Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

of the old French stock is more marked than the census figures of the first and second generation would indicate. There are four times as many people whose parents were born in France as there are of the first-generation French stock, and the ratio would undoubtedly increase with the third and fourth generation. French family names are very common, while of course the French restaurants and cooking are among the things which have made New Orleans famous.

New Orleans is a commercial city. It is the second port in the United States (incidentally, it is 100 miles from the Gulf), and not only does very much of its historical past center around its dock and port facilities, but much of the hope of its future business development. As a railroad center its combined transportation industries account for something over 25,000 of the working population. Manufacturing is not a prominent feature, although across the river in Gretna and Algiers are strung a series of industrial and manufacturing plants. But its Cotton Exchange, its banking facilities, its selling and distributing organizations, mark it as a commercial center.

New Orleans is a Roman Catholic community, the proportion of the white population who are of that faith being variously estimated from 50 per cent to 85 per cent. The second largest religious group is the Episcopal Church.

In presenting in detail certain figures in regard to our social work I want to make it quite clear that they are not based on such a study as Mr. Clapp has been supervising throughout the country. We have, during this year, been concerned with two intensive studies of quite a different nature: of the methods and standards of work in our thirteen family welfare and about thirty-five children's agencies. The figures which I am presenting have been gathered hastily and for the sole purpose of giving Mr. Carstens something to go on in the detailed evaluation of our children's work. Some of the figures are frankly estimates— in only one or two cases have the expenditures in a given agency been segregated to the different fields of work—and, perhaps most important of all, it has been impossible to estimate the percentage of expenditure which should be credited to New Orleans as compared with that which goes to serve the surrounding territory.

New Orleans has altogether 126 social agencies, whose total expenditures are $5,171,825.00. This would make the total per capita expenditure $12.95, which would rank us very high in Mr. Clapp's list. Because, however, so much of this goes to serve not only the rest of Louisiana but also a good deal of Mississippi and Texas, I think this figure has no real significance. Of the 126 agencies, 80 are supported by the Community Chest, 29 others are supported by private subscriptions, and 17 are administered by the city or state. Further analysis shows that almost the entire public expenditure is in the health field. Charity Hospital, a state hospital with a budget of $760,000, is included in this, as are part of the state and all of the city Board of Health. The largest non-chest private expenditure is in this field also, and is accounted for by six hospitals, Catholic, Baptist, and Presbyterian, a Marine, and a Veterans' Bureau hospital, which are

not members of the chest. Four Protestant orphan asylums and an equal number of old folks' homes are the only other agencies of consequence outside the Chest. In other words, neither the city nor the state government is doing much social service in New Orleans outside the health field, while except in this same field, practically all of the privately administered work is represented in the Community Chest. All the Jewish and practically all the Catholic work is in the chest. The Protestants originally held out, but of the eighteen new agencies which came into the Chest this year, the majority were Protestant agencies, and included (which, I think, is rather unique in Chest experience) part of the work of the King's Daughters.

The general set-up of New Orleans agencies from an organization standpoint is simple. In the Community Chest are eighty agencies; the members of its board are nominated, seven by these agencies and fourteen by the contributing public; of the nine members of the budget committee, five are nominated by the agencies and four by the board of directors of the Chest. Belonging to the Central Council of Social Agencies, and with two delegates to it, one an executive and the other a board member, are all the agencies in the Chest and a number that are outside it. In addition, the Board of Catholic Charities has a central office, organized two years ago, with a family welfare department, a children's department, a recreation and nursing service to its member agencies. In somewhat the same fashion the Jews have a central federation which operates a relief department and coordinates the work of the Jewish agencies. All these four coordinating bodies are supported by the Chest. In addition, we have the State Board of Charities, the city Board of Prisons and Asylums, and the Social Service Exchange, which is an independent organization. These seven coordinating agencies spend in New Orleans a little over $87,000 a year. I have already referred to the health field as representing the largest expenditure outside the Chest, although in the Chest is Touro Infirmary, our best-equipped large hospital, and the Child Welfare Association, a very efficient nursing organization. Health education is, on the whole, the place where our present set-up is weakest.

Because of the relationship which the family welfare field has to the children's field, and therefore to the critique which Mr. Carstens will give you I think perhaps it is worth while to describe that field in more detail. There are eight family case working agencies, including a Charity Organization Society, the relief departments of the Board of Catholic Charities and of the Jewish Federation; also are included two volunteer organizations: the Sunshine Society (Protestant) and the St. Margaret's Daughters (Catholic), both very well organized. The St. Margaret's Daughters, it is interesting to note, has a budget of $25,171, which is somewhat more than the Jewish Federation, three times the relief budget of the Board of Catholic Charities, and a little more than half that of the Charity Organization Society. The public agency is what is known as the Mayor's Relief Fund, consisting of about $5,000 in petty cash that comes in from

licenses for fish frys and small entertainments, and which is given out, one dollar to the white, and fifty cents to the colored, to anyone who comes in on Saturday morning. Forty-five thousand dollars of the non-Chest amount represents the expenditure of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, while $5,000 is the estimate for a poor fund which no one seems to know very much about.

The two principal ex-service agencies (exclusive of the Veterans' Bureau) are the Red Cross, with a total budget of $23,000, and the American Legion, with a budget of $5,202. The Legion is in the Chest for the first time this year, and is developing a soldiers' relief program. Some Y.M.C.A. and K.C. work in the two veterans' hospitals is also included in this. The big organization in the handicapped group is a Lighthouse for the blind, while four seamen's homes have been more or less arbitrarily grouped with the Travelers' Aid. The considerable non-Chest expenditure in the aged and chronic group are accounted for by two large homes operated by the Little Sisters of the Poor, and a large private Catholic insane asylum. The public expenditure is for a city almshouse and a home for the feebleminded, given to the city by a wealthy New Orleans family. Four of the eleven homes in this group are for colored people. Three of the four organizations for transients are the Salvation Army, the Volunteers of America, and St. Vincent's Hotel. The fourth is a local organization, Warrington House. To finish this brief description, to all intent and purposes we have no functioning legal aid society, while the two industrial homes of the Volunteers and the Salvation Army speak for themselves.

I am sure that Mr. Carstens would not have me conclude this description of our New Orleans set-up without giving you some glimpse of the character of our case work, particularly in the family and relief agencies. Last fall, at the time when Mr. Carstens and Miss Atkinson were making their study of the children's agencies under the auspices of the Children's Committee of the Council of Social Agencies, Miss Mary Russell, representing the American Association for Organizing Family Social Work and under the Family Welfare 'Committee of the Council, was making an equally intensive study of our case work and relief agencies. The following excerpt from the introduction to her final summary is, I think, significant:

The caliber of New Orleans work is uniformly below standard. Only occasionally in our reading of the cases of the four major agencies did we find instances where the essentials of constructive work were present. The professional personnel is untrained, and the present salary scale is so low as to make impossible the employment of better trained workers. Relief is given to individual families with very little regard to the needs of the family or to the possibility of real rehabilitation. Except in the case of one society, the amounts are almost never adequate. There is an unusually large amount of volunteer work, but it has had neither direction nor supervision.

May I say a word about these two studies which we have just completed? Both were under the auspices of the appropriate committees of the Council of Social Agencies, and a lump appropriation to conduct them was authorized by the Community Chest. In both we started out with the knowledge that much of

our work was poor, and with the full knowledge that unless these reports were able, of their own weight, to impress the different agencies of that fact, there was very little point in having them made. The reports, in other words, had to be written for the boards of the agencies, not for the Chest. In each case we therefore followed the same procedure and forwarded copies of the report to the board members of the society. In addition, the family welfare reports have been read by the Budget Committee of the Community Chest, some of the members of the board of directors, and a few other interested individuals. Altogether, the total number of copies of the forty-odd reports, which we have mimeographed and will distribute, will be in the neighborhood of 3,000. We are also considering printing the final summary of both reports, and distributing them not only to the people on our various lists who are more or less directly affiliated with the work of our social agencies, but to all the contributors of $25 and more to the Community Chest. The results, which are already showing in some of our agencies in terms of better practice and better trained personnel, indicate a better understanding of what good social work is. The fact that so far the reports have sold themselves constitutes, I think, the highest possible tribute to the people who made them.

A SOCIAL AUDIT OF CHILD WELFARE WORK AS A WHOLE IN NEW ORLEANS, WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO

COMMUNITY PLANNING

C. C. Carstens, Executive Director, Child Welfare
League of America, New York

The part that each specialty may render in a program of child care at this time is, and of right ought to be, different from its function ten years or a generation ago. This paper is devoted to a brief analysis of such services in the program of a modern city as exemplified by New Orleans, where the Child Welfare League of America has recently made an extensive study of the children's work, public and private.

While this study was planned and financed by the Community Fund, it made possible an almost complete inclusion of all agencies in the city.

Institutional care.-The city has depended in the past in very large measure upon institutional care for its dependent children. At the time of the study there were eight Catholic institutions, with a total population of 1,316 on the day of the count; eight Protestant or non-sectarian, with a total population of 481; and one Jewish, with a population of 146. It is noticeable that in Group I the average number was 166, while in Group 2 it was 60. In Group I the smallest population was 48, in an institution for colored children. In Group 2 the smallest was thirteen; another was 14. The largest population was 268 in Group 1. The largest in Group 2 was 80. Unless there are special reasons to justify it,

such small numbers as are found in Group 2 make these institutions uneconomical units. It is not possible, without much further study, to say what the minimum for efficiency should be, but probably any institution having an average population of less than one hundred is not an economical administrative unit. Naturally, in our study, we kept our eyes open for some logical consolidations, and we have recommended several of them. These are rarely easy to bring about, but when religious affiliation, size and sex of beneficiaries, and social standing of members of boards permit, such consolidations have both economy and efficiency to commend them. When more careful intake and adjustment work is undertaken with applications we prophesy that additional mergers will be indicated in the results.

Institutions for delinquent children.-There was but one such institution, namely, the Convent of the Good Shephered, with a population of 125 white and 50 colored. This population was on the whole young, and changed rather rapidly. There had been during the year 67 white admissions and 81 colored. The institution is also used as a detention house for girls from the New Orleans Juvenile Court. As might be expected, not a few Protestant girls were committed, not only for temporary detention, but for a period of training. For boys, the Waifs' Home, a city institution, was used for detention, but short-time commitments were also made to it. The tendency of having private institutions or local institutions for delinquents established by counties is apparently growing. This was not marked in New Orleans. Such institutions are apt to detract from the interest and support which the citizens can insure to the state institutions, and are apt to endanger their efficiency.

Institutions for defectives.—There were two such institutions, one dependent for support upon the public through the Community Chest, with a population of 50; the other built privately, but supported publicly by the city. There are certainly in none of our cities too many agencies for the care of the feebleminded, but the caution just expressed regarding the private care of delinquents is equally pertinent to the care of defectives. Where the element of control and commitment is present, public care is generally recognized, and usually by the larger public unit, the state. The experience of most cities is that the Community Chest cannot provide for all forms of social service, and that the more preventive parts of the program should have precedence from its funds. Instead of depending upon the Community Chest for expansion, additional needs should be met by the state, and the city should urge, and work for, larger state provision.

Adoption and placing out.-The adoption of dependent children and the placing out of older children in free homes is in large measure undeveloped in the city. The agency for such service was the only one of the children's organizations refusing to share in the study. There are many cities and states still depending upon these forms of placement of children as the only supplements to institutional care. But with the great changes that have come in our industrial life, free home placement has ceased to be of great value except as a preliminary

« AnteriorContinuar »