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by a social agency should be regarded as complete, unless it includes an investigation of the family's purchases and use of food.
A Practical Policy for Social Agencies
How can this principle be made effective in practice? It does not require a trained dietitian to carry it out, although the services of a dietitian are of great value as a consultant. Following the studies referred to in Boston last summer and autumn, I have been led to take up this question to see how far it would be practical for social agencies, not having a staff of dietitians, to make investigation of the food facts of their families, sufficient to be of considerable service in helping these families actually to attain more adequate living standards. With this paper I am submitting forms which we have tried out at the Boston Dispensary during recent months. The essential form is a list of the most commonly used foods, with spaces for filling in the amount purchased of each food during the preceding week by the family and also the amount spent. There are also spaces for describing sample meals, taking yesterday's meals as examples. Other general facts about the constitution of the family, the earnings, the home equipment for cooking, etc., are included.
This schedule is the result of a sufficient amount of experimental case-work to convince me that it can be employed by any social worker of reasonable experience with families, and that the facts regarding the family's use of food can be secured with sufficient accuracy and detail to be of service. The extent of this service will depend considerably upon the wisdom of the social worker or the supervisor in interpreting the food facts after they have been secured. At this point a dietitian, as consultant, will be of great value. At the Boston Dispensary we have established a Food Clinic during this year, this being essentially a consultant dietitian to whom our social workers bring these food schedules. The talk by the dietitian with the mother of the family is based upon the knowledge gained by the dietitian from the schedules. But the social worker, whose contact with the family give her an opportunity for accomplishing results, must help to get over into the mother's mind the program and needs indicated by the dietitian. There are certain types of families whose poverty is so extreme, or whose ignorance or recalcitrance is so considerable, that nothing can be done short of the most intensive and expensive work in the home. But there are a larger number of families, presenting serious food problems at the present time, who can be greatly helped by advice. Yet no intelligent advice can be given except on the basis of the food facts which have been secured in some such manner as indicated.
Central Dietetic Bureau in Boston
The League for Preventive Work in Boston has, as a result of the studies referred to, carried this plan a step farther, and in July will undertake the administration of a Central Dietetic Bureau, consisting essentially of consultant dietitians available to the social workers of a number of co-operating agencies. The dietitians in this respect are perhaps comparable to the doctors. Doctors are scarce today and so are dietitions. We must make doctors and dietitians go as far as we can today, partly because they are few and partly because we need them more than usual. We do not waste the doctor's time in taking him around to many homes; we bring the patient to him in most instances, at the hospital or the dispensary. The dietitian must be placed in the same position. The social worker must stand between her and the family, collecting what we might call the raw food facts, and incidentally making themselves better and wiser social workers by the process of collecting.
There are societies here which have children under their care. Are these children starving? Far from it. We should never let them starve. But are they half starving? A child that is under-nourished, that is not growing as a child should, is in plain English half-starved. A survey of the health and the food supply of every child for which every children's agency is responsible is a first-line duty today. If we know the conditions, we shall be able to improve them when improvement is necessary. Every child ought to have a physical examination; every family in which we are responsible for a child should have its food supply studied according to some definite method. The method which I have described is one which I trust may prove of some practical stimulus.
I hope that as this program is taken up, it may lead to securing facts which will cause social agencies to see that some of their families have more milk for their children; that some families become willing to buy less meat and more milk and vegetables; that some families are given double boilers if they cannot afford to buy them, so that these families can cook cereals as a variation from corn-flakes, bread and tea.
We do not need to minimize the value of a dietitian, or to relax our efforts to get dietitians into our societies as often as we can, particularly to get dietitians in as consultants and advisors, rather than as case workers. But do not let us fail to take action on the food problems in our families because we have not dietitians at hand, or imagine that we can shift our responsibility in this matter because we are not or have not dietitians. Every one of us, in his or her own family, has to solve a food problem today. So have "our" families in social work. We can help them and it is our duty as social workers, or as executives of social agencies, to help them all we can, to make our standards conform to their present needs.
First of all, we must secure the facts; second, we must bring our practical judgment to bear on these facts, to revise our relief standards upwards if the facts indicate; to pay more than $6 or more than $10 a week if the need so demands; to add trained nurses or dietitians to our staff, and to utilize doctors or dispensaries for periodical physical examinations and medical supervision of the under-nourished. We are in the midst of tremendous dietary and economic changes brought aLout by the war. We ought to keep in touch with these by constant investigation and continued thought. We ought to be prepared to deal with conditions as we find them, putting aside tradition when necessary; and following fearlessly, with all the courageous imagination and practical wisdom that we can command, wherever our facts and our ideals may lead us.
THE INTER-RELATION OF EDUCATION AND CHILD
A luncheon meeting of the Division on Children, with public school teachers of Kansas City, was held on Saturday, May 18, at 12:30, the subject being, "The Inter-Relations of Education and Child Welfare." The great number and variety of inter-relations between these two organized efforts were emphasized by all the speakers. The conclusion was reached by the meeting that there should be an authoritative study and formulation of the philosophy and inter-relations of education and child welfare work. It was the unanimous opinion of those present that this formulation should be in the form of a report by a joint committee composed of members from the Children's Division of the National Conference of Social Work and the National Educational Association. The executive committee of the Children's Division were instructed to secure the appointment of such a joint committee if possible. The speakers included President Woods; Sherman C. Kingsley, Cleveland; Willard S. Small, Washington; Rev. A. M. O'Neill, Rochester; Prof. W. A. Lewis and George Melcher, Kansas City. The two speakers last named represented the superintendent of schools and teachers of Kansas City. <
MINIMUM STANDARDS OF CHILD PROTECTION AND
This was the subject of an excellent address by Mr. Arthur W. Towne, of the Brooklyn Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Unfortunately, this has not been presented in written form. It is therefore possible to give only the account of informal discussions that followed.
1. Charles L. Chute, scretary of the National Probation Association, Albany, N. Y., in discussion called attention to the fact that although the juvenile court has been an institution in this country for nearly twenty years and is familiar to all social workers, only a small part of the country geographically has the services of such a court. It is a fact that children are still being tried as criminals in adult criminal courts all over the country. Only a few states have state-wide juvenile court laws, and in most of these the courts are not uniformly or effectively administered throughout the state. We have just listened to a preliminary report from the questionnaire sent out by the Federal Children's Bureau to all parts of the country. From this questionnaire it is apparent that only one-half of the juvenile courts which have been established have paid probation officers. Imagine administering a juvenile court without probation officers. Children's courts also in some of our largest cities are hampered by the restrictions of criminal law, and still try children as offenders rather than as wards of the state subject to its protection and if need be discipline. All of these facts, it seems to me, illustrate the danger that a good theory may far exceed practice. We have got to bring the mass of the people with us when it comes to reforming public institutions like courts. We have got to constantly educate along this line as we have a long distance yet to go.
2. John P. Sanderson, Jr., executive secretary of the Connecticut Children's Aid Society, Hartford, while recognizing that the removal of a child from its own home is often desirable, urged that greater care be exercised in returning the child as soon as conditions warrant it and that more effort be made to rehabilitate the home so as to make it a fit place for the child's return. He cited instances where, after children had been removed and placed in good foster homes, nothing had been done toward reestablishing the normal home and the parents had suffered an injustice by the organization deliberately weaning the children away from their home.
3. Maurice Taylor, of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, Greenfield, called attention to the fact that through temporary legal guardianship it is often possible to place a child even in situations that have some risk attached to them with the hope that matters may straighten out.
4. One speaker raised the question of how to get courts to act in the removal of children from thoroughly bad homes when they are averse to taking action. Another lamented the fact that in many states there is no properly organized body in charge of child welfare work. The plan of the Philadelphia Children's Bureau for securing cooperation of a number of agencies was commended.
5. Other speakers on informal discussion of this subject were: Rev. A. M. O'Neill, Rochester, N. Y.; Helen M. Jewell, Chicago; Robert C. Dexter, Montreal; James E. Ewers, Cleveland; David J. Terry, Pittsburgh; J. Bruce Byall, Philadelphia; Mrs. J. L. Green, Jackson, Miss.; Rev. A. J. D. Haupt, St. Paul, Minn.; George M. Bates, Tulsa, Okla.; Dr. Margaret W. Koenig, Lincoln, Neb.; J. J. Gascoyne, Newark, N. J.; Maurice Taylor, Greenfield, Mass.; George R. Bedinger, Detroit.
THE STATUS OF SOCIAL WORK IN RURAL
H. Ida Curry, Superintendent, Children's Agencies, State Charities Aid
At last year's Conference of Social Work, a call was issued for an informal breakfast conference for rural social workers. It was hoped that some plan might be evolved whereby those interested could exchange information in regard to rural social activities. A goodly number of delegates appeared at the early hour appointed for the meeting. During the discussion, it became evident that (1) no one knew the nature and extent of rural social work that was being carried on in any of the states, and (2) practically the same work was being carried on under various types of organization.
As a result of the conference, a committee of seven was appointed to gather information as to the nature and the extent of rural social work throughout the country, and to suggest, if possible, a plan for the exchange of information among organizations doing such work. The committee named consists of:
Mr. C. C. Carstens, General Secretary, Massachusetts Society for the
Mr. William H. Davenport, Executive Secretary, Prisoners' Aid Asso-
Miss Bessie McClenahan, State University of Iowa;
Miss Mary E. Lent, Associate Secretary, National Organization for
Public Health Nursing;
with the speaker as chairman.
Field and Method of Study The definition of "rural" as a "community of less than 2500 population," as given in the United States census reports, was adopted. Simple schedules were prepared which asked for: (1) the name of the activity; (2) its auspices, whether church, grange, school, etc.; (3) its location; the character of the district covered—whether a town or village between 1000 and 2500 population, a town or village under 1000 population, or a district with a scattered country population; (4) the primary interest or object of the activity; (5) the name and address of its executive or of some interested person; and (6) the kind of service rendered—home nursing, outdoor recreation, indoor entertainment, family aid, probation, child care, etc.
These schedules were sent to state universities and agricultural colleges, secretaries of state boards of charities, secretaries of state conferences of charities, secretaries of state granges, charity organization societies in smaller communities, children's societies belonging to the Bureau for the Exchange of Information, Y. M. C. A. and Y. W. C. A. secretaries, and a number of individuals specially selected.
Those to whom the schedules were sent were asked to indicate any known organizations doing rural work within their states, together with as much of the data called for as could be furnished. The majority of the early replies either informed us that the schedule was being passed on to someone else, or advised us to write to someone else for the information desired. Persistent correspondence, however, has secured considerable information covering 29 states, which it may be of interest to review.
As was anticipated, in practically no state was there an agency found which could give a list of rural social activities which even approached completeness. Delaware was an encouraging exception. Certain omissions were surprising. In no instance was a child labor committee named, although such committees exist in at least 35 states, in many of which great attention has been paid to rural child labor problems. In no case except in Cook county, Illinois, was infant welfare work mentioned. Juvenile courts or a probation system were named in but 8 states, although there are juvenile courts or probation officers covering rural districts in no less than 18.
The incompleteness of the information is apparent. No data in regard to 19 states has reached us. Therefore, deductions of a very general character, only, are possible.
Considering the material in hand, agencies interested in rural social and health conditions seem to fall into three general classes: (1) organizations under public control and supervision; (2) organizations under private control and supervision; and (3) war emergency organizations, generally semi-public in their character.