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to build an organization which may serve as a public forum for the better understanding of our mutual problems. We have only just begun. There are many problems not yet solved. We have cities like Miami and Tampa where we must work out the further problems presented by the community chest. We hope next year to give you something more definite.


Douglas P. Falconer, Superintendent, Erie County Children's
Aid, and Society for the Prevention of Cruelty
to Children, Buffalo

Is there a question as to whether the various agencies of a county should register their cases in a central Exchange? If so, the question should be asked: Should the agencies cooperate? For without an Exchange, cooperation in case work is impossible. It is true that geographical or functional divisions of work may be determined by conference, and cooperation of that kind secured without an Exchange. But in case work, the first essential step between agencies desirous of cooperating is to learn of each other's interest in the problem. This is a truism; but how often it is ignored in case work practice!

With noticeable rapidity social work is being organized on a county basis. The State Charities Aid Association of New York was a pioneer in this movement, and its success has had a great influence in other parts of the country, notably in Iowa, Missouri, and North Carolina. In many places the Boy Scouts are organized on a county basis, as is the Y.M.C.A. The development of the Farm Bureau has given great impetus to the county as a unit for organization, while the Red Cross used the county as a unit for chapter organization in almost all parts of the county. Think of your own county. In nearly every case some of the following services are organized by counties: mothers' allowances, administration of outdoor relief, public care of children, antituberculosis work, children's courts, probation, child protection, work with the handicapped, such as the blind and crippled, clinics, hospitals, Boy and Girl Scouts, homes for unmarried mothers, child placing, children's institutions, etc. If the organization is not definitely county-wide in form, you will find that the service is available to all parts of the county. This is necessarily so. Small villages cannot develop these facilities for themselves, and wherever they exist at all, they are inevitably called upon to render service throughout the county.

Community funds have recognized this and are helping to develop it. In places where there are such funds many potential contributors live outside the city where the fund has its headquarters, and appeals are made for support, first from the the commuters and later from the local business and professional people. This leads to a more intensive canvass of the smaller communities and


rural districts, and this in turn results in a more widespread knowledge of the agencies available for service and an increase in the number of calls for help. Another noticeable fact is the rapidity of movement of population between various parts of a county-from farm to village and city-and from the city to suburbs. This is a matter of common knowledge.

If, then, there are likely to be several county-wide and several local agencies working in each part of the county, how important is it for the exchange to be functioning, and why is it not more generally used? Consider this illustration, where three county-wide agencies dealt with an unmarried mother, Mary Doe: In July, 1924, a foster mother who had been boarding the youngest Doe child for nearly a year and a half at the rate of $8 a week, to be paid by the mother, complained to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children that the mother was over $100 in arrears. Taking the unsupported word of this foster mother, the society filed a complaint in the court, which was withdrawn in a few days when the foster mother reported that the mother had made payments. A month later, however, the foster mother again reported to the society, stating that the arrears were mounting up. The S.P.C.C. wrote a letter to the mother, calling upon her to make payment by a certain date, and when this was not done, the case was taken into court and the child was found to be abandoned, committed to the county Child Welfare Department, and a warrant issued for the mother, who had not appeared in court.

This ends the S.P.C.C. contact. No field investigation of any kind was made, and the case was not registered in the Exchange. If registration had been made, the society and the court would have been informed of a long record on this family in the hands of the county child welfare department, which showed that the child in question was the youngest of four children, probably all illegitimate. Technically, the case was a success from the viewpoint of the S.P.C.C.; they obtained a conviction. Actually, they compelled the county to accept the care of this baby, which the mother had tried to give them some months earlier. Shall we register? Shall we cooperate? Consider these records taken from a children's institution which had its work studied in 1923. I quote from the report of the study:

A little girl, now seven, was admitted in November, 1918, upon the father's application. Registration made during the study in 1923 shows that the family was known to the Children's Aid Society in 1916. The girl's father was at that time, and had been for three years, living in adultery with the child's mother, together with two legitimate children of the mother. Disagreements between the man and woman, caused by non-support, led to his taking his child away from her in October, 1916. Two years later he placed the child in the institution, as above stated. The mother was unable to discover the baby's whereabouts. Later, the mother placed one of her other children in the same institution through the county office, and did not then learn, and in so far as we know, has never learned, that her other child was in the same home. Until the 1923 registration was made the Children's Aid Society did not learn what had become of the illegitimate child, and the institution knew nothing of the real circumstances leading up to either child's admission.

This is a fair picture of cooperation without registration:

In another case the probation office had been collecting $75 per month alimony and paying it to the mother, believing that she was making a home for the children. The fact that they had been in the institution almost a year and a half was revealed to the probation officer through the Exchange registration, made in 1923.

A similar instance showed that a family organization had been working actively for several years with a family where the mother had deceived the visitor into believing the child was at home, although she had sent her to the institution nine months previously and, moreover, had secured free care for her. This fact was brought out through the registration. Through use of the Exchange we also discovered brothers and sisters and other relatives who we did not know existed.

No case work agency can make pretense now at being cooperative and efficient if it refuses or neglects to use the Exchange. Such an agency either does not know what cooperation means, or it does not care, and a vigorous campaign for the systematic and intelligent use of the Exchange would go far to improve the quality of the service rendered.

It may be urged that having an Exchange located in one part of the county makes it too expensive to be used by other parts. At times registration may be made by mail, which is inexpensive; but even where telephone registration is made necessary by the urgency of the situation it can be clearly demonstrated that the cost of the telephone call is much less than the cost of inefficient and uncoordinated social case work. The wastage caused by "going it blind" would, I venture to say, amount to enough money to enable all registration to be made by personal messenger, on engraved cards, and leave a sufficient balance to found and support a home for inefficient, stupid, and negligent social workers; and I am convinced that our clients would prosper by a realization of both parts of that program.

So much for the use of the Exchange. The topic assigned refers to the Exchange as a tool. Like any other tool, it will not be worth the money invested unless it is used for the purpose for which it is intended. There are social workers who say: "Oh, yes, we use the Exchange, you will find their slips on all of our records." And so you will, but remarkable as it may seem, the information to be found on these slips has never been used. Therein lies a danger against which we all have to guard ourselves. In the rush of our busy lives we learn to go through certain motions, and may forget, or perhaps have never learned, the reason for those motions. Registration brings to our attention a statement of whether other agencies have knowledge of the family registered. It may bring us the names and addresses of various relatives, and a statement of previous addresses. It makes it possible for us to render a quicker, more intelligent, and a less obtrusive service to the family, and it enables us to plan our work in cooperation with the other agencies interested by advising us of their interest. I say it makes these things possible. In and of itself it accomplishes nothing, and unless we use the information so obtained we might just as well not have registered.

Two years ago I had an opportunity of making a study of 130 families that had presented difficult problems to a county-wide children's agency. In this county there is an Exchange. This society had registered all of the 130 families,

and the slips showed a total of 473 registrations by thirty-five other agencies. Although these families were very difficult ones and had been repeatedly referred to the society, only 241 of the 473 registrations had been looked up. Interestingly enough, the records of the society showed 183 agency contacts that were not registered at the Exchange. This gave a total of about six agency contacts per family, and a record of cooperation of about 33 per cent. (Cooperation in this study was defined as one contact between agencies working on the same case.) The lesson of this seems obvious. The society had been unable successfully to cope with the problems of these families; had spent an average of nearly two years' work with each family, and yet had not taken the obvious steps of consulting the other agencies interested in the same families. How much more successful the work would have been had the organizations coordinated their efforts is a speculation, but all experienced workers know that "united we stand, divided we fall" is applicable to social case work.

At times workers will not register a case because they say they have not time enough. Recently I had a talk with the executives of three county-wide agencies, a judge of a children's court, the superintendent of a child protective society, and a chief probation officer. They assured me they believed in the Exchange, but their clerical staffs were too small, and they had no time to register. These people did not understand nor believe in the use of an Exchange. One of the great values of an Exchange is as a time saver, and the busier the agency, the more need of the Exchange. Such people are like the wood chopper with a large amount of wood to chop, who couldn't take time to sharpen his axe.

I sometimes think of the Exchange in terms of telephone service. When I first moved to East Aurora, New York, there were two telephone companies, and the only thing for customers to do was to have both. Supposing there had been twenty or thirty telephone companies, each having certain subscribers with whom we might wish to communicate. Imagine our home with twenty or thirty telephones in it, and the state of our nerves after living under these conditions for a time. Would you be surprised if we damned all the telephone companies of every possible occasion? I think the families who are the clients of agencies that do not use an Exchange must feel that way about it. To have a number of organizations trying to render service may be at times embarrassing; to have them do so without coordination must be intolerable. We have no right so to impose upon our clients.

The Social Service Exchange is no longer an experiment; it is not on trial. If there are several agencies doing social work in a given territory there is every reason why their efforts should be coordinated through an Exchange. Those organizations that refuse to use it either fail to understand the possibilities of social case work or else must admit frankly that they do not care to cooperate.


Bradley Buell, Associate Director, Community Chest, New Orleans

New Orleans is a city of paradoxes. It is on the east bank of the Mississippi River, and the river lies directly south of it. All of the uptown streets describe a huge semicircle. I reach my apartment in the eastern part of the city by traveling west. The city is below the level of the river, and all of its drainage has to be pumped up and out. Canal Street, which really was a canal, divides the modern business city from the old French quarter. In the older days no good citizen of French Town would think of crossing Canal Street; indeed, for that very reason the two biggest department stores in the city are on the French side of Canal Street. From this old quarter, now inhabited largely by Italians, Negroes, and artists, New Orleans derives much of the architectural and cosmopolitan flavor that makes it, as our Association of Commerce modestly declares, America's most interesting city.

Here is Jackson Square, so named in honor of General Jackson, who, with the assistance of Lafitte, the well-known pirate, defeated the British in the battle of New Orleans. Facing it is the famous St. Louis Cathedral, flanked on one side by the Cabildo, the seat of government in the Spanish and French days, from the balcony of which in 1803 was read the proclamation announcing the purchase of Louisiana by the United States, and on the other, by the old Caputian monastery. Here are famous old courtyards with quarters in their rear for the slaves-those slaves who hammered out the wrought iron gates and galleries that are part of the charm of French Town. Here is the famous Napoleon House, so called because if Napoleon had been rescued from St. Helena, and if he had come to New Orleans, and if he had found this house suited to his purposes, it would have been the house that Napoleon would have lived in.

But the French quarter does not house all of the picturesque paradoxes of New Orleans. Out Canal Street are the cemeteries where people are buried above ground. Here are the City Park and Audubon Park with their huge live oaks with the dusty gray Spanish moss hanging from their branches and giving them an ethereal and ghostlike appearance.

The social and civic history of New Orleans makes just as fascinating a story as its political history: the yellow fever epidemics and the fight for control of the yellow fever mosquito, the Bubonic Plague of only a dozen years ago, the gradual filling in of the old canals to make wide and spacious modern streets, and the substitution of a modern sewerage system for the old open sewers. Until 1909 each house had its own cistern, and these constituted the city's water supply.

The population of New Orleans was 387,000 at the time of the last census, and is estimated at 415,000 at the present time. Of these 100,000 were colored in 1920. The white population is thus more a native American population than is the case with our northern and eastern cities. On the other hand, the influence

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