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into matters of cooperation between superintendents of schools and superintendents of public welfare; special inquiries into matters of cooperation between superintendents of public welfare and county boards of public welfare, county public health agencies, and the voluntary agencies; special historical studies of all matters of public welfare in the county, to discover traditional or other handicaps; special studies of all social work agencies in all counties.

It is clear, however, that this is a long-time task, and that all such inquiries should be made gradually, with common sense and sympathetic study, and, wherever possible, in such way as to render actual service and promote the cause of social work and public welfare. The studies, therefore, will often require an experimental basis of social work alongside schedules of inquiry. Among the experiments which ought to be inaugurated will be: special efforts to make contact with particular leaders, and special programs and methods of stimulating sentiment for social work and public welfare; special experiments in which the visiting teacher or the social work teacher, as assistant to the county superintendent of public welfare, may bring about closer coordination between the two departments; special experiments in which the public health nurse may become a general social worker; special experiments for coordinating the work of home and farm demonstration agents with the county-wide program of social work; special experiments in which county-wide organizations of parent-teacher associations may center efforts upon the preschool child, utilizing agencies of public welfare, health, home demonstration; special experiments in child welfare to determine something of the relation between undernourishment, school work, and conduct; special experiments with farm and home demonstration agents and school teachers in vocational guidance and direction, in connection with juvenile delinquency; experiments in county-wide community organization, with special provisions for the small community; more thorough experiments in case work, case supervision, and record keeping; special experiments in several counties for obtaining more effective and intelligent work on the part of the county board of public welfare; a series of experiments for interpreting public welfare to county-wide groups, and especially to county commissioners and members of boards of education; special experiments in Negro public welfare; special experiments in the coordination of county public welfare and industrial social work; a demonstration county in the mountain areas; a demonstration county in the east Carolina sandhills; a statewide plan of cooperation between the State Superintendent of Schools and the Commissioner of Public Welfare for coordinating community education, adult teaching, and school attendance work; a state-wide demonstration for more effective state cooperation and supervision of many aspects of public welfare work.

Growing out of the results of these studies and experiments would come, of course, certain larger conclusions, questions, recommendations, and the basis upon which the whole field of public welfare might be interpreted to the public. Along with these studies and experiments would be provided, of course, field

work and observation for students in training for social work. This is, of course, a major difficulty, and a major problem second to none in the list, but omitted from the primary problems of study and experiment in order to give it a special emphasis in the whole problem and to separate it from local tasks. It seems clear, therefore, that if the studies and experiments needed are to be worked out in a simple, slow, but continuous way, the resources for training social workers must not only be utilized to a large extent in cooperation with the State Board of Charities and Public Welfare, but that this important objective should not be lost sight of in planning methods and resources. In this way the results of studies and experiments may be brought together and made usable, not only to many counties and communities in the state, but for social work in general.


Elizabeth A. Cooley, Director, County Welfare Federation,
West Palm Beach

Ten years ago Florida was an undiscovered country. People thought of it in terms of Everglades, alligators, and a tropical sun. A few places, such as Palm Beach, Miami, Tampa, and Jacksonville, had been discovered by the leisure classes as winter resorts and playgrounds, but the potential assets of Florida itself were yet to be discovered by the country at large.

But to the social worker who dared hazard the heat of the summer Florida was a fertile field. With its comparatively small population, its social problems were for the most part those of the rural community in the South. There were no hard winters to bring suffering to the poorer classes. There were no tenements nor the accompanying evils that come from congestion in larger cities. Industrial concerns, with their attendent problems, did not exist. Unemployment was negligible. But the real problem facing Florida was the problem of the rural community. The lack of education and lack of opportunities for the underprivileged were prevalent. Neighborliness was abundant, but it was neighborliness without intelligent direction.

And six years ago Florida was just beginning to come into her own. There was a stalwart citizenship with a capacity for leadership which has since proved itself in the zeal and energy with which Florida has capitalized the growing interest in her native assets. The most salable of these, "sunshine," is more precious to the permanent residents and to thousands of Florida visitors each winter than the diamonds on the shelves of Tiffany. The truth is that Florida, the last new country in the United States, a state larger than any other east of the Mississippi River excepting Georgia, is building on her broad acres a new empire. This takes the form of towns, cities, up-to-date transportation, excellent roads,

splendid public utilities, and all that is involved in intelligent, well-balanced progress. Florida is my own choice because I love it, and, next to the coral rock which forms the base of Florida, the strongest thing is the idealism of the people who love the state. To those of us who have been working in Florida during these history-making years there has seemed a great opportunity to build, along with the state's material prosperity, a real community idealism which would recognize that wealth and happiness are not found in dollars and cents, but in the well-being of its citizens.

Perhaps it is a paradox that the first forward attempt at such community building should have come from the oldest of Florida cities, St. Augustine. St. Augustine had for years a city nurse whose duties covered the field of visiting nursing and general relief-giving. She was the one social worker in the county, and was looked upon as the single source of relief whenever and wherever she was needed. She found it necessary to leave, and the people were at a loss to know what other plan to make. I happened to be at that time a field representative for the American Red Cross in the state, and was called into consultation to help solve the problem. Here was a golden opportunity! We called the whole community into conference: the county commission which had employed the nurse; the city commission; the King's Daughters, who had been for years furnishing relief to needy families; the Catholic Daughters of America; and others. This conference brought out the fact that all the organizations were working, in their individual and ineffective way, for the same thing. After several meetings and discussions it was decided to pool interests and money toward the support of a worth-while welfare program. A budget was made to provide for a public health nurse and a welfare worker. The Red Cross was called upon to secure adequately trained personnel and to assist in establishing standards of service. The conference formed itself into a formal welfare federation, each organization represented in it choosing two delegates to compose a board of directors, and they in turn electing an executive committee to be responsible for the whole program. It was agreed, in working out the plan, that each of the organizations represented in the federation should carry on its program, with the approval of the federation and supplementary to the whole program in order to avoid duplication of effort, and so that the small amount of money available from all sources might be used in the most effective way for the good of the whole. The county and city commissions each became a party to this agreement, paying their funds out according to their regulations, but only upon the approval of the federation, and agreed that all workers should be selected by the federation, so as to place the work squarely out of political appointment and frankly on a community-participating basis.

The program of the Welfare Federation was planned so as to include both the health and general welfare field. There was neither a city nor county health board, so that the board of directors of the federation assumed this responsibility, the health officer being a member of the health committee. Subcommittees

were appointed as follows: Welfare, Health, Finance, and Publicity. The organization was so constituted as to be flexible enough to expand with the growing needs of the community.

This federation has been in existence for four and a half years, and is functioning successfully. A nutrition service, a colored nurse, and a probation and school attendance work have been included in the welfare department. It is expected that a full-time probation officer and a visiting school teacher will be at work next fall. The city and county have increased their budget each year until they are now taking care of practically all administrative expense, but funds are necessary to supplement this, and the private agencies are still pooling their money and their services. All workers, whether employed by the city or the county, are engaged by, and are responsible to, the executive committee of the federation.

So enthusiastic have the people of St. Augustine become over the success of this enterprise that the city manager, the chairman of the county commissioners, the chairman of the federation, and others interested have given it statewide publicity and have assisted other communities to promote similar organizations. Since the development and successful operation of this federation, other counties have organized similar federations, each one adapting the organization and program to the individual needs of the county. Among these are Fort Myers and West Palm Beach. West Palm Beach has advanced farther than the others and has developed into a county unit.

West Palm Beach began as a city federation only, the county commission not participating in the beginning. The organization followed the lines of the St. Augustine federation, except that the initiative was taken here by the city commissioners, whereas in St. Augustine it had been taken by the volunteer groups. Here the city employed a worker to develop a city-wide federation, which was especially gratifying because the city welfare work had hitherto been very much tied up in politics. Within six months the organization was under way and functioning. After two years the county commissioners agreed to join forces with the city, and the staff now consists of a county superintendent, or director of welfare, who is the organizer, a case work supervisor, one assistant, a part-time probation officer, a school attendance officer, a colored community worker, and clerical help. Unlike St. Augustine, West Palm Beach has a number of private agencies employing staffs, as, for example, the Salvation Army, the Travelers' Aid, Y.M.C.A., and Y.W.C.A. Also, the city has recently developed an extensive recreational program under the supervision of the Playground and Recreation Association of America. All of these organizations are members of the federation, their programs being carried on in cooperation with the county and city work. Each one has two representatives in the city federation. New organizations coming into the community must have the indorsement of the federation.

As a result of this cooperative effort the county has now created a County

Board of Public Welfare, which has for its purpose the following: first, to foster the intelligent division of work between all public and private charitable and social agencies in the county and city, to the end that public resources and charitable donations may be conserved, and the need of the county and city be adequately cared for; second, to coordinate the work of all public and private agencies, each organization to retain its own identity, to handle its own funds, and to make its own program; third, to act in general administrative capacity to the county, city, and town authorities in dealing with questions of dependency, delinquency, distribution of the poor funds, family welfare, and social conditions generally. The board is composed of two representatives from each of the organized federations in the county: one representative from the private agencies in the federation, and the other from the governmental departments of the city or town. The chairman of the county commissioners and the superintendent of schools are members of the board.

In West Palm Beach, as in St. Augustine, there was no public health program, but an active city health officer. He became a member of the federation, and under his supervision and in cooperation with the American Red Cross and the school board, a joint public health nursing program was developed. There is now a staff of four nurses, with the possible further development of a city health unit by fall, including a full-time school doctor.

In promoting this type of organization we have been guided by the following principles: first, that it takes an entire community to relieve, correct, and prevent its own ailments; second, that the community can best be reached through its organized groups; third, that group representation provides the most effective vehicle for a widespread educational program. We have felt that the proper responsibility for community upbuilding should be borne by tax funds, but that in encouraging the public treasuries to meet this obligation it is vitally important to safeguard the work from political influence and entanglements. We have believed earnestly that the private agencies have a very vital and important part to play in the development of our public health and public welfare programs, and that they should be given their full opportunity to supply leadership and to act as educational and demonstrational agencies only, not carrying the burden of financial responsibility, but keeping a step ahead of our public work and letting their programs serve as supplementary to the work of the public departments.

This work is altogether experimental. We have no final conclusions to offer. We hope that out of it may grow a state bill of public welfare which will be adapted to Florida's needs and which will benefit from the experience of other communities. We are watching with great interest the developments in Iowa, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia, and Missouri. We feel that what we are working out in Florida will combine the advantages of the superintendency features of the North Carolina bill with the close cooperation now being developed through county boards in Pennsylvania; and added to that, we are trying

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