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and has had contact with thirteen agencies. The K. parents and their eleven children have lived in twenty-four dwellings and been known to nineteen agencies and institutions. Since 1911 a certain Chicago tenement house has had 173 separate families registered in the Exchange. A few blocks away is another tenement which has 175 family registrations in the same period. Such "overregistered houses and families" are familiar to all social workers.

Correlated with turnover in tenancy is too frequent change of personnel within the organization and, as a consequence, within the family. The head resident of a Chicago settlement recently remarked that labor turnover either deliberately planned for or unavoidable makes knowledge of the community difficult or impossible and cooperation with neighborhood resources, as a consequence, a negligible quantity.

But it is not only such inefficiencies and difficulties as these that are disturbing Chicago social workers and those of other cities. Along with industrial and commercial centralization has gone a high degree of interagency centralization and, perhaps more important, extreme focussing of control within agencies. The district which has been employed by social agencies for over sixty years has become almost exclusively a device for increasing the professional efficiency of the workers, but little or no control of its policies is left with the residents of the district. Together with this absence of local control has gone a large increase in number of districts, with a consequent overlapping of boundaries in such a manner that it is either difficult or impossible to ascertain what any of the agencies are doing in a given area. Consultation between organizations is an almost insuperable task, and as a natural sequence there is duplication of work, dissatisfaction among the workers, and rebellion among the more alert and aggressive clients. Out of this situation has grown an interest of some of the Chicago organizations in a districting arrangement that might be expected to eliminate in part some of these defects in administration.

The device of the district was early conceived because it is "a manageable portion of civic territory" and enabled the worker to have more complete acquaintance with an area. The city district is now so large, unwieldy, and involved that any considerable knowledge of its resources is difficult. If the uniform area can help the social worker in any way so to understand her district, its consideration is not futile.

There are two senses in which the uniform area may be considered. We might talk of absolute uniform areas, which are entirely impractical and mean that all social agencies doing approximately the same type of work should conform all of the boundaries of all of their districts for all purposes. Such a plan is inconceivable in large city organizations where, even though all of the agencies are engaged in some form of social work, the size of the district must vary with the details of the work. The second plan is more practical. For the purposes of the Chicago social agencies, the term means an area or areas which can be utilized for any number of purposes by any number of social agencies who shall agree

that none of the district boundaries shall overlap those of the stipulated area. The agencies need not conform all of their district limits to those of the basal area; the assumption is that there would be no conflict between the boundaries of the districts of the agencies and those of the uniform area. Thus an agency might use any combination of uniform areas for its districts, or subdivide them in any way feasible.

That there is an increasing interest in the local area is demonstrated by the many experiments carried on in restricted areas. First, there are those conducted by several racially homogeneous groups of agencies. They are housed under the same roof, all use the same district, all attempt to improve professional service through the use of the generalized worker, and make serious attempts to increase volunteer service and local interest. These experiments have been carried on by Jewish organizations and have been called "district service."

The next type of district experiment is conducted by health agencies which seek to demonstrate the value of professional service to a restricted area, the limits of which may or may not be definitely described, which often use the same building and sometimes employ generalized nurses as demonstrators of the gram. These "health center" demonstrations are carried on in nearly every sizable city in the United States.


The East Harlem Health Center of New York City illustrates the third type of uniform area demonstration. This center, although not called an experiment with a uniform area, is in reality the best illustration that I have found of the absolute area. A conscious attempt has been made to coordinate the activities of all of the special agencies functioning within a definite district, regardless of their local or city-wide interest or of their health or general social program. Pooled and comparative statistics have thus been made possible; interagency conference, with the resultants of improved service to families and more wisely directed efforts, results; and an intelligent evaluation of the work of many agencies in one specified area is not only a possibility, but an actuality. None of these things could be so well done without a common base area.

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Another kind of area demonstration is that of the deceased Cincinnati Social Unit. "Its purpose has been to test the theory that the organization of a community, if it is to be democratic and effective, stimulating people to meet their own needs, should be based" on the organization of the citizens by small primary units as the block, the organization of those serving the community because of a special knowledge or skill, and the organic and coordinate working relationship of groups having special knowledge, and the representatives of the residents.

The St. Louis plan, which divides the entire city into uniform districts, many agencies, both economic and social, using the defined areas for statistical purposes, is elsewhere described.

If uniform areas are to be both practical and fairly permanent they must be evolved from some plan which has been scientifically conceived and evolved with


due consideration of the problems of social workers. Any one of three plans might be used in Chicago: first, a system of eighty areas located by the staff of the Local Community Research Committee; second, a system of forty areas which are combinations of the above eighty; third, some small number, as five, which follow the main physical and geographical divisions of the city. In order I shall attempt a description of these three proposed plans.

The staff of the Local Community Research Committee of the University of Chicago has made a map of eighty communities. These communities were discovered in two ways: first, by locating the ecological communities, and second, by ascertaining, through field research, the cultural communities. The city is divided into these areas which are separated from each other by railroads, viaducts, factories; other areas are separated by boulevards, parks, street cars, elevated railways. The physical community affords a logical base, then, for uniform areas because social workers can count on it and feel fairly sure that there will be no unforeseen changes in their boundaries. Whether or not eighty areas are too large a number to employ for a uniform area plan is another thing.

The forty areas have been derived from the thirty communities and represent combinations of some of the latter. These forty communities are to be included in the new Chicago Social Service Directory with an alphabetical directory of the social, religious, and civic resources of each area. This plan has two advantages over the preceding one: first, there are fewer areas to consider in reshaping the organization districts, and second, it is already accepted by the agencies as a logical and legitimate scheme for studying community resources. The question can again be raised as to whether forty areas is not too large a number to employ in the initial stages of the installation of so new an experiment as uniform areas.

If it is thought that a large number of small areas is too elaborate a scheme for social agencies at first to consider, a very simple one of a small number of large areas can be proposed. In such a plan the three major divisions of the city formed by the river offer the basis, and two other boundaries formed by railroads. These five large divisions can be prophesied to remain, and if the social organizations rearrange their district limits so that none conflict with or overlap these five, the simple beginning of a uniform area plan is made. If the agencies wish, they can take into consideration as much as seems wise or practicable the boundaries of the forty or eighty included smaller areas.

The advantages of uniform areas can be listed as follows: first, they are logical and, if based on ecological communities, reasonably permanent; second, they offer a unit for joint housing; third, they can serve as the base for the collection of comparable data regarding the cooperating agencies and the assembling of other types of community information; fourth, they will facilitate interagency consultation and make possible, if desirable, a community council of social agencies; fifth, they will make easy interagency division of labor; sixth, they will increase the contacts of the staff, and thus broaden its interests and training;

seventh, they will afford units for financial campaigns and community education and publicity; eighth, they will encourage the focalization of all types of information concerning the community, and the pooling of data by all agencies; ninth, they will afford a unit for community research and tend to promote that attitude of mind in the workers.

The disadvantages can likewise be enumerated: first, they are arbitrary because they are not based on case count and the location of the people; second, to initiate them would require much-too much-work; third, statistics derived from comparison of the work of the various agencies would be useless because they are not comparable; fourth, the values of such a plan would not compensate for the inconvenience of change and of upsetting the present arrangements which have grown out of needs; fifth, the uniform area would be difficult to describe because the boundaries would often not conform to the four points of the compass; sixth, there is such great population mobility that the limits of the uniform areas would have to be changed too frequently; seventh, there would be an overemphasis on administrative devices; eighth, the interests of residents in local communities are city-wide, and hence the return of emphasis upon the neighborhood and community are unwise.

Whether or not the uniform area is an administrative device which will promote community understanding and appreciation of the partial reasons for the attitudes of the clients of social workers it is not for me to say. The uniform area is not a formula or a panacea or a cure-all; rather, it is a suggestion, the application of which may be of some assistance to the social worker in her attempt to understand attitudes, personalities, forces, changes, conflicts, and accommodations.



Rev. Robert F. Keegan, Secretary for Charities to His Eminence,
the Cardinal Archbishop of New York; Executive

Director, Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of
New York

State supervision of private agencies has always been a subject for discussion at state and national conferences. This is not surprising because the question itself is one of large importance and there is much room for discussion. This arises from a disagreement, not as to the need of supervision, but as to the nature and extent of the supervision. When we come to determine policy we enter the realm of political science, and our policy inevitably falls in line with our political philosophy.

Those who hold to a philosophy of state paternalism and state autocracy are in favor of conveying to the state an absolute control-in fact, in many cases, an absolute and exclusive right to organize and operate all agencies of relief, of custody, and correction. Others of this school, but less radical, sponsor the cause of private agencies but would put them definitely under the complete supervision and direction of the state. Desire for uniformity and a conviction that state control will mean greater efficiency would seem to be at least two of the reasons back of this position. Such men, however, fail to take into consideration the effectiveness with which social work is done by the majority of private workers and the actual limitations of governmental powers and efficiency, which is written large across history. The other extreme group is composed of those who belong to the school of individualistic philosophy. They object to all state intervention as interference. Their convictions are derived from a realization of the evils attendant upon state paternalism, which they characterize briefly as a curtailment of efficiency and usefulness and an overlordship which can readily slip into tyranny.

It would seem that the old saying of the schoolmen, in medio stat virtus, conveys the true solution of the problem. The dangers of dominating legalistic control without due attention to the aims and rights of the private agencies are only too apparent. On the other hand, there exists no reason why state supervision should not be so organized and operated that it would prove of definite construc

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