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ple of the state to help them realize that social problems abound in their midst, and to help them launch and maintain programs, not alone of cure and prevention, but also visioning and approaching the maximum development of human capacity and talent wherever they exist. It is difficult to outline the Iowa plan, which perhaps should not be called a plan at all; that word implies uniformity, while in Iowa no two counties have identical organizations; within certain limits, however, there are outstanding similarities.

Briefly, the plan provides a case work program which unites the administration of public outdoor relief and relief from private sources under the direction of a trained case worker. Fourteen counties now function under it. A fifteenth employs a case worker to administer outdoor relief in a city of sixty thousand. The organizations are usually named social service leagues. The original plan limited the jurisdiction to the county seat or to the largest town in the county, if that was where the work started. Some of the older leagues still function in this limited jurisdiction, but those launched more recently extend their service county-wide. We favor the latter plan. Experience daily confirms our conviction that social problems flourish on neglect in small communities and in the country. They become feeders to city problems, yet remain just out of reach of the agencies functioning there.

Right here we pause long enough to raise a question. Until the draft we concluded that country people had fewer physical defects per capita than city folk. Draft figures disillusioned us. The majority of people seem to accept the conclusion that social problems have their largest quotas in cities. Would figures bear out this conclusion, or are we headed for another fundamental correction? In Iowa we have but one city exceeding 100,000 in population, while seventythree of our ninety-nine counties have populations less than 25,000 each. Yet the report of the state auditor shows an investment in county farms exceeding $8,000,000, an expenditure of approximately $1,000,000 a year for maintenance of these, and an additional $2,000,000 spent annually from county treasuries for public outdoor relief. In addition, the state maintains eighteen institutions for the care of dependents, defectives, and delinquents. We know no way of estimating the sums contributed from private sources for relief and social service. The figures just quoted are either an index to widespread social problems in small communities and in the country, or they mean an outrageous outpouring of the taxpayers' money. Is it not logical, in the face of them, to pause and probe more deeply for the sources and habitats of social maladjustment, and to urge that the most skilful of the social case workers be drawn into the country?

Under the Iowa plan a local governing board of fifteen to thirty people is created, which includes as ex-officio members the county supervisors, three to seven men, and certain other officials, such as the county superintendent of schools and the resident judge of the district court. Each board includes also a number of individuals representing private organizations, like the local Farm Bureau, the county Federation of Woman's Clubs, the Red Cross, the W.C.T.U.,


the Ministerial Association, community clubs, and service clubs. On each board are some elected members. The present tendency is to increase this and group decrease the number representing other organizations. The governing board employs as its executive a trained case worker who becomes the agent of the county board of supervisors in administering outdoor relief, as well as the executive of the larger board. Her salary and the other administrative expenses, which include a car and its upkeep, and stenographic service, are shared by the county and the Social Service League. The division of administrative expense varies from county to county. One county pays the entire salary of the executive, while another pays only $100 a year toward it. Relief for families in temporary straits, for those not eligible for public aid, and for those whose needs require more than the statute permits is also met by the league and by special funds raised by case work methods.

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Iowa statutes governing outdoor relief were passed a half-century ago, and, barring mothers' pension legislation, no vital changes have been made in them since. They make township trustees responsible for the relief "of such poor persons as should not in their judgment be sent to the county home." But the phrase "subject to general rules that may be adopted by the board of supervisors" furnishes the legal loophole under which leagues have been operating. The state conference recognizes the weakness of the statute and expects to strengthen it. But, guarding against conflicting with the legislative opportunity of the Child Welfare Commission, the conference withdrew temporarily from the legislative stage. The Commission, too, recognized the need and framed a bill to meet it, but the bill was not reached when the last legislature adjourned. That fact did not concern us vitally because never had any of the leagues been challenged. But 1926 threw a bomb into our camp from the office of the Attorney General. One of our most progressive counties launched a temporary league in 1925. The county supervisors voted to consider the first year's work an experiment. If they approved the work, then they would pronounce their league a permanent organization. They watched, and pronounced the program good, and prepared to change its status from a temporary to a permanent one. They scanned the code with increasing amazement, for they found there no statute which satisfied them that they had legal authority for doing the thing which they had already been doing for a year. They were not satisfied with the legal loophole, or with the fact that the state checkers had passed their former expenditures under the plan. They went to Des Moines and consulted the Attorney General. He was not reassuring. He refused their request for his written authority to proceed, but advised them to put in writing the plan which they wished to carry out. He agreed either to indorse or veto it. If he vetoed, he would explain his reasons. The now dazed but intrepid county officials returned to their county and strictly followed instructions. But before their written document reached the office of the Attorney General, his assistant, prompted by the conference at Des Moines, issued a warning which was mailed to every county


auditor in the state. County supervisors were reminded that township trustees, of which there are from forty-five to sixty-nine per county, were the authorized agents of the county in administering outdoor relief outside of cities, and that bills for relief for families living outside of cities must be approved by them. County politicians in many places took up the cry, and the Verboten was published broadly through the press. In one county in which local officials had responded with lagging interest when citizens tried to start a league, the report was quickly circulated that the county supervisors had decided to employ a social worker when the Assistant Attorney General's ruling advised them that such action was illegal. Of course their constituents would not wish them to do anything illegal! A surprising number of county boards not noticeably interested formerly were pronounced bitterly disappointed. Some of the conscientious county boards operating under the plan were genuinely alarmed and ran up distress signals to the University. My colleague, Miss Tyler, and I, and our director, Mr. Lauer, thought we had traveled fast before; we never before knew what speed was; we flew from county to county bolstering morale, pointing out fourteen years of precedent, quoting judges and other high authorities. The state checkers from the office of the Auditor of State had our work in the hollow of their hands. If they continued to approve expenditures of leagues as they have done for years, our fourteen years of work were not forfeited. It was worth the price of admission to see Miss Tyler cultivate state checkers. She picked them off on streets and in hotel lobbies the first shot. She must have done some telling work, because two more requests for surveys came immediately, prompted by state checkers. A survey is usually a first step toward the organization of a league, so here was real cheer. Meanwhile, after some weeks of delay, the county board that had so innocently provoked the whirlwind sent the outline of its plan to the Attorney General as directed. He approved each paragraph of it, merely pointing out that certain formalities regarding township trustees must be observed. The fact that these had been overlooked for years in many counties, both with and without social workers, disturbed him not, for he was entirely unconscious of it. Thus, with much extra work on the part of the supporters of the plan, especially on Miss Tyler's part, the crisis passed. But the state conference will lose no time in getting a bill before the legislature which will extend to the country the privileges now limited to cities, namely, a grant of authority to county boards to center administration of outdoor relief over the entire county in one person appointed by the county board of supervisors and responsible to that board.

Aside from providing vast improvement in the treatment of those who apply for relief, the Iowa plan offers trained social service to schools in dealing with problem children. It supplies probation service to courts on request. It amplifies also the work of hospitals, physicians, and public health nurses, and fosters the public health movement. It makes trained leadership available to churches, relief societies, and private individuals. It provides reliable information service

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about institutional care and proper procedure for securing it. It supplies a liaison service between the State Board for Vocational Training and local people who need its help. It provides a trained local agent for the State Child Welfare Department. In the city such variety of service in one agency is unknown, but in the country we are dependent primarily on the general practitioner in case work. She must supply liaison service with the specialist.

The search for objections to the Iowa plan among county officials in counties using it has brought many a thrill. Their quick defense of it is more than heartening. Its strong points which they cite are that it affords better care of families; that frauds are eliminated; that the number of families who apply for aid is reduced; that it costs less. Others of us who have watched it critically believe with the officials that it has everything in its favor compared with the old dole system which it replaces. But we also know that it has flaws. Obviously, the one of which we are now most conscious is its involved and unstable legal status. Furthermore, it is linked with politics and requires statecraft of its workers. While this is not a criticism, it reveals the strain of the work. The executives are overburdened to the point where standards suffer. This is the outstanding criticism. Is it honest to represent that one overburdened case worker can give quality of service to all the disadvantaged families in a county who apply for help within a year? The answer is that it is not, but we do not put it in those words. Boards are told, not that the case worker can carry the load alone, but that she can supply leadership that will make the service of participating groups and individuals more effective. The county worker's biggest responsibility and opportunity is the education of her community to see the value of service and the inadequacy of relief without service. One clever case worker in a county can begin to do this. In proportion as she drives in her wedge of education more deeply will she create appreciation of standards in service and a demand for them. This is the only hope of the Iowa plan. Any implication that a county with one case worker is a finished product is a travesty, and any worker who enters a county without the fundamental idea of leading the people of that county to a vision of adequate service must become an old man of the sea.

Like all educational movements, the Iowa plan progresses slowly. Yet bright spots fleck the dimness. One county had pridefully nurtured a league for one year. Local officials were kept in especially close touch with the work by a clever secretary bound that ultimately they should understand. The township trustees assembled to hear the secretary's report of the first year's work. Among other astonishing items which caught their attention was the fact that in one village of about a hundred families, nine related families were on the county. The township trustees waxed eloquent; discussion was rife; then they solemnly voted to limit the propagation of the unfit! Surely there is small cause for discouragement in the face of a decision like this.


Mrs. E. W. Bemis, County Commissioner,
Cook County, Illinois

We all readily agree that every private charity is based fundamentally and theoretically upon the spirit of human kindness, upon that almost universal urge to pity the under dog, to help the helpless, and to relieve the sufferer. I believe, and I intend to prove to you, that in this respect public charity does not differ greatly from private philanthropy as interpreted under modern enlightenment.

There was a time when the unfortunates in the poor farms were treated with brutality, were made to feel that they were unwelcome burdens. Many years ago, as an associated charities agent, I saw much of public charities. It is a long reach from the despairing unhappiness in the almshouse of that day, when forsaken old souls jostled each other and the weaker fell back in the rush for food, to our present-day infirmaries as represented by those of Cleveland, Philadelphia, or our own Oak Forest of Cook County.

Although only public charity is to be considered here, there is surely no minimizing of the large importance of private charity and of its human relationships. There is great need for both public and private charity. We must never get the idea that public charity can supplant private aid, or vice versa. There should be in every community such cooperation between the agencies of private charity and of public aid that no conflict or overlapping of endeavor should occur. Clear-eyed administrative bodies of both should agree upon the lines of demarcation of fields of endeavor, which should be carefully differentiated.

County takes care from cradle to grave.—Advance in civilization may be measured by the attitude of society toward its weaker members: the child, the dependent, and the delinquent adult. In practically every state in this Union the duty of taking care of this weaker member devolves upon the county or city officials. In fact, it may be interesting to scan some of the duties with which the county official is charged. In Cook County the infant is registered at birth at the county clerk's office, and from that moment he is a participating factor in county government. In infancy the county nurses and doctors may give him aid. If childhood disease comes, the county children's contagious hospital opens its doors. When he reaches school age, if the little fellow violates school and community laws, the juvenile court and home hold him and adjudicate his troubles while it gives social service care to his family. If father dies, the county probate court probates the will. If there is no support, the county mothers' pension gives funds to hold the family together. He matures. He courts his sweetheart as he drives on roads built by the county or in the forest preserve bought and developed by the county. The county clerk grants the marriage license, and marries him, if so requested. He buys a home. The county recorder

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