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Housing conditions in relation to child protection : a descriptive examination of significant family… Daggett, Jessie Catherine 1957

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HOUSING CONDITIONS IN RELATION TO CHILD PROTECTION A Descriptive Examination of Significant Family Cases from the Children's Aid Society and the City Social Service Department, Vancouver, 1956.  By  JESSIE CATHERINE' DAGGETT  Thesis Submitted i n Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for the Degree of MASTER OF SOCIAL WORK in the School of Social Work  Accepted as conforming to the standard required for the degree of Master of Social Work  School of Social Work  1957 The University of British Columbia  ABSTRACT  There are many reasons for child neglect, and many variables i n the family circumstances from which the need for child protection or removal arisesj but i n recent years bad housing has not been given the prominence i t demands, Improvements in institutions, new treatment centres, modern school f a c i l i t i e s , point up the contrast, when bad housing and demoralizing neighbourhoods place heavy burdens on marginal families, and handicap social services which attempt to be restorative. To gain some perspective on family conditions associated with protection cases, active or potential, a small group of examples were chosen for detailed study; four from the Children's Aid Society and four from the City Social Service Department, Vancouver. A l l l i v e i n a semiindustrialized slum area, where there i s general deterioration, and the housing i s inadequate. Each family has an average of five children, ranging in age from one to sixteen years. Three of the families live in rented suites, and five i n rented houses. Both parents are i n the home, i n a l l but two of the families. The information for the study was obtained from personal interviews with the families, from agency case records, discussions with the social workers to whom the families are presently known. The resulting "word pictures" portray the home l i f e and social environment, having special reference to child neglect and substandard family l i f e . The various aspects of family l i f e are described with special emphasis on the families' present housing conditions, their previous accommodation, economic status, the neighbourhood, the general health of the family, and their attitude in regard to present housing conditions. This i s followed by an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the families, their interests and activities, the children's progress at school, and the use made of social services i n the community. A major implication of the study i s that more adequate low-rent housing i s urgently needed, particularly for families with a large number of children. If the parents, and especially the children, are to benefit f u l l y from the.educational, health and welfare services of the community, a good home which i s a basic need, must be provided or made available. It i s hoped that this study w i l l serve as an introduction for further research into family living conditions, of more thorough examination of the influences which bear on children in neglected homes and neighbourhoods, as part of the process of creating a sound base from which social services can operate.  ACKNOWLEDGMENTS  I wish to express my thanks to the directors and staff of the Children's Aid Society and the City Social Service Department, Vancouver, who made i t possible for me to do this study.  In particular, I should  like to thank the supervisors and social workers of the Centre Unit of both agencies, for their interest and co-operation. To Dr. Leonard Marsh and Mrs. Helen McCrae my sincere thanks and appreciation.  It was their encouragement, understanding, and their  patient guidance throughout the study which made i t possible.for me to complete this study. And to the families, who were the "core" of this thesis, I am deeply indebted. Their desire to help, to be of service, impressed me greatly and I shall not forget i t .  TABLE OF CONTENTS Page Chapter I .  Issues of Child Protection  Child protection and the protective services. S o c i a l and physical aspects of housing. Economic aspects of housing. The concern of the s o c i a l worker. Method of study  Chapter I I .  1  Housing as Environment  B r i e f description of f a m i l i e s . Accommodation. Previous accommodation. Economic status. Neighbourhood. Health. The tenant's response  21  Chapter I I I . Housing and Family L i f e Strengths and weaknesses of the f a m i l i e s . and a c t i v i t i e s . Education. S o c i a l Services  Chapter IV.  Interests 51  Housing and Protective Services  Local trends i n slum clearance. Houses and f a m i l i e s . S o c i a l work and f a m i l i e s . Implications and recommendations ..  73  Schedule A  27  Bibliography  88  HOUSING CONDITIONS IN RELATION TO CHILD PROTECTION A descriptive examination of significant family cases from the Children's Aid Society and the City Social Service Department, Vancouver, 1956.  1.  CHAPTER I ISSUES GF CHILD PROTECTION  Good family living, the foundation for a rich and constructive future, i s the right of every child.  I t i s an accepted fact that the best possible  environment for a growing child i s a normal home.  Although the connotation  of the term •'normal" differs according to the different social, cultural and economic patterns, there are certain fundamentals which are considered as characteristic for the normal, well-adjusted family. "Such a family should provide each child not only with the essentials of food, shelter, clothing, but also with love, sympathetic understanding, and the feeling of 'belonging', which i s the primary requisite for the development of the child's sense of emotional security. The family should also provide the child with the possibility of healthy physical growth and the opportunity of developing his own personality and talents, helping him to grow up to stable, mature adulthood, capable of normal relationships with others, of exercising his responsibilities as an adult member of j his particular society and of performing his task as a future parent." In,the early emphasis on "rescue" of children from undesirable surroundings, i t i s now clear that there wasa complete lack of understanding of the meaning of family t i e s , or of the importance which belonging i n a family group holds for normal child development.  Children were seen as  "small adults", and i t was not u n t i l the end of the 19th century that there began to be some understanding of the unique needs of the child.  The mis-  take was not i n the failure to see some of the needs of children — for bread, bed, and clothes, for example —  the need  but the mistake was i n thinking  that there was just one best way of meeting a l l these needs. Outdoor r e l i e f , 1.  Children Deprived of Normal Home L i f e. United Nations Publication, New York, 1952, p.4-  2. I  alsmhouse, indenture, placement of children i n free family homes, each at some period has been seen as THE way to care for a l l homeless, neglected and delinquent children; Mr. Charles W. Birtwell, who began work with the Boston Children's Aid Society i n 1886, persistently asked the question, so that his voice could be heard by the leaders i n work for the dependent child, "What does the child really need?"  His contribution to the Society was the formulation of a basic  philosophy that has introduced harmony, meaning and efficiency into the methods and systems of care for dependent children. "The aim w i l l be i n each instance to suit action to the real need — heeding the teachings of experience, s t i l l to study the conditions with a freedom from assumptions, and a directness and freshness of view, as complete as though the case i n hand stood absolutely alone. <  Not only must we understand the bodily needs, the emotional needs, the intellectual needs of each child, but we must know also to what extent the satisfaction of these needs i s inextricably'enmeshed i n associations with his own past experiences, his family, his friends, and his l o c a l i t y , i n order to answer the question f u l l y as to what a child needs.  We must understand  "a total personality i n a total situation". The White House Conference of 1909 on the Care of Dependent Children emphasized the importance of conserving family ties and providing home care for a l l children.  1.  Thurston, Henry.The Dependent Child. A Story of Changing Aims and Methods i n the Care of Dependent Children, Columbia University Press, New York, 1921, p.185.  3.  "Home l i f e i s the highest and finest product of our c i v i l i z a t i o n . It i s the great molding force of mind and of character. Children should not be deprived of i t except for urgent and compelling reasons. ... Except i n unusual circumstances the home should not be broken up for reasons of poverty, but only for considerations of inefficiency and immorality."* For many years social workers have maintained the belief that keeping children i n their own home. and preserving and strengthening home l i f e constitutes the basis of the child welfare program, to which a l l other services should be related.  Protection work, a "child protection service" has  come to be a well-recognized branch of social work. In a recent survey by a committee set up i n British Columbia by the Child Welfare Division of the Canadian Welfare Council, to examine the philosophy, principles and practice i n Canadian protection work, protection is defined as: "A service on behalf of children, undertaken by an agency upon receipt of information which indicates that parental responsibilities toward those children are not being effectively met. The service i s based on law, and i s supported by community standards. Its purpose i s the protection of children through strengthening-the home or, failing that, making other plans for their care and custody through the court."2 What are some of the predisposing social factors which lead to breakdown i n family l i f e , causing child neglect?  There is seldom or never any  one causey but rather a number of interacting factors, each aggravating the other.  However, there are certain common defects, i n part environmental, i n  part inherent i n the character of the parents, which can be detected i n varying degrees i n most cases. 1.  2.  Proceedings of the Conference on the Care of Dependent Children, Washington, D.C, January, 1909, Senate Document No.721, Government Printing Office, 1909, pp.9-10. Child Protection i n Canada, Published by the Canadian Welfare Council, Ottawa, June, 1954, p.8.  4.  Child neglect and poverty are often-found together, because both are the result of certain deficiencies i n the- parents  for example, the father  who i s never able to hold a job, or the mentally defective mother unable to manage either money or children.  This s tatement i s not meant to imply  that child neglect i s indigenous only to the low-income, mentally retarded parents;  however, a good proportion of the families known to the Protective  Service can be identified as families which have suffered economic and social deprivations for many years, some for several generations.  In most instances  of neglect, i t can rightfully be assumed that disregard of children i s symptomatic of a serious personal problem i n living with which the parent has been unable to cope. "Certain descriptive phrases occurred repeatedly i n reports of neglect situations ... 'Emotional immaturity of the parents' was noted, for instance, i n 70 per cent of the cases analyzed intensively, the absence of one parent and/or a common-law union were common problems i n many parts of the country. Neurotics or psychotic parents, poor housing and alcoholism were found i n many neglect cases, both i n British Columbia and in other areas ..." Child Welfare Services i n Canada have moved rather rapidly from a purely protective program for neglected and abused children involving assumption by the state of guardianship ordinarily held by parents, to a much broader program, including the prevention of conditions which create 2 . neglect.  This increasingly enlightened social outlook has brought into  focus two significent concepts, namely, that no family can provide adequately for children solely by i t s own efforts, and secondly, the provision of casework services aimed at helping parents to recognize what i s wrong and thereby 1. 2.  Child Protection i n Canada, op.cit., p.12. A total of 147 families were surveyed by the Committee for this study. Ibid.  5.  discover how to correct the condition while the children remain i n the home. Most parents do have within themselves the desire to be good parents as well as acceptable members of society;  this justifies the approach of helping  the children through helping the parents achieve their desires. The concept that no family can provide adequately for children solely by i t s own efforts, especially i n the urbanized and industrialized societies, implies that an increasing number of services are needed to supplement parental care, and these services must be supplied by the community. Proper housing, good sanitation, a good neighbourhood — so important to the social ;  l i f e of the child outside of school, hospitals, churches, recreational f a c i l i t i e s , libraries, and other character-building institutions, are society's contribution to the development of every child.  I f we are to reach our social  goal -- the fullest development of the individual's capacities and creativeness, the community must provide these additional resources and f a c i l i t i e s which every child needs, yet which are beyond the power of the individual family to provide.  There are many possible situations where the lack of  these can be every b i t as serious a handicap i n bringing up children as i s inadequate parental care. "The whole culture, too, combines to assist or to make d i f f i c u l t the process of child-rearing. This point i s of special relevance here because parents need not only love for their children, but also confidence i n their a b i l i t y to rear them wisely i f they are to do a good job. For the latter, they need society's backing." 1  With increased knowledge and understanding of parent-child relationships, family ties, and with the preventative services being directed toward keeping the child i n his own home, of strengthening family l i f e , there i s 1. Witmer St Kotinsky, Personality i n the Making. The Fact-Finding Report of the. Midcentury White House Conference on Children-and Youth, Harper & Brothers, Publishers, New York, 1952, p.102.  greater recognition of the intangible factors that make for good homes and neighbourhood, as well as the more easily evaluated factors, such as light, sanitation, space, etc.  The part the homeplays i n the Life of the family,  i t s effect upon family l i f e , i s something that must be examined and studied in  relation to the protection services.  Social and Physical Aspects of Housing In his book, Housing and Family Life, Dr. J.M. Mackintosh, Professor of Public Health, University of London, considers housing as one of the four p i l l a r s of social medicine.  The four p i l l a r s he identifies are:  the family,  the house i n which i t lives, the food i t eats, and the occupation of i t s members. The home must cater to many diversified activities in family l i v i n g , such as the living together of parents and the privacy that means so much to the harmony between them; the nurture of children i n the ever-changing conditions of growth to maturity;  the preparation and service of food i n a  wholesome manner; personal hygiene and general cleanliness; quiet for leisure and sleep; family l i f e .  and reasonable conditions for a l l the simple routine of  1  Most of the persons who l i v e i n poor housing also l i v e in poverty; many suffer i l l health and a few are mentally deficient as well. health may take many forms;  Poor  some diseases are associated with the qualitative  physical factors found in poor housing — dampness and insufficient heat, poor ventilation, poor sanitation, lack of proper food storage, the presence of dust, dirt and vermin. Some diseases are propagated by or associated with the social inadequacies found i n poor housing, particularly overcrowding, 1.  Dr. J.M. Mackintosh, Housing and Family Life. Cassell and Co. Ltd., London, 1952, p.10.  7.  insufficient bed-space, inability to isolate the sick, and poor housekeeping. It i s extremely d i f f i c u l t to prove that poor housing, by i t s e l f , i s responsible for the ill-health of the person who resides i n substandard accommodation or i n the substandard neighbourhoods known as slums or blighted areas. However, there i s no doubt about the familiar correlation, and that many of the conditions of ill-health with•••which welfare agencies have to deal are heavily concentrated i n poor housing areas. In a number'of studies i t has repeatedly been observed that disease rates are higher among persons who are poorly housed than among those who are better housed.^"  Some may suggest that i t i s not the housing environ-  ment i t s e l f that encourages the incidence of disease; rather, the hypothesis i s advanced that the population living i n a poor housing environment has certain characteristics which, aside from housing, result i n a high observed prevalence of disease.  These characteristics are: low income, l i t t l e  education, poor diet, and health habits, and a lessened inclination to seek out medical attention when needed. housing.  Thus the issue may be people rather than  There i s , however, a complex interaction between the two, and u n t i l  further studies are made to show the reverse relationship, there i s no denying the fact that the quality of housing considerably affects the health and family adjustment.  Again, recent Canadian evidence i s forthcoming.  In an address given by Dr. Albert Rose, Adequate Housing:  Does It Make  Better Citizens, Dr. Rose refers to the relationship between public health and public housing, and cites examples from a recent study made of the Regent 1.  Address prepared for the Canadian Conference on Social Work, June* 1954, by Dr. Albert Rose, Associate Professor, School of Social Work, University of Toronto. Reprinted by permission by the Community Planning Association of Canada, Ottawa, Canada, pp.9-10.  Park (North) Housing Project, Toronto, i n this regard.  One i n every nine  tenant families i n the summer of 1953 were interviewed, as well as 21 professional p e r s o n s — public health doctors, nurses and other o f f i c i a l s , social workers, teachers, and private physicians serving the project area and i t s families.  The following conclusions were drawn:  "The predominant note in the interviews with professional persons was that of a trend towards a positive adjustment by the tenant families to a standard of living which i s conducive to better health and well-being ... " "Colds were less frequent for nearly half the families, infectious diseases were less for exactly half, 31 of the 48 families with children did not have as much sickness since moving to the project, while seven families claimed more ..." "There can be no question that by and large, Regent Park, children are cleaner, healthier and doing better at school." Observations and comments regarding housing and the physical and mental effects pf overcrowding are made by Alva Myrdal i n her book, 'Nation and Family, which deals with the problems of population and, family l i f e i n Sweden today.  Recognizing that other detrimental factors related to'poverty are  nearly always concomitant with the influence of deficient housing space, the author made the following statements: "Children and especially children i n the pre-school age, together with adolescent youth, are the ones that are most threatened by the physical and psychological damages which a deteriorated or crowded home may cause. Infants are especially threatened by poor ventilation, unregulated temperature, and dampness ..." Equally disquieting are the statements as to how the children fare intellectually and morally. 1. Myrdal, Alva, Nation and FamilyThe Swedish Experiment i n Democratic Family and Population Policy, published by Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co. Ltd., London, 1945, pp.248-249.  9. "Despite the impossibility of directly and exactly indicating the nature and degree of the effects of housing, owing to our incomplete knowledge of causal relationships i n the f i e l d of social morals and mental hygiene, i t i s s t i l l indisputable that such detrimental effects do occur. They may fundamentally decrease the mental wellbeing and working capacity of the individual, considerably increase fatigue and i r r i t a b i l i t y , spoil the possibilities of a sane and harmonious family l i f e within the home, decrease the efficiency of educational measures, and themselves directly contribute to the origin of habits and tendencies that work for family disorganization and delinquency." It i s perhaps the adolescent who runs the greatest risk i n an overcrowded and deficient home. The lack of privacy, the impossibility of being alone or pf bringing home companions w i l l , together with the restlessness of this period of l i f e , drive them to linger i n pool-halls, i n streets, in eating places, and elsewhere. A l l too often they quit school and leave home, only to escape the overpopulated parental home. Psychological studies indicatd that mental health i n adult l i f e i s largely determined i n i t s early stages by the child's reactions to the people immediately around him."''  The attitude of the family toward the child and the child's  response to that attitude determines to a great extent what his approach to l i f e w i l l be.  It i s not necessary to insist that a bad house prevents good family  relationships within the home. Yet certain conditions necessary for good family relations are made extremely d i f f i c u l t when the housing environment i s really bad.  Sheer lack of space and privacy place the different members of the family  so much in contact with one another that a perpetual state of f r i c t i o n and quarrelling may be common. The family circle i n such conditions ceases to be the place where the child learns confidence in the world through love.  Instead  i t may be the place where the child learns a bitter lesson of mistrust and hatred. Anti-social traits are an inevitable result.  In an atmosphere pervaded by feel-  ings of i r r i t a t i o n and worry there i s no opportunity for normal family relationships to be developed or maintained. 1.  Bowlby, John. Child Care and the Growth of Love, World Health Organization , Pelican Books, London, 1953, p.90-93. " ... have again.and again emphasized the importance of the emotional problems in the parents as being a major cause of the children being in need of care and have emphasized, too, the extent to which deprivationand unhappiness in the parents' own childhoods have been the cause of their present problems."  This sort of intangible influences at work are well described by Sir Cyril Burt, in his book, The Young Delinquent.  Dealing with the importance  of the family and home background he says: "Of a l l the various social influences that affect the individual mind, the most important are those obtained within the patient's home .. "In the earlier days, social investigators were inclined to look mainly at material conditions. Their reports on, home circumstances were confined principally to such points as income, rent, expenditure, number of rooms, number of children in the rooms, and the sanitary state of the dwellings. Gradually, however, they have been led to recognize that mental conditions are more potent than economic. The cultural status of the home, i t s moral character and — most important of a l l — i t s general emotional atmosphere, these constitute the crucial factors in nearly every case. Here both social workers and psychiatrists have been brought independently to much the same conclusions; i t i s the child's reaction to the members of his family, and their reaction to him,.that count for most i n his mental and moral l i f e . " • Any study which gathers the facts about the physical standards of families i n low-income areas can see the handicaps which may prejudice good 2 family l i f e .  A recent study of Social Assistance famiEes in Vancouver  for example, has shown that they often lack the utensils required for the preparation of an adequate meal, or that cooking might involve so much additional work that the mother feels i t i s not worth the trouble to prepare healthful meals.  There may be inadequate space, or an insufficient number  of chairs for the family to s i t down as a group for a meal.  The home may  require an excessive amount of work to keep clean, which would mean that i t i s l e f t dirty most of the time.  As a result, the family i s unhappy, and the  housewife i s discouraged from trying to set or maintain any standard of homemaking. There may be inadequate laundry and washing f a c i l i t i e s .  If this i s  1.  Burt, C y r i l , The Young Delinquent. University of London Press, London, 1944, P.119. -  2.  Wilson, Warren, Housing Conditions among Social Assistance Families. Master of Social Work Thesis, University of British Columbia, 1953, p. 2.  11.  the case, i t could involve the expense of sending laundry out, or of the clothing not being kept as clean as i t should be. There are many other things such as lighting, crowding, lack of privacy, lack of opportunities for recreation, which would not inhibit the family from occupying the home, but would cause discomfort and hinder the fulfilment of wholesome family l i f e .  Although many families i n inadequate  housing are managing well enough to stay together, the poor physical standards are so influential that the family i s unable to enjoy normal and happy family l i f e .  Neither physical nor mental health nor fullness of living  is possible when a whole family i s crowded into a single room of a city tenement. A l l the effects of poor housing may not appear at once, but they are potentially there.  An unattractive, overcrowded home may produce a sense of  inferiority which profoundly influences the personality, and the results may be seen later i n the character of the children.  They are ashamed to have  their friends see where they Jive, and instead of inviting them to their homes, meet them at street corners, restaurants, and so forth. As important as the house i t s e l f i s the neighbourhood i n which the residence i s located.  The location of the home and the surrounding environ-  ment play an important part i n adult l i f e , but even more in the attitudes and standards of children. Often-times the shortcomings of a home may be offset by a good neighbourhood i n which the child gains acceptance and understanding, or, i t may be the other way round, a good home may counteract the effect of a poor neighbourhood. A study of twelve families i n receipt of social assistance revealed that the families preferred living in their present neighbourhood, but desired better housing.  12.  "It seems that on the whole, housing causes more dissatisfaction than does neighbourhood, although sometimes the neighbourhoods where the families said they would like to stay did not look, to an outsider, very attractive."1  Economic Aspects of Housing; The other aspect of housing i s i t s influence on the family budget. A low-income family may be defined i n the words of the National (Canadian) Housing Act, 1954 (Sec.2-13), as "... a family that receives a t o t a l family income that i s insufficient to permit i t to rent housing accommodation adequate for i t s needs at the current rental market in the area i n which the family lives."  There are at least two or three reasons why the total family  income may be "insufficient".  Most commonly, the family income may be both  absolutely and relatively low, that i s , well below the money income of the great majority of Canadian families. "The social assistance family i s unable to spend any additional money for adequate shelter and is' often unable to find better housing within i t s limited budget." ^ At the same time i t i s conceivable, as we a l l realize, that the family income may be "average" i n the generally understood sense, while the price of housing accommodation adequate for the needs of the family i s beyond a reasonable proportion of the income. The close relation between income and rent i s recognized i n the well-established formula that families below a certain level should not pay more than one-fifth of their monthly income 1.  Evans, Maureen, Living on a Marginal Budget. Master of Social Work Thesis, University of British Columbia, 1953, p. 36.  2.  Wilson, Warren, op. c i t . , p. 6.  13.  income for rent. A most important fact i s that children may be a specially heavy handicap i n the housing market. Not only may "sufficient"family income become "insufficient" as the number of children increases, but the dwellings which would provide adequately for large families are no longer being built i n this country, or are simply beyond the financial capacity of families with many children.  There are many apartments which w i l l not allow families  with children to become tenants, even i f they could afford i t . Low-income families then are certainly more l i k e l y to be found i n the substandard structures which are characteristic of slum or blighted areas than i n the better maintained neighbourhoods of the community.  They have  not been able i n the past, and cannot now purchase a home of their own. Neither can they rent housing adequate for the family's needs.  Either their  earnings are too low or too irregular, or they suffer ill-health or disablement, or they have aelarge number of children.  A small proportion are  mentally incapable of the degree of responsibility and i n i t i a t i v e required to save for, or perhaps to find suitable accommodation. Whatever the reason, they tend to f i n d housing in less favoured areas of the city — run-down, blighted, ill-equipped with f a c i l i t i e s , built on cheap but unplanned sites. There may be various reasons for their moving there —  either because rents  .1, Wheeler, Michael, Evaluating the Need for Low-renting Housing. Master of Social Work Thesis, University of British Columbia, 1955, p.70. "... It is evident for the most part that the families represented at the lower end of the scale, for whom a proportionate rent would be something less than #35. a month, are worse off on two counts than families whose theoretical rent-paying capacity i s between #50. and $60. a month. Not only do a larger proportion of these families pay disproportionate rents, but at that low-income level (under #175. a month), a small increase of rent (or a small decline of income) i s of great,significance for the family budget."  14.  are low or standards of child-raising are low, or because i t i s only i n these areas that such families can feel "at home". The cost of shelter holds the real key to the entire functioning of the family, and i t i s impossible to manage economically without gearing the budget to this basic requirement. "If a family i s on social assistance, the problem of housing is more acute than for the family with a higher income. The social assistance family i s unable to spend any additional money.for adequate shelter and i s often unable t o find better housing within i t s limited budget ... I f the grant i s computed on a "flat-rate" basis with no regard to the cost of shelter, then the family has^ considerable difficulty finding housing within the proportion of the grant specified for shelter, and may have to pay for housing at the expense of other family needs. 1,1  The type of accommodation a family has, i t s general state of repair, and, to a large extent, the neighbourhood i n which they l i v e , are determined by the rent they are able to pay. Low-rent accommodation i s l i k e l y to be draughty, inconvenient and shabby. Writing i n the thirties, Bakke, i n a study of the l i f e o f the unemployed i n the United States during the depression, concluded that "living quarters are more symbolic of the family's social  2 status than any other single item save clothes."  This i s s t i l l true today  for many whose income for one reason or another does not " f i t their families." The Concern of the Social Worker Public health and "general welfare" are the biggest and broadest of a l l nation-wide problems.  And for the promotion and protection of the nation's  health and welfare, decent homes are second only to a minimum of decent food. 1.  Wilson, Warren, op.cit., p. 6.  2.  Bakke, E. Wright, The Unemployed Worker. New Haven Yale University Press, 1940, p. 269.  15.  Even education i n healthy living habits and responsible citizenship can hardly be truly effective as long as slum homes, through no fault of their occupants, are overcrowded and lacking i n sanitary f a c i l i t i e s , and as long as slum neighbourhoods with automatic regularity turn out large numbers of anti-social, defiant and delinquent c h i l d r e n . I n recent decades social workers have become increasingly concerned with the effect of housing on 2 the physical, moral, economic and psychological well-being of the family. Overcrowding, inadequate housing, of course affect large families primarily.  Those large families i n which children are small are most often  economically unable to obtain adequate housing. From the point of view of human well-being, poor housing conditions have much more severe and lasting effects when they affect children of tender age than i n other cases. pro  The  b l e m of overcrowding i s mainly a child welfare problem, as the children  are the chief cause - of both the overcrowding and of the poverty i t s e l f . These children are the ones that are most threatened by the physical and psychological damage which a deteriorated or crowded house may cause. Not a l l personality problems or defects "come to light" as a result of bad housing, but a disproportionate number of welfare agency cases do originate i n blighted areas.  A housing survey undertaken i n Vancouver i n  1950 refers to " ... the difficulties of coping with distress and social i l l s 1. Bauer, Catherine, A Citizen's Guide to Public Housing. Vassar College, N.Y., 1940, P. 3. 2. Borland, Wilson S., "Housing and City Planning", Social Work Year Book, 1951, p. 237. -  when they axe lodged i n living conditions which destroy morale.  w  Within  the same context the survey cites a commentary of the Vancouver City Social Service Department which refers to "the multiplicity of housing and emotional problems" bred i n the blighted areas.  Thus, housing, i n particular, i n i t s  broader sense of neighbourhood, recreational and cultural outlets and mobility, meshes closely with a l l other social-economic factors influencing individual and family patterns of behaviour. A recent study made of seven "hard-core" families known to the Family Service Agency, Vancouver, showed i n the analysis of the long-term maladjustment and dependency of these families that one of the psycho-social components was housing.  At the dates of i n i t i a l contact with the Family Service Agency,  four of the families occupied substandard housing, insufficient space, dirty and undesirable neighbourhood;  two of the families were living with  relatives or friends* and the remaining family was stated to have inadequate housing, but records did not indicate i n what respect. Thus, i n every case, the problem or crisis was brought to the agency — that i s , came to a head, 2 at a time when housing was inadequate i n some respect.  1.  Marsh, L.C., Rebuilding a Neighbourhood. University of British Columbia, Research Publication, Number 1, 195Q. The area chosen for the demonstration study comprised about forty blocks east of Main Street, bounded by Hastings East, Gore Avenue, Glen Drive and the False Creek Flats. "At a minimum, i t can be said that 3.5 per cent of a l l recorded entries (cases registered with the Social Service Index, Vancouver, by the welfare agencies) i n recent years relate to this area, and that the proportion i s probably higher. (Since the population proportion i s 2.2, this "case-load" can be considered as about 60 per cent disproportionately." , p.25.  2.  Marcuse, Berthold, Long-Term Dependency and Maladjustment Cases i n a Family Service Agency. Master of Social Work Thesis, University of British Columbia, 1956, p.29.  17.  The parents known to many agencies, and particularly those whose ' children are i n need of protection, often have personality defects which stem from their immediate or earlier psycho-social backgrounds. At a certain point i n time these weaknesses are exacerbated by a congruence of socioeconomic factors —  bad housing, unemployment, low income, poor health, etc.,  and the precipitating crisis arises, which causes the family to seek or require social services.  The personality defects and the  psycho-social  factors can usually be identified i n each case, but which i s cause and which effect i s not always clear and cannot be determined;  however, the close  interlocking of personality and environment i s obvious.  Because of the inter-  dependence of personal and social factors, the destructive consequences of these defects affect not only the family, but society as well. "Homes are the major factor i n human environment, whether measured i n terms of time, space or the importance of the functions carried on there. To the individual i t i s the place where he belongs. It shelters him from the elements, protects his personal property, and i s the only place he can expect to find privacy. For the family, i t i s the housekeeping unit. The home must provide space and f a c i l i t i e s for sleep and relaxation,. for preparation of food and care of clothing for personal cleanliness,.for recreation and social l i f e , for procreation and for the training of children for everyday health requirements. nl  Homes as a major factor in the environment have been stressed.  We  know a l l too well the interaction of the environment upon the personality. It i s i n response to the stresses and strains of a hostile environment that the pre-existing personality defects become apparent;  or that hitherto  adequate defences break down and can no longer help the individual maintain emotional stability.  People, or families, do not "crack up" purely by  chance. The tolerance level of individuals varies markedly, but given 1.  Bauer, Catherine, op. c i t . , p.2.  sufficient environmental stress, every individual w i l l break down eventually. Modify the environment beforehand so as to eliminate i t s stresses and most of the break-downs can be averted.  Modify the environment after the break-  down and many of these individuals and families can be f u l l y or partially rehabilitated. The environmental forces which are to a large degree outside the direct control of the family cannot be ignored. It i s these forces which are being given key consideration i n social welfare approach by such countries as Great Britain and the Scandinavian bloc, i n their stress upon income maintenance, health, and housing.  Method of Study The aim of this study has been to show the effects of housing upon family l i f e , of the inter-familial relationships when housing i s inadequate, and of the family's adjustment or reaction to living in a slum or blighted area.  With the co-operation of the Children's Aid Society and the City  Social Service Department, both of Vancouver, four cases were selected from each agency. The selection of cases was based on the following factors: a)  The cases had been active with the agency during 1956.  b)  They were family cases with the children residing with their parent or parents i n their own home.  c) A l l the cases were selected from the same area or locality of the city, namely between McLean Drive on the east and Main Street on the West, and between False Creek on the south and Burrard Inlet on the north. This area i s considered one of the slum areas of Vancouver. d)  The cases selected from the Children's Aid Society were protection cases, whereas the cases from the City Social Service Department had elements of protection. In a l l cases the social workers had commented on the inadequate or poor housing, which was seen as a factor i n contributing to the family's adjustment.  e)  The cases selected were not representative of the worst housing found in this area, but more typical of the general kind of housing throughout this section of the city. The social workers active on the cases f i r s t visited the families,  explained the study, and asked their co-operation. The writer then visited the families and talked with as many of the family members as were available. The interview was structured so that the views of the family on the various aspects of their housing situation could be obtained, keeping i n mind such topics as: 1. What were the problems or d i f f i c u l t i e s encountered i n their present housing. 2. What did the parents or the children themselves see as advantages or disadvantages i n living i n t h i s area. 3. Was their rent i n excess of their income. How did their rent equate with 'for value received'. 4. What had been their previous experiences i n regard to housing. 5. What did they see as meeting their need most adequately today. 6. What opportunities did the community offer the children and the parents i n regard to recreation, entertainment. 7. Would they like to move away from the neighbourhood, or, i f more adequate housing could be found i n that locality, would they prefer to remain there. 8. How do the families describe the experience of living i n inadequate housing. The effect on family relationships. 9. Has the housing affected the family's health; i f so, to what degree. The agencies' f i l e s on the families were read for previous history of the family, special note being taken of agency contact, services given, comments by the worker as well as by the family i n regard to any housing problems, together with reports on children's progress at school, their  activities, and so forth.  Several of the f i l e s contained comments or  information about the personality of certain members of the family, their attitudes and the family relationship.  In most of the cases i t was possible  to discuss the family situation with the social workers active on the case, and to learn from them the problems or d i f f i c u l t i e s encountered i n helping or working with these families.  21.  CHAPTER II HOUSING AS ENVIRONMENT  To obtain adequate shelter i s one of the greatest problems which confronts a family today, especially i f i t has a number of children, and i f the income i s low.  Many families are crowded into various types of inadequate  shelter because they are unable to find any other kind.  They are to be  found living i n houses dilapidated beyond hope of renovation.  The rooms are  apt to be dark, with plaster and wall-paper coming off the walls, the stairways often steep* narrow and rickety, and the ventilation i s poor, making the house d i f f i c u l t to heat.  The d i f f i c u l t i e s encountered i n trying to bring up  a family i n overcrowded quarters,which lack f a c i l i t i e s or any semblance of comfort, need not be emphasized. "The strain of living for the housewife i s severe and the tendency to give up i s great, and i t i s only too easy to start a vicious circle — the deterioration of actual cleanliness, followed by a lowering of the tone and s p i r i t pf the occupants, causing i n turn a further decline i n standards and leading to a nearly complete loss of appreciation of cleanliness and sanitation and a l l that these terms stand f o r . l ,f  There can be no doubt that bad housing can accentuate d i f f i c u l t i e s already existent within the family, and w i l l only exaggerate the shortcomings of what may already be "inadequate parents".  It i s not surprising that some  parents give up altogether in the face-of responsibilities which are too much for them. The pressures are such that i t would take a superhuman effort for anyone to bring up a family well.  The deplorable state of disrepair, the  total absence of the ordinary amenities required for decent living can hardly 1.  Mackintosh, J.M.,  op. c i t . , p.31.  f a i l to bring i n their train dirt, disease, apathy and neglect. A review of the eight families chosen for this study w i l l illustrate the housing d i f f i c u l t i e s that these families are encountering, i t s effect upon family living, their adjustment and response to i t .  Six of the  families have both the father and the mother i n the home, two are examples of broken families.  In one of these there i s only the mother, i n the other  the father assumes responsibility for the family.  Three of the families  have had agency contact since the 1940's, while the remaining five have had contact within the last five years.  A l l the families live i n rented  quarters. A brief descriptive summary of each family, together with an outline of their family composition, their accommodation and household budget w i l l serve as an introduction to these families.  The three families that live  in suites w i l l be discussed f i r s t , followed by a description of those who occupy houses. Mr. and Mrs. A. are a young couple, the wife aged 34 and the husband aged 33.  Mrs. A. was a ward of the Catholic Children's Aid from the age of  four years u n t i l she was married.  She i s a slight, woebegone-looking woman.  Mr. A., of French-Polish origin, with fat facial features, of medium build, dark complexion, was born i n the North Okanagan d i s t r i c t .  He has worked as  a labourer, but his work record has always been very poor. The couple f i r s t applied to the City Social Service Department for financial assistance i n 1948, aid their contact with the agency and the financial help given has been intermittent since that time. Eental arrears often forced the couple with their eight small children to move from one type of poor housing to  another.  In May, 1956,  the Catholic Children's Aid worker commented,  "Family appear to present an increasing social problem rather than one of distinct unemployability."  Repeated efforts by agencies to supply the  requisite f a c i l i t i e s for the family seemed as i f they were trying to f i l l "a bottomless pit," as help given appeared to count for nothing. 1956,  In October,  Mr. A., who had been complaining for some time of arthritis i n his arms  was diagnosed as having moderately advanced active tuberculosis.  Later,  within a two-month period, three of the children were placed i n the Preventorium.  Problems have arisen i n regard to Mr. A's unwillingness to  remain i n hospital for treatment.  Mrs. A. and the five children living at  home have been granted social assistance. The "B" family was f i r s t known to the Children's Aid Society i n  1955,  when Mr. B. had telephoned the office to complain of his wife's lack of care of their three children.  He spoke of her drinking, and of her going out and  leaving the children alone. Mr. B. had been separated from the family for about two years, but contributed regularly toward their support.  Mrs. B's  personal appearance i s not good, being that of the somewhat lazy, indifferent slatternly type, whereas Mr. B. i s quite debonair, wanting to make a good impression and possibly to conceal many inadequacies. The "C" family was f i r s t known to the Children's Aid Society i n  1956,  when a telephone c a l l was received that the mother was extremely disturbed and threatening suicide.  Because of the mother's mental state, there was  concern for the safety of the children.  Mrs. C. stated that the place she  lived i n depressed her and what had upset her most was the fact that the  24.  elderly man who lived i n a cottage at the rear was always complaining about her children.  The C*s are a young couple in their mid-twenties, with six  small children ranging i n age from six months to seven years. Mrs. C's standards of cleanliness are noted i n her own personal appearance, as well as the children's.  However, Mrs. C , who could be attractive-looking, does  very l i t t l e to make herself so.  The unattractive, loose-fitting dress she  wore only helped to emphasize her over-weight. The"D's" were f i r s t known to the Children's Aid Society i n 1953, when a neighbour, complained that the parents were neglecting their five children and "leaving them alone."  Later, the police reported that the  parents were picked up on a drunken charge, and that the children were alone in a dirty, unkempt house.  Mrs. D., aged 36, f r a i l and delicate-looking,  i s immature and childish i n her manner. Both Mrs. D. and the children look to Mr. D. for direction.  The family i s materially poor, but there appears  to be warmth and affection amongst the members. Mr. and Mrs. E. separated about six years ago because they "got on each other's nerves."  Mr. E. (aged 64), and his four children, have been  known to the City Social Service Department since 1951.  The family had to  apply for social assistance when Mr. E. was injured while working on a construction job. He was struck on the head by a f a l l i n g brick and suffered concussion.  He is almost completely deaf and has very l i t t l e eyesight.  Mrs. E., aged 37, and her common-law husband, who i s a logger and whose work takes him outside the c i t y , have always lived close or nearby Mr. E. and the children. Mrs. E. has helped to keep the children's clothes i n repair, but  25.  the arrangement i n family living has not been conducive to good family relationships, and the children are divided i n t h e i r affection and loyalties between the father and the mother. Mrs. F.. of Indian descent, has had great difficulty i n adjusting to city l i f e .  Her husband, who i s Swedish, i s steadily employed with the City  Scavenger Department and does not share his wife's dislike of the city. Early i n .1956, a policewoman reported to the Children's Aid Society that the children i n this family were receiving inadequate care, as the mother i s constantly drunk. The G's have been known to the City Social Service Department since 1940-  They are a comparatively young couple — Mr. G. aged 43, and his wife-  aged 38.  From 1940 to 1953, Mr. G., who was a truck-driver, was never steadily  employed,as he had difficulty both i n getting and retaining a job. was his major problem.  Alcoholism  Periodic assistance was given the family by the City  Social Service throughout the years u n t i l 1953, when i t was recommended that continuous assistance was the only means of stabilizing and maintaining the family.  Mrs. G., a small, rather delicate-looking woman, has worked hard to  provide a home for her nine children throughout the years. The "H" family has been known to the City Social Service Department since 1942, when Mr. H. suffered a back injury while working as a logger. He has remained in poor health  ever since, and although he did t r y to return  to work, his health would not permit this. from Finland i n 1929.  Mr. H., aged 62, came to Canada  Mrs. H., aged 46, i s of Indian-Norwegian descent and  has been i n receipt of the Blind Pension for several years.  She i s a stout  woman, with an animated, friendly personality, and her blindness i s not to  26.  any marked degree a handicap to her.  She moves with surety and quickness  about the house and i s an active participant i n the children's activities. However, there has been d i f f i c u l t y i n regard to Mrs. H's periodic drinking "sprees", when she leaves the family for several days, drinks excessively, and associates with questionable friends.  During one o f her absences from  home i n 1946, the children were apprehended and placed i n foster-home care. The children were most unhappy separated from their parents and plans had to be made for their return.  27. SCHEDULE A. FAMILY COMPOSITION, ACCOMMODATION, APPLIANCES, AND . . BUDGET OF EIGHT FAMILIES. , Family A.  B.  C.  D.  E.  Composition (a) Husband Wife 3 boys (11,9,1) 5 girls (7,6,5,3,2) Wife 1 boy (2) 2 g i r l s (7,4)  Budget (b) . (monthly). , S.A. #133.00 T.B. 52.00 allowance F.A. 30.00 Rent  Wages #292.00 F.A. 32.00  Husband Wife 2 boys (13,9) 2 girls.(10,7)  Wages #220.00 F.A. 27.00  Husband 2 boys (14,6) 2 girls (16,11)  S.A. #90.00 Workmen's Compensation #23.00 F.A. 21.00  Rent  Rent P.  G.  H.  #47.00  #47.00  #60.00  Husband Wife 4 boys (7,6,4,3) 1 g i r l (11)  Wages $240.00 F.A. 27.00  Husband Wife 3 boys (15,13,9) 3 girls (16.14.11) Husband Wife 2 boys (13,12) 2 girls,(16,8)  S.A. F.A.  Rent  Rent  #45.00 #122.00 38.00 #45.00  S.A. #89.00 Blind Pension 60.00 F.A. 23.00 Rent #40.00  (a) (b)  Suite: 4 rooms 2 bedrooms kitchen bathroom  Washing Machine (minus wringer) Mantel radio.  Suite: 2 rooms 1 bedroom kitchen  Refrigerator Mantel radio  Suite: 4 rooms 1 bedroom Living-room used as bedroom Kitchen Bathroom  Television Refrigerator Washing machine Telephone  House: 6 rooms 2 bedrooms (living-room (dining-room Kitchen Bathroom  Washing machine Television Telephone  House: 8 rooms . 2 bedrooms (living-room (dining-room .Kitchen Bathroom (2rooms rented)  Washing machine Mantel radio Refrigerator  House: 5 rooms 2 bedrooms Living-room Kitchen Bathroom  Washing machine Radio  House: 8 rooms . 3 bedrooms living-room Dining-room Kitchen Bathroom House: 6 rooms 2 bedrooms Living-room Dining-room Kitchen Bathroom  Washing machine Refrigerator Mantel radio  $40.00  Husband Wife 3 boys (5,2,1) 3 g i r l s (7,6,3)  Rent  Appliances  $40.00  Income #120.00 F.A. . 16.00 Rent  Accommodation  Ages of children given after names Abbreviations: S.A.-Social Assistance:  Washing machine Television Telephone  F.A. - Family Allowance.  28.  Accommodation The "A" family occupy a four-roomed-suite on the second floor of an extremely dilapidated building, termed a "cabin".  These "cabins" are  primitive two-storey structures. They are a form of temporary housing unique to the Pacific Coast, and were built more than thirty years ago to house immigrants who were brought i n to help finish the Canadian Pacific Railway. "suites".  Today there are about twelve families occupying the available A narrow sidewalk leads from the street to the side-centre  entrance of the building.  A verandah about three feet i n width, and with a  low outside railing provides passage-way to the various suites on each floor. This is very hazardous, especially with children playing, as there i s l i t t l e to protect them from climbing up and f a l l i n g over this railing. The A's suite spells poverty and drabness. The door opens into the kitchen, which i s dark, gloomy and depressing.  The only furniture is an old  wood and coal stove> a very worn wooden table and three old kitchen chairs, an old washing machine which i s lacking a wringer, and a kitchen sink so rusty and dirty that i t looks unfit for human use.  Heavy, greyish-coloured  plastic curtains draped across the kitchen windows and the glass in the door add to the already dismal appearance of the room. The ceiling i s black with coal soot, as are the walls. The kitchen stove smokes so badly that Mrs. A. said i t was useless for her to try to clean them.  She had washed  the walls a few months ago, only to have them as black as ever i n a short time.  A light-bulb hangs from the centre of the ceiling, and this burns  day and night. The two bedrooms were equally dark and destitute-looking.  An old  chesterfield made up into a bed with a grey blanket over i t , a small stove about two feet i n height and placed close to the wall, and a mantel radio were the furnishings of this room.  In the other room there was a bed with  an old mattress and feather tick on i t , with no evidence of bedding or blankets.  Here and there were boxes i n which clothing was piled.  room was i n an equally deplorable state.  The bath-  Because the stove smoked so badly  and did not work properly, the hot-water tank had never'been connected. As a result, a l l the hot water had to be heated on the stove.  Mrs. A. uses a  small tub i n which to bath the children, because she could never heat enough water to use the bath-tub. Mrs.A. had clothes-lines draped about the kitchen from corner to corner, as this was her only possible means of drying clothes in the wintertime.  She could, i f the weather permitted, hang a few things out on the  verandah. Mrs. A. said the landlord refused to clean or re-decorate the suite while they were there, because their stove would make i t as bad as ever again. He was anxious for them to move, as he feared the health authorities would condemn i t .  Mrs. A. said he had been good enough to l e t them move in there  when they could find no other place, and that she hated to make any trouble for him. Mrs. B. and her three children live in a small two-room suite on the second floor of a dilapidated apartment building. A long narrow, dark corridor leads to the entrance of the suite located at the far end of the hallway.  The heat i n this suite i s oppressive, which i s possibly due to  poor ventilation.  The room gives a somewhat cluttered appearance, as so  many things are crowded into this one room. In addition to the table and  30.  chairs, there i s an endless variety of boxes which serve as cupboards to store things i n as well as to place things on.  A two-plate g r i l l i s on  one box, an Astral refrigerator, i n somewhat precarious position, i s on another. open.  There i s one small window i n the room, which i t i s impossible to The other room, equally small and crowded, serves as the bedroom  for the entire family.  A cot and a double bed take up most of the space i n  the room. The bathroom, which i s used by about four other families, i s located about half-way down the corridor. Mrs. B. does have a small sink i n her suite with hot and cold running water. The C's have four rooms rented at the rear of a store. There i s a narrow alley at the side of the building, which leads around to the rear. Very ricketty old stairs, which are quite unsafe, make the approach to the C's l i v i n g quarters very gloomy and depressing.  However, you feel when you  enter the small kitchen that an effort i s made to maintain some standard of home-making. The room i s neat and clean, i n spite of the poor state of repair.  The furnishings, including the wood and coal stove, the washing  machine, the refrigerator, are a l l comparatively new and i n good condition. Bedroom and living-room furniture are combined in the next room, which i s a f a i r l y large room, and serves both as a bedroom and living-room.  In addition  to the bed, there i s a chesterfield suite and a TV set. A smaller room i s the bedroom for the three older children-  There i s a bathroom off the kitchen,  but the C's have never been able to use the bath-tub because the pipes have rusted beyond possibility of use.  Furthermore, the room i s so cold i n the  wintertime that i t i s doubtful i f i t could be used for bathing.  Mrs. C. has  to bath the children in the kitchen sink, and this i s becoming quite a  31.  problem because the two older children are getting too large for i t .  Just at  the rear of the premises i s a l i t t l e cottage i n which an old-age pensioner lives, and beside them i s a market s t a l l for the sale of flowers, etc.  There  i s no outdoor space for the children to play i n . The house that the "D  M  six-roomed structure.  family occupies i s also a small wooden frame  It i s one of a.row of similar houses, a l l unpainted,  grey, dilapidated and extremely weathered-looking. the front door off the sidewalk.  A few steps lead up to  There i s no semblance of lawn or grass any-  where. A dirty, ragged curtain i s hung over the window i n the front door, and this serves as an indication of what might be expected inside. heater i s only a few feet away from the door as you enter the  A Quebec  living-room.  It i s here i n this one room that the family appear to do most of their lia/ing, including eating, sleeping, watching TV, etc. dirty and tattered.  The furniture was very worn,  Mr. D. said that he had attempted to re-cover the  chesterfield several times, but that was as far as he had got —  the result  being that the chesterfield and chairs resemble patchwork quilts. Clothing, books, dishes, etc. were littered about the room or piled on chairs or tables.  A clothes-line seemed to weave i t s way from corner to  corner about the room. Mrs. D. uses this to hang her clothes on to dry i n the wintertime. A chesterfield made up intoa bed was at the far end of the room, and Mrs. D. pointed with pride to the new flannelette sheets on i t , which she had bought by working for a short time i n a restaurant. The grey, dirty walls went unnoticed, as your attention was drawn to a large, rather flamboyant painting on one of the walls of the Madonna and Child.  Mr. D. enjoys doing this copy work i n oil-painting as a hobby, and  frequently decorates one entire wall with such scenes as "The Last Supper", and so on. The kitchen at the rear i s seldom used during the winter because i t i s cold and draughty. Upstairs are two bedrooms and the bathroom. Mrs. D. has had difficulty i n getting decent beds and bedding, and complained that the children were not getting proper rest because of the awful beds they had to sleep on.  The boys had tried building a "rumpus room" i n the basement, and  had constructed bunk beds, as well as a home-made stove.  This effort did not  prove too successful, as the boys found i t much too damp and cold. After sleeping there one night, they decided that upstairs was somewhat better. The "E's" house i s an eight-roomed wooden-frame structure, built a considerable distance back from the street.  A large excavation i s in front  of the house, and as a result the house must be approached from the neighbouring walk. The house borders the alley at the back, leaving no room or space i n the back yard. The house i s i n somewhat bad repair, but had had a coat of green paint which improves i t s appearance.  Thelong hallway into which you enter serves  as a storage place for the refrigerator and the boy's bicycle. The livingdining-room i s plainly but neatly furnished with only the bare essentials, including a dining-room table, covered with a bright red plastic table-cover, a few rather ricketty chairs, a sideboard and a chest of drawers. Mr. E. complained that there wasn't a cupboard in the house, except the one he uses to keep the family's food i n . Several boards are also rotten i n the floor and you had to be rather careful where you stepped, although Mr. E. had tried to f i x them. The kitchen was very small, with only room for the wood and coal stove,  the sink, the washing machine and a small u t i l i t y table.  Off the kitchen  was a small bedroom, with two or three cot-beds where Mr. E. and the two boys sleep.  The two girls have a bedroom upstairs.  Mr. E. rents the remainder  of the rooms upstairs as a self-contained suite to his wife and her commonlaw husband. Mr. E. works hard to make the house clean and attractive, and recently painted the walls and ceilings i n a l l the rooms downstairs.  However, he was  rather discouraged to see i t getting dirty so quickly, from the soot and grease which f i l t e r s i n around the doors and windows. The family seldom or never use their front door, but instead go out of their back door, through a vacant l o t to Pender Street. The "F's" l i v e i n a very dilapidated, ricketty l i t t l e five-room bungalow. A small wooden fence separates i t from the street. ready to tumble down, as does the entire house.  The steps appear  Inside the plaster i s torn  off i n patches, together with the wallpaper. Mrs. F. has a variety of plastic curtains hung over the windows, which tended to shut out what light there was, and only give the room a darker, more depressing atmosphere.  Two very old  chesterfields made up the living-room furniture, together with a wood and coal heater boosted up on bricks and with a sheet-metal jacket surrounding i t . The other rooms,consisting of two bedrooms, kitchen and bathroom  —  are a l l very small and equally as drab in appearance as the living-room. Mrs. F. complained bitterly about the house being "like a barn".  They can-  not heat i t even with two stoves, and nearly freeze to death a l l the time. The landlord i s anxious for them to move, as he wants to renovate the house completely so that he can increase the rent.  34.  They have a small amount of space at the rear of the house, but have never bothered to try to plant a garden or to f i x i t up i n any  way.  The "G's" have lived i n their present house for over five years.  It i s  a large eight-roomed house, which i s cut up or divided by long and narrow h a l l ways, making the rooms for family living very small and congested. The house looks somewhat dilapidated and i n need of repair and painting.  There i s a  small front lawn which affords an opportunity to plant a few flowers, etc. The living-room i s very small, and although the furniture i s old and worn, there is a neatness and cleanliness about the room. This same pattern may be observed i n a l l the rooms, and the impression gained i s that Mrs.  G.  spares no effort i n order to maintain a f a i r l y high standard of housekeeping. They have found i t very d i f f i c u l t to heat even the downstairs of the house, and this means there i s no heat at a l l i n the three bedrooms and bathroom upstairs . The rooms are very dark, as l i t t l e light seems to get into the house, especially at the sides, as the neighbouring houses are built so close on each side that the light i s shut out. The house i n which the "H" family live i s a small, six-roomed wooden frame structure.  It i s old in style and badly i n need of paint.  There i s a  very small plot of land at the front of the house where a few flowers are planted.  At the side i s a narrow strip of land, and i t i s here that the H's  are able to plant a vegetable garden. At the rear of the house i s an old tumble-down shed, in which they store their fuel, etc.  There i s insufficient  space for a clothes-line at the rear, so Mrs, H. must use her neighbour's when she wishes to hang her clothes outside.  Last summer Mr. H. built a neat  35.  l i t t l e picket fence at the side of the house. The outside of the house i s drab i n appearance. However, bright red f l o r a l paper curtains are hung at the front windows, and several potted plants on the window ledge give colour and brightness to the house. The glass in the front door was polished and clean.  The impression gained as you entered the  house was that the family took pride i n making their home a pleasant place to live i n . The front door opened into the living-room, which i s a f a i r l y large room i n comparison to the other rooms. The furniture, consisting of a chesterfield suite and a TV set, was a l l assembled at one end of the room, leaving only a Quebec heater and a studio couch at the far end. was covered with linoleum; wall.  The floor  pictures and knick-knacks, etc. were hung on the  The room was bright, and such things as doilies on the arms of the  chairs, plants, etc., gave i t a home-like appearance. There are only two small bedrooms, with Mr. and Mrs. H. occupying one and the two girls the other.  During the winter months the two boys sleep on  the chesterfield i n the living-room, but in the summer they are able to f i x up a bedroom for themselves i n the a t t i c .  The g i r l s have decorated their  bedroom with dolls that they dressed i n fancy costume, and on the plastic cover for their clothes cupboard, they have pasted i n an attractive pattern pictures of their favourite movie stars. The kitchen i s small and crowded with the few essentials of furniture normally found i n a kitchen. Mr. H. made a substantial-looking cupboard from lumber he had carted home from the junk-yard. store food, cooking utensils, etc.  This served as a place to  Neither -the kitchen i t s e l f , nor the table  seemed to afford space for the family to s i t down as a group for a meal. Off  thekitchen was a room which serves both as a bathroom and a u t i l i t y room. It was here that Mrs. H. kept her washing machine and had lines hung on which to dry her clothes i n the wintertime. a sink i n i t , and a few cupboards.  There was also a pantry, with  A wood and coal stove, i n good working  order, meet the family's need for a l l cooking purposes, etc.  Previous Accommodation During the eight years the A's have been known to the agency, they have moved on the average about twice a year, and from one poor, Inadequate place to another, never with sufficient space or furniture.  Between 1952 and 1954  the family moved from Vancouver to Creston, B.C., and later to Saskatchewan, where they lived i n a two-roomed ramshackle house. They were repatriated to Vancouver toward the end of 1954, and lived for a while with a relative i n a two-roomed house. They later secured a five-roomed house, i n which a kitchen wood and coal stove was their only source of heat. v i s i t was, "The children had measles. were blue with coM."  Worker's comment after one  They were without socks and their legs  The house was described as shabby, damp, dark, and  badly i n need of repair.  It was condemned by the health authorities, and  the family moved to the present suite early i n the year. The "B's" have lived i n the present location since coming to Vancouver about three years ago.  Mrs. B. said that as a child, she herself was raised  i n such "dives" as "The New Star Rooms," and had hid i n the theatres and church doorways rather than go home. The "C's" have lived i n only one other place, and that was a small tworoomed suite, which did not allow them sufficient space and they disliked being forced to live in such close quarters with other people.  Mrs. C. has  37.  lived i n Vancouver a l l her l i f e , and i n this same area, but she recalls her family home as being f a i r l y adequate and comfortable. The "D's" have moved only once since they were known to the agency i n 1952.  According to Mr. and Mrs. D., they have never known what i t i s to l i v e  in a "decent" place, and i t would seem that even though their present housing situation leaves much to be desired, i t i s no worse, but somewhat better, than where they have lived previously.  Mrs. D. spoke of the terrible time she had  with the plumbing i n their former place — pipes, etc.  there was flooding, leakage from  The place was condemned by the health authorities, and this  necessitated their moving i n 1953. The "E's" had lived for a short time on a small chicken farm before they moved to town i n about 1954»  The family had enjoyed living i n the country and  the children had difficulty i n getting used to the city. to town they lived i n a three-roomed suite. re-decorationj  When they f i r s t came  The suite was shabby and needed  furthermore, the rent was $50.00 monthly. There was no venti-  lation i n the g i r l s • bedroom and the father considered the quarters were unhealthy.  Neither did he like to have his children exposed to the drunkenness  that was common i n the apartment block. In 1952  the Catholic Children's Aid Society were asked to help the F's  because of the housing problem.  The F's have lived at their present address  since becoming known to the Society.  They had previously lived at Osoyoos,  B.C., and although Mrs. F. does not describe their l i v i n g quarters as being adequate, she liked living i n the country and was happy there. The "G's" were living i n a four-roomed house when f i r s t known to the agency in 1940. furniture.  The house was i n a poor state of repair and they had no  In 1946 they lived with Mr. G's sister and brother-in-law, i n one  38.  room with a kitchenette* making a t o t a l o f eleven persons crowded into t h i s small spaed, u n t i l Mr; and Mrs. G. could f i n d more adequate s h e l t e r . obtained a three-^room s u i t e .  Their only sleeping accommodation was  bed and a davenport f o r eleven.people. grandmother. comment was,  They  a double  The oldest boy went to l i v e with h i s  In s p i t e o f the poor and inadequate furnishings, the worker's "The s u i t e was always clean  and home-like in appearance."  The f l o o r s were cold and draughty and the children were seldom without colds. Mrs. G. was forced to dry laundry over the stove.  In 1951  the family moved  to t h e i r present l o c a t i o n , which i s the closest the family has ever come to experiencing accommodation that i n some measure meets t h e i r needs. The  "H's" were attempting to buy t h e i r own home on Glen Drive i n  1942  when Mr. H. had his accident and the family had to apply f o r s o c i a l assistance. In the intervening fourteen years, the family has moved only three times, from a two-roomed s u i t e to a four-roomed house, to t h e i r present home i n A p r i l ,  1956.  Before the family moved to t h e i r present home, they f e l t that they were l i v i n g "underground", because t h e i r house was which shut out any sunlight.  situated between two large buildings  Neither did they have a bathroom or shower,  and Mrs. H. and her daughter used to go to the neighbours for a bath.  Economic Status The  "A's" have been i n receipt of s o c i a l assistance since Mr. A.'s  d i t i o n was diagnosed as moderately advanced active TB.  con-  This i s the f i r s t time  that assistance has been granted t o the family continuously, but throughout the years temporary assistance was  given the family "to t i d e them over"  periods o f unemployment, which were quite frequent, due to the man's i n a b i l i t y to provide adequately f o r h i s family at any time.  Their rent i s  #40.00 a  39.  month, and they must heat and light the place at their own expense. Mrs. A. said she has about $40.00; a week for a l l family living expenses —  to buy food  for herself and the five children at home, pay for the fuel, the incidentals the children require at school, as well as such extras as dry-cleaning.  Mrs.  A. said that she has had some of the children's clothes at the cleaners for several weeks, and that she did not know when she would ever be able to spare the money to get them.  Mrs. A. said i t was impossible for her to wash and  dry such articles as snow-suits, woollen clothing, etcetera, i n their house. Mrs. A. thought they were fortunate in being able to get such things as medicine for the children, including Neo-Chemical Food, free of charge.  She  does have to pay for Vick's ointment and nose-drops which the children require when they have colds. Mrs.  has been encouraged by the nutritionist of the Gity Social  Service Department to do her weekly grocery shopping at one of the larger department stores rather than shop at nearby corner shops.  She usually buys  items that are pre-cooked or easily prepared, because her stove i s of l i t t l e use i n either cooking or heating.  The lack of storage space, f a c i l i t i e s for  keeping foods, also creates problems i n both shopping and meal-planning. Since Mr. and Mrs. B. have been separated, he has been paying weekly towards his wife's and children's maintenance. Until recently he used to pay her $100.00 monthly, of which $28.00 had to be paid for rent of suite. When the rent was increased to $10.00 pwr week, Mr. B. began paying $30.00 weekly to his family, thereby leaving $20.00 weekly for a l l household expenses. does not complain about managing on this small amount. head barman at one of the small hotels.  Mrs. B.  Mr. B. i s employed as  Mr. C., who is employed as a mixer with a construction company, earns #73.00 weekly, and except for occasional slack periods, he i s f a i r l y steadily employed. Their rent i s $45.00 monthly and they must heat and light their place.  Because i t i s draughty and poorly constructed, i t i s d i f f i c u l t to  heat, in spite of their using between one and two tons of coal a month during the winter trying to keep warm.  Mrs. C. shops weekly at one of the Safeway  stores and likes doing this, because she knows how she can best plan her meals for the week, without the family eating well for a few days and having less later on.  They have also planned to buy various pieces of furniture, paying  for them on time-payments.  They recently bought a large refrigerator, and  when this i s paid for, Mrs. C. would like to get a vacuum cleaner. Mr. D. i s steadily employed with a shipyard firm, and earns approximately #60.00 weekly.  Mr. D. states that even though he i s earning a f a i r  wage, he finds i t d i f f i c u l t to manage and get everything the family needs. The rent i s $47.50 per month, and they have to buy between a ton and a ton and a half of coal per month i n the wintertime.  Then there i s their light  and telephone b i l l every month. Mr. D. does the grocery shopping each night on his way home from work. He did try getting a large grocery order one week, but said that the children never stopped eating until i t was a l l gone. He thought he could not afford to shop this wayj  i t was cheaper to buy sufficient only for the day.  Lack of  space to keep food also hinders them from buying any quantity of food. Mrs. D. said that there never was enough money to buy clothes and bedding, and she wished she could get "an order" once in a while, but she doubted "they" would help her because Mr. H. i s earning a f a i r wage.  She  shops at a Saint Vincent used-clothing shop for many of their clothing needs, such as shoes, underwear, dresses, etc.  The "E's" monthly income consists of $90.00 social assistance, together with $23.00 from the Workmen's Compensation, plus $21.00 family allowance. Mr. E. talked as i f he was able to manage quite well on this amount for his family, but said he had to shop and plan his meals carefully so as to give his children a good variety of mourishing food. Mr. E. did pay a rent of $70.00 monthly, but after he had re-decorated the rooms, the landlord reduced the rent to $60.00. He did not disclose the amount of rent he receives from the two rooms his wife occupies.  Mr. E. must  also heat the house, which he claims is difficult to do in the cold weather because the house is so draughty. Mr. F. has steady employment as a labourer with a construction company and earns a monthly wage of approximately $240.00. Their rent i s $45.00 per month. Mrs. F. complained of what i t cost them for fuel, saying that they had to buy between one and two tons of coal a month, and the house was s t i l l cold. Their shopping for food, buying of clothing, etc., did not seem to follow any particular pattern, as Mrs. F. said that she sometimes did the shopping, and sometimes her husband did.  As was evident by the household furnishings, l i t t l e  or no money was spent on home improvements. The "G's" are in receipt of social assistance of $122.00 monthly. The family was put on social assistance when i t was determined that, due to Mr. G's failure to provide adequately for his family over a number of years, this was the only possible means of maintaining and stabilizing the family.  Their rent  is $45.00 per month, but i t costs them very little for fuel, as Mr. G. has a fair amount of old lumber given him from buildings that are being torn down. Mrs. G. does most of her grocery shopping at one of the corner stores. They allowed her to have credit there one month,and she has never been able to  42.  get money enough ahead so that she i s free to shop at the larger stores. However, the grocer knows she has a large family and often gives her bargains i n some things, which helps to offset the extra she may pay for other items. The Kinsman Club gave Mrs. G. a new portable sewing machine, and she says she irons and then sews — along.  now  doing her patching and mending as she goes  She sews and makes over clothing for the children, and because of this  the children are better dressed than they would otherwise be. The "H's" have been managing on social assistance, and Mrs. H's blind pension, for several years, and seem to have become quite expert i n doing so. Mrs. H. said i t was the " l i t t l e things" such as t o i l e t articles, school supplies and haircuts that she had difficulty i n finding the money for;  she  said she liked to encourage the children to be neat and particular about their personal appearance, and this meant buying such things as hair o i l , tooth paste, etc. The purchase of clothing is centred around the children•s needs and wants, because the mother considers i t most important that they dress like other children, and not be made to look different because they are on r e l i e f . Mrs. H. has a considerable amount of clothing given her by the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, which together with Jane's cast-offs, takes care of her needs.  Mr. H. remarked that he never got anything new, and that  was why he looked so shabby and dirty.  Mrs. H. was quick to remind him that  his "logger friends" give him lots of clothes.  Occasionally good used cloth-  ing i s given by the City Social Service Department worker for the children, and they also receive clothing in their Christmas parcels. Their rent is #40.00 monthly. They find their landlord very cooperative in making repairs to the house. He i s always willing for Mr. H. to  43.  go ahead and make the repairs, and to deduct the cost of the material from the rent.  They must heat the house themselves, but they are fortunate enough to  have a good deal of old lumber given them, which i s almost enough to meet their fuel needs.  They have the monthly expense of telephone, and light b i l l , as  well as the monthly payments on their washing machine and TV set. Mr. H. has control of the purse-strings and does most of the shopping for groceries at a nearby grocery store.  Neighbourhood As a l l these families live i n the same area of the city, a general description of the neighbourhood would serve equally well for a l l . are built close together, mostly run-down and i n need of paint.  The houses Only a few  feet of land separates the house from the sidewalk, thereby leaving l i t t l e or no space for lawn or garden. them from the sidewalk.  Some houses have only a rough fence separating  The backyards also are equally small, and the wide  alleys, which are quite common to this area, have provided space for an extra shack or house to be built.  Mrs. G's married son and daughter share one of  these houses, located i n her backyard.  The H's do not even have space for a  clothes-line i n their backyard, because an old shed takes up a l l the available space.  This same situation i s repeated i n the case of the C's, and the  children are deprived of any place to play.  (  The H's are the only family to  have space for any kind of garden, and that i s due to the fact that there i s a small vacant lot beside them. Trees, flowers, green grass are conspicuous by their absence, leaving nothing to relieve the grey monotony of the area. Several vacant lots are noted along the streets —  those that have not been used by the junk dealers  to store their scrap-metal, etc. have become choked with grass and weeds, and  44.  littered with garbage.  The E's, the F'a and the H's a l l have factories,  warehouses or industrial plants of one kind or another, across the streets from where they l i v e . The streets are narrow, as are the sidewalks.  Last summer the street  on which the A's live was widened and now has become one of the main t r a f f i c routes.  Because of the factories, warehouses, etc., i n that area, the t r a f f i c  consists mostly of trucks and transport vehicles.  Two of Mrs. A's smaller  children have been struck by cars. The children have no place to play except the sidewalk.  Janet was hit when she ran out into the street while playing,  and Doreen was h i t as she was endeavdsuring to cross the street.  Mrs.A. com-  plained of the speed at which the t r a f f i c travelled, and of the drivers' disregard for pedestrians.  Both children had to be taken to hospital and  treated i n the emergency department.  Fortunately neither was seriously hurt.  The "park',' which i s the one playground area for a l l these families, i s also unattractive as i t lacks trees, shrubs — faced with asphalt.  and grass, because i t i s sur-  There~is a small wading-pool, which the smaller children  enjoy i n the summertime, together with a few swings and teeter-totters.  Even  the schoolyard affords l i t t l e opportunity for play and sports, because i t has been heavily over-built.  Across the street from Mrs. G. i s an open green  f i e l d , which i s used mostly as a baseball diamond.  Nothing has been done to  make this playing-field attractive, but the greenness of i t alone does tend to make that particular area a l i t t l e more pleasing than the others, which have nothing at a l l .  Health Mr. A, who had been complaining of. arthritis i n his arms for some time, which had handicapped him i n working, was found to have moderately advanced active tuberculosis i n October, 1 9 5 6 .  He was committed to hospital for treat  ment, but has failed to co-operate with the health and hospital authorities by his refusal to remain i n hospital.  Three of the younger children were  later placed i n the Preventorium, following an examination of a l l members of the family.  According to Mrs. A., there i s a long history of tuberculosis i n  her husband's family.  Mrs. A. talked of the doctor cautioning her to be  watchful of the children and herself getting colds, etc.  Mrs. A., who i s  thin, sallow and frail-looking, complained of having had a cold for a week. She pointed to her washing which she had drying on lines draped about the kitchen and said that the dampness i t created i n the room certainly did not help her cold!  The children are also pale and thin, with neither skin nor  clothes looking as clean as they might be!  They have, however, managed to  remain relatively free of colds and any illnesses during the past few months. Both Mrs. D. and Mrs. G. looked somewhat tired and careworn, but neither complained of i l l - h e a l t h .  Mrs. D. seemed l i s t l e s s , as i f she lacked  energy to do anything, whereas Mrs. G. has a great deal of nervous energy and had need to be always working.  Mrs. D. recently had a l l her teeth out, and  i s waiting u n t i l she gets enough money to get her dentures. Mrs. D.., who i s short and stout, looks to be healthy physically, but her depressed, morose state would indicate poor mental health.  Mrs. H. i s the picture of health.  She i s stout and energetic, and i n spite of her blindness she has an optimisti happy attitude about herself, her family and friends.  The complaints voiced  by Mrs. B. i n regard to health problems were of a minor nature —  nothing  serious and nothing i n particular. particular reason; work.  She felt tired a great deal and for no  she had no inclination to do anything, not even her house-  She i s quite happy to s i t around a l l morning in her housecoat and do  nothing.  It i s Mrs. C's over-weight that worries her, and she has sought  medical treatment for i t .  Mrs. C. complained of the cost of the p i l l s the  doctor prescribed, but i f they w i l l help her to lose weight, she i s willing to do without other things i n order to follow the treatment.  She also com-  plained of her "nerves" and of how she cannot stop talking i f she gets someone to talk to. When she becomes depressed she finds i t helpful to talk with someone, as i t relieves her feeling of pressure and "pent-up" feelings. Both Mr. E. and Mr. H. have had to be granted social assistance because of injuries received while employed, which resulted i n their not being able to compete i n the labour market.  Mr. E's injury was to the brain, and he has  black-outs which occur periodically.  His eyesight and hearing are both very  poor, and he complains of arthritis i n his right arm and hand. However, he manages to keep quite active between his household chores and the "odd jobs" he does at the church.  Mr. H. suffered a back injury and i t has continued to  bother him throughout the years.  He i s a t a l l , thin, delicate-looking man,  and he worries a great deal about losing weight, also about his inability to obtain gainful employment.  He i s able, however, to do various chores around  the house, to make the necessary repairs, and to work in the garden. A l l these things help to relieve the monotony for him and to give him some status i n the family.  Mr. D. remarked that his health had been "pretty good"  throughout the years —  at least he has always been able to work steadily and  never lost time from his job because of illness. of average height.  He i s rather a slight man,  Neither Mr. C. nor Mr. F, nor Mr. G. were seen by the  writer, but there appears to be no problem i n regard to their health. Against this background, the children i n a l l eight families appeared remarkably healthy, with the exception of the "A" children.  At the time of  the writer's v i s i t to the "F" home, the two younger children were convalescing from very bad colds. slow recovery.  The mother blamed the cold, draughty house for their  Mrs. D. said she hated to see any of the children i l l , because  i t was such a problem i n looking after them owing to lack of space and facilities.  The Tenants' Response Mrs. A. i s most anxious to find another place to l i v e , but feels somewhat defeated before she even starts — not only because of the number of children she has, but because of the family's history of tuberculosis.  However, i f  Mrs. A. had a stove that worked properly and a place to hang her clothes other than i n the kitchen, she thought she would be quite satisfied.  The thing that  Mrs. A. wanted most was a house with a basement, where she could do her washing and hang i t up to dry. She complained of the dampness created i n the rooms because of the wet washing draped about, and of the difficulty of their getting r i d of a cold once they got one. Mrs. A. did not wish to move away from this neighbourhood.  She has  lived there the greater part of her l i f e , and f e l t at home, even though she does not know too many people i n the tenement building or on her street. She has a sense of security i n that her church takes an interest i n her and the children, and she would not want to leave on that account. Mrs. A. thought there were many disadvantages about living as they had to, but she sounded an optimistic note i n that she thought that children such as hers had just as good an opportunity of turning out well as those who had i t much easier. She  48.  •commented on the children's willingness to help and always being ready to do their share, even i f i t were only to sweep the floor. Although Mrs. B. has always complained about the place where she lives, she has never made any effort to find more adequate accommodation.  She dis-  likes i t because of the cramped quarters, lack of space for the children to play i n , but one advantage i s that there i s always someone i n the apartment building available to baby-sit for her.  She seemed to rely on an elderly  couple down the h a l l to accommodate her in this regard.  Mrs. B. was loath to  leave the city and preferred to l i v e i n this area as she f e l t "like a fish out of water" i f she got beyond Woodward's. Mrs. C. said that she would be happy; to l i v e i n a chicken-coop i f i t were her own and there were a.few feet of land around i t .  Where they now live  they haven't a square foot of land of their own for the children to play on. She dislikes quarrelling with the neighbours about her children, because they are not "bad" children, and she hates to see them constantly harassed about where they can and cannot play. Mrs. C. said she would do almost anything rather than spend another winter i n their present quarters.  She i s encouraging her  husband either to buy or build a place. Location seems immaterial to Mrs.  C,  who says she would be happy living anywhere but where they are. However, as they are the only tenants i n this place, they consider that they have been spoilt for living i n an apartment block. Both she and her husband agree that they do want a house of their own.  Mrs. C. feels fortunate i n that they do not have to  pay too high a rent where they are.  They had rented the rooms for #28.00 when  they f i r s t moved there, but the rent had gradually been increased each year, even though the landlord has never considered making any repairs or changes i n the place.  49.  The D's did not voice any complaints against  their present living  accommodation, because, as Mr. D. stated, "We don't know what i t i s like to l i v e i n a decent place, because we never have."  Neither did they c r i t i c i z e  the neighbourhood, because "the neighbours are no better than we are, and we are no angels'."  Their attitude toward the situation was one of acceptance —  where else could we live? Mr. E. thought i t was a bad neighbourhood to bring children up i n , and complained of the number of drunks who wandered up their streets.  He always  meets any of the children at the bus-stop i f they are coming home after dark. The oldest g i r l said she was ashamed to t e l l anyone where she lived, especially the girls at school.  However, Mr. E. said he f e l t at home i n this  part of town, as this i s where he has always lived and he liked i t there because he knows so many people. Mrs. F. would like to move out of Vancouver as she hates the city. She would be happy to l i v e on Lulu Island, but her husband refuses to leave the city because of his job. Mrs. F. hates bringing her children up across the street from a factory, and where they have no place to play. Mrs. G. said she would like to l i v e in a decent house just for once. Her present home i s such an improvement over other houses they have had that she feels quite grateful to be as comfortable as she i s .  Any time they talk  of moving, the children object, saying they cannot move from there because they cannot leave their school and their friends.  Mrs. G. thought some of  her friends who had lived there and now l i v e elsewhere were "putting on airs" when they said they would be afraid to walk down the street at night. She thought you were as safe on that street as elsewhere i n the c i t y .  She told  of her neighbour's daughters who are insisting that the mother s e l l their house,  50.  because they have to have a "decent address" to give when they go to apply for a job. Mrs. G. has not encountered this problem with her children as yet, but they may insist that she move! Since moving to their new home, the H's have taken "a new lease on life", and feel that they are just beginning to Live after spending five years in a place in which they never saw the sunlight, and where the floors became water-soaked every time i t rained.  Mrs. B remarked "We will stay where we  are until we are carried out," adding, "Our place is like a palace compared with Mrs. A's who lives up the street." The remarkable feature which impresses everyone who examines the problems of poor housing is not the fact that some parents neglect their children in difficult circumstances, but that in unfavourable circumstances many manage not only to rear a family but to make a place into a home; However, no matter how hard the parents may work to make their home attractive and comfortable, the structural decay, the lack of space, impose hardships and restriction on the family's way of l i f e .  CHAPTER H I HOUSING AND  FAMILY LIFE  The committee which studied. Child Protection i n Canada i n 1 9 5 4 found that the "protection families" had certain characteristics which distinguished them from what i s usually regarded as the average population. There appeared to be certain patterns of environment and adjustment among these families, and the committee described them thus: "This family would be i n receipt of an inadequate income, would have poor living standards and average or lower intelligence. The parent would have poor emotional health but might have good or poor physical health. They would be poorly adjusted socially although their occupational adjustment might be f a i r . In other words, these families were partially or wholly unable to maintain themselves properly, as families, without help. A major exception was noted, i n the group of families of good income and superior intelligence i n vhich emotional neglect existed without low physical standards."1 ' The protection families are often regarded as the most d i f f i c u l t and hopeless cases with which to work, and because of this feeling, they tend to 2  receive less attention than other cases i n the worker's caseload.  In order  to help these families, a study must be made of each family against i t s proper background. The parents' early experiences, their environmental pressures 1.  Child Protection i n Canada, published by the Canadian Welfare Council, Ottawa, 1 9 5 4 , p . 1 2 .  2.  The Social Worker,, The Use of Authority i n Protection Work, by Gordon K. Askwith, October, 1 9 5 5 , p . 7 . "Protection i s often looked upon as the hardest part of Children's Aid work. For many of us who carry mixed caseloads, i t i s the protection work that i s l e f t to the last. It i s the one we ignore, cross our fingers on, or just hope we don't hear from for another week. I t can be a l l the squalor, the unpleasantness, the hopelessness rolled into one. I t can also be a l l that we wished social casework was not and a l l that people mean when they say, "How can you put up with such depressing situations i n your work?  must be known and understood, as well as how they have coped with emergencies and d i f f i c u l t situations i n their past l i f e .  The children must be seen as  individuals, and knowledge obtained of their relationships within and beyond their family, their capacities and troubles, their.school life.and their play. If treatment i s to be appropriately focussed and "the use of community resources" to have meaning, i t i s necessary to assess the strengths and weaknesses of these families, as wellas understand the complexity of practical and emotional stresses i n which the parents and children are caught.  The eight  families reviewed for this study were found to have many characteristics i n common, but i n no two cases were the problems identical. arise are:  The questions which  what are the strengths and weaknesses of the families i n relation  to the protection incidents, to what extent were the various family members helped to use resources within themselves and the community to remain together as a family unit, and to what extent have they been happier and better for having done so?  Strengths and Weaknesses Throughout the years the "A" family has been known to various welfare agencies i n the c i t y , they appeared to have been improvident, shiftless and incapable of providing adequately for their children. a casual labourer was very poor. odd jobs was ten dollars.  Mr. A's work record as  In one month his total earnings for doing  Periodic assistance had to be granted by the City  Social Service Department, but any assistance given the family seemed to be of a palliative rather than a rehabilitative nature.  The A's became the typical  "problem family", known to many welfare and health agencies, but the family conditions remained unchanged.  Mrs. A., who was considered of low mentality,  53.  made l i t t l e effort to improve conditions. dirty and untidy, as were the children.  The living quarters were always The parents had l i t t l e control  over the children, who behaved as they chose, with l i t t l e direction and guidance.  Mrs. A. appeared lethargic, discouraged and unable to plan for the  future.  She had no regard for her personal appearance.  The two older children were apprehended and taken into care, i n 1948, when the family had no place to stay. More recently, following the birth of the youngest child, i t was considered inadvisable that he be discharged from hospital to such poor, inadequate home conditions, and was temporarily placed by the Catholic Children's Aid i n a foster-home. The strength of the family seems to be i n the fact that they have stayed together and that neither parent i s alcoholic.  However, there has  been an improvement i n Mrs. A's personal appearance and housekeeping standards and general attitude these past few months, since the strain of overcrowding has been somewhat relieved, with four members of the family away from the home and in hospital, and with the knowledge that she has a certain amount of money coming i n regularly.  Under present housing conditions, when any simple house-  hold chore, such as cooking a meal, washing clothes, etc. becomes a major task, i t would be almost impossible to expect any radical change or improvement. Yet with supportive help and encouragement, Mrs. A., though s t i l l very dependent and insecure, does show some potential for change and growth. Mrs. B. and her husband separated in 1953.  Their marriage had been an  unhappy one, and Mrs. B. said her husband despised her for not being educated. Mrs. B. f e l t keenly the deficiencies i n her own l i f e .  She said she was an  unloved, unwanted, deprived middle child, and called herself the "family work-horse."  She became an unmarried mother at an early age and was sent to  54.  the Girls' Industrial School for being incorrigible.  Her own mother had  had a similar kind of girlhood, and Mrs. B. worried i n case this same pattern would be repeated in her own children, especially i n the case of Florence, the eldest child, whom she had d i f f i c u l t i n relating to and i n accepting. Florence had been the "apple of her father's eye," and had lived with the father and paternal grandmother u n t i l she was three years old. Mrs. B. said that she had been "stuck" with Florence, ever since the day they brought her three years ago to spend Christmas with her.  Mrs. B. had tried to "dump"  Florence i n her father's room at his rooming-house, but the caretaker had stopped her.  The mother complained that she was unable to handle her. She  was lying and stealing and was "hateful" and abusive with her younger brother and sister.  The school nurse and teacher both complained that Florence i s  poorly clothed and that her mother i s very harsh with her. as an "unhappy and unwanted l i t t l e g i r l " .  She was described  The mother was desirous of having  Florence placed i n a foster-home. The father was interviewed regarding Florence's behaviour and possible apprehension.  He admitted that he had been paying less attention to Florence  than formerly, adding that he "couldn't see where this made the least b i t of difference to the child".  He thought his wife was harsh, cruel, unsympathetic  and treats Florence "worse than a dog."  She i s made to dress and care for the  younger children, and the mother does not get up to get her breakfast — only "shouts and hollers" at the child until she i s up and away to school. The father was, however, reluctant to consider apprehension at this time.  After  his interview with the social worker, he began to pay more attention to Florence, to v i s i t her on Saturdays, which alleviated the problems i n regard  to her behaviour. The mother's attitude toward Florence was not exhibited toward the other two children.  With them she seemed more relaxed and more accepting.  Her hostility toward Mr.B. may have been expressed i n her treatment of Florence.  Xet i t was quite evident that, when given the opportunity to talk  about her own deprived childhood, and given recognition of her own needs and fears, she was able to modify her own behaviour to and treatment of Florence. The "C's" have encountered many stresses and strains i n relation to family living because of their poor and inadequate housing.  Their greatest  stress has been the lack of playing space for their five oldest children, ranging i n age from two to seven years.  These children are healthy and robust  and.need room to run and play, but as soon as they climb down from their ricketty door-step,, they are trespassing on neighbour's property.  An elderly  man who lives i n a small cottage at the rear raises a "rumpus" each time the children go out.  Mrs. C. has tried to compensate for the inadequate housing  and lack of play space by giving the children good food, and lots of i t l  This  method of coping with the problem has only tended to create more problems, for Mrs. C , as she has gained an abnormal amount of weight, making her sloppy and unattractive i n appearance.  Mr. C. does not seek the companionship of  his wife, and spends his evenings and weekends with friends on fishing trips, etc. Mrs. C. feels the lack of attention from her husband, both for herself and for the children, and thinks this i s his way of escaping from an unattractive wife and home.  Mrs. C. has become so depressed by the situation that  she has threatened suicide. Because of the poor marital relationship, a referral to the Family Agency was discussed with Mrs. C , which she was unable to accept because she doubted  56.  her husband's willingness to go.  She was supported i n her plan to talk with  her husband about his lack of attention to the family and try to have him become more understanding of their needs. ment for her excess weight.  Mrs. C. also sought medical treat-  Mrs. C. shows affection for her children and i s  anxious to provide adequately and well for them. The "D" family has been known to the Children's Aid Society for a period of four years. During that time, two complaints have been received of the parents drinking excessively and of the children being l e f t alone. Neither of the parents can be regarded as alcoholic, but admit they enjoy going to the beer parlour for the "occasional beer!"  This seems to be their  only interest or activity outside the home. Mr. D. has always had steady employment of one kind or another, and although he has never earned a large salary, has managed to provide f a i r l y adequately for the family. There have been one or two occasions on which the family has been helped with clothing for the children.  Mrs. G«, who i s f r a i l and delicate-looking, makes rather an  ineffectual contribution to the family l i v i n g .  Possibly for this reason there  i s a lack of home-making standards, with each member of the family doing whatever he pleases. There i s no semblance of meal-getting, meal-planning. During the writer's v i s i t to the home, one of the children busied himself making toast —  the bread suspended on a coat-hanger over the open f i r e  in the Quebec heater, another ate heartily of a big bowl of shredded wheat, with the package of cereal and the milk carton placed nearby on the floor. Dirty dishes were l e f t wherever they finiished with them, as evidenced by the l i t t e r scattered about the room by those who had had their breakfast. The children were not inhibited i n their talk and play, and appeared happy and contented i n their unrestrained and undisciplined surroundings.  57.  However, the effects of such a home atmosphere may be shown i n Joanne's delinquent behaviour.  Joanne, the oldest child, quit school at the age of fourteen, and  went to work i n a restaurant. This afforded her an opportunity to escape the parental home, but i t also provided her with the opportunity to come i n contact with a man several years her senior.  Joanne was brought to the Detention  Home after she had lived with "her friend" for a week i n a tourist cabin. She showed no guilt or regard for moral standards when she discussed the episode with her worker, and saw her friend as someone to provide her with the "beautiful" things of l i f e , such as pretty clothes, etc. The mother despairs of the deplorable home conditions, but seems unable to effect any change or improvement. quite content with the situation.  The father i s less disturbed, and appears  It may be that he has given up caring, as  he cannot envisage any change. His interest i n oil-painting affords him a pleasant escape from rather depressing surroundings.  This interest i s shared by  a l l the members of the family. Family living has been somewhat complicated for the "E" family, i n the fact that, although Mr. and Mrs. E. are separated, Mrs. E. and her common-law husband have lived either i n the same apartment building or i n the same house as the rest of the family.  The children are ambivalent i n their feeling  towards the mother, and the frustrations of both the father and the mother are often focussed on the children.  Dorothy, the oldest g i r l , has been scornful  and resentful of her mother's behaviour, and hopes that she w i l l "never be like her."  However, when the family moved from the apartment to their house,  Dorothy was anxious that the mother move there also.  The younger g i r l , Betty,  misses the mother's actual being i n the home more than the other children. The father has not been able to be consistent in his discipline, and this has  aggravated behaviour problems.  Betty i s nervous and high-strung, bedraggled  in appearance and rejected by her classmates. In spite of the d i f f i c u l t i e s created by the marital problem, Mr. E. has shown a keen interest and desire that his children do well i n school. He encourages their participation i n community and church activities, and shares this interest with them insofar as i t i s possihle.  He insists that  the children bring their friends to the home> as he wants to meet them> and to know what his children are doing. In meeting ani talking with Mrs. F., there i s l i t t l e evidence that she is happy or finds enjoyment i n making a home for her husband and children. She i s a depressed, morose, uncommunicative person.  This may be due partly to  her cultural background as well as her own deprived childhood. She has been a confirmed alcoholic for years.  Her husband, whom the writer did not meet  and about whom there i s l i t t l e information on agency f i l e , sought help with his wife's problem of alcoholism from the Family Service Agency. This would indicate his concern about the problem and his desire to do something about i t . When the mother neglects the children because of her drinking, a sister who lives nearby comes to the family's rescue. Mrs. E. would like to move away from the city, as she dislikes city l i f e . However, her husband, who has steady employment here, i s unwilling to consider such a change, as the security of a job outweighs the benefits of l i v i n g elsewhere. Mrs. G. would appear to be the "strength" of this family, insofar as being able to maintain and keep the family together with l i t t l e or no support from her husband. Throughout the years, Mr. G. was unable to maintain steady employment because he was alcoholic, and periodic assistance had to be given  59.  the family by the City Social Service. Mr. G. worked as a truck-driver when he was employed, but blamed his lack of education for his inability to get the kind of jobs he wanted. Mrs. G. has worked hard to maintain a f a i r standard of home-making even i n crowded and congested quarters, and has tended to be protective of both her husband and her children. Within the "H" family there have been many stresses and strains throughout the years.  A competitiveness has existed between Mr. and Mrs. H.  to dominate the family. Mr. H. seemed desirous of making Mrs. H. dependent Q  n him, and her blindness could easily have brought this about. However, she  reacts with resentment to Mr. H's treatment of her as a c h i l d .  It was observed  that, as Mr. H. related incidents of her "cooking blunders" because of her blindness, Mrs. H. became hostile and defensive.  This situation has possibly  been aggravated by the fact that Mr. H. i s unable to provide for the family, which makes him feel inferior as well as hostile toward society generally. Mr. H. has never taken out his citizenship papers, although he has been i n this country for twenty-nine years.  Mrs. H. maintains there i s only "one true  Canadian," and that i s the Indian, so nationality provides another area of conflict between them. Mrs. H's periodic "drinking sprees" have, however, tended to create problems for the family. During these periods when she would be away from the family, Mr. H. would assume management of the home with the help of the eldest d a u g  nter  »  The children are c r i t i c a l and resentful of their mother's  behaviour at these times, threatening not to l e t her return to the home. However, when she does return - " i t ' s as i f she had never been away," — she becomes the good wife and mother to the family again.  and  60.  Mrs. H's impaired vision has not handicapped her i n making a wonderful contribution to the family relationships, and to the l i f e of her children. She has a confident appearance, i s talkative, and has a good understanding of the children's needs and how they can best be met.  Her interest i n the family i s  shown i n her desire to purchase for them a TV set, which brings her l i t t l e or no enjoyment personally, because of her poor sight, but i s a source of entertainment and amusement for her husband, who cannot go out or join the family i n their activities.  Interests and Activities The A's seemed to have had l i t t l e opportunity for recreation and family activities.  The Saturday afternoon show, i f the mother can "scare up" enough  money, seems to be the outing of the week for the children.  They a l l go to-  gether and usually stay from early afternoon u n t i l nearly six o'clock. Mrs. A. says there i s a park about five blocks away from them and there i s a small wading pool, which the youngsters enjoy.  She tries to go with them, as she i s  uneasy i f the children are there alone because of the number of "old men" hang around the park.  who  There seems to be l i t t l e for the children to do after  school and i n the evening.  They had been going to a neighbour to watch TV i n  the evenings, but these neighbours were moving. The children attend the Separate School, and the mother has been appreciative of the interest the nuns take i n them.  She i s hopeful that they w i l l be able to get the oldest boy a paper  route, so that he w i l l have something to do.  The children usually attend church  and Sunday School and any church activities for children. older children have gone to camp for a two-week period.  In the summer the  61.  Mrs. B. complained of the lack of space for the children to play. There is a junk heap at the rear of the house, and i t i s here her children and a l l the others in the neighbourhood seem to congregate and chase one another over and about this pile of junk.  Last summer Mrs. B. had the oppor-  tunity to spend the summer at a logger friend's cottage on Salt Spring Island. This gave them an opportunity to get away from the city, and for the children freedom to play. None of the children i s old enough to attend or to belong to any club or community group. Neither do they have any church connection. Mrs. B's escape or diversion i s an occasional v i s i t to the beer parlour. Mrs. C. has never had any opportunity for recreation because she has always been tied to home with the care of babies.  She has resented her husband's  lack of concern, and indifference to her need for diversion.  He has tended to  come home from work, then leave immediately afterwards with his chums to go fishing, and on weekends he was usually away most of the time.  The social  worker helped Mrs. C. to talk with her husband about t h i s , and there has been an improvement, i n that he did take Mrs. G. out to dinner and a show one evening, and i s interested i n planning with his wife to find more adequate housing.  The  children attend a nearly Sunday School, but have not reached the age to take an interest i n clubs. Mrs. C. i s lookirg forward to the summer when she can take a l l the children away to the beach for the day.  She said she would have to  walk there because she could never get on the bus with five small children and the baby i n the carriage. Mrs. C. did not seem daunted by the distance she would have to walk —  she thought i t would be worth i t i f the children could play  and enjoy themselves for the day. The children i n the "D" family did not appear to be overly interested i n community activities, clubs, etc. Neither of the boys attend the Gibbs Boys'  62.  Club nor the Pender Street "Y". The reason given was that i t was just for "kids" i n Grades II or III, and there was nothing there that interested them. Janet seemed to be the only one who belonged to any clubs, and she attended a group for g i r l s , sponsored by the Kinsman Club once a week, and then went to a club meeting for girls at the church.  Mr. D. complained that there  seemed to be nothing around there to interest boys and that was why they got into trouble. On Saturday the three younger children usually attend the afternoon show, while Mr. and Mrs. D. do the grocery shopping and go for a "couple of beers."  B i l l y , the older boy, usually works i n the afternoon f o r a junk  collector. The family attends St. James's Church, but Mr. D. said he didn't like going there, as he never knew what they were doing! Mr. D's interest i n oil-painting i s shared by the family, and they a l l take pride i n his efforts.  Mr. D . said he had learned to do i t by going to  the library when he was off work and reading about i t .  He has never had any  formal training, but he did study printing at night school last winter, and he has found this knowledge useful on his present job. He also spoke of doing wood-carving as a pastime. The family has no shared activities during the summer months. The children go to the parks occasionally with their playmates, but complained of there not being any nice parks around where they live to play i n . Mr. E. i s interested i n a l l the activities of the children and often participates i n any way he can. He has encouraged Dorothy to become interested i n the First United Church Young People's Society and i n the CGIT group. There seemed to be a lack of companions in the neighbourhood for her, but the  63.  association with the church helped her to meet and become acquainted with other young people. Robert was encouraged to join the Boy Scouts, and a uniform was obtained for him.  The uniform was much too large, and the other boys teased him say-  ing that "he wore skirts."  Robert then refused to attend either the Boy  Scouts or the church group, because the same boys belonged to both groups. He attends the Gibbs Boys' Club, and i s interested i n boxing. 1  His father has  attempted to base his attendance at the club on how well he i s doing at school. Mr.E. wants the children to bring their friends to the house, and frequently Robert and his friends have a "jive" session. Mr. E. spends a lot of time doing odd jobs for the church, and helps occasionally to serve meals at the Salvation Army, etc. He says he has got ten or twelve children attending Sunday School who never used to attend, just because he goes aid calls for them and takes them along with his own children. Mrs. F's children are not old enough to belong to clubs or groups, with the exception of Frances, who i s eleven. Frances did attend a group i n which they were taught cooking, but she did not enjoy i t , so only went a few times. The children sometimes attend a Mission Band at one of the churches, but they do not go to any church or Sunday School. Mrs. F. expressed disappointment about this, and said she would l i k e to have them attend the Catholic Church, but her husband refuses to give his permission. Mrs. F. complained of lack of space for the children to play i n .  She  worries i f they are on the streets because of the t r a f f i c , and about the fact they are near the waterfront, yet she feels she cannot keep them shut up indefinitely and always be watching them. Mrs. G. likes her children to bring their playmates and friends home  64.  with them and to play i n their own house. They have a record-player and an old piano with which the children amuse themselves.  There i s a small park  across the street from them, so the children have a good opportunity to play b a l l , etc. The children attend the various activities at the Pender Street "Y" on the average of about twice a week. They are not very keen on going to summer camp, but instead prefer going to Surrey to v i s i t with Mrs. G's relatives. The "H" children have always been eager to take advantage of amy club or group activities and the parents have shared this interest with them. The boys became interested i n the activities at the Pender Street •"Y", and joined a friendship group as well as a cooking class, when this was suggested to them by their CSSD worker. They also joined the Gibbs' Boys' Club. joined a Charm class at the "Y", which she seemed to enjoy.  Susan  However, this  past year or two, the mother's and the children's activities and interests seem to have centered around therecreation program of the CNIB. The mother takes the children to the church services, their picnics and outings i n the summertime, and to concerts and entertainments during the winter months. Swimming has been a sport they a l l enjoy, and Mrs. H. plans frequent trips to the beaches with the children —  going, as Mrs. H. states, to the  "high-class" places (by which she means English Bay). ;  Mrs. H. does not take  a lunch with her for the children, as she does not want them to swim while eating, but insists they have a good dinner when they get home. In wintertime they occasionally go to Crystal Pool, and when Susan was offered a reward for her high marks in school, she preferred going with her mother to the Crystal Pool rather than to a movie. The children have not been eager to  65.  attend any summer camp, saying they would rather stay home and go to the beach with their mother. The father never joins the family i n any of their activities, but i s interested i n whatever they do. Larry has a paper route, which gives him an interest and keeps him busy after school. Occasionally the boys help an o l d lady who has a small grocery store, and she takes a motherly interest in them. Gardening and working around the home seeem to be Mr. H's chief interest.  He i s delighted to  have the small plot of land i n which to grow a few vegetables.  Mrs. H's fond-  ness for flowers i s shown by the number of potted plants she has.  Susan i s  interested i n sewing and knitting, and does most of the sewing for the entire family, as well as knit socks for the boys. Mrs. H. helps her i n both activities, so far as her eyesight w i l l permit.  Education Four of the "A" children attend a Separate School.  John, the oldest  boy, aged ten years, is in Grade III. Mary, aged eight, i s i n Grade II, as well as Helen.  Mrs. A. seemed to think the children were doing quite well at  school, and was satisfied with their progress.  When Florence started school  last year, her school record revealed her chronological age as five years and nine months, and her mental age as seven years and seven months. However, this high potential d i d not develop i n actual practice. a class of thirty.  She stood seventeenth i n  She missed considerable time from school, was restless and  was continually rubbing her eyes. always eager to please-.  In the classroom she was co-operative and  When her father began to spend more time with her,  both her behaviour and school record improved. •schooling of the two "C" children.  There were no problems around the  They enjoyed school and the classroom  66.  activities and were doing well. Susan, aged sixteen, attends Technical School, and i s taking a course i n stenography and dressmaking. she i s .  Susan's teachers remark on how conscientious  She i s anxious to excel i n her studies, and gets mostly A's and B's on  her report card.  Susan hopes to get a job as dressmaker with the Theatre  Under the Stars this summer, whereby she w i l l be earning as well as getting experience i n the work she i s interested i n . The family i s most anxious for her to finish her schooling, so that, as Mr. H. remarks, "She'll not have to go on r e l i e f like us."  The three other children attend Seymour Street, and  seem to be doing quite well i n their grades.  Mrs. H. takes an active interest  in the children's school work, and never f a i l s to attend the Parent Day programs, etc.  She considers this as helpful and encouraging to the children i n getting  to know their teachers and the school principal. Joanne D, the oldest of the "D" children, took her f i r s t year of Grade VIII at Templeton Junior High School, which she failed.  She went back to repeat  the grade, but quit after only a few months at school.  The School Board  questioned giving permission for Joanne to leave school because she was only fourteen years of age.  However, on examination of the home situation, the  attendance officer stated that she did not wonder at Joanne's wanting to quit school and get away from home. B i l l y , aged thirteen, i s in Grade VII, and i s repeating his year at school. He did not seem very enthusiastic about school and is looking forward to quitting so that he can get a job.  Janice and Jack,  aged ten and nine, are both i n Grade IV, because Janice i s repeating her year. Evelyn, the youngest, aged eight, i s in Grade II. Dorothy E., aged sixteen, i s taking her Grade XI at Britannia High School.  She i s enrolled i n a secretarial course and seems to be doing quite  67.  well.  The Ball League has loaned her a typewriter so that she may practise  her typing at home. Robert, aged fourteen, was placed i n Grade IX at Britannia High School on t r i a l .  He shows a preference for sports rather than  academic subjects, and has quit school so that he can take a shoe-repairing course, i n which he i s interested. that he can help his.father.  He i s anxious to start earning money so  Betty, aged eleven, i s backward at school, and  is i n the IV Grade at Strathcona School.  The teacher's opinion of Betty i s  that she would do better academically i f the home environment was more stable. Larry, the youngest, has started school this year and seems to enjoy i t . He has had d i f f i c u l t y i n learning to read, but Dorothy has been able to help him and there has been an improvement. The three older "F" children attend Strathcona School and seem to be doing quite well. i s satisfactory.  Frances, aged eleven, i s i n Grade V, and her school work David and Donald are in Grade I. Mrs. F. would like to  enrol the two younger children i n kindergarten, but doubts i f there w i l l be space because she was late i n applying. The six younger "G" children are a l l attending school regularly and doing quite well.  They seem to enjoy their school associations and activities,  aid the mother has had no d i f f i c u l t y i n getting them to attend.  Dwayne, the  oldest boy, has had a very good scholastic record, and although now employed he would like to return to school and study engineering.  Social Services To what extent these families have used and been able to use the services of the community and of the agencies i s interesting to note.  In this part of the  city there i s a limited number of recreational f a c i l i t i e s available.  With the  6 8 .  .•<>  exception of the churches, which play a leading part i n the l i f e of the community, the young people look to the Gibbs Boys' Club and the Pender Street "Y" for their activities outside the home. Many of the social workers known to these families throughout the years have endeavoured to encourage and develop the children's interest i n the various groups and activities.  The parents'  concern that the children be "kept off the streets" has always helped to make this problem easier.  This was shown very clearly i n the w»rk with the "H"  family and the "E" family, when both the parents and the children were interested in activities suggested to them by the social worker. Most of the children have remained interested and have continued to attend the various classes regularly. As well as developing s k i l l s , they have the opportunity to meet and associate with other people and to form standards of behaviour. Mrs. C. was concerned about her four-year-old boy, Edward, who was becoming a behaviour problem, partly due to the fact that he was restricted i n his play activity, due to lack of space.  The social worker told Mrs. C. of  the Day Nursery, and was able to help her arrange for his going there daily during the week. The church's interest i n the families known to them and living i n that area i s shown by reports on the agencies* f i l e s .  In some instances the social  worker has contacted various church members when help i s needed i n regard to a family's problem.  Dorothy E. was enabled to become a junior leader of a Young  People's group because her worker had talked with a church member about Dorothy's need to have a good "mother figure" with whom to identify, and of her need to gain self-confidence. The children's attitude or response to sumnEr camp was somewhat revealing.  Although this i s a community service which i s planned largely for such  69.  children as these, because they lack space to play and an opportunity to get away from the city, most of them appeared uninterested.  Those who were of  camp age had attended one of the summer camps at least once, but they were not anxious to go again. They offered no reason for this, except that they preferred going to v i s i t relatives i n the country, or, as in the case of the H's, they preferred going to the local beaches with their mother. A summer holiday was something that parents had never anticipated, but Mrs. A. thought a few weeks at a summer camp would make her feel a l o t better. The Christmas hamper which i s arranged for and provided through the local Christmas Bureau was mentioned by several families as something they looked forward to and really counted onI  One or two families related rather  unfortunate incidents regarding those hampers. The E's had had theirs stolen on Christmas Eve and were l e f t with nothing for Christmas dinner. Mrs. H. said they had always got two hampers previous years and had counted on them this year. The one that came had a ham i n i t , which they cooked and ate a few days before Christmas, thinking that the one with the "usual chicken" would come later. Mrs. H. had bought her cranberry sauce in anticipation.  Unfortunately i t did  not come and the family had to send out to a restaurant for fish and chips for their Christmas dinner. The one occasion on which a visiting homemaker was requested was refused because of the dilapidated condition of the home. Mrs. C. was expecting to enter hospital for confinement, and arrangements had to be made for the care of the children i n the home. Many of the services provided under the Municipal Public Welfare Department enable those families on social assistance to receive special services and grants according to their need and circumstances. Mrs. H. receives the Blind  Pension of $60.00 per month, thereby increasing their total income by about thirty dollars.  Likewise the A's, because of the tuberculosis i n the family,  are granted social assistance for each member of the household, and an extra forty dollars monthly can be authorized toward the rent payment.  However, Mrs.  A. has not succeeded i n finding other accommodation even though able to pay extra for rent.  Dentures were supplied recently to Mrs. H., and glasses were  provided for one of the "G" children.  These services are available together  with dental care for the children under eleven years of age, of persons i n receipt of social assistance. A l l recipients are entitled to the services of their own doctor.  Drugs, hospitalization and specialist services, as pre-  scribed by the attending physician, may also be provided. The Metropolitan Health Nurse also aids the famines i n regard to health problems, by periodic v i s i t s to the home as the need i s indicated. Occasionally the school nurse brings to the attention of the social worker problems i n regard to children, as was the case of Florence B. The nurse observed that Florence was constantly rubbing her eyes, seemed most unhappy and looked neglected. Her report to the social worker enabled him to help both Florence and her parents. The services of the Mental Health Clinic have been used i n trying to assess the situation i n regard to both the A's and the G's, because of the apparent inability to effect any change or improvement in these two cases, of long-continuing contact with various agencies. Casework help was given to several of the families with problems i n regard to inter-personal relations.  The worker enabled Mr. and Mrs. B. to see  that the problem of Florence's behaviour was largely the result of their ow» treatment of her.  Mrs. B. was given an opportunity to talk about her own  d i f f i c u l t i e s as a child and to express her fears i n regard to Florence. Mrs.  C. was helped to express not only her anxieties about their inadequate housing, but also about the poor marital relationship.  The problems encountered i n the  "F" family because of the parents being separated —  and yet not being  separated — were also recognized and dealt with as effectively as possible. The agency i s s t i l l not satisfied with the family situation, but the support and understanding of the worker has prevented the situation from deteriorating, and has enabled the children to make a relatively good adjustment. The value of continuous agency contact with a family i s shown i n the "H" family. They have been known to the City Social Service since 1942, and although there has been a change of workers during that time, the family has regarded each worker as someone who knows them and i s interested i n them.  The  use of authority, limit-setting, which are aspects of protective family work, were used i n 1946 when the children were apprehended and placed i n the care of the Children's Aid Society.  This created within the family an awareness of  their need for one another, as well as helping them, especially Mrs. H., to realize a more acceptable standard of behaviour i s required i n the protection of children. The intolerable housing and degrading environment present problems and d i f f i c u l t i e s not only to the tenants, but to the social agencies which are trying to help these families.  Many of the families are desirous of improving  their situation, and the social worker feels that until some change i s effected in this family's living conditions, i t i s hopeless, or almost impossible, to work effectively with the family. In a few cases, such as the B"s and the D's, they have come close to "giving up" —  they have become insensitive to their  environment because they have neverexperienced better, and lack incentive to move out or to search for better accommodation. Housing i s also a budget  matter —  and where i s the better housing to be found?  that must be answered.  This i s a question  Encouragement and support by social workers can help  to mobilize the strength and resources of these families, but can i t improve their standards of living?  CHAPTER IV HOUSING AND  PROTECTIVE SERVICES  This exploratory study of family l i v i n g , which i s merely a beginning i n a large f i e l d , has been an endeavour to show the day-to-day l i v i n g o f f a i r l y large families i n an area where poor housing, together with i n d u s t r i a l i z a t i o n , competitive employment and unregulated urban development have created problems not only f o r the families who l i v e there, but f o r s o c i e t y as a whole.  Extreme  cases, either i n regard to housing or to protection, were not chosen f o r t h i s study, but rather those that may be considered representative o f the majority of families l i v i n g there.  The d i r t i e s t of homes and the worst cases of neg-  l e c t and cruelty are not n e c e s s a r i l y found i n the worst slum areas.  They may  occur i n circumstances where there are ample opportunities f o r reaching higher standards.  However, the description of the s o c i a l environment of children  l i v i n g i n these areas shows c l e a r l y the kind o f s o i l i n which the roots of such e v i l s as c h i l d neglect, problem f a m i l i e s , etc. are to be found.  Housing  and neighbourhood improvement are among the p o l i c i e s needed t o prevent such families from carrying on the same pattern of d i r t , disease and  delinquency  from one generation to the next. Evidence of the need f o r slum clearance has not been lacking;  there  have also been p r a c t i c a l recommendations for dealing with t h i s problem.  The  Vancouver Housing Association f o r the l a s t f i f t e e n years, an a f f i l i a t e d member of the Community Chest and Council, has conducted  surveys and  continuous  educational campaigns on every aspect o f housing needs i n the metropolitan area.  A high proportion o f the population of t h i s province i s very w e l l housed,  74.  but certain groups are very poorly housed, so poorly i n f a c t , that "the existence of such conditions i n a wealthy community such as Vancouver presents a challenge to our s o c i a l conscience."  1  The poorly housed include those  could afford adequate housing i f i t were a v a i l a b l e , as w e l l as those who afford to spend more f o r s h e l t e r .  Those who  who cannot  could afford better houses are  forced to take what i s a v a i l a b l e at the rents demanded, even though the rent i s normally commensurate with a better standard of l i v i n g .  In 1947  an  exhaustive survey was made of a s p e c i f i c area i n Vancouver and p r a c t i c a l proposals 2  f o r the r e h a b i l i t a t i o n of the area were included i n the f i n a l report.  In spite  3 of t h i s and the existence o f l e g i s l a t i o n which makes such projects p o s s i b l e , not a single acre of slum has b een cleared i n Vancouver f o r the purpose of putting a rehousing project i n i t s place. The Canadian National Housing Act of 1938  has helped to b u i l d a great  number of what might be described as "middle-class houses", but i t has scarcely scratched the surface of Canada's r e a l housing problem, which i s the provision of decent homes within the reach of people i n the lower income brackets. housing c r i s s  The  has come at the precise time when t h i s country i s welcoming the  start of what should be one of the greatest waves o f immigration  i n i t s history.  The majority o f these immigrants w i l l , i n a l l p r o b a b i l i t y , want to l i v e i n the c i t y , and t h i s w i l l place an a d d i t i o n a l s t r a i n on our already inadeqhate housing. 1.  2. 3.  Stratton, P.R.U., "The Housing Scene". Houses f o r A l l . Proceedings of Housing Conference, Vancouver, B.C., Jan. 1954, sponsored by Vancouver Housing Assoc. i n co-operation with. Community Planning Assn. of Canada (B.C. Division), p . l . Marsh, L.C. op. c i t . The Canadian National Housing Act of 1938, contained a slum-clearance sectt i o n , including provisions f o r the setting up of l o c a l Housing A u t h o r i t i e s .  75.  The existence of bad housing i s harmful not only to the occupants themselves, but to society as a whole.  Partly because of lack of income and  partly because of inadequate public measures to deal with the housing problem, a great many Canadians have been forced to live crowded together in dwellings and i n neighbourhoods that hinder rather than promote wholesome personal development. The degree to which housing inadequacies contribute to the problem families, child neglect, i s difficult to assess, because of numerous other factors i n the situation.  It i s equally d i f f i c u l t to assess the quality and  effectiveness of the casework help given these families.  However, a complete  answer to the problem can only be found i n an examination of both aspects of the problem. The provision of good housing and an adequate income w i l l undoubtedly improve the lot of the majority of people living i n slum areas and give them an opportunity to live happier, healthier lives, but one does not always necessarily follow the other.  The human factor, the people themselves,  must not be overlooked i n our planning for and dealing with the problem. A new house or better accommodation does not automatically provide a l l that i s necessary for successful family l i f e , and eradicate a l l other social i l l s  —  but i t makes no sense to leave poorly functioning families i n depressing, crowded and uncomfortable conditions;  nor to "pour" welfare services into  families whose environment offsets recuperative and rehabilitative effort at every turnl  Houses and Families Overcrowded living conditions are among the most disabling i n their effect on family l i f e .  Apart from the risks involved to physical health, they  are a constant source of emotional strain, causing the inevitable family  frictions to be magnified out of a l l proportion. The resulting lack of privacy i s demoralizing, both for the parents and children, and the intensification of personal contacts which occurs under these conditions i s not conducive to the development of satisfying personal relationships. The eight families reviewed i n this exploratory study were found to have a maximum space of half a room per person, when one room per person i s taken as a standard, which i s minimal.  This i s not taking into consideration  the cubic capacity of the room, i t s adequacy i n regard to light and heat, as well as the sex, age - of the members of the family, which would have to be taken into account to give an accurate figure for each dwelling unit. What does this degree of over-crowding mean to the parents and the children i n the home?  It i s d i f f i c u l t to assess or to analyze, because of  the number of variables i n each home situation, such as the size of the rooms, the kind and quantity of furniture, bedding, the age of the inhabitants, and above a l l , their habits.  Lack of heat or lack of furniture may force the  family together i n one room, even i f there i s more space available i n the home. Lack of space, too small a table, and i n some cases a shortage of chairs, dishes and cutlery, prevent the family from sitting down together to a properly l a i d table.  Meals become "scrappy" affairs, with the children running i n and out,  eating largely what each one wants and when he wants.  It i s interesting to  note that i n some cases both the parents and the child-en seemed less sensitive to their disorganized surroundings, less aware of the irritations that are keenly f e l t i n an orderly environment. As the difference i n size between larger and smaller families consists mainly of young children, i t i s clear that the evils of over-crowding and bad housing f a l l most heavily upon those who are least able to resist them. Thus  77.  the children i n large families have as a rule worse housing, less maternal care, and much less chance of higher education than the children of smaller families. When there i s overcrowding, there i s less play-space both inside and outside the home for the children, and when play i s repressed, there is a direct thwarting of the child's development.  The mother becomes harassed and i r r i t -  able trying to cope with the situation, scolds the children when she realizes that under normal living conditions — i t would not be necessary.  i f the children had a place to play i n —  Another important aspect of overcrowding i s the  lack of bedroom accommodation. The average number of bedrooms per family available i n the cases studied was two, whereas the average number of children per family was five, and i n a l l cases, with the exception of two, both parents were i n the house."''  It i s common for the younger members of a family to be with-  out sufficient sleep owing to sharing sleeping quarters and the impossibility of segregating the children into age-groups where so many share one room, one bed.  They are also kept awake by the talking, the radio or TV —  the activities  of the older family members encroaching upon the rest of the young. Thus the overcrowded home does not afford the school child the room and quietness he needs i n order to study, but robs him of adequate rest as well, thereby either causing him to repeat his grades, or to quit school earlier than he should. In dealing with the problem of overcrowding, the experience of Sweden and i t s method of dealing with i t i s an important example. When the plan for social housing was developed i n Sweden, i t was centered around the needs of the family. The scheme of subsidizing families instead of houses i s , perhaps 1.  Wheeler, Michael, Evaluating the Need for Low-Rent Housing. Master of Social Work Thesis, University of British Columbia, 1955, p . l . "Overcrowding and disturbed family l i f e have obvious connections, and i t i s significant that broken homes as a whole comment less than any other family types on the effects of accommodation on family l i v i n g . The less exacting requirements of the broken family i n terms of sleeping accommodation may account for part of this." N  78.  the most important Swedish contribution to the world-wide housing problem. Superficially, Swedish housing standards are high, except in one respect, namely, overcrowding.  They recognized the problem of overcrowding i s mainly  a child welfare problem as the children are the chief cause both of the overcrowding and of some of the poverty i t s e l f . who are ill-housed.  Concretely, i t i s the children  The Swedish housing policy became focussed on the children.  The children had not chosen to l i v e so unfavourably, and the parents' right to harm children became generally disputed.  A law about foster-children, where the  responsibility of society was indisputable, had earlier prescribed that so many persons may not be housed i n one room that risks for their health arises.  1  But i n the housing sanitation regulations concerning the family's own children, this risk for health was stated as "grave risk for health" i n order to sanction the intervention of authorities. Now the regulation was changed so as to protect children in a family f u l l y as much as children who already were under 2  direct community control. The importance of housing as a budget problem i s recognized i n the w e l l established formula that the average family of low or moderate income should not have to spend more than one-fifth of i t s income for housing.  The smaller  the family's income, the less f l e x i b i l i t y there i s i n the proportions spent on food, clothing and shelter, until a point is reached at which i t may be impossible for the low-income family to pay more than one-fifth of i t s income f o r rent, and 1.  2.  Children's Aid Society, Vancouver, Policy Manual, Home-finding Department Section, p.5. "Sleeping accommodation — It i s required that a bed of his own be provided for each child. Two sisters or two brothers may share a bed during a temporary emergency placement. Babies up to one year of age may share foster-parents' bedroom where the room i s large enough ... " Myrdal, Alva, op.cit,, pp.  256-57.  79.  also maintain a desirable minimum standard of l i v i n g .  In so many ways,  shelter i s as much an essential as food or clothing, but the low-income family cannot "shop around" for housing that i s within i t s a b i l i t y to pay to the same degree that they can shop for economical purchasing of clothing and food, because the demand far exceeds the supply, and they have to take what i s available.  The choice of housing available to those families i s severely Limited  by the low rent they can afford and, for the most part, their accommodation tends to be of low quality characterized by a high incidence of structural inadequacies and poor f a c i l i t i e s .  The unwillingness of the landlords to rent  to families with children, and particularly large families, has meant for the most part that the only accommodation open to this group i s the kind that does not rent easily because of i t s inferior quality.  There are few bargains  i n low-rent housing, and many of them are l i a b i l i t i e s . "Unfortunately, i t frequently happens that low and moderate income-families not only sperid a larger proportion of their income on rent than do higher income families, but they also get less housing i n terms of these basic requirements for their money. The slum provides the most dramatic evidence of what happens when poor housing i s coupled with the problem of l i v i n g on a marginal income. Long before that extreme i s reached, however, the effects of inadequate housing are f e l t i n increased family tensions, fatigue, i l l - - ^ health, and i n the constant frustrations of a normal family l i f e . " The inferior type of accommodation which these families are forced to occupy i s frequently dictated by the low rent they can afford to pay.  However,  by the time the rent is reckoned up for each room (the average rent i s $45.00 monthly, the average nuniber of rooms i s four), i t may not even be cheap accommodation for the low-income family. 1.  The cost of u t i l i t i e s , especially  Wheeler, Michael, op.cit., pp.27-28. This was a survey of the housing and income circumstances of the families who applied for entrance to the L i t t l e Mountain low-rental housing project.  80.  the heating costs, i s a frequent complaint among such families, including those surveyed in this study.  Facilities for storing and cooking food were also  in most cases totally inadequate. Under these conditions, housekeeping becomes not only unnecessarily expensive, but an unrelieved chore for the mother, whose reaction to the excessive strains i s liable to take the form of a punitive and restrictive attitude toward the children. From the cases studied, the "H" family may best illustrate the effects of improved housing upon family l i f e .  Where they had lived previously, large  buildings on either side of their small four-roomed house prevented any sunlight from reaching them. living 'underground'".  As they put i t , the family f e l t "as i f they were  They lacked proper bath and t o i l e t f a c i l i t i e s , and  insufficient bedroom space allowed the family members no privacy.  This was  particularly disturbing to the oldest g i r l , who was i n her early teens.  The  unhappiness in the home was shown by the mother's drinking,the family complaining about the other children i n the neighbourhood, and wishing they could move from "that d i s t r i c t " .  By contrast, their "new"  home, which i s i n the same dis-  t r i c t , but which has more room, some garden space, proper bathroom f a c i l i t i e s , etc.,  has given the family a "new  lease on l i f e " .  There i s a happiness i n the  family, a pride in their home, which i s sensed in the family's behaviour and conversation.  The family has gained i n social status, and there i s an  increase of interest i n community activities.  Social Work and Families The problem of improving the content of family l i f e , of remedying the problems of child neglect, delinquency, and other social evils, involves far more than the improvement of material conditions alone.  As long as immorality,  81.  neglect and delinquency go unchecked we are destroying the basis of improvement i n family l i f e which we hope material advance w i l l bring.  We must seek  to understand the history, character, personality, and outlook of the people concerned. We must obtain a full-scale picture of the lives of the people with whom we are dealing.  Family l i f e , especially parent-child relationships, must  occupy the central part of the picture; to a large degree a l l other parts of the picture can only be understood when looked at i n relation to family l i f e . The "A" family shows only too plainly how, because of lack of knowledge and understanding, such families can d r i f t along from one squalid dwelling to another, from one crisis to the next, from one organization or public department to another, with no agency being able to effect any change in the l i f e of the family during the eight years i t has been known to them. different agencies unable to effect any improvement?  Why were the  Why, i f the quality of  family l i f e never showed signs of improving, were the children allowed to remain i n such surroundings, and with such parents? These questions must be asked — even i f the answers are not simple. The answer may, i n part, be the lack of co-ordination of the different social agencies involved.  I f each agency i s interested in only one particular problem  of family l i f e , each meeting the need or crisis that f a l l s within i t s scope, at that particular time, the total effect may have no endurance. It is not unusual to find that l i t t l e effort i s made to ascertain whether other agencies are calling, and often they are unaware of the extent to which other social services are involved and what the others plan to do.  Often the agencies are  not clear amongst themselves as to where the f i n a l responsibility for dealing with the family l i e s .  The "A" family i s an example of the failure of such  methods, and i t i s by no means an isolated one.  Frequently the un-coordinated  82.  mass approach to the problem family defeats i t s own end.  The parents become  exasperated by repeated questioning and tired of being told what to do, sometimes by people who, though genuine i n their intentions, have no idea of the d i f f i c u l t i e s which beset a large family with a small income, living i n a slum home. Since Mr. A's illness, the agencies were able for the f i r s t time to coordinate their efforts i n helping the family. The response of Mrs. A. has been encouraging, even i f that of Mr.A. has been the r everse.  It w i l l take  time and effort to effect any appreciable change, but i f a desire for a better way of giving can be aroused within the family, and they can be supported and guided i n the attainment of this, the children at least will benefit permanently. It takes time for a social worker to get to know a family well enough to appreciate what are the real problems involved, and even longer to decide such v i t a l questions as to whether the children should be removed from the care of their parents, who seemingly are unable to provide adequately for them.  The  chances are that before enough i s done to see i f a change can be made in the home l i f e , the family, i f i t i s a "restless" one, has moved and the case has to be passed over to the workers who cover the new district.  It i s possible  i n this way for families to go on living i n deplorable conditions without any worker being i n touch with them long enough to take effective steps for improving or remedying the situation. Of course there are parents who, because of subnormal intelligence, emotional instability, lack of character and habit-training i n their own childhood, are incapable of looking after a family.  Nevertheless, when this i s  the situation, the community should not stand idly by and l e t home conditions d r i f t into worse squalor, because i t has a duty to the children.  In the  interests of their future well-being, they should be removed from such homes and given an upbringing i n surroundings which correspond as nearly as possible to a normal home l i f e .  The social worker must guard against leaving  children too long i n an environment which warps their minds and bodies when there i s l i t t l e hope of enduring improvement because of the irremediable f a i l ings of the parents;  she must also guard against too hasty removal a l l because  no one, and no resources are available to make a sufficient effort to improve the standard of home l i f e , thereby depriving the children of the stability and affection which only real family l i f e can give.  with greater appreciation  and understanding of what the home and the parent-child relationship contributes to a child's development, efforts should be geared to give parents the greatest possible chance to provide a good home for their children.  But this approach  must be reinforced by services which w i l l give the parents the utmost encouragement, material help and inspiration to achieve higher standards. It is no accident that public housing (i.e., low-rental, subsidized projects), in the United States, i n Britain, in Scandinavia and elsewhere, has proved one of the most effective " bases of operation" for better childwelfare, health, educational and recreational services. A social worker can make a better contact, there i s more willingness to co-operate on the part of the tenants;  the children become better i n their school attendance, and less likely  to substitute for their depressed environment the joining of anti-social gangs.  Implications and Recommendations Of the eight families interviewed, only one expressed a wish to leave their present neighbourhood. There may be various reasons for their desiring to remain i n this central, older part of the city.  One reason may be that they  84.  do have a sense of belonging, of identification with their neighbourhood. It i s the only part of the city i n which they have lived, and with which they are  familiar.  They are close to work and to the down-town area, and there i s  the bond of similar and related occupations, which i s one of the strongest i n uniting people of a community.  The feeling that one belongs to a local com-  munity, i n the l i f e of which one can play a significant part, and for which one develops a sense of responsibility, i s the foundation of democracy and good local government ~  a feeling which should be encouraged and maintained.  However, the families do desire better living conditions so that their standard of living may be raised both as a family unit and as a community.  At present,  because of the "bad" name of the d i s t r i c t , young people who are attending high school, or who are seeking employment, state that they are ashamed to t e l l anyone where they l i v e .  They feel they w i l l be discriminated against or looked  down upon. They have become "third-class" citizens, with l i t t l e or no social status, largely attributable to the fact that they are living where they are, and through no fault of their own. It i s sometimes implied that those who lack standards of home-making, whose houses are dirty and disorderly, would soon destroy a better house i n a short time.  This may be true i n some instances, but i t i s highly improbable  that the majority of families would not respond favourably to better housing. It must be remembered that some of these families have had l i t t l e or no opportunity to form standards or to know what i t i s to live i n a decent house.  We  cannot expect better housing or a changed environment to bring about an immediate change in the "housekeeping" habits and social behaviour of any group of the population.  There w i l l be need for re-education and constant super-  vision i n many cases, and this points up the need for competent home-management,  85.  which plays an important part i n the re-housing of families i n England! The worker gets to know the family before they leave their old home, helps them through the removal and keeps i n touch with them during the f i r s t d i f f i c u l t weeks while readjustments are being made and the family i s finding i t s place in the new surroundings.  The f u l l benefits of good housing are brought to  bear on the child population and the extent of these benefits can only be properly measured over a lifetime. The tenant families who do not care form a small but hard core of the undesirables.  These undesirable tenants may be described as "social recidivists".  They are lazy and shiftless and neglect themselves and their children.  Although  they have no idea of the elements of child-care, they are not actually cruel, but fluctuate between the two extremes, of over-indulgence and abuse. Most of * the children from these disorderly dwellings are quite happy i n their relations with the parents and a strong bond of affection exists between the children themselves.  This type of family presents the greatest problem to the social  worker — should these children be l e f t with the parents, or should they be removed?  An interesting and valuable comparative study could be made of the  children i n such families — of those who were left with their parents and those who were removed. The provision of more adequate housing i s not the only form of service or treatment that the majority of these problem families require.  The case-  worker i n the protective agency must help the parent with his personal problems, for only with such help can the parent succeed i n his role.  Often the neglect  1.  Hall, Penelope, The Social Services of Modern England. Routledge & Kegan Paul,Ltd., London, 1955, p.93.  2.  Marsh, L.C, op.cit., one of the proposals made i n regard to housing administreation of the urban rehabilitation project was as follows: "The diay-today operation would be i n the hands of a project manager and other appropriate staff ... It i s essential that at least one member of the executive staff should be a professional qualified social worker with suitable experience .. There are many fields where their function i s v i t a l  is evident i n environmental conditions which lend themselves to some improvement without involving the parents too deeply — for example, poor housing, improper diet, etc.  The caseworker must do a l l i n her power to help the  parents recognize these conditions and avail themselves of community resources to improve the situation.  But, to a large extent, she also has to help them  to understand that there must be some related emotional problems to explain why they have not already sought help when i t was available.  In the past,  environmental changes which parents made without becoming aware of why they had allowed their home l i f e to deteriorate so grossly have proved successful only for a brief period.^ It i s necessary to bring into the foreground more of the facts of existing housing and i t s effect on family l i f e .  The people who live i n bad areas  and i n poor housing often do not complain about their housing inadequacies. This may be due to the fact that they have never enjoyed any better accommodation, or that housing becomes a matter of concern only when they have to vacate and look for another place to l i v e .  In a study made of the applications  for accommodation i n the L i t t l e Mountain Housing Project, i t was found that the people i n the low-income bracket and in t he poorest housing were least able to make their needs and desires known. "Any interpretation of the different responses of applicant families-to their accommodation can only be conjectured. Allowances must be made for the degree of articulateness which i s required for a person to be able to describe poor housing i n terms of i t s effect on family relationshipsj and there i s reason to believe that the worst housed families are often the least able to make their needs and preferences known. Obviously a great deal depends on the standards of adequacy adopted by the families themselves, and on the particular urgency of the situation at the time of applying ..." 2  1.  Gordon, Henrietta, Casework Services for Children. Houghton M i f f l i n Co., Boston, Mass., 1956, p.397.  2.  Wheeler, Michael, op.cit., p.51.  87.  Therefore the responsibility for social action to bring about better housing l i e s partly with the health and welfare agencies that are working with these families.  As long as families are l e f t to exist i n such conditions, we  can hope to see l i t t l e benefit from the money spent i n maintaining them there. The choice between spending money constructively on public low-rent housing, or on palliatives, i s constantly available — and not sufficiently recognized. In this industrial age, the pioneer home i s gone, and government aid i s necessary to provide decent housing within the means of the low-income group. The question i s , whether to pay for better housing or for the damage done by substandard housing — which i s far more expensive to rectify later.  We  have the alternatives of housing them i n foster-homes, hospitals and institutions, or i n clean, light, sanitary surroundings, where both body and soul w i l l have a chance.  This we must decide.  "The costs of wretched housing and demoralizing neighbourhoods are not escaped — there should be no mistake about this. They are borne, day after day, by the men, women and children who live i n the run-down districts of our own citiesj but they are borne also i n some part by every property-owner and every taxpayer. Public lowrent housing, i n the last analysis, i s the choice, of spending money constructively instead of wasting i t on palliatives; using i t to subsidize decent living and the opportunity of healthy citizenship, instead of subsidizing demoralization, apathy and delinquency ..." These words applied to the general issue of slum clearance by Dr. Marsh i n his Vancouver ("Strathcona") Survey of 1950 may well be the closing words of the present essay, treating of some of the less familiar, perhaps neglected aspects of child protection.  BIBLIOGRAPHY  Books 1.  Bakke, E. Wright, The Unemployed Worker. Yale University Press, New Haven, 1940.  2.  Bauer, Catherine, A.Citizen's Guide to Public Housing, Vassar College, New York, 1940.  3.  Bowlby, John, Child Care and the Growth of Love, based by permission of the World Health Organization on the report "Material Care and Mental Health". Penguin Books, London, 1953.  4.  C o l l i s , Arthur,and Poole, Vera, - These Our Children, An account of the home l i f e and s o c i a l environment of children i n an i n d u s t r i a l slum d i s t r i c t . Victor, Gollancz, l t d . London, 1950.  5.  Gordon,Henrietta, Casework Services f o r Children, Houghton M i f f l i n Co., Boston, Mass. 1956.  6.  . H a l l , Penelope, The S o c i a l Service o f Modern England, Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd.,London, 1955.  7.  Mackintosh, J.M., Housing and Family L i f e , Cassel & Co., L t d . London, 1952.  8.  Myrdal, Alva, Nation and Family, The Swedish Experiment i n Democratic Family and Population P o l i c y , Kegan Paul, Trench, Truber & Co., London, 1945.  9.  Thurston, Henry, The Dependent Child, Columbia University Press, New York, 1921.  10.  Witmer & Kotinsky, Personality i n the Making, Harper & Bros., Publishers, New York, 1952.  Pamphlets. P e r i o d i c a l s . A r t i c l e s , e t c . 1.  "Children Deprived of Normal Home L i f e , " United Nations Publication, New York, 1952.  2.  "Child Protection i n Canada," Published by the Canadian Welfare Council, Ottawa, June, 1954.  89.  BIBLIOGRAPHY (cont'd.)  Pamphlets, Periodicals. Articles, etc. (cont'd.) 3. "Community Planning Association of Canada" - Address for the Canadian Conference of Social Work, June 1954, given by Dr. Albert Rose, Associate Professor, School of Social Work, University of Toronto (mimeo). 4. Evans, Maureen, "Living on a Marginal Budget" - Master of Social Work Thesis, University of British Columbia, 1953. 5. Marcuse, Berthold, "Long-Term Dependency and Maladjustment Cases i n a Family Service Agency" - Master of Social Work Thesis, University of British Columbia, 1956. 6. Marsh, Leonard, "Rebuilding a Neighbourhood:" report on a demonstration slum^clearance and urban rehabilitation project in a key central area i n Vancouver, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, 1950. 1  7. "Protective Service, A Case Illustrating Casework with Parents," Child Welfare League of America, Inc., New York, 1947. 7  8.  Stratton, P.R.U., "the Housing Scene, Houses for A l l , " Proceedings of Housing Conference, Vancouver, B.C. January, 1954.. Sponsored by the Vancouver Housing Association i n co-operation with the Community Planning Association of Canada (B.C. Division).  9.  "The Neglected Child and his Family" - A study made i n 1946-47 .. of the problems of the child neglected i n his own home, made by a sub-committee of the Women's group on Public Welfare, Oxford University Press, London, 1947.  10.  "The Social Worker," Article on Housing Low-Income Families, by Dr. Albert Rose, Associate Professor, School of Social Work, University of Toronto, published by the Canadian Association of Social Workers, Ottawa, Vol.25, No. 1. October, 1956.  11.  Wheeler, Michael, "Evaluating the Need for Low-rent Housing" -Master of Social Work Thesis, University ..of British Columbia, 1955.  12.  Wilson, Warren, "Housing Conditions among Social Assistance Families" Master of Social Work Thesis, University of British Columbia, 1953.  


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