucne of the 54 October cases analyzed fo:r this sur'tfey had had a
prev.i ous period under care ot the board, indicating that oases were
carried inde£initely on the records although little assistance might
be given after the initial servj.ce.
Relief Agency. Usuallly oases were closed by the r elie:f' agency
when the workers decided thnt the client no longer needed financial
help. In. Au._o; 1935 whon Federal re lie£ stopped end when the1•s

was n~ prosp

t of state or Federal aid, the agency a:rb1trnrlly

removed all c,mployable.s and sorae unemployables whose r eaources ware

· not de~initely known to the social workers. Themanner of closing ~aa
to tall the c·:i.ients that h:; might be · ablo to !'ind employment.
Of.' 58 September reopenings analyzed tor 'this study e.ll but six
had been closed in July as a result of the drastic reduc't lon in the
relie~ load when £inal Federa1 grants were received. The other six
ha,d bean closed earlier in 1935. It seems apparent that the~e
reopened cases were probably in need of asaiatcnce when they were


Reoent residence was another roason for closing cases 1n th~
post•E.R.A. period. When the county comrnissionern learned that new
residents were on reliet they instituted immediate action to have
them removed £ram the rolls.

- 7On the other h nd, ca~cs hioh had not requ. sted r 11 ! or
which had no po~ ib111ty ox rece1v1na it were often kept on th rolla
hen the soatal orker were p· rtioularly intorostod in the f 111 oon-





r, e

• le of e. oa o the.:t

as· not olos d wa.s that of

work ~el.1 f proJeot and ho~
rk after having recclv~d his p y in e.dv
epor for
ordor but
order • T e a. ency continued to give h
id. h wo,s.l
rhe an, indign :.n t this treatm nt,

had been

s1 ne4 to

man w~o

led repeatedly to

oe in . e fo
ount •
:reduced the
ot . co pt r 1ei' t

th workers urged .him to come back on
the ca.
1. Instead of olo i
o<enoy i ret,lly tnore inter ate in hi children then
relief eoau e "tl


1n hether or not h

, o.rk~r_p! ,, lation to Boe.rd eng. tg the Oo1rnn:m1ty ..

The exeoutive ot the reU. r agency bad o rtain
ere ahead. of pre ent att1 t ea 11'1 t!l. comm.uni y. Some of the e eho
steadily t%1 d to att in - such a d quaoy ot reli&fJ other
rog....r cd for h tim being, but hoped. to change u.ltimately - au.oh
praetiv of printing the names of r oip1 nt o poor rel1 f. It we.a
11 1 sue ole ly rom the atandno1nt of sound
di!fioult for er to
e ca.
praotioe, a~.eo1 lly h n co1'1.munity pre ure as trong, s in
non-re id nte a. 1nd1v1dU!1ls who houlC
e wo:rker s
of non,..rea1 · nt •
a po· 1ble en oe to Redwood ounty, n
be h lped but lo
u t protect Redwood Oounty.,

The exeout1ve assumed reepon 1bility ior 1nte;rpre in t e m:>rk

oard end to the county oo 1s 1cmers and ior keeping both
She o~d thie thro ~h pereona.l
boards oonstantly in tou h with problem
lann d bOard e tinge.
S.nte vies, char • mnpe. and "el
to th o:ry

o had formerly wor d. n the c.:ouni7
In g~nere.l ooial O!l'
f oo1al ork in
and aco
'• .A. had not fur-there the kno
the oommun1ty. '!'he present Cllil
,1 :f'ol
• county
as ru., intent on oa
p raon,
to he 0ou..T1t:Y He w
of th cotm·ty o:f'flcicll.e.


ors who h

til.l under 30
p r.ently to




e.n laymen lump
o et c.t t .c bo
or er., conceali
considered too in


Title .v n o e~ ou.t·ve.

se:rved the E11R • .A.. at d1f'ferflnt ti
r1ef aour ·e ilt sooia.l
out ide the ooWl.ty ani
n on the community - Com-

o e Y.oun
on red ta e
ow "hen ol1ents
nt oi' cl
rt rea.

le. 1




Prior to the appointment of the present Child Welfare Board
executive, four other per ons had occup·,d this position. TVTo had stayed
o~ly a short time and t_eir influence had een negligible. Two were
trained social worke~e who ere there for two to three years and apparently were well liked in tne communit7. All four from outside the
The present executive o! the Child Welfare Board had satisfactory working relationships 1th the county com.missioners anQ her advisory board and her contacts 1th individual board members were always
pl.ea.snat •


The executives of bo·h agencies at the time of the survey had
much in common in their attitudes toward the community and in their interest in developing better service for people in need. They thought
that while the work of the Ohild Welfare Board was important and should
have more emphe.sis tha.n 1t had been i-eceivin , it wo.s not a service whioh
should be maintained by a separate agency. They welcome the idea of
one social work a 6 ency in the Gounty which would integrate all services.