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Social Worker and the Depression

At this moment what are social workers saying concerning economic and political theory or the need for fundamental social changes to eliminate the cycles and seasons of unemployment? With infrequent exception, exactly nothing at all. On the whole, social workers know little and care less about economic or political theory and practice. Their lack of understanding can only be described as abysmal, tragic. Ignorance in very young social workers, of whom there are many, may be forgiven. It is hard, however, to defend the silence–sometimes the deception–of the old-timers….The poor themselves, when they are not so persistently protected from publicity by their social workers, are taking a somewhat more practical view of their situation. Nowadays, when relief is inadequate and they are hungry, they turn to stealing, begging, and standing on the public streets in bread lines. In fact, in one city where the professional social workers are too “ethical” to disclose the distress of those receiving charitable relief, the unemployed are participating in demonstrations, petitioning the city administration for more food, and in turn are being arrested by His Honor, the mayor of the city, on charges of vagrancy and disorderly conduct. Continue Reading »

National Association of Social Workers: History (1917 – 1955)

The National Association of Social Workers was established in October, 1955, following five years of careful planning by the Temporary Inter-Association Council (TIAC). Seven organizations – American Association of Social Workers (AASW), American Association of Medical Social Workers (AAMSW), National Association of School Social Workers (NASSW), American Association of Psychiatric Social Workers (AAPSW), American Association of Group Workers UAW Association for the Study of Community Organization (ASCO), and Social Work Research Group (SWRG) – merged to form the NASW. The attainment of this long-sought objective reflected the growing conviction on the part of social work practitioners that there was need for greater unity within the social work profession, and an organizational structure through which the resources of the profession could be utilized most effectively for the improvement and strengthening of social welfare programs.Continue Reading »

Elements of Community Organization

This original January 1939 document is a significant early step in attempting to define Community Organization as a method of social work.Continue Reading »

Community Organization: Its Meaning 1939

Though the community organization processes are varied, they all center upon the organizing act and subsequent nurture. Implementation is implied in the latter term. As preliminary and supplementary stages in the process several other activities are often necessary — research (to get a clear picture of the fundamental facts), planning (to develop a wise program of action, publicity (to make the findings known to possible Supporters), and promotion (to organize and apply the support effectively).Continue Reading »

Community Organization Movement

In this presentation immediately following WWI, Wm. Norton presents his views on why community organization is essential. In one part he said: “The intention of the new community organization therefore is not to supplant the old but to strengthen and to supplement it. It aims to gather all of these specialized agencies with their different approaches and conflicting personalities together into a single community-wide co-operative society, with the purposes of creating a feeling of comradeship among them, of eliminating waste, of reducing friction, of strengthening them all, of planning new ventures in the light of the organized information held by all, of swinging them in a solid front in one attack after another upon the pressing and urgent needs of the hours. It says to a Protestant, “We know you are a Protestant and have a right to be one. That man there is a Catholic and has a right to be one. And that man there is a Jew and has a right to be proud of that. Stick to the points in your work where race and religion tell you to differ from others but admit the others’ right to do the same and remember always that you are all of one clay, American citizens in this American community, and wherever you can do it without sacrifice of principle, work and plan as one.”Continue Reading »

Smith, Zilpha Drew

In 1886, Smith was appointed general secretary of the Associated Charities of Boston and formally launched her professional career in the charity organization movement and social work education. Under her leadership, Associated Charities was successful in bringing together most of the charities and relief organizations operating in Boston. Building on the skills she learned earlier, Smith organized a central file of families being served, a system of district offices, paid agents and volunteer friendly visitors. In an 1887 presentation at the annual meeting of the National Conference of Charities held in Omaha, Nebraska, Smith described aspects of the relationship among committees, volunteer visitors and paid agents doing the service of Associated Charities:Continue Reading »

History of Social Work Education and the Profession’s Structure

An examination of the profession’s history, especially the development of education can help in understanding current issues related to its unity and what is the most appropriate role for the social worker. It won’t solve them, that will take a strong resolve by the current profession. Continue Reading »

McLean, Francis H.

In 1908, McLean gave another presentation at the 35th annual session of the National Conference of Charities and Correction held in Richmond, VA. The title was: “How May We Increase Our Standard of Efficiency in Dealing with Needy Families.” One of his major points was the necessity for workers to record and maintain Diagnosis and Treatment Cards for the families they are trying to help. He said:

“…A growing realization of the need of an aid which would impart definiteness to records and give one a clear idea of not only the main problem, but all of the subsidiary problems, caused the Field Department last fall to send out to the societies in the exchange branch of the department, a proposed form to be known as a diagnosis and treatment sheet. A study of the records last winter has convinced the field secretary that these sheets are an absolute necessity, and should be used by all the societies. Even the very best of the records would have been much clearer to the reader with such a sheet. In many cases, apparent lapses in treatment would have been revealed to the societies, if they had attempted to fill out the blanks….”Continue Reading »

Charity Organization Society of New York City

This entry is composed of transcribed pages from two documents, both produced by the Charity Organization Society of New York City. The primary source is the “History,” written by Lilian Brandt for the organization’s 25th Anniversary in 1907. The second source is from “A Reference Book of Social Service In or Available for Greater New York” by Lina D. Miller in 1922.Continue Reading »

Some Social Causes of Prostitution (1914)

In 1914, Mrs. John M. ( Mary Wilcox) Glenn gave a presentation entitled “Some Social Causes of Prostitution” at the Forty-first Annual Conference of the National Conference of Charities and Corrections in Memphis, Tennessee. Continue Reading »

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