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Public assistance: the recipients experiences Kuhn, Gottfried John 1949

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PUBLIC ASSISTANCE: THE RECIPIENTS EXPERIENCES  GOTTFRIED JOHN KUHN  T h e s i s Submitted i n P a r t i a l F u l f i l m e n t of the Requirements f o r the Degree o f MASTER OF SOCIAL WORK i n the Department o f S o c i a l Work  1949 The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia  ABSTRACT This study was designed for the purpose of learning from the families, who are receiving assistance, what dependency means to them. The. sample was selected from the Mothers' Allowance and Social Assistance categories. A group of twelve families comprised the sample that was used for intensive study. The families were interviewed personally by the writer to study their status p r i o r to the onset of dependency, and s p e c i f i c a l l y their experiences and status during t h e i r dependency years, with emphasis on the meaning of case work services to the families. The families' experiences and status point up the fact, that the maximum standard of l i v i n g to be achieved within the p o l i c i e s of the agency i s unusually low: the assistance payments are too small for a family to be able to maintain or. achieve a standard of l i v i n g providing for a "reasonably normal and healthy existence"; policy concerning treatment of other income and resources, appears to be s u f f i c i e n t l y r e s t r i c t i v e to prevent the families from making successful use of them to improve their standard of l i v i n g ; and f i n a l l y , the professional case worker's role to help the families develop their own strengths, and make f u l l use of other (community) resources i s invalidated to a large degree, through the agency's rules and regulations concerning treatment of such income and resources. — The case worker's role as a helping person to the families appeared to be especially significant during the . early stages of the Pamilys' dependency status. The follow-up service, or sustaining case work treatment, i s l a r g e l y concerned with, v e r i f i c a t i o n of continued e l i g i b i l i t y for financial assistance, only i n terms represented by the maximum provided for i n the social allowance scale. The implications of the study are, that the agency's p o l i c i e s , i n terms of the families experiences, might warrant some revision to the extent that the professional case worker can function i n his intended role as a helping person to the family.  TABLE OP CONTENTS Chapter I .  Introduction  Page  Statement of purpose. Scope of the study. Sampling method. Technique of investigation. . . . Chapter 2.  I  Governing L e g i s l a t i o n  Municipal r e s p o n s i b i l i t y . Social assistance act. Mothers allowance act . . . Chapter 3.  Families Prior to Dependency  Occupation. Earnings. Property and other resources. Membership i n adult and childrens organizations. Chapter 4.  •  32  Experience During Dependency Years  Establishing e l i g i b i l i t y . Standards of assistance. Income and other resources. Medical care and h o s p i t a l i z a t i o n . Educational handicaps. Rehabilitation Chapter 6.  17  Transitional Period  Onset of problem. Duration. Conditions encountered during postponement period Chapter 5.  9  44  Family Strengths and Community Resources  General resources. Employment of c l i e n t . Employment of children.Help from r e l a t i v e s . Family status. Chapter 7.  Case Work Services  Chapter 8.  Implications for Administration  Appendices A. B.  Letter used i n the Sampling Technique. Bibliography.  64 .  77 90  Tables Table I .  Social allownce scale  Table 2. Toronto Welfare Council, Minimum standard budget. Note of error i n spelling The word family; i n the p l u r a l , possessive i s spelled, familys » 1  48 51  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would l i k e to convey my sincere appreciation to the many persons who were helpful to me i n planning this study. In p a r t i c u l a r , I would l i k e to thank: Mr. J . I . Chambers Administrator of the Vancouver City Social Service Department and his staff; Mrs. Edna I . Mortimore, former President of the Pensioned Mothers" Association; Mr. W. P . Meal, Administrator Social Service Department, Burnaby, and h i s staff, for their co-operation and assistance i n selecting the sample cases for t h i s study. My sincere thanks to Miss. Marjorie J . Smith and Dr. L. C. Marsh of the Department of Social Work, University of B r i t i s h Columbia, for their valuable assistance. I owe a special debt of gratitude to the families who became the subjects of t h i s study, sharing their experiences i n the interest of continuing improvement i n the Social Service Programs. However; because of the confidential nature of the material, they s h a l l remain anonymous.  PUBLIC ASSISTANCE: THE RECIPIENTS EXPERIENCES  CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION There i s general i n t e r e s t and concern today over the growth of p u b l i c assistance programs.  The demand and  apparent need f o r government t o expand i t s welfare i s attended by ever-increasing expenditures.  services  There i s  l i t t l e general knowledge of how these programs are administered or what the assistance a c t u a l l y o f f e r s f o r the r e c i p i e n t s . P r o f e s s i o n a l S o c i a l Workers are concerned not only w i t h the i n c r e a s i n g case loads and the shortage of t r a i n e d s t a f f s , but w i t h the e f f e c t i v e n e s s of a d m i n i s t r a t i o n and i n what way f i n a n c i a l r e s t r i c t i o n s or s t a t u t o r y regul a t i o n s place l i m i t s on i n d i v i d u a l i z e d a t t e n t i o n t o f a m i l i e s through case work s e r v i c e s ; t o what extent r e l i e f r e c i p i e n t s can be t r e a t e d as c l i e n t s and given the b e n e f i t of cons t r u c t i v e assistance towards s e l f h e l p , which i s a t l e a s t one of the major o b j e c t i v e s Of case work, i f not i t s greatest test. The present study approaches t h i s problem from a s p e c i a l angle: how does s o c i a l assistance appear from the view-point of the r e c i p i e n t ?  The s e t t i n g i n which the question i s  posed i s that of p u b l i c assistance.  A simple but represent-  a t i v e group of "cases" has been s t u d i e d , p e r s o n a l l y and intensively.  Case records were not read, nor was any attempt  made to study agency a d m i n i s t r a t i v e o r g a n i z a t i o n and p o l i c y  1  aa such  . The f a m i l i e s s e l e c t e d through the agency were  not discussed w i t h the case worker; except f o r some general p r e l i m i n a r y purposes i n considering c r i t e r i a f o r s e l e c t i o n of sample cases. In designing the study areas o f need, types of assistance and kinds of cases e t c . were c a r e f u l l y d e l i m i t e d . The b a s i c c r i t e r i a provided f o r f a m i l i e s who had r e c e i v e d assistance f o r some time, aiming a t an average of at l e a s t f i v e years f o r the sample group; " f a m i l i e s " included those w i t h one or both parents and one or more c h i l d r e n under s i x t e e n l i v i n g i n the home.  The s e l e c t i o n of the sample was  confined t o those f a m i l i e s r e c e i v i n g e i t h e r mothers' allowance or s o c i a l a s s i s t a n c e .  So f a r as p o s s i b l e , the  attempt was made t o secure a c r o s s - s e c t i o n of the most common causes of dependency; and of f a m i l i e s such as make up a l a r g e part of the community - f a m i l i e s who may "get by" i f a l l goes w e l l , but i f overtaken by a d v e r s i t y become dependent upon p u b l i c assistance. S e l e c t i n g the Sample I n the o r i g i n a l planning stage, the attempt was made to s e l e c t the sample, i f p o s s i b l e , without going through any agency.  I t was feared that any i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of the  w r i t e r w i t h the agency, however remote, might p r e j u d i c e the response of the f a m i l y e i t h e r f o r or against the agency. 1. The f a m i l i e s studied come under the a d m i n i s t r a t i v e j u r i s d i c t i o n of the Vancouver C i t y S o c i a l Service Department, but only part of the sample was s e l e c t e d through t h i s agency.  2  Other p o t e n t i a l sources through whom contact might be made w i t h a f a m i l y h e l d out many p o s s i b i l i t i e s .  I n the  i n t e r e s t of f i n d i n g cases meeting the c r i t e r i a o f the sample, contacts were made w i t h four clergymen, two nursery  school  teachers, one neighbourhood house, three i n t e r e s t e d and socially-minded persons, one p o l i t i c i a n , and one corner grocery store p r o p r i e t o r . however, was almost n i l .  The net r e s u l t o f t h i s e f f o r t , I t produced knowledge o f f i v e  cases, but w i t h adequate i d e n t i f y i n g i n f o r m a t i o n a v a i l a b l e f o r only two o f them. The executive o f the Pensioned Mothers A s s o c i a t i o n proved t o be an e x c e l l e n t resource f o r f i n d i n g cases who were r e c e i v i n g mothers allowance.  The executive f u r n i s h e d  the w r i t e r w i t h a l i s t of twenty mothers allowance cases who met the c r i t e r i a . . Another technique o f s e l e c t i n g a sample was by l e t t e r . 1  Within t e n days of the date o f m a i l i n g  the l e t t e r t o f i f t y f a m i l i e s , seventeen responded. To o b t a i n a d d i t i o n a l cases, a f t e r f u r t h e r thought and d i s c u s s i o n w i t h the a d m i n i s t r a t o r of the agency, i t was concluded that i n each of the f o u r sections o f the c i t y , h a l f a dozen f a m i l i e s meeting the c r i t e r i a would be l i s t e d , and from these the w r i t e r would s e l e c t as many as he r e quired t o f i l l out h i s sample.  F i n a l l y , twelve f a m i l i e s  who were a l l w i l l i n g to agree t o i n t e n s i v e study, became the nucleus f o r the f i n d i n g s i n t h i s r e p o r t . 1.  See appendices. i  3  The types of oases represented i n t h i s s p e c i a l sample are: f o u r i n which the husband i s unemployable, two widows w i t h dependent c h i l d r e n , f i v e f a m i l i e s "broken" by e i t h e r separation or d e s e r t i o n , one i n which the husband was i n the p e n i t e n t i a r y . The parents' age ranged from 24 to 57, the average age f o r the group being 38.  At the date of the study, there  were 29 c h i l d r e n or an average number of 2.6 per f a m i l y . Ten c h i l d r e n who reached the age of m a t u r i t y are no longer i n the home, but a l l were members of the f a m i l y during the p e r i o d they were on assistance.  The t o t a l number therefore  are t h i r t y n i n e , or an average of 3.2 c h i l d r e n per f a m i l y . This average i s very close to the average s i z e f a m i l y f o r Vancouver as a whole, so f a r as i s known.  The average age  of the c h i l d r e n at home i s seven, ranging from a few months to f i f t e e n years.  Eleven of the c h i l d r e n were born to the  f a m i l i e s a f t e r they had become dependent. At the date of the study which f o r a l l i n t e n t s and purpose may be taken as October 1948, three of the f a m i l i e s were r e c e i v i n g mothers'allowance and seven, s o c i a l assistance.  Two f a m i l i e s among these were purposely selected  as they had been r e c i p i e n t s of mothers' allowance at one time, but were discontinued w i t h i n the year preceding the date of the study. I n g e n e r a l , the f a m i l y s ' experiences of dependence on assistance range from two and a h a l f to seventeen years, and an average of somewhat over seven years.  4  Meeting the F a m i l i e s P a r t i c u l a r care was exercised i n preparing the f a m i l y to p a r t i c i p a t e i n c a r r y i n g out the study.  Cases u l t i m a t e l y  selected f o r study from the r e f e r r a l s through the agency were v i s i t e d f i r s t by the case worker who was c a r r y i n g the case.  He o r she gave the f a m i l y a b r i e f explanation of the  purpose of the study and asked the f a m i l y i f they were s u f f i c i e n t l y i n t e r e s t e d i n p a r t i c i p a t i n g t o give t h e i r name and address t o the w r i t e r .  I t was made c l e a r a t a l l p o i n t s  that they were t o make t h i s choice e n t i r e l y on t h e i r own. I n some instances f i r s t appointments were arranged at t h i s point and i n others, were arranged by l e t t e r or personal contact. A s i m i l a r approach was used i n the cases that were r e f e r r e d through i n t e r e s t e d i n d i v i d u a l s and a s s o c i a t i o n s . Through t h e i r cooperation  they performed i n t r o d u c t i o n s  s i m i l a r t o that of the case worker i n the agency.  I t was  important t o make the w r i t e r ' s p o s i t i o n c l e a r t o the f a m i l y , to avoid being I d e n t i f i e d with the agency, o r thought of as a special investigator. At the f i r s t v i s i t , the nature o f the study was explained w i t h considerable  care.  I t was pointed out that  the i n q u i r y was being made as a r e s u l t o f p r o f e s s i o n a l i n t e r e s t i n the f i e l d of p u b l i c a s s i s t a n c e , and more p a r t i c u l a r l y , i n the e f f e c t s of assistance programs  1  1. The term " p u b l i c assistance" i s used henceforth as I n c l u d i n g the granting of assistance and also case work services. 5  on the r e c i p i e n t . I n order to f u l f i l l t h i s purpose, i t would be necessary to l e a r n the f a m i l y ' s experiences both p r i o r t o , and during the time they were i n r e c e i p t of assistance.  I t was explained i n some d e t a i l how  the  m a t e r i a l would be used, why i t was necessary to make notes during the i n t e r v i e w , why i t was necessary to get the family»s own words at some points e t c . The f a m i l y  was  assured that names would be withheld, and that d e s c r i p t i v e m a t e r i a l would be organized i n such a manner that i d e n t i f i c a t i o n would be h i g h l y improbable.  The f a m i l y was  given  s p e c i f i c assurance that the w r i t e r was not associated w i t h the agency i n any way and they were a l s o informed that t h e i r f i l e i n the agency had not been read p r i o r to the study. A f t e r f u r t h e r d i s c u s s i o n p e r t a i n i n g to the o b j e c t i v e s of the study, i t was explained to the f a m i l y that i f f o r any reason they would not wish to p a r t i c i p a t e they should f e e l under no o b l i g a t i o n to do so.  To make the s i t u a t i o n even  c l e a r e r , and to ensure that cooperation was v o l u n t a r y , i t was  completely  stated that i f at any time during the  study they should wish to withdraw, they were under no o b l i g a t i o n to continue, and a l l m a t e r i a l c o l l e c t e d would be destroyed.  Of the t o t a l number of f a m i l i e s v i s i t e d , i t  i s i n t e r e s t i n g to note that only one d e c l i n e d to p a r t i c i p a t e a f t e r p r e l i m i n a r y d i s c u s s i o n had made the purposes c l e a r . Interviewing and Recording Interviews were conducted w i t h a minimum amount of direction.  General areas were opened f o r d i s c u s s i o n ,  6  p e r m i t t i n g the c l i e n t to r e l a t e h i s or her experiences i n whatever sequence they occurred.  D i r e c t questions were  used as s p a r i n g l y as p o s s i b l e : i n m o s t Instances were reserved f o r purpose of f i l l i n g i n d e t a i l .  There were  v a r i a t i o n s i n a l l cases but a departure from t h i s general scheme was necessary i n only two.  These were instances i n  which the c l i e n t s a i d , " W e l l , you ask the questions, and'l w i l l answer them". This type of i n t e r v i e w i s somewhat a k i n to that of the c l i e n t f i l i n g an a p p l i c a t i o n f o r a s s i s t a n c e .  The approach,  however, was more d i r e c t , the answers more p r e c i s e , and the sequences more ordered.  The w r i t e r made d e t a i l e d notes  throughout the i n t e r v i e w s , and took verbatim statements f o r purposes of quotation.  Frequently during the i n t e r v i e w  the purpose of t h i s was explained to the f a m i l y , and the p o s s i b l e use of a s p e c i f i c quotation was pointed out. Interviews were arranged by appointment at the f a m i l y ' s convenience.  T y p i c a l i n t e r v i e w s ranged from one-and-a-  h a l f to two hours.  The number of i n t e r v i e w s was  determined  by the f a m i l y ' s c a p a c i t y and t h e i r p a r t i c u l a r method of r e l a t i n g t h e i r experiences.  The maximum number of v i s i t s  required w i t h any f a m i l y proved to be f o u r . I n g e n e r a l , the f a m i l i e s responded w i t h i n t e r e s t and remarkable enthusiasm.  Their a b i l i t y to r e l a t e t h e i r  experiences and t h e i r c a p a c i t y to i n t e r p r e t them exceeded the w r i t e r ' s expectations.  I n some areas, information was  revealed which had been withheld from the case worker  7  because I t would have a f f e c t e d t h e i r status unfavourably. The f a m i l y would u s u a l l y e x p l a i n candidly t h e i r reason f o r so doing, and give the w r i t e r permission t o use i t i f i t would add t o the meaning of the study.  Some o f t h i s  Information o f course would no longer have any s i g n i f i c a n c e because i t happened i n the dim p a s t : nevertheless, the w r i t e r has exercised d i s c r e t i o n i n the treatment o f such material.  The f a c t i s c i t e d only as an i n d i c a t i o n of the  s i n c e r i t y o f purpose on the p a r t o f these f a m i l i e s , who c h e e r f u l l y made themselves "guinea p i g s " f o r the purpose of c a r r y i n g out a welfare study.  8  CHAPTER I I GOVERNING LEGISLATION As a background f o r t h i s study, i t i s d e s i r a b l e to b r i e f l y examine the s t a t u t o r y b a s i s upon which s p e c i f i c needs of dependent f a m i l i e s are to be met.  This i s not  an  attempt to evaluate the l e g i s l a t i o n as such; but i t I s e s s e n t i a l to examine the s t a t u t e s , because they not  only  govern the extent of a d m i n i s t r a t i v e f l e x i b i l i t y , but i n a d d i t i o n they i n f l u e n c e the l i v e s of these f a m i l i e s . L o c a l government r e s p o n s i b i l i t y , as i t p e r t a i n s to t h i s study, r e s t s with the c i t y .  The Vancouver Incorporation  Act provides t h a t , " i t s h a l l be the duty of the c i t y to make s u i t a b l e p r o v i s i o n f o r i t s indigent and d e s t i t u t e " ^. c i t y c o u n c i l i s empowered to pass, a l t e r , and repeal  The by-  laws i n order to discharge t h e i r r e s p o n s i b i l i t y under the terms of the Act. The wording of t h i s s e c t i o n i n the Act i s an immediate reminder, i n the h i s t o r i c a l sense, of the o l d Poor Laws. Yet, a d m i n i s t r a t i v e l y , i t depends e n t i r e l y on d e f i n i t i o n and i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of the meaning of "indigence". there may  be considerable  I n that  way  e l a s t i c i t y , even though the wording  does not r e f l e c t the general progress that has been made, i n meeting f a m i l y needs through the expanded s o c i a l s e r v i c e programs.  The examples of t h i s study w i l l i n d i c a t e that i t  1 C i t y of Vancouver Incorporation Act, 1921, Amended, Sec. 344.  9  i s of some s i g n i f i c a n c e f o r dependent f a m i l i e s , whether or not the a d m i n i s t r a t i v e l e a d e r s h i p takes advantage of the e l a s t i c i t y permitted i n i n t e r p r e t a t i o n . Current a d m i n i s t r a t i v e p o l i c y i s a f f e c t e d , to some degree, by the p r o v i n c i a l S o c i a l Assistance S o c i a l Assistance  Act.  Act.  The P r o v i n c i a l S o c i a l Assistance Act was passed i n March, 1945.  Under the terms of t h i s A c t , the p r o v i n c i a l  government w i l l share w i t h the m u n i c i p a l i t y the costs of meeting the needs of an i n d i v i d u a l , or f a m i l y , i f they q u a l i f y under the A c t , p r o v i d i n g c e r t a i n conditions are  met  by the l o c a l government. As a p r e r e q u i s i t e to r e c e i v i n g a i d from the p r o v i n c i a l government, the m u n i c i p a l i t y must provide  financial  a s s i s t a n c e , and a d m i n i s t r a t i v e s o c i a l s e r v i c e s , on a l e v e l consistent w i t h the standards set by the p r o v i n c i a l department.  The agreement by the province to share the costs  of s o c i a l a s s i s t a n c e , i n no way r e l i e v e s the m u n i c i p a l i t y of any basic duties imposed upon i t , by the law p e r t a i n i n g to the r e l i e f of the poor. The p r o v i n c i a l department has reserved the r i g h t to withhold monies from any m u n i c i p a l i t y , i f t h e i r r e s p e c t i v e l e v e l s of assistance or s e r v i c e f a l l below the p r o v i n c i a l standard.  This a d m i n i s t r a t i v e d i s c i p l i n e , i n p r i n c i p l e , can  be an e f f e c t i v e device to a t t a i n minimum standards of s e r v i c e , and a r e l a t i v e degree of u n i f o r m i t y i n assistance grants a province wide b a s i s .  10  on  The s o c i a l assistance a c t stands out as one o f the more progressive pieces of s o c i a l l e g i s l a t i o n of modern times.  To appreciate the scope of the A c t , the meaning o f  s o c i a l assistance may w e l l be c i t e d from the s t a t u t e : a. b. c. d.  e. f. g. h.  F i n a n c i a l Assistance. Assistance i n k i n d . I n s t i t u t i o n a l , Nursing, Boarding o r Foster home care. A i d i n money or k i n d t o m u n i c i p a l i t i e s , boards, commissions, o r g a n i z a t i o n s , o r persons p r o v i d i n g a i d , care or h e a l t h services to i n d i g e n t , s i c k o r i n f i r m persons, and i n reimbursing expenditures made by them. Counselling s e r v i c e . Health s e r v i c e s . Occupational t r a i n i n g , r e t r a i n i n g o r therapy f o r i n d i g e n t persons and mentally or p h y s i c a l l y handicapped persons. G e n e r a l l y any form of a i d necessary t o r e l i e v e d e s t i t u t i o n or suffering.  The Act i s administered by the Welfare branch (department) of the P r o v i n c i a l Department of Health and Welfare. Under the terms of the A c t , assistance may be granted i n an amount necessary t o "maintain a reasonably normal and healthy existence" out o f funds appropriated by the l e g i s l a t u r e f o r that purpose.  To achieve a degree o f  u n i f o r m i t y i n the a d m i n i s t r a t i o n of the A c t , the P r o v i n c i a l Department has issued r u l e s and r e g u l a t i o n s i n t e r p r e t i n g the statute • . L  Of s p e c i a l s i g n i f i c a n c e i s the p r o v i s i o n t h a t ,  a p p l i c a t i o n s f o r assistance s h a l l be i n v e s t i g a t e d by a S o c i a l Worker, o r other q u a l i f i e d  person.  1 S o c i a l Assistance Regulations, p a r t of the S o c i a l Assistance Act, Chapter 62, Statutes of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1945. 11  There i a no p r o v i s i o n i n the Act r e s p e c t i n g e l i g i b i l i t y f o r assistance i n terms of s p e c i f i c status.  indigency  The r e g u l a t i o n s s e t f o r t h the p r i n c i p l e that  "the need of the a p p l i c a n t s h a l l be the determining  factor  i n granting assistance and the amount thereof" . I t 1  appears that t h i s statement on determination  of need may  be i n c o n f l i c t w i t h the p r i n c i p l e s inherent i n the s o c i a l allowance s c a l e j however, t h i s w i l l be brought out more c l e a r l y i n the a n a l y s i s of the f a m i l y s '  experiences.  An a p p l i c a n t may have some personal property i n a d d i t i o n to household e f f e c t s , and s t i l l be e n t i t l e d to assistance.  The cases studied w i l l also p o i n t out that  home ownership does not preclude  the granting of assistance.  These p r o v i s i o n s , as w e l l as others not mentioned here, permit the worker to exercise some l a t i t u d e i n assessing an applicant's needs; i t a l s o permits the granting of assistance to a f a m i l y , before the lower l e v e l s of d e s t i t u t i o n have been reached. The costs of s o c i a l assistance are shared by the p r o v i n c i a l government and the m u n i c i p a l i t y on an eightytwenty b a s i s .  The p r o v i n c i a l government w i l l reimburse the  m u n i c i p a l i t y to the extent of eighty per cent of the amount spent per u n i t ( s i n g l e person or f a m i l y ) , i n keeping with the 1 S o c i a l Assistance Regulations part of the S o c i a l Assistance Act, Chapter 62, Statutes of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1945.  12  maximum set f o r t h i n the s o c i a l allowance scale  (budget).  I f the m u n i c i p a l i t y f i n d s i t necessary to grant an amount i n excess of the maximum provided f o r i n the guide, that p o r t i o n becomes a t o t a l municipal r e s p o n s i b i l i t y . S o c i a l assistance payments to f a m i l i e s are made by check.  This c h a r a c t e r i s t i c i s g e n e r a l l y Inherent only i n  the recent and more progressive s o c i a l welfare measures, which are administered on a means t e s t b a s i s . Granting the assistance by check has not only removed some of the stigma attached to r e c e i v i n g assistance ( r e l i e f ) , but the assistance i t s e l f i n t h i s form i s of greater value to the recipient.  The f a m i l y i s therefore permitted some  f l e x i b i l i t y i n planning the best use of t h e i r allowance. Receiving the allowance i n cash i s not only a challenge to the f a m i l y to make the best use of i t , but i t also gives them status i n terms of income s e c u r i t y , not u n l i k e that they enjoyed before the onset of dependency. The Mothers' Allowance Act was passed In December, 1937, r e p l a c i n g the Mothers' Pension Act of 1920.  Under  the terms of t h i s Act the p r o v i n c i a l government has assumed f u l l f i n a n c i a l and a d m i n i s t r a t i v e r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r meeting the needs of f a m i l i e s who q u a l i f y f o r a s s i s t a n c e . E l i g i b i l i t y requirements under the Act are extensive. 1  A mother must have custody o f ,  See Table 1, Chapter V - page 48.  13  and  fairly  r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r , the care of one o r more c h i l d r e n under s i x t e e n years of age;  she must be without adequate income  or resources t o provide proper support f o r such c h i l d r e n . In her own r i g h t the a p p l i c a n t s h a l l be a B r i t i s h subject by b i r t h o r n a t u r a l i z a t i o n , w i t h three consecutive years of p h y s i c a l residence w i t h i n the province immediately preceding the date of a p p l i c a t i o n f o r a s s i s t a n c e . A widow i s e l i g i b l e i f her husband was a r e s i d e n t o f the province at the time o f the onset of the disease i n a d i s a b l i n g form which caused h i s death.  The Act includes a  woman whose husband i s confined i n a p u b l i c h o s p i t a l o r p e n i t e n t i a r y , or whose husband i s unable t o provide proper support f o r the f a m i l y because of permanent, or a r e l a t i v e l y permanent, p h y s i c a l d i s a b i l i t y rendering him unemployable. A woman who has been deserted by her husband, l e g a l l y separated o r divorced i s e l i g i b l e to r e c e i v e assistance provided that t h i s m a r i t a l status has e x i s t e d f o r at l e a s t two years preceding the date of a p p l i c a t i o n ; q u a l i f i e d by the f a c t that every reasonable e f f o r t to o b t a i n support from the husband s h a l l have been made. The i n v e s t i g a t i o n concerning e l i g i b i l i t y g e n e r a l l y includes a contact w i t h character references t o o b t a i n information i n order t o determine i f the mother i s a f i t and proper person t o r e c e i v e assistance under the terms of the Act. The ownership of property i n i t s e l f i s not a d i s q u a l i f y i n g f a c t o r w i t h respect t o e l i g i b i l i t y . 14  The  p r o v i s i o n i n the A c t , r e s p e c t i n g p r o p e r t y , from t h a t e x p r e s s e d , poor r e l i e f assessed  g e n e r a l l y , i n the  statutes.  is far  general r e l i e f  v a l u e o f w h i c h d o e s n o t e x c e e d two t h o u s a n d  household e f f e c t s ,  wearing apparel,  and o t h e r  p r o p e r t y not exceeding f i v e hundred d o l l a r s . c a n be g r a n t e d  become d e s t i t u t e The p u r p o s e degree  five  plus  personal Assistance  w i t h i n the  g e n e r a l meaning o f the  o f the mothers' allowance a c t i s to p r o v i d e  home t o p r o v i d e p r o p e r c a r e  family through a steady  and s u p e r v i s i o n f o r  the  her  The r e g u l a r i n c o m e , c o u p l e d w i t h a r e l a t i v e  g i v e s the  dependent  allowance, however, w i l l  determine  able to maintain.  expressed i n the  The p r e s e n t  social  Both programs,  allowance  social  the  The amount o f  standard  living  s t a t u s o f p a y m e n t s made  assistance  and mothers' a l l o w a n c e , The t r e a t m e n t o f  are l a r g e l y s u b j e c t  ministrative  o f the  statutes.  to  The  o f s t a t u t o r y p r o v i s i o n and a d m i n i s t r a t i v e  15  is  scale.  c a s u a l income and r e s o u r c e s  effect  of  the  Amendments may be made  a d m i n i s t e r e d o n t h e means t e s t b a s i s .  interpretation  the  The amount o f t h e payment made  a f a m i l y i s s t i p u l a t e d i n the A c t . by o r d e r - i n - c o u n c i l .  degree  family a status not u n l i k e  t h a t o f any o t h e r f a m i l y i n the community.  are  a  income,  o f p e r m a n e n c y i n t e r m s o f t h e number a n d age r a n g e o f  they are  to  term.  t h e r e b y m a k i n g i t p o s s i b l e f o r t h e m o t h e r t o be i n  children,  the  a family without t h e i r having  o f s e c u r i t y f o r the  children.  or  The e x e m p t i o n s i n c l u d e , a home,  h u n d r e d d o l l a r s o v e r and a b o v e any i n c u m b r a n c e s ,  therefore  removed  adtotal  policy,  upon the dependent f a m i l y w i l l be d e a l t w i t h o n l y i n terms o f the f a m i l y s  1  experiences.  16  CHAPTER  III  F A M I L I E S PRIOR TO DEPENDENCY The all  f a m i l i e s who a r e  families,  other  The  study,  like  w h i c h make  s t u d y i s t h a t , f r o m many  t h e y a l l became d e p e n d e n t  social  dependent,  of t h i s  T h e i r o n l y common c h a r a c t e r i s t i c f r o m  v i e w p o i n t o f the present  or  subject  have i n d i v i d u a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s  them d i f f e r e n t .  backgrounds,  the  assistance.  But before  their differences  the  different  on mothers' allowance they  became  were much g r e a t e r .  g r o w t h and development o f an i n d i v i d u a l f a m i l y  i n f l u e n c e d and, to a l a r g e degree,  are  determined by c u l t u r a l  b a c k g r o u n d , e d u c a t i o n and i n t e l l e c t u a l c a p a c i t y , p h y s i c a l e n v i r o n m e n t , t y p e o f o c c u p a t i o n and the forces which c h a r a c t e r i z e  the  economic and  era i n which they  live.  D e s c r i p t i o n o f the i n d i v i d u a l f a m i l i e s therefore the i n i t i a l be.  in  study the  should  a r e a has  been  The f a m i l y i s r e c o g n i z e d as a b a s i c i n s t i t u t i o n  a democratic s o c i e t y but i t i s free  of p r e r o g a t i v e s , society,  presents  p r o b l e m o f how i n t e n s i v e a n d e x t e n s i v e i t  Because o f the nature o f t h i s  delimited.  social  t o e x e r c i s e a number  n o t n e c e s s a r i l y common t o t h e w h o l e o f  so l o n g as t h e y a r e n o t i n c o n f l i c t  therewith.  These p a r t i c u l a r v a r i a t i o n s i n t h e i r a c t i v i t y and a s s o c i a t i o n i n the f i e l d  of r e l i g i o n ,  c o n s i d e r e d as p a r t The  of this  politics  a n d so f o r t h ,  are  not  study.  p r e l i m i n a r y sketches  a r e i n t e n d e d t o do n o m o r e  g i v e a g e n e r a l p i c t u r e , enough t o i d e n t i f y e a c h f a m i l y e n t i t y and, by p r o j e c t i o n o f t h i s d e s c r i p t i o n , to  17  than as  relate  an  them to"the man on the s t r e e t " .  An urban community, t o a  l a r g e extent, i s made up of f a m i l i e s s i m i l a r to those described.  There are considerable v a r i a t i o n s i n the age  groups, so the years that the i n d i v i d u a l f a m i l i e s came i n t o being range from 1918 to 1942. Since t h i s p e r i o d covers . several d i f f e r e n t l e v e l s of n a t i o n a l economic p r o s p e r i t y , these can h a r d l y be ignored.  The s o c i a l status i n the  community of a f a m i l y i s g e n e r a l l y a p a r a l l e l of i t s economic s t a t u s , and much of t h i s can be measured by membership or p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n community a c t i v i t i e s and organizations such as f r a t e r n a l orders, c l u b s , scouts, guides, PTA, l a d i e s a i d , c i v i c o r g a n i z a t i o n s , e t c .  These  are taken i n t o c o n s i d e r a t i o n , and the extent t o which a f a m i l y o r i t s members. p a r t i c i p a t e d w i l l be mentioned. Where no reference i s made i n the sketch i t i s not because more information was not obtained, but simply because the f a m i l y had no such a s s o c i a t i o n s . For p r e s e n t a t i o n the sample i s broken down i n t o three groups, namely, those who had t h e i r o r i g i n p r i o r to 1930, those which were formed between 1930 and 1939, and the more recent f a m i l i e s (since 1940).  I t i s convenient, accord-  i n g l y , t o i d e n t i f y the groups as pre-depression, depression, and wartime or post-depression f a m i l i e s . (a)  PRE DEPRESSION FAMILIES  These f a m i l i e s came on the scene during a p e r i o d of i n d u s t r i a l growth and general expansion of the n a t i o n a l 18  economy a t t e n d e d b y h i g h l e v e l s o f e m p l o y m e n t i n i n d u s t r y , w i t h job o p p o r t u n i t i e s almost u n l i m i t e d . Given performance business social  on the  j o b o r s h r e w d management  of a private  the f a m i l y c o u l d g a i n economic independence  status,  r i g h t u s i n g the  social  Some were i m m i g r a n t p i o n e e r s , n a t i v e  of pioneer f a m i l i e s ,  are  and  a n d become n o t o n l y a b i o l o g i c a l b u t a  e n t i t y as w e l l .  twenties  satisfactory  the l a t t e r  indeed pioneers  i n t h e i r own  term i n i t s h i s t o r i c a l p e r s p e c t i v e .  sometimes c h a r a c t e r i z e d as the  born  The  "boom a n d  e r a when a c h i e v e m e n t a n d s u c c e s s w e r e l i m i t e d o n l y b y  bust" the  individual's capacity.  W i t h i n the l a t t e r  find  s i t u a t i o n o f many f a m i l i e s who h a v e  the reason f o r the  had to bear  the b r u n t  c o n c e p t one may  o f s u c h d e s c r i p t i o n s as s h i f t l e s s ,  e m p l o y a b l e , dead b e a t s , d o w n - a n d - o u t s ,  and  un-  paupers.  An E n t e r p r i s i n g B u s i n e s s Man. Take f i r s t 1918.  the A f a m i l y ,  who came o n t h e  scene  M r . A h a d a h i g h s c h o o l e d u c a t i o n a n d some a d v a n c e d  t r a i n i n g i n a t e c h n i c a l s c h o o l and a l s o l e a r n e d the trade. miner,  around  After  t h e w a r , h e became  barber  successively prospector,  salesman o f m i n i n g s t o c k , i n v e s t o r and promoter o f  mining properties  w i t h c o n s i d e r a b l e degree  of success.  His  income r o s e r a p i d l y .  A b o u t t h a t t i m e f u r f a r m i n g came  into  its  interprise.  own as a b u s i n e s s  and s t a r t e d  a s i l v e r fox ranch.  The f a m i l y b o u g h t a f a r m The f i r s t p a i r o f b r e e d i n g  s t o c k c o s t t w e n t y e i g h t h u n d r e d and f i f t y  d o l l a r s , and  c o s t o f c o n s t r u c t i n g t h e p e n s was i n e x c e s s o f thousand d o l l a r s .  I n t h i s venture  19  the  three  t h e y were s u c c e s s f u l ,  and  they invested the earnings from the f u r farm i n a d d i t i o n a l mining stock. At the time of "the crash" i n 1929 they owned the f o x ranch and twenty eight thousand mining shares, but the mining stock became worthless and the bottom dropped out of the f u r market.  The f a m i l y became a c a s u a l t y of the  depression and by 1935 had been f o r c e d t o s e l l everything, i n c l u d i n g the ranch.  They salvaged only t h e i r household  e f f e c t s , and moved i n t o the c i t y i n 1935. Mr. A went i n t o the barbering trade and from h i s earnings he managed t o keep the f a m i l y moderately  comfortable,  though at a considerably lower standard of l i v i n g than they had formerly enjoyed.  They rented a home, paying twenty  d o l l a r s per month, and Mr. A continued i n the barber trade u n t i l he died i n 1939.  This was the c r i s i s p e r i o d f o r the  f a m i l y , and they d i d not have many f r i e n d s when i t occurred. Although the f a m i l y had no s p e c i a l membership i n o r g a n i z a t i o n s they had been a c t i v e i n general s o c i a l and community a f f a i r s ; but p a r t i c i p a t i o n was more and more c u r t a i l e d from the e a r l y t h i r t i e s on. An I n d u s t r i a l D i s a b i l i t y Case. The experience of the B f a m i l y I s q u i t e d i f f e r e n t from the A's, even though they l i v e d through the same p e r i o d . The B f a m i l y migrated from I t a l y t o Canada around 1920. Mr. B had l i t t l e formal education and had learned no s p e c i a l s k i l l or trade. to  He was f u r t h e r handicapped by not being able  speak the E n g l i s h language; i n f a c t , a f t e r l i v i n g i n  20  B r i t i s h Columbia a l l these years he s t i l l speaks poor E n g l i s h and can only read and w r i t e a l i t t l e , i f at a l l . With t h i s background and such handicaps, he was destined t o continue to work at the most ordinary jobs, and i s only too w e l l c l a s s i f i e d as common labourer.  His u s u a l employ-  ment a c t u a l l y was as a manual labourer w i t h c o n s t r u c t i o n f i r m s , on c i t y s t r e e t s e t c . , and h i s earnings u s u a l l y f e l l i n the lowest bracket. I n 1922 while employed by an e l e c t r i c company on c o n s t r u c t i o n work he sustained a serious back i n j u r y ; from t h i s time on he has apparently never been f u l l y employable. He received b e n e f i t s through the Workmen's Compensation Board f o r some time, u n t i l he returned to work and h i s case was closed.  He contested t h i s d e c i s i o n , but to no a v a i l .  I n the years f o l l o w i n g , he s u f f e r e d p e r i o d i c l a y o f f s from work due to t h i s i n j u r y and made numerous attempts to reopen the case w i t h the compensation department f o r d i s a b i l i t y payments i n the i n t e r v e n i n g ten year p e r i o d , but without success.  He therefore suffered not only the hazards of  p e r i o d i c unemployment, the n a t u r a l outgrowth of the type of work he was able to do, but a l s o from p e r i o d i c l o s s of time due to h i s h e a l t h c o n d i t i o n .  The consequences of time l o s s  were f u r t h e r aggravated by medical expenses attendant on h i s ailment; and these handicaps coupled w i t h a l i m i t e d earning capacity kept the f a m i l y at a low standard of l i v i n g . During the years that Mr. B was employable, the f a m i l y purchased a l o t on which was l o c a t e d a rough shack. 2 1  At  f i r s t they l i v e d i n t h i s ; but during the ensuing years they kept b u i l d i n g a d d i t i o n s and the shack e v e n t u a l l y grew i n t o a comfortable seven room home. Beyond ownership of t h i s home the f a m i l y accumulated no other assets. T h e i r s o c i a l a c t i v i t i e s were r e s t r i c t e d to a small c i r c l e of f r i e n d s and never reached out i n t o the wider community.  The c r i s i s came  around 1931 when Mr. B»s h e a l t h became f u r t h e r impaired and he e v i d e n t l y became t o t a l l y unemployable ^. An U n s k i l l e d Manual Worker. The C f a m i l y had i t s r o o t s i n the e a r l y 1920's.  Mr. C  had attended only grade school and d i d not reach beyond the f o u r t h or f i f t h grade.  Mr. C d i d not become a s e m i - s k i l l e d  or s k i l l e d worker.  He worked as common labourer during h i s  employable years.  An i n d u s t r i o u s worker, he d i d not s u f f e r  too much from p e r i o d i c unemployment, but due to h i s l i m i t e d earning c a p a c i t y , and the continous growth of f a m i l y r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s , the f a m i l y ' s standard of l i v i n g quite low.  remained  The best paying job he ever had during h i s years  of employment was one t h a t p a i d f o u r d o l l a r s per day.  The  f a m i l y accumulated no resources or wealth beyond a minimum amount of household f u r n i t u r e .  They owned no s e c u r i t i e s ,  insurance, c a r , or labour-saving household appliances.  The  f a m i l y maintained i t s independence at a l l times up to 1932 but a c r i s i s came when Mr. C became unemployable due to an 1 This term has many connotations but as used here i s d e s c r i p t i v e of a c o n d i t i o n which renders the person unable to work, i n the sense of f o l l o w i n g h i s u s u a l occupation, f o r an i n d e f i n i t e p e r i o d of time. 22  active tuberculosis condition. A Mobile Family. The D f a m i l y ' s experience was q u i t e d i f f e r e n t from any described up to t h i s p o i n t . Mr. D had a f a i r education and was a s k i l l e d c o n s t r u c t i o n worker w i t h r a t h e r unusual capacities.  He was seldom wanting f o r a job but he d i d not  stay w i t h any except f o r short periods o f time.  He was  u s u a l l y w e l l - l i k e d by h i s employer, and appeared to get along w e l l w i t h h i s fellow-workmen.  But due t o h i s ever-  changing jobs h i s f a m i l y became a mobile one, always on the move, c i t y to c i t y , across the border and back again, and i n t o other provinces.  This meant that the f a m i l y moved  from one f u r n i s h e d room i n t o another, never having a place they could c a l l home. Even though Mr. D was w e l l p a i d as a s k i l l e d worker when employed, the continuous job changing, l o s s of time, plus o c c a s i o n a l seasonal unemployment r e s u l t e d i n a very mediocre existence f o r the f a m i l y ; i n f a c t , many times i t was on the verge of d e s t i t u t i o n .  They accumulated no  possessions save t h e i r personal e f f e c t s , w i t h the s i n g l e exception that at one time they owned a used car f o r a short period.  This i t i n e r a n t and nomadic way of l i f e p e r s i s t e d .  F i n a l l y , f u r t h e r complicated by domestic problems, i t l e d to t o t a l f a m i l y d i s i n t e g r a t i o n and separation between Mr. D and h i s w i f e .  33  (b)  DEPRESSION F A M I L I E S  . The f a m i l i e s who came o n t h e had experiences families. rife  quite different  from the  every turn.  Many o f t h e  period attained  s t a t u s as b i o l o g i c a l e n t i t i e s  social  during  this  only.  Those  v i c t i m s o f t h i s age  i n the f a c t  o n c e a week f o r t h e r e l i e f project.  rations  In either  t h a t the f a t h e r  remained, claim  lined  up  o r r e p o r t e d f o r work on  case they f e l t  "cut o f f " ,  i n d e e d t h e y were n o t v i e w e d w i t h d i s d a i n by the p o p u l a c e who w e r e n o t o n a s s i s t a n c e . their  almost  s e n s e , n o n - d e s c r i p t u n i t s whose m a j o r  to r e c o g n i t i o n r e s t e d  was  virtually  were d u l l e d a t  families established  who became r e l a t i v e l y p e r m a n e n t  a relief  pre-depression  for establishing a business  Hope, a m b i t i o n and a s p i r a t i o n s  i n the  thirties  The l a b o u r m a r k e t was g l u t t e d , u n e m p l o y m e n t  and o p p o r t u n i t i e s  nil.  scene d u r i n g the  i f  general  These e x p e r i e n c e s  left  marks.  An Economic and M a r i t a l P r o b l e m C a s u a l t y The E f a m i l y was one w h i c h h a d i t s thirties,  o r i g i n i n the  early  a t i m e when t h e d e p r e s s i o n was r a p i d l y a p p r o a c h i n g  a new a l l - t i m e l o w .  M r . E had a grade school e d u c a t i o n  h a d become a b u t c h e r  by t r a d e , f o l l o w i n g  apprenticeship. fifteen  the r o u t e  H i s maximum Income d u r i n g t h e  d o l l a r s p e r week I n 1 9 3 3 .  Through the  of  depression  The f a m i l y ' s s t a n d a r d low.  assist-  o r work r e l i e f .  o f l i v i n g was n e c e s s a r i l y  T h e y a c q u i r e d a minimum amount o f h o u s e h o l d  24  was  following  f e w y e a r s h e was p e r i o d i c a l l y u n e m p l o y e d , r e c e i v i n g ance i n t h e f o r m o f d i r e c t r e l i e f  and  very  furniture  and rented a house at eight d o l l a r s a month.  Low wages,  unemployment, r e l i e f , i n c r e a s i n g f a m i l y r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s a l l s t r a i n e d the f a m i l y t i e s ; and these culminated i n a permanent separation about 1939. A Tuberculosis Casualty. The P f a m i l y o r i g i n a t e d i n one of the p r a i r i e provinces i n the e a r l y t h i r t i e s .  Mr. P had a grade school  education; but l a c k i n g a s k i l l or trade, he f o l l o w e d employment wherever he could f i n d i t as a common labourer. The f a m i l y ' s standard of l i v i n g was at the subsistence l e v e l and i t was a struggle to maintain even t h a t , having to r e l y on d i r e c t r e l i e f , work r e l i e f and occasional employ/ ment at subsistence l e v e l wage.  I n 1941 the f a m i l y moved to  the c i t y of Vancouver seeking work.  They rented the u p s t a i r s  part of a d i l a p i d a t e d house, (four rooms) f o r which they paid ten d o l l a r s per month.  Mr. P found a job as plumber's  helper at a wage r a t e which gave him $120.00 a month, f u l l time.  This was wealth to t h i s f a m i l y ; but due to time l o s s  between jobs and other i r r e g u l a r i t i e s he seldom earned the maximum monthly s a l a r y . The f a m i l y was able to accumulate some o l d f u r n i t u r e , but i t was inadequate ing  f a m i l y ' s needs.  to meet the grow-  Mr. P continued more or l e s s r e g u l a r l y  i n h i s job, but he became, i l l and unemployable w i t h t u b e r c u l o s i s i n 1943. A Desertion Case. Mr. and Mrs. G are an example of a f a m i l y founded i n the e a r l y t h i r t i e s who l i v e d through the depression without  25  receiving r e l i e f . little  T h i s was r e m a r k a b l e ,  since M r . G had  e d u c a t i o n a n d h i s c a p a c i t y was l i m i t e d ; he d i d n o t  d e v e l o p any p a r t i c u l a r general labourer. thirties  skill  The b e s t j o b h e e v e r h a d d u r i n g  was w o r k i n g f o r  watchman, at  a n d was u s u a l l y e m p l o y e d as  the  the  c i t y ; M r s . G b e l i e v e d as  night  s i x t y d o l l a r s per month.  The f a m i l y ' s s t a n d a r d  o f l i v i n g was n e c e s s a r i l y l o w ,  a p a r a l l e l t o M r . Gr's e a r n i n g c a p a c i t y .  Their housing  c o n s i s t e d o f one r e n t e d r o o m ; n e v e r d u r i n g t h e i r of married l i f e  d i d they l i v e  accumulated enough f u r n i t u r e  eight  years  i n a house o r apartment.  They  f o r one r o o m ; b e y o n d t h i s  owned no p r o p e r t y o r i n v e s t m e n t s . experience  a  M r s . G h a d h a d work  o n l y as a d o m e s t i c p r i o r to. h e r m a r r i a g e .  f a m i l y ' s p r o b l e m o f l i v i n g was f u r t h e r  w h e r e a b o u t s a r e unknown t o  the  The  complicated by m a r i t a l  d i s c o r d , not hard to imagine i n such circumstances, culminated i n Mr. G's deserting  they  and  this  f a m i l y around 1942.  His  her.  A H o u s i n g a n d Income C a s u a l t y . The H f a m i l y was one w h i c h h a d i t s b e g i n n i n g i n t h e . thirties. education,  M r . H , an u n s k i l l e d l a b o u r e r ,  with l i t t l e formal  was i r r e g u l a r i n h i s work h a b i t s ,  a job that p a i d a l i v i n g  wage.  and r a i s e d on the r e s e r v a t i o n , grade i n s c h o o l . p r i o r to marriage,  and s e l d o m h a d  M r s . H was p a r t I n d i a n , she c o m p l e t e d t h e  She came t o t h e  late  born  seventh  c i t y a n d was e m p l o y e d ,  as a c h a m b e r - m a i d i n v a r i o u s h o t e l s  and  rooming houses.  B e c a u s e o f M r . H ' s i r r e g u l a r work h a b i t s ,  became n e c e s s a r y  f o r her  a l s o t o seek employment t o  26  provide  it  for  the f a m i l y .  the  c h i l d r e n were n e g l e c t e d ,  by n e i g h b o u r s  The r e s u l t  to  The f a m i l y ' s  further  that  signed  M r s . H was g i v e n o r d e r s b y  s t a y home a n d t a k e  standard  was  and upon a p e t i t i o n  to that e f f e c t ,  p o l i c e department  deteriorated  o f t h i s arrangement  care of her  the  family.  o f l i v i n g was u n u s u a l l y l o w a n d  as t i m e went o n .  The f a m i l y  started  out by l i v i n g  i n a s u i t e o f f u r n i s h e d rooms, but unable  pay the r e n t ,  t h e y were s o o n o n t h e m o v e , u l t i m a t e l y f r o m  one condemned b u i l d i n g t o  another.  H h a d d u r i n g t h e y e a r s was w i t h t h e c o l l e c t i o n department. furniture  or other  cated t h e i r l i f e and p e r m a n e n t  to  The b e s t p a y i n g j o b M r . city's  garbage  The f a m i l y a t no t i m e owned  assets.  M a r i t a l problems f u r t h e r  and l e d t o t e m p o r a r y p e r i o d s o f  compli-  estrangment  separation i n 1945.  A P a r t Time W o r k e r . The J f a m i l y o r i g i n a t e d i n 1 9 3 8 , a n d w i t h i n a f e w months a f t e r for  marriage found i t necessary  assistance.  marriage,  Mr. J's  t o make a p p l i c a t i o n  employment h i s t o r y p r i o r  though e x t e n s i v e i n y e a r s ,  to  was n o t i m p r e s s i v e .  was e m p l o y e d a s a l a b o u r e r o n m a n u a l j o b s .  H i s c a p a c i t y was  s e v e r e l y l i m i t e d i n terms o f p o t e n t i a l development o f skill,  and h i s e d u c a t i o n h a d t e r m i n a t e d as e a r l y a s  t h i r d grade.  He  any  the  I n a d d i t i o n t o t h e s e h a n d i c a p s he was t r o u b l e d  p e r i o d i c a l l y w i t h i l l n e s s beginning i n 1930. nor M r s . J had property or assets at and M r . J h a d o n l y temporary w o r k .  Neither Mr.  the time of m a r r i a g e , They s e t up h o u s e k e e p i n g  i n one f u r n i s h e d r o o m , f o r w h i c h t h e y p a i d e i g h t d o l l a r s  27  per  month r e n t . A D e s e r t i o n Case. The K f a m i l y came o n t h e  scene i n 1938.  employment d u r i n g t h e h e i g h t o f t h e p r i m a r i l y o f odd j o b s . such.  In spite  d e p r e s s i o n had  He h a d n o t h a d r e g u l a r  o f the  erratic  fuel  H o w e v e r , she l o s t h e r  the business  as  became  M r s . K had by a  owned a h a l f  j o b when h e r f a t h e r  d i e d and  was d i s s o l v e d .  The K ' s owned t h e i r rented  employment  f i v e years p r i o r to marriage,  d i s t r i b u t i n g f i r m i n which her father  interest.  consisted  employment h i s t o r y , he  a g o o d m e c h a n i c and a s e m i - s k i l l e d c a r p e n t e r . been employed f o r about  Mr. K ' s  own f u r n i t u r e  and a c a r .  They  a n a v e r a g e home f o r e i g h t e e n d o l l a r s p e r m o n t h .  Mr.  K ' s peak e a r n i n g c a p a c i t y was i n 1 9 4 1 when he was e m p l o y e d a s e m i - s k i l l e d carpenter  i n a defense  plant  where h i s  as  earnings  a v e r a g e d $ 1 3 0 . 0 0 a m o n t h a n d s o m e t i m e s more* d e p e n d i n g o n overtime worked. deserted  He was e m p l o y e d o n t h i s  WAR TIME AND POST DEPRESSION F A M I L I E S  The p o s t - d e p r e s s i o n the  thirties;  children,  their  f a m i l y d i d not escape a l l the  special characteristic  who n o w , as p a r e n t s ,  are  d e p r e s s i o n i n the n a t i o n ' s h i s t o r y . while i n their  after  tender years,  when he r e t u r n e d  i s that  a part of this  u p d u r i n g a p e r i o d w h i c h was t h e l o n g e s t  face  he  the f a m i l y i n 1942. (c)  of  job u n t i l  the  study,  and most  grew  severe  Many o f t h e s e i n d i v i d u a l s ,  saw t h e l o o k o n t h e i r  father's  f r o m work w i t h t h e p i n k s l i p .  t h e y w o u l d see h i m l e a v e i n t h e m o r n i n g w i t h o u t  28  evils  Therehis  lunch p a i l , t o r e t u r n i n the evening, weary and discouraged; and hear him t e l l the t a l e of the "no help wanted" signs posted everywhere.  Pood became scarce and the t a b l e was set  l e s s o f t e n i n many homes. I n place of the f a m i l y going shopping w i t h the weekly pay check, the head of the f a m i l y would go to the r e l i e f o f f i c e and r e t u r n w i t h whatever r a t i o n s happened t o be d i s t r i b u t e d f o r t h a t week. F u e l became scarce f o r l a c k of money to buy i t , and many homes were c o l d . Even the experience of going w i t h the parent to the store t o purchase a new dress, shoes, trousers or other c l o t h i n g was denied many youngsters f o r years; these a l s o were issued through the r e l i e f department.  The advent of work r e l i e f  changed the complexion of the r e l i e f program, but had l i t t l e e f f e c t on the standards of a s s i s t a n c e . The adolescent who came on the labour market during t h i s p e r i o d had l i t t l e or no opportunity to f i n d a r e g u l a r job. The t o t a l of a youth's work experience, I n many i n s t a n c e s , consisted of odd jobs only.  With the changing times and t u r n  of events, the business c y c l e swinging upward, o p p o r t u n i t i e s were opened to these youths f o r the f i r s t time to f i n d employment. Many were i l l - p r e p a r e d f o r employment as a r e s u l t of t h e i r experiences; nevertheless the new p e r i o d ushered i n renewed hope, and ambition, and o p p o r t u n i t i e s which had p r e v i o u s l y been denied. For some of these young f a m i l i e s t h i s p e r i o d was short l i v e d , f o r i n the midst of p r o s p e r i t y they were r e l e g a t e d , through no f a u l t of t h e i r own, t o c o n d i t i o n s not u n l i k e those  29  of the depression as judgeing from some of these sample cases. Chronic Disease Casualty. Mr. and Mrs. L, both products of the depression, were married i n 1942.  For l a c k of f a m i l y income, Mr. L had been  forced to q u i t school a f t e r completing the t e n t h grade, and f o r the next f i v e years, he worked p e r i o d i c a l l y at any a v a i l a b l e job.  During that time, however, while employed by  h i s brother, he became s k i l l e d as a p a i n t e r . At the outbreak of the war, Mr. L attempted to e n l i s t i n the s e r v i c e s but was r e j e c t e d because of an asthmatic condition.  A f t e r several attempts he was accepted f o r  l i m i t e d s e r v i c e . However, some months l a t e r he was  given  a medical discharge, and i n 1941 found employment i n the s h i p yards as a p a i n t e r where h i s earnings were $1.25  per hour.  Mrs. L completed h i g h school and, as a student,  was  a c t i v e i n drama c l u b , HIY, b a s k e t - b a l l and grass hockey. A f t e r graduating from h i g h school, she worked f o r some time as a stenographer, but l a t e r joined a s i n g i n g t r i o on a r a d i o network.  She continued w i t h t h i s work a f t e r marriage  forced to r e s i g n because of her pregnancy.  until  The f a m i l y rented  a p a r t i a l l y f u r n i s h e d s u i t e and began buying f u r n i t u r e on the installment plan.  Mr. L's asthmatic c o n d i t i o n became more  d i s a b l i n g , r e s u l t i n g i n h i s becoming unemployable i n the l a t t e r part of  1943.  A n t i - S o c i a l Behaviour  Casualty.  Mr. and Mrs. M, reared during the depression e r a , were  30  married i n the e a r l y f o r t i e s .  Mr. M attended p u b l i c school  but d i d not complete the e i g h t h grade and, as a youth, was only i n t e r m i t t e n t l y employed at odd jobs.  His behaviour  was such that he was f r e q u e n t l y i n c o n f l i c t w i t h the law. A f t e r marriage h i s work h a b i t s d i d not improve; h i s offences became more serious l e a d i n g to c o n v i c t i o n and a two year sentence to the p e n i t e n t i a r y . F o r t u n a t e l y f o r the f a m i l y , Mrs. M i s a capable woman; she had r e g u l a r employment as a f a c t o r y worker before and a f t e r marriage.  She was not only  the main source of support f o r the f a m i l y , but p e r i o d i c a l l y had to f u r n i s h the money to help her husband out of t r o u b l e . Her maximum earnings i n the f a c t o r y , however, were twenty d o l l a r s per week.  The f a m i l y ' s standard remained at the  subsistence l e v e l as evidenced by t h e i r housing which cons i s t e d of a one-room "furnished s u i t e " . l i t t l e or no savings.  N a t u r a l l y , they had  Mrs. M became dependent s h o r t l y a f t e r  her husband was committed to the p e n i t e n t i a r y .  She was  still  w i l l i n g to work but had to discontinue t h i s due to pregnancy.  These d e s c r i p t i o n s of f a m i l y background, though v a r i e d , a l l lead up to the same point from d i f f e r e n t routes, namely, to the onset of a dependency p e r i o d .  This d i d not b r i n g them  immediately to s o c i a l a s s i s t a n c e ; however, i n the l i f e of many f a m i l i e s , there i s an i n t e r i m p e r i o d which can be of much s i g n i f i c a n c e . This period between c r i s i s and the a c t u a l r e c e i p t of assistance remains to be discussed i n the next chapter.  31  CHAPTER IV TRANSITIONAL PERIOD I n a l l cases there i s a lapse of time between the period of economic s e l f s u f f i c i e n c y and the date of a p p l i c a t i o n f o r a s s i s t a n c e , however long or short that be.  I t i s r e l e v a n t to t h i s study to take note of the  familys How,  may  1  experiences because i t I s a p e r i o d of d e c i s i o n .  i n what way,  and to what l e n g t h the f a m i l i e s were able  to go using t h e i r own  strengths, motivated by a d e s i r e to  be s e l f s u f f i c i e n t or because of the aversion to being  on  a s s i s t a n c e , before f i l i n g a p p l i c a t i o n . I t i s recognized that no two cases are a l i k e , and many times i t i s d i f f i c u l t to trace the causative f a c t o r s , f o r they may studied.  be many as w i l l be seen I n some of the cases  For purposes of t h i s report a t t e n t i o n w i l l  be  focused upon the most immediate and d i r e c t causes i n the f u l l knowledge t h a t the c o n t r i b u t i n g f a c t o r s i n the background may have had a d i r e c t bearing on the dependency status.  To I l l u s t r a t e t h i s point the m a r i t a l problems i n  the case of d e s e r t i o n or separation may  be c i t e d .  The e t i o l o g y of dependency i n t h i s study i s important only i n the sense that the f a m i l y s ' f i r s t contact w i t h the agency was a need f o r f i n a n c i a l assistance.  The reasons  f o r dependency may d e f i n i t e l y i n f l u e n c e the a p p l i c a n t s • a t t i t u d e and f e e l i n g s toward r e c e i v i n g assistance. may  This  range from an arrogant demand to a submissive p l e a , the  l a t t e r because of i t being a disgrace to ask f o r assistance  32  or because of strong g u i l t f e e l i n g s i d e n t i f y i n g p e r s o n a l l y w i t h the causative f a c t o r s c r e a t i n g dependency.  The time  element i n v o l v e d plays an important r o l e i n that i t may serve as a c o n d i t i o n i n g period p e r m i t t i n g the u l t i m a t e r e c i p i e n t s t o prepare themselves p s y c h o l o g i c a l l y f o r the time when they need to be on a s s i s t a n c e .  This may be  t  pointed up i n the case of chronic i n c a p a c i t a t i n g and u l t i m a t e l y t o t a l l y d i s a b l i n g disease. the question of economics. t h i s period? relatives?  E q u a l l y Important i s  How d i d the f a m i l y l i v e during  D i d they have c o n v e r t i b l e assets or help from D i d they pawn personal treasures o r s e l l house-  h o l d f u r n i t u r e e t c . , i n an e f f o r t t o postpone the date of a p p l i c a t i o n f o r assistance? Death of the Breadwinner. The onset of dependency i n case of death of the breadwinner may be sudden without forewarning the A f a m i l y .  a.s pointed up by  I t might be s a i d that a c o n t r i b u t i n g cause t o  t h i s f a m i l y ' s dependency may be traced back to the l o s s of a modest fortune i n the depression.  Whether i t may i n f l u e n c e  the a t t i t u d e of the s u r v i v i n g spouse i s a moot question. However at the time of death of Mr. A the f a m i l y owned t h e i r household f u r n i t u r e and had t h i r t y d o l l a r s I n cash.  With  t h i s Mrs. A and her four minor c h i l d r e n faced the f u t u r e . She was able to r e c o n c i l e h e r s e l f t o the f a c t that she needed help and f e l t she had a r i g h t to r e c e i v e assistance because of the c h i l d r e n needing her i n the home.  The shock  of the death of Mr. A and the f e a r s of the f u t u r e without 33  money or resources placed an emotional s t r a i n upon her to the extent that she was unable to make a p p l i c a t i o n f o r assistance h e r s e l f .  A f r i e n d of the f a m i l y contacted the  agency i n her behalf and they sent a worker out to v i s i t  the  family. Where there i s a chronic and t o t a l l y d i s a b l i n g i l l n e s s , a f a m i l y , over a period of time, I s brought face to face not only with the immediate r e a l i t y of need, but . also with some perspective of things to come as i l l u s t r a t e d i n the C case.  Mr. G, s u f f e r i n g from t u b e r c u l o s i s , became  unemployable around 1932.  At the time they had f i v e c h i l d -  ren ranging i n age from a few months to seven years, which obviously meant that Mrs. C could not replace Mr. C as the breadwinner In the f a m i l y .  They had no savings nor  c o n v e r t i b l e assets and therefore became dependent immediately.  To t h i s f a m i l y f i l i n g an a p p l i c a t i o n f o r  assistance was d i f f i c u l t i n i t s e l f , but because of Mr. C's i n c a p a c i t y .  justifiable,  Mr. C was i n and out of the  sanatorium f o r a number of years and died i n 1939.  This  f a m i l y not u n l i k e the As suffered the l o s s of the head of the f a m i l y but since he had become i n c a p a c i t a t e d the f a m i l y had been r e c e i v i n g assistance f o r years and therefore cond i t i o n e d as i t were to what the f u t u r e held i n store f o r them; to have to continue r e c e i v i n g assistance as Desertions  and  before.  Separations.  Dependency r e s u l t i n g from these causes may grouped f o r purposes of t h i s d i s c u s s i o n .  34  I t may  w e l l be  be q u i t e  true that the causative f a c t o r s b r i n g i n g about any one of these s i t u a t i o n s could be found i n groups ranging from economic d e f i c i e n c i e s to deep seated emotional and p e r s o n a l i t y adjustment problems.  I n some cases the l e g i t -  imacy of the c h i l d r e n may be a question as indeed i t would be i n a common law r e l a t i o n s h i p .  F o r purpose of t h i s study  the onset of the dependency p e r i o d i n these cases i s t a k i n g t h a t time when the mother i s l e f t w i t h the c h i l d r e n without support or inadequate support from the f a t h e r , i r r e s p e c t i v e of whether the m a r i t a l union had been l e g a l l y c o n s t i t u t e d . The term separation as used i n d i c a t e s only that both husband and wife were a party to the d i s s o l u t i o n of the union whatever i t s l e g a l status may have been.  The term d e s e r t i o n  simply means that the husband l e f t the wife and c h i l d r e n w i t h no means of support. Mrs. D at the time of separation had two c h i l d r e n ages one and seven.  Without support from her husband her e f f o r t  to be s e l f s u f f i c i e n t f a i l e d .  She attempted to work p l a c i n g  the youngest c h i l d i n the day nursery.  The o l d e s t one i n  school was to s h i f t f o r himself during the out-of-school hours while the mother was working.  This plan f a i l e d f o r a  number of reasons not the l e a s t of which was Mrs. D's h e a l t h . Because of her strong f e e l i n g against r e l i e f and the stigma she b e l i e v e d attached to i t , hoped to avoid such by seeking help through the Family Welfare Bureau.  She a p p l i e d to the  l a t t e r f o r f i n a n c i a l help and also f o r a i d and d i r e c t i o n i n s o l v i n g the problem of her husband who was threatening her  35  with physical violence.  This agency gave her f i n a n c i a l  assistance and aided her i n making l e g a l d i s p o s i t i o n of her husband's s t a t u s .  I n the face of the f a m i l y ' s continuing  need of f i n a n c i a l a s s i s t a n c e , the Family Welfare Bureau r e f e r r e d her case t o the c i t y s o c i a l s e r v i c e department. Mrs. E at time of separation had two c h i l d r e n ages f i v e and two and was i n the e a r l y stage of pregnancy. At the time of separation the f a m i l y was r e c e i v i n g assistance through Mr. E being employed on a work r e l i e f p r o j e c t and t h i s f a c t made her i n e l i g i b l e to r e c e i v e assistance I n her own r i g h t f o r h e r s e l f and c h i l d r e n . her.  Mr. E refused to support  Seeking a way out she found a job working f o r a  bachelor as housekeeper.  Her t o t a l earnings were room and  board f o r h e r s e l f and c h i l d r e n .  She continued to work at  t h i s place f o r some time a f t e r her t h i r d c h i l d was born. The l e v e l of existence was almost unbearable, f u r t h e r complicated by f r i c t i o n on account of the c h i l d r e n aind became i n t o l e r a b l e when the employer made advances upon her person and wanted to use her as a wife as w e l l as a housekeeper.  I n desperation she q u i t her job and f i l e d an  a p p l i c a t i o n f o r a s s i s t a n c e , rented one room (furnished) f o r h e r s e l f and three c h i l d r e n t o l i v e i n . I n the case of d e s e r t i o n the wife and c h i l d r e n ' s status may be d i f f e r e n t .  I t might i n d i c a t e a w i l l i n g n e s s on  the part of the wife to make the marriage a success.  She  may f e e l i t s o c i e t y ' s r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to punish the husband and through the court make him support her.  36  I f they are  unable, she may f e e l i t s o c i e t y ' s r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to m a i n t a i n her and the c h i l d r e n .  Her r e a c t i o n may be one of s e l f  punishment because of the f a i l u r e of her marriage and i n defiance, hope to m a i n t a i n h e r s e l f and f a m i l y by her own e f f o r t . Mrs. H had three c h i l d r e n ranging i n age from one t o f i v e years at the time her husband deserted her.  She l i v e d  i n a couple f u r n i s h e d rooms i n a b u i l d i n g condemned f o r human h a b i t a t i o n by the c i t y h e a l t h department.  She attempted  to keep h e r s e l f and the c h i l d r e n by f i n d i n g n i g h t work but the employment agency would not r e f e r her to a job because they d i d not consider her employable i n the l i g h t of her f a m i l y responsibilities.  However, i n the face of t h i s she continued  to seek employment.  The l a n d l o r d reported her case to the  agency who sent t h e i r worker out t o make an i n v e s t i g a t i o n . Her aversion t o f i l i n g an a p p l i c a t i o n f o r assistance p a r t i a l l y stemmed from an e a r l i e r experience w i t h a s o c i a l agency which had not been a wholesome one. Mrs. Or at the time her husband deserted her had one c h i l d aged s i x and was w e l l along i n her second pregnancy and therefore unable to work.  L e f t without money, she had nothing  save a few pieces of f u r n i t u r e which was h a r d l y enough t o f u r n i s h the one room they l i v e d i n .  Of t h i s she s o l d a  k i t c h e n cupboard f o r eight d o l l a r s because she was a b s o l u t e l y without money.  Having knowledge of t h e work done by the  f a m i l y welfare bureau she a p p l i e d to t h i s agency f o r help. They a s s i s t e d her u n t i l a f t e r the baby was born when they r e f e r r e d her case to the c i t y s o c i a l s e r v i c e department.  37  Because resources husband  of  the  what  case  deserted  months  and  two  against  M r . K  dollars  per  may  of  she  was  is  l e f t  She  the  week.  termed  Mrs. K  years. and  be  strengths  different.  with  two  brought  court  After  family  a  ordered  making  a  When  c h i l d r e n  her ages  non-support him  few  to  pay  and  charge  her  payments  ten  f i f t e e n  he  d i s -  a  plan  appeared. With made  i t a  the  for  the  and  Mrs. K  but  badly  crippled  a  forced  chore  year to  but  make  by  the  ance  and  husband  of  of  the of  on  health for  old  age  who  broke  i t  during  care  The  brother  pension  arranged  The  a r t h r i t i s .  Her  which  downstairs  children  grandmother  of  was  plan down  so  the  the not  day  c h i l d r e n only  worked and  that  she  aged  for was  assistance.  is  l e s s  be  outright family  on  a  where  understood disapproval, the  affected  from the or  be  to  some  popular  needs  where  tuberculosis, disabling  not  granted  p o p u l a r i l y  assistance  38  may  family's  suffering  instances well  is  There  meeting  unemployable  the  the  They  the  i l l n e s s .  a  carrying  was  unemployables  other  may  rented  who  out  Incapacity.  In  there  she  worked  employment.  factory.  the  with  example. disease  a  Mrs. K ' s  approval is  take  of  application  status  nature  i n  they  rooms).  care  for  Unemployment' and The  (two  worked  a  to  mother  took  quite  about  her  her  was  relatives  house;  upstairs  grandmother  while  of  two-storey  rooms)  rented  help  possible  bought (four  the  r o l l s .  degree acceptthe f o r  nature at  a l l  speaking, The  of  effect  to of  t h i s s i l e n t or vocal censorship may he very pronounced on the f a m i l y and w i l l f i n d expression i n d i f f e r e n t ways.  The  very nature of the disease w i l l place the f a m i l y i n a p r e f e r r e d dependency s i t u a t i o n i n which s p e c i a l considerati o n may be given a l l members of the f a m i l y as i s true i n case of t u b e r c u l o s i s .  This may have a d i r e c t bearing upon  the f a m i l y ' s a t t i t u d e and f e e l i n g about t h e i r  circumstances  and t h e i r acceptance of i t . The P f a m i l y had been dependent because of unemployment f o r the greater p a r t of t h e i r h i s t o r y but t h i s i n i t s e l f i s not considered to be the onset of the dependency p e r i o d , even though i t may have had a bearing upon i t .  The  onset of dependency i n t h i s case i s taken to be the time when Mr. P became a v i c t i m of t u b e r c u l o s i s .  P r i o r to t h i s he  had been employed continously f o r approximately  two  years.  The f a m i l y had no assets or cash, t h e r e f o r e , immediately upon h i s becoming i l l , the f a m i l y had to make a p p l i c a t i o n f o r assistance.  The p o s s i b i l i t y of Mrs. P t a k i n g employment  was out of the question because of f o u r c h i l d r e n ranging i n age from a few months to s i x years r e q u i r i n g her f u l l time and a t t e n t i o n . The B f a m i l y might be considered as one where the t r a n s i t i o n a l p e r i o d was very prolonged without an immediate d i r e c t cause of dependency.  I n Mr. B's mind h i s dependency  status r e s u l t e d from Inadequate c o n s i d e r a t i o n on the p a r t of the workmens compensation board.  He sustained a back i n j u r y  around 1922 from which he never f u l l y recovered.  39  This, with  additional somewhere in  terms  amount  complications around 1931.  of  of  money,  I f  the  might the  of  Mr. Because resign  his  he  became  family  radio  on  the i n  this  point  they  baby  carriage.  they  moved  did  not  .the  go  too  b e l i e f  that  with  f i n a n c i a l  went  to  of  the  apply  after f o r  the  f i r s t  due  to  status  an  i t  i n j u r y  he  and  asthmatic was  few  to  room  meantime  l e f t  making  i n  hope  staying  departure, for  the  the  cash  kept  Next  for  had from  on  the  At  and  a  assistance  expected.  found  they  weeks.  clothing  Things  Mr. L ,  improve  f i n d i n g  and  r e a l i z e d  his  i n  health,  mother-in-law, a  with, r e l a t i v e s  drain  time  they  few  s i s t e r ' s  Mrs. L  40  a  might  of  i n  to length  mother-in-law.  be  climate  the  which  application  might  At  months.  t h e i r  s i s t e r ' s  from  the  f o r  but  some  f r i e n d s ,  The money  destitution  change  i n  three  furniture  plan.  as  from  condition.  able  to  d o l l a r s  borrow  approximately  not  went  to  there  assistance  other  case,  suffered  able  assistance  Mr. L ' s  or  this  i n  a  Mrs. L ' s  i n t e r i o r  employment,  long  a  l i m i t e d  assistance.  a l l  attitudes  nothing  well  was,  f o r  at  had  avoid  with  a p p l i c a t i o n  they  postponing  To  a  savings  assistance.  payment  had  which  also  f o r  l i v i n g  time  aided  i n  was  and  this  and  dependency  f o r  home,  and  cash,  existed  unemployable  he  going  no  make  application  what  their  unemployable  unemployable.  unemployable  plus  bought  to  to  t o t a l l y  l i t t l e ,  had  Mr. B  feelings  making  the  had  time  became  himself  avoid  sold  the  They  him  owned  very  period  becoming  L  of  to  the  therefore  from  date  that,  worth  t r a n s i t i o n a l be  They  f u r n i t u r e .  resources,  rendered  i t  suitable  type  there.  Not  necessary  family  with  to  whom  she was l i v i n g was too great.  She received assistance f o r  a few months and decided to go to the i n t e r i o r to j o i n her husband.  She s o l d the baby c a r r i a g e and used her l a s t  assistance grant to finance the t r i p . i n t e r i o r f o r some months.  They stayed i n the  Mr. L's h e a l t h showed s l i g h t  improvement but i r r e g u l a r employment attended by adverse l i v i n g conditions w i t h r e l a t i v e s prompted the f a m i l y to r e t u r n to B r i t i s h Columbia, where Mr. L found employment i n the mines.  He worked only a short while when h i s  c o n d i t i o n became so severe that he was brought to Vancouver to the h o s p i t a l . I n the absence of any resources Mrs. L f i l e d a r e a p p l i c a t l o n f o r assistance i n  1944.  Mr. J was p a r t i a l l y i n c a p a c i t a t e d beginning 1930  s u f f e r i n g from u l c e r s of the stomach.  whatsoever  around  His employment  was i n t e r r u p t e d a f t e r that p e r i o d i c a l l y due to h i s h e a l t h . S h o r t l y a f t e r marriage i n 1938, Mr. J became 111 and they applied f o r assistance.  Their a p p l i c a t i o n was  because of residence requirements.  rejected  They were not e l i g i b l e  f o r assistance under the r e g u l a t i o n s f o r another s i x months. At the time, they were l i v i n g i n one furnished room and because of no income, were forced to discontinue housekeeping.  Mr. J went to l i v e w i t h one of h i s s i s t e r s  and  Mrs. J found a job as a domestic earning ten d o l l a r s a month.  This arrangement continued f o r the next s i x months  u n t i l the f a m i l y was e l i g i b l e f o r a s s i s t a n c e .  The problems  encountered during t h i s p e r i o d were many and v a r i e d ; unusual l y d i f f i c u l t and complicated because of Mrs. J's pregnancy.  41  Upon being accepted f o r a s s i s t a n c e ; not l o n g before the baby was born, t h e i r grant was so low that they could not a f f o r d to rent a room to l i v e i n and as a consequence they f i x e d up a room i n Mrs. J's mother's basement.  The  latter  gave them the use of some dishes and a few pieces of f u r n i t u r e and they were able to set up housekeeping a f t e r a fashion.  T h e i r r e c e i v i n g assistance was i n t e r r u p t e d from  time to time f o r short periods through Mr. J's employment. He became t o t a l l y unemployable around 1943. Involuntary Absence from the Home. Involuntary absence from the home meaning nothing more than that the person i s In j a i l or p e n i t e n t i a r y i s d i f f e r e n t i n some respects to the types mentioned.  The element of  choice enters the p i c t u r e ; the person could have avoided g e t t i n g i n t o trouble e t c . , and the popular indictment of him i s many times i n c l u s i v e of the f a m i l y as a whole.  The  spouse's a t t i t u d e might be that "they" (meaning s o c i e t y ) sent him to j a i l , t h e r e f o r e , "they" can take care of us, or i t may be the opposite, a r e f u s a l to ask f o r help from anybody. Mrs. M had c o n s i s t e n t l y been the main source of f o r the f a m i l y , working i n a f a c t o r y .  A f t e r Mr. M  support  was  sentenced to the p e n i t e n t i a r y , she continued working f o r a few months t i l l she was f o r c e d to discontinue due to her pregnancy.  Her husband was  seldom employed, therefore her  small earnings were the only income the f a m i l y had.  This  amount, not only had to keep the f a m i l y , but was the only  42  resource with which to b a i l him out of t r o u b l e .  Their  standard of l i v i n g therefore was always at a low p o i n t . They l i v e d i n one f u r n i s h e d room.  Under the above conditions  i t had not been p o s s i b l e f o r her to save any money. Upon making a p p l i c a t i o n f o r assistance i t was denied because she was a s i n g l e person and able to work.  She  returned to her former employer asking to go back t o work, but he was unable to re-employ her because of her p h y s i c a l condition.  She r e a p p l i e d f o r assistance and w i t h a doctor's  statement c e r t i f y i n g t h a t she was unable to work, her a p p l i c a t i o n was approved.  The common f a c t o r of a l l the f a m i l i e s at t h i s p o i n t i s the need f o r f i n a n c i a l a s s i s t a n c e .  That t h e i r experiences  v a r i e d considerably during t h i s p e r i o d has been pointed out. Even though the various causative f a c t o r s c r e a t i n g a dependency status l e n d themselves to being grouped, the s i g n i f i c a n t f a c t stands out that the f a m i l i e s are a l l d i f f e r e n t ; t h e i r i n d i v i d u a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s have not become submerged as a r e s u l t of becoming  dependent.  Each, i n t h e i r own way, by d i f f e r e n t routes, w i t h t h e i r i n d i v i d u a l problems, at t h i s point become ( c l i e n t s ) of the agency.  They are i n need of help i n a t o t a l sense,  as v a r i e d , as they are d i f f e r e n t from each other.  43  CHAPTER V EXPERIENCE DURING- THE DEPENDENCY YEARS Over the period spanned by the sample cases of t h i s study, there have been numerous changes i n l e g i s l a t i o n and policy.  What I s now the C i t y S o c i a l Service Department was  the c i t y R e l i e f Department i n the depression days. wise the category now known as s o c i a l assistance  Like-  (or s o c i a l  allowance) formerly was general r e l i e f or j u s t " r e l i e f " . I t was i n f a c t , l i t t l e more than a s p e c i a l v e r s i o n of the ancient poor r e l i e f .  The present mothers allowance category  which depends on s p e c i f i c l e g i s l a t i o n i s s t i l l termed mothers pension.  occasionally  Attendant to these changes were  numerous r e v i s i o n s i n the a d m i n i s t r a t i v e s t r u c t u r e , and i n the f i n a n c i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s between the l o c a l and p r o v i n c i a l government.  The e f f e c t s of amalgamation of the various  welfare services and d e c e n t r a l i z a t i o n of a d m i n i s t r a t i o n out a doubt had an e f f e c t upon the r e c i p i e n t s .  with-  However, no  attempt w i l l be made i n t h i s study to measure and evaluate these changes, unless they are commented on by the f a m i l y themselves.  A s i g n i f i c a n t development during t h i s period was  the i n t r o d u c t i o n of the t r a i n e d s o c i a l worker to the p u b l i c welfare programs i n l a r g e numbers. Establishing E l i g i b i l i t y . The s p e c i f i c e l i g i b i l i t y requirements under the s t a t u t e and r e g u l a t i o n s f o r both programs have been o u t l i n e d , hut procedure and p r a c t i c e may vary somewhat as a r e s u l t of administrative o r g a n i z a t i o n .  The f o l l o w i n g account, however, 44  derives from the s t o r i e s of those whose e l i g i b i l i t y was i n vestigated. T y p i c a l l y , the c l i e n t makes a p p l i c a t i o n f o r assistance at the o f f i c e .  A p p l i c a t i o n forms are completed and he signs  under oath that he i s d e s t i t u t e .  He i s asked questions  concerning residence, income, a s s e t s , work h i s t o r y , e t c . , and a general s o c i a l h i s t o r y i s recorded. The time r e q u i r e d to complete t h i s f i r s t step v a r i e s , the maximum reported being between three and f o u r hours. the  The worker then v i s i t s  home to make f u r t h e r i n v e s t i g a t i o n as to the f a m i l y ' s  e l i g i b i l i t y f o r assistance.  This u s u a l l y occurs w i t h i n a  week or two a f t e r date of a p p l i c a t i o n depending i n some degree on the nature of the case. might be immediate.  I n case of emergency, i t  The c l i e n t , i f unable to go to the  o f f i c e , can arrange f o r the worker to come to the home to f i l l out the a p p l i c a t i o n form, or the case might be reported by a t h i r d p a r t y to the agency and the worker w i l l c a l l on the  f a m i l y without a d i r e c t request from them. In the past, the workers' v i s i t to the home was very  l i k e l y to be a harrowing experience f o r the a p p l i c a n t . The worker not only i n t e r r o g a t e d the a p p l i c a n t but made a thorough i n s p e c t i o n of the premises.  He may even have  searched the home from basement to a t t i c , going from room to room, i n c l u d i n g i n s p e c t i o n of cupboards and c l o s e t s . However, the f a m i l i e s who a p p l i e d f o r assistance i n recent years d i d not have so severe an experience. The i n v e s t i g a t i o n d i d not f o l l o w the same p a t t e r n .  45  The worker  came t o the home and the technique i s best described i n the words of one of the a p p l i c a n t s , "she (the worker) was n i c e enough - sat down and j u s t asked a l o t of questions; some of 'em were none of her business".  Whether the r e l a x a t i o n  i n the s e v e r i t y of the i n i t i a l i n v e s t i g a t i o n or even the r e - i n v e s t i g a t i o n procedure came as a r e s u l t of the change i n economic c o n d i t i o n s , or because of a change i n the complexion of the a d m i n i s t r a t i v e personnel, w i l l be d i s cussed i n a l a t e r chapter. The worker*s follow-up v i s i t s to the home v a r i e d . Prom the beginning once a week, then every two weeks tapering o f f to once a month- and i n some cases t o once every s i x months i n the s o c i a l assistance cases.  The follow-up v i s i t s  to the mothers' allowance cases were l e s s frequent r i g h t from the beginning. Under both programs payment I s made by check.  The  mothers allowance checks are mailed to r e c i p i e n t s by the p r o v i n c i a l department.  The general p o l i c y I s t h a t every  t h i r d month a declaration-of-income form i s enclosed w i t h the check and no f u r t h e r grants are made u n t i l t h i s form i s returned.  Any income reported thereon w i l l be considered  before the next check i s issued by the l o c a l agency.  The  c i t y s o c i a l s e r v i c e department does not f o l l o w the p r a c t i c e of m a i l i n g out checks.  Each r e c i p i e n t must c a l l f o r h i s o r  her own check at the agency o f f i c e , and f i l e a d e c l a r a t i o n of Income form monthly.  This p r a c t i c e i s s t r i c t l y enforced.  For example: i f the check i s made out to the husband and the  46  wife c a l l s f o r i t she would have some d i f f i c u l t y g e t t i n g i t . Standards of Assistance. .In meeting the f a m i l y ' s f i n a n c i a l needs there i s d i s t i n c t u n i f o r m i t y between cases as w e l l as between the two categories. past.  This has been e s p e c i a l l y true i n the recent  I n former years the s o c i a l assistance r a t e s were  somewhat lower than the mothers' allowance.  The mothers'  allowance r a t e s are f i x e d by s t a t u t e subject to r e v i s i o n by o r d e r - i n - c o u n e i l .  The s o c i a l allowance r a t e s are f i x e d  by the p r o v i n c i a l Department o f Welfare.  This Department  therefore sets the standards of assistance which i s a t present the same f o r both c a t e g o r i e s .  The allowance rates  are based on the number of persons i n the f a m i l y .  A fixed  maximum allowance I s e s t a b l i s h e d f o r each f a m i l y u n i t according to s i z e .  There may be adjustment downward on t h i s  scale i n a case which has deductible income or resources. I n processing a f a m i l y ' s a p p l i c a t i o n f o r assistance as w e l l as i n the p e r i o d i c redetermination  of continued  eligibility,  no cognizance i s taken by the worker of the f a m i l y ' s a c t u a l operating c o s t s .  I f a f a m i l y has no income, they are  a u t o m a t i c a l l y allowed the maximum according to the s c a l e . I t appears that there i s p r o v i s i o n f o r exceeding the maximum I n s p e c i a l cases.  The b e n e f i t of t h i s p r o v i s i o n i s  l a r g e l y negated because the worker does not take i n t o account a f a m i l y ' s cost o f l i v i n g and i n the absence of any measuring device i t would be d i f f i c u l t to t e l l what c o n s t i t u t e s a s p e c i a l case.  For purpose o f i l l u s t r a t i o n  47  the s o c i a l allowance scale i s reproduced here f o r two d i f f e r e n t periods. Table Ho. 1. SOCIAL ALLOWANCE SCALES  1944-1948  _____ No. i n family  (a) A p r i l 1944 Maximum Allowance  Pood  2  $40.00  $25.00  $12.00  $3.00  3  47.50  31.00  13.00  3.50  4  55.00  37.00  14.00  4.00  5  62.50  43.00  15.00  4.50  6.  70.00  49.00  16.00  5.00  7  77.50  55.00  17.00  5.50  8  77.50  55.00  17.00  5.50  No. i n family  (b) Maximum Allowance  Shelter  Sundries  October 1948 Pood  Shelter  Sundries  2  $50.00  $31.25  $15.00  $3.75  3  58.50  36.60  17.55  4.35  4  67.00  41.88  20.10  5.02  5  75.50  47.19  22.65  5.66  6  84.00  52.50  25.20  6.30  7  84.00  52.50  25.20  6.30  8  84.00  52.50  25.20  6.30  48  Oh the b a s i s of t h i s scale the p r o v i n c i a l government w i l l reimburse the c i t y t o the extent of eighty per cent of any grant made to a f a m i l y but may not exceed the maximum indicated.  The maximum grant i n d i c a t e d i n the scale i s not  mandatory upon the c i t y .  The c i t y may exceed t h i s , but i f  i t does, any amounts paid to a f a m i l y i n excess of the maximum must be borne t o t a l l y by the c i t y . I t can r e a d i l y be understood that the reimbursable maximum may also become the c i t y ' s maximum payment f o r a number of reasons.  F i r s t , the c i t y has a problem i n r a i s i n g  funds because of the r e s t r i c t e d tax base.  Second, the  p r o v i n c i a l government has s e t t h i s s c a l e , according t o departmental p o l i c y , i n keeping w i t h the costs of l i v i n g compatible with a reasonably normal and healthy  existence.  This would imply that a d e s i r a b l e minimum standard of l i v i n g can be achieved f o r f a m i l i e s by the a p p l i c a t i o n of t h i s maximum scale t o meet t h e i r requirements.  T h i r d , the scale  provides f o r the same amounts i n d o l l a r s that the p r o v i n c i a l government applies to the mothers' allowance program which i s financed t o t a l l y by the p r o v i n c i a l government.  Fourth, the  p r o v i n c i a l government presumably stands i n the p o s i t i o n of g i v i n g leadership and d i r e c t i o n t o the municipal l e v e l s o f government and the c i t y ' s problem I s u s u a l l y one of a t t a i n i n g the standard set by the former, r a t h e r than exceeding i t . The S o c i a l Assistance r e g u l a t i o n s state t h a t , "The need of the a p p l i c a n t s h a l l be the determining  49  f a c t o r i n granting  assistance and the amount thereof"  .  The amount i s to be i n  keeping with a standard to maintain a "reasonably normal and healthy existence" . 2  The establishment of the social  allowance scale, setting a standard without considering the needs of the applicant would appear to be a contravention of the expressed purpose of the Act and regulations.  A second  glance at the scale makes t h i s argument more impressive, when i t Is noted that a family's needs are not assumed to increase as the numbers go up, beyond s i x i n the family. To speak more s p e c i f i c a l l y of needs and standards of assistance as a measurable quantity, i t becomes necessary to set forth c r i t e r i a i n terms of which megsurement can be made.  One of the most comprehensive studies on minimum  family needs (standards) translated into monetary budgets was made by the Toronto Welfare Council i n 1939 . 3  Non-  essential items, personal l u x u r i e s , tobacco, s p i r i t s , alcohol, unnecessary gadgets i n the home, including most e l e c t r i c a l appliances, automobile etc. were a l l excluded. Under the minimum needs were included only those basic essentials which are considered "necessary to keep a family i n circumstances compatible with dignity, decency and health".  1 Social Assistance Regulations, part of Social Assistance Act, Chapter 62, Statutes 1945 - Sec. 4. 2 Social Assistance Act - March 1945 - Sec. 3. 3 Toronto Welfare Council: The Cost of L i v i n g , Toronto, Ontario, 1939.  50  For purpose of i l l u s t r a t i o n the C o u n c i l budget i s reproduced here. Table No. 2. TORONTO WELFARE COUNCIL MINIMUM STANDARD BUDGET (1939 computation) Family of f i v e (2 adults 3 c h i l d r e n ) 1939 Weekly Budget  1939 Monthly Budget  Relative Weight  Food  #8.00  $32.00  30.5  Rent  5.81  23.24  21.8  Operation ^(Sundries)  5.12  20.48  19.2  Clothing  4.46  17.84  16.7  Advancement and R e c r e a t i o n  1.39  5.56  5.2  Insurance and Savings  1.84  7.36  6.9  $26.62  $106.48  100.0  Total  1 Operation includes gas, c o a l , l i g h t , water, i c e , c l e a n i n g , c a r f a r e , new a r t i c l e s , household replacements. I t i s to be noted that the C o u n c i l i n c l u d e d medical services as a b a s i c need i n i t s budget, but t h i s item has not been included i n the above i l l u s t r a t i o n because general medical s e r v i c e s are provided to i n d i g e n t f a m i l i e s over and above t h e i r grant on s o c i a l a s s i s t a n c e and mothers allowance. The item of insurance and savings i s budgeted to meet several emergency needs; dental care, medical needs not met under the general medical care program, insurances, whatever k i n d or amount permitted, i f any, w i t h i n the allowance. The cost o f l i v i n g index ( f o r Canada as a whole) has 51  increased 58.3 per cent between 1939 and October 1948  1.  Applying t h i s o v e r a l l percentage increase to the minimum standard budget recommended by the Council f o r a t y p i c a l f a m i l y of f i v e (two adults and three c h i l d r e n ) excluding medical care would place the cost at $168.55 as of October 1948.  The s o c i a l allowance scale (maximum) f o r a f a m i l y  of f i v e as of October 1948 was $75.50.  Judged by t h i s  standard, l e s s than h a l f or to be more s p e c i f i c , only 44.7 per cent of a f a m i l y ' s needs were met on s o c i a l assistance or mothers allowance.  The d i s p a r i t y i s so great that i t  bears f u r t h e r examination.  A p a r t i a l explanation might be  found i n the broad f i e l d of what are considered needs or essentials.  The p r o v i n c i a l government recognizes three  types of need i n i t s breakdown of the s o c i a l allowance s c a l e namely: food, s h e l t e r , and sundries.  I n approximate  per-  centage terms, based on the 1944 s o c i a l allowance s c a l e , the grant i s apportioned as f o l l o w s i n the three areas of recognized need: 7.5$.  food - 62.5 %  s  s h e l t e r - 30$, sundries -  A comparison of these f i g u r e s w i t h the r e l a t i v e  weights a t t r i b u t e d to the items of food, s h e l t e r and sundries, by the Toronto Welfare Council!, o b v i o u s l y speak f o r themselves. Inherent i n the technique of t r y i n g to meet a f a m i l y ' s need on the b a s i s of the s o c i a l allowance scale were a number of escapes through which the worker and the 1 Labour Gazette, - Cost of L i v i n g Index. page 1499, December 1948.  52  Table F - l ,  a d m i n i s t r a t i o n can conveniently avoid coming face to face w i t h the t o t a l problem of meeting the f a m i l y ' s need. Whether the question i s r a i s e d by the r e c i p i e n t or the p u b l i c the answer can be the same.  I f i t i s a question of  food, reference to the s o c i a l allowance scale w i l l show that the f a m i l y i s r e c e i v i n g over f i f t y d o l l a r s and i t should be p o s s i b l e f o r them to manage on t h a t .  I f I t I s a question of  c l o t h i n g or f u e l or any other e s s e n t i a l item f o r f a m i l y l i v i n g not considered as a need i n the s o c i a l allowance scale the answer may be, they are g e t t i n g $75,50 a month and t h e i r i n a b i l i t y to get along I s due to poor management and there i s not enough s t a f f to give d e t a i l e d advice to each f a m i l y .  In  the absence of a r i g h t to r e c e i v e a s s i s t a n c e , i f a c l i e n t t e l l s a worker h i s allowance I s Inadequate, he I s at a d i s t i n c t disadvantage, f o r he i s already g u i l t y of r e c e i v i n g say $75.50 f o r a f a m i l y of f i v e , yet he i s asking f o r more ^. The l e n g t h of time these sample f a m i l i e s have been on assistance averages seven years.  But at no time has i t been  w i t h i n the experience of any one f a m i l y to have the case worker s i t down w i t h them and f i g u r e out t h e i r immediate 1 The workers experienced some d i f f i c u l t y e x p l a i n i n g the assistance grant. The f o l l o w i n g explanations o f f e r e d are examples. " I am sorry but that i s the maximum we can a l l o w you", - "you w i l l have to p l a n I t so t h a t your money w i l l s t r e t c h " - "maybe you can borrow some from your f r i e n d s " , maybe your r e l a t i v e s can help you", - "probably you could get c r e d i t at the s t o r e " . A mother w i t h three c h i l d r e n once asked the worker i f she could l i v e alone "on the money we are allowed". The worker's answer - to her c r e d i t - was e q u a l l y d i r e c t and frank: "of course not".  53  needs, g i v i n g r e c o g n i t i o n to a c t u a l cost items such as r e n t , f u e l , l i g h t , e t c . and applying some s o r t o f a standard to food c o s t s , c l o t h i n g , household supplies and replacements, r e c r e a t i o n and other miscellaneous items such as newspapers, streetcar fares, etc.  This procedure would n e c e s s a r i l y have  to include an assessment of the f a m i l y ' s earnings, income, and other resources, but i t would obviously have come to a d i f f e r e n t conclusion.  One resource that has saved many o f  the budgets as a p p l i e d was low r e n t due to crowded or substandard accommodations. Earnings, Income. Other Resources. I n t h i s area the f a m i l y s ' experiences vary between cases as w e l l as c a t e g o r i e s . The f a m i l i e s r e c e i v i n g s o c i a l assistance reported exempted earnings from nothing up t o f i f t e e n d o l l a r s per month before deductions are made from the grant.  I t i s l i k e l y that t h i s p o l i c y i s more uniform  than i t may appear.  A change i n p o l i c y from a time when  there were no exemptions t o the present allowance of f i f t e e n d o l l a r s might w e l l have not a f f e c t e d a f a m i l y , so that they d i d not l e a r n of i t .  I n the a p p l i c a t i o n o f t h i s p o l i c y ,  again to a f a m i l y o f f i v e , i t would appear that they could increase t h e i r t o t a l income up to $90.50 through employment. I t may be questionable, however, whether these earnings would represent a r e a l g a i n t o the f a m i l y . F o r example: i f a mother earned $50.00 per month she would be c r e d i t e d w i t h $15.00 and $35.00 would be deducted from her grant, making i t $40.50.  Factors complicating t h i s arrangement are many;  54  but the mother's absence from the home leaves the c h i l d r e n to s h i f t f o r themselves.  I f they are of school age there  w i l l s t i l l be hours during the day when they w i l l be alone. The pre-school c h i l d i f there are any i n the home, would require placement f o r day care at a cost ranging from twenty-five t o seventy-five cents a day ( s u b s i d i z e d ) . A t t e n t i o n t o household d u t i e s such as c l e a n i n g , washing, i r o n i n g , mending, e t c . , would be s e r i o u s l y a f f e c t e d .  Econ-  omies e f f e c t e d i n the c a r e f u l preparation of meals, i n the mother's absence would be l o s t .  A d d i t i o n a l e x t r a costs  would probably be Incurred such as t r a n s p o r t a t i o n , uniforms, etc.  I t i s p o s s i b l e therefore that the exempted amount of  f i f t e e n d o l l a r s may become a l o s s instead of a f i n a n c i a l gain t o the f a m i l y .  The demands made upon the mother's time  and energy i n order t o c a r r y out her dual r o l e may be beyond the capacity of many i n d i v i d u a l s .  I t i s accordingly d i f f i c u l t  f o r the c l i e n t "in some, s i t u a t i o n s t o understand the i m p l i c a t i o n s of a case worker's statement when she says, "maybe you can f i n d a j o b " . I t i s a l l too easy f o r her t o I n t e r p r e t the worker's statement as a threat - "you should be able to work". Any other income i s deducted from the basic grant i n full.  Each month when the c l i e n t c a l l s f o r her check and  her declaration-of-income form i s f i l l e d out, i f any income i s reported, the check i s r e i s s u e d l e s s that amount.  These  deductions are a l l - i n c l u s i v e , whether the income i s r e g u l a r or i n the form of a g i f t .  One type of income problem was  55  reported, however, that warrants some explanation  .  I n the case where the court has made a maintenance order against a husband the weekly or monthly payment to be made by him i s considered as r e g u l a r income a v a i l a b l e to the f a m i l y and i s deducted from the grant.  The payments are made  to the court by the husband and p a i d over to the mother.  There  i s no assurance, however, that he w i l l make h i s payments regularly.  I n the case of Mrs. H the husband was ordered to  pay s i x d o l l a r s a week.  Deducting t h i s from t h e i r maximum  grant l e f t the s o c i a l assistance payment to the mother and f o u r c h i l d r e n at $51.50.  The d i f f i c u l t y a r i s e s when the  husband does not make h i s payments.  Mr. H, f o r example, had  not made a payment f o r three weeks.  Mrs. H asked the worker  i f she could help her.  The worker explained that she was  permitted to do so without v e r i f i c a t i o n .  not  Mrs. H would have  to go back to the court, f o r u n t i l the l a t t e r informed  their  department of an i n a b i l i t y to c o l l e c t , they could not a s s i s t her f u r t h e r .  The r o u t i n e at the court as Mrs. H understood  i t , was that i f her husband makes no payments f o r a couple of weeks she has a r i g h t to swear out a bench warrant f o r h i s arrest.  He w i l l then be brought before the court to answer  the charge.  But t h i s may  take s e v e r a l more weeks.  A number  of things may happen i f Mr. H i s brought before the court.  If  he can prove that he had no money f o r v a l i d reasons, such as being out of work, he i s r e l e a s e s ; i f he has some money and o f f e r s a small payment, i t may be accepted by the c o u r t ; or i f 1 This case i s discussed here only to i l l u s t r a t e an income problem. A c t u a l l y , there were other complications i n the family also. 56  he refuses to pay, he may be sentenced. t h i s r o u t i n e may f o u r or more.  To go  through  take at a minimum, two weeks, and p o s s i b l y  I n Mrs. H's case, i t had been f i v e weeks,  during which time she had r e c e i v e d no payments at a l l , and as f a r as the court was concerned, "she didn't know how long i t would be before i t would be able to a c t " .  Meantime she  and  her four c h i l d r e n had to meet a l l t h e i r needs out of the grant of $51.50. In general, seen i n terms of the f a m i l y ' s experiences, there i s no means open to them to improve t h e i r standard of l i v i n g beyond what i s a t t a i n a b l e w i t h i n the set maximum l i m i t s of the s o c i a l allowance s c a l e . two p o s s i b l e exceptions.  To t h i s there are  I f one of the c h i l d r e n a t t a i n s the  age at which he can take employment and continue to l i v e at home, the agency places a value on the room and board and also determines what h i s c o n t r i b u t i o n to the f a m i l y should be as a "responsible r e l a t i v e " .  Such p o r t i o n as i s considered  income to the f a m i l y I s then deducted from t h e i r grant.  If  t h i s employed person shares the balance of h i s earnings a l s o w i t h the f a m i l y , the f a m i l y income can then begin to r i s e above the standard provided f o r i n the s o c i a l allowance s c a l e , i n keeping w i t h whatever the a d d i t i o n a l amount of income may be.  The only other p o s s i b i l i t y i s some method of concealment  of e x t r a income or resources.  Against the above explanation,  i t i s perhaps e a s i e r to understand why i t i s sometimes f o l lowed. The information from the f a m i l i e s r e c e i v i n g mothers'  57  allowance d i f f e r s only i n that they understand that the exemption, i f the income i s earned, i s twenty d o l l a r s a month. Medical Care and H o s p i t a l i z a t i o n . When a case i s accepted by the agency f o r assistance a medical service card i s issued which e n t i t l e s the f a m i l y to receive medical care from a general p r a c t i t i o n e r , or through the o u t - p a t i e n t department of the Vancouver General Hospital. Ailments which r e c e i v e d a t t e n t i o n among t h i s group of f a m i l i e s ranged from minor i l l n e s s to major operations. H o s p i t a l i z a t i o n i s provided f o r these f a m i l i e s i n the Vancouver General H o s p i t a l .  The f a m i l y s ' comment on the type  of treatment r e c e i v e d was g e n e r a l l y that i t was  satisfactory.  The r o u t i n e s , attendant upon r e c e i v i n g medical service through the o u t - p a t i e n t department, were commented on much l e s s favourably. One c l i e n t described i t thus; " i t i s a l o t d i f f e r e n t i f you have a few sheckels In your pocket and you can go to a doctor and pay your own b i l l ; t h e i r place may good and f i n e but t h e i r time i s short".  be  The p r i v a t e  p r a c t i t i o n e r g e n e r a l l y r e f e r s the r e c i p i e n t to the outp a t i e n t department.  One c l i e n t ' s comment was, "the doctor  doesn't want to bother because I don't think they are p a i d much by the r e l i e f " . The c h i l d r e n of school age r e c e i v e d e n t a l care through the school c l i n i c f o r the nominal fee of one d o l l a r per child.  The f a m i l i e s v a r i e d somewhat i n t h e i r understanding  58  of the k i n d of s e r v i c e s a v a i l a b l e some r e p o r t i n g e x t r a c t i o n s only were made, others i n d i c a t i n g that the s e r v i c e s included f i l l i n g s .  The pre-school c h i l d appears  to be e l i g i b l e f o r e x t r a c t i o n s only at the out-patient department. Dental care f o r the adults i s apparently l i m i t e d t o e x t r a c t i o n s , w i t h one reported exception.  This c l i e n t  i n q u i r e d of the worker concerning dental care and was r e f e r r e d to the out-patient department.  An examination  revealed that she needed some f i l l i n g s and her name was placed on the w a i t i n g l i s t .  This was i n October, 1947 when  she was i n the e a r l y stage of her pregnancy.  During the  f o l l o w i n g months, she checked p e r i o d i c a l l y w i t h the department, but they'- advised her t h i s was not necessary; -  they would send her a n o t i c e of the appointment. January 1949,  As of  she had not y e t been c a l l e d and she f e e l s  quite sure that her t e e t h are now beyond r e p a i r . Dentures are provided through the c i t y s o c i a l s e r v i c e department i n some cases.  Of three adults i n the sample  who had a l l t h e i r teeth e x t r a c t e d , one was granted dentures. Eye examinations are a v a i l a b l e f r e e to the f a m i l i e s through the out-patient department.  I f glasses are needed  and recommended by the examining doctor, the c l i e n t can make a p p l i c a t i o n through the worker f o r meeting t h i s s p e c i a l need.  The agency, i t appears, meets t h i s need on an  i n d i v i d u a l case b a s i s . .Of f o u r requests to the agency,  59  where glasses were needed, two were allowed.  The  remaining two had to purchase t h e i r own out of t h e i r allowance Educational  Handicaps.  S i x of eight c h i l d r e n i n these f a m i l i e s who  started  h i g h school were forced to discontinue before completing grade eleven f o r income reasons.  The f i n a n c i a l problem has  two aspects: the f a m i l i e s were not able to support the costs of f u r t h e r education and they were also badly i n need of the wages these c h i l d r e n might earn i f they were employed.  One  of the s i x , however, dropped out because of general i n d i f f e r e n c e to school; h i s mother thought perhaps he was somewhat retarded, but a l s o b e l i e v e d he might do b e t t e r i n some trade as an apprentice. On the other hand, another boy f i n i s h e d h i g h school, and entered U n i v e r s i t y : he was able to do so f o r a number of reasons.  The earnings of an o l d e r brother who had l e f t  school to enter employment aided i n r e l i e v i n g the f i n a n c i a l stress i n the f a m i l y . The boy's own s p i r i t and  initiative  were somewhat s u p e r i o r , f o r he was able through h i s own earnings and winning a s c h o l a r s h i p to finance himself e n t i r e l y ; t h i s i n c l u d e d the payment of board and room at home.  His  attendance at u n i v e r s i t y was viewed w i t h d i s f a v o u r by the worker because at the same time the f a m i l y was r e c e i v i n g some  1 Asked as to source of the money to purchase the glasses they s t a t e d , " i t had to come out of the grocery budget".  60  public assistance  I  •  Rehabilitation. The social assistance act defines r e h a b i l i t a t i o n i n a broad sense; i t i s meant to be inclusive of medical treatment, occupational t r a i n i n g , r e t r a i n i n g , counselling service etc. The evidence of i t s use i n these cases i s disappointing. Of four cases where the husband was unemployable, three had responded to medical treatment but not to the extent that they were able to follow their usual occupation. Two were unskilled laborers and one a painter. No attempt had been made through occupational training or retraining to help those persons towards employment. In one case the i n i t i a l steps were taken, the worker having arranged for one of the men to take a series of psychological t e s t s . The results pointed rather favourably towards training i n bookkeeping and accounting. However, the worker informed him that because of lack of funds, the agency was unable to assist him i n carrying out such a plan. There was a pronounced difference i n the attitude and feelings of the families receiving mothers' allowance as I The worker i n reviewing the case explained to the recipient that: " i f you can afford to send your son to the University,tyou should be able to get along without r e l i e f . There are a l o t of people who cannot afford to send their boys to the University who are not on r e l i e f ; but are paying taxes to support you and keep your boy i n the University".  61  d i s t i n c t from those r e c e i v i n g s o c i a l a s s i s t a n c e .  Mother's  allowances t o many c a r r i e d no stigma: I never received any r e l i e f . I went on mothers' allowance r i g h t from the beginning. I f e l t I had a r i g h t to r e c e i v e i t because o f the c h i l d r e n . We never received nor asked f o r any c l o t h i n g from the r e l i e f or shoes f o r the c h i l d r e n Issued through the school. The worker had t o l d us we were e l i g i b l e f o r c h i l d r e n ' s shoes but we always managed to buy our own. I don't know what I would have done i f I had to PPly for relief. a  Pour other f a m i l i e s r e c e i v i n g mothers' allowance at the time of the enquiry had o r i g i n a l l y r e c e i v e d s o c i a l assistance and without exception they agreed that "when we went from r e l i e f on to mothers' allowance, i t was d i f f e r e n t " .  They f e l t  they had a t t a i n e d a d i f f e r e n t s t a t u s , a degree of respecta b i l i t y , , a f e e l i n g of s e c u r i t y from the r e l a t i v e permanency of the grant.  "We got our check i n the m a i l " .  They were  p a r t i c u l a r l y happy at not having to c a l l f o r t h e i r check every month at the agency.  This was not only a d i s l i k e of  "going there and standing i n l i n e " , but the i n s e c u r i t y of not knowing what w i l l happen there was threatening  As  observed by the r e c i p i e n t s , the a t t i t u d e of the workers also 1 "When I was on s o c i a l a s s i s t a n c e ; from the time my baby was three months o l d (which I was nursing) the worker who came n e a r l y every month, asked each time i f I was ready t o go back to work y e t . Most every time I went to get my check I was asked the same t h i n g there. When the baby was nine months o l d , they t o l d me when I c a l l e d f o r my check that t h i s would be the l a s t one, that I would have t o wean the baby and f i n d work".  62  seemed to change. Of the seven f a m i l i e s r e c e i v i n g three have made one allowance.  The  social assistance,  or more attempts to q u a l i f y f o r mothers'  s o c i a l assistance program and  terminology  continues to be associated w i t h the r e l i e f days. c a l l i t s o c i a l a i d now relief".  "They  but i t i s no d i f f e r e n t than the  old  This i s an i n t e r e s t i n g point because s o c i a l  assistance may  t h e o r e t i c a l l y be a l a r g e r amount, i n f a c t ,  the f a m i l y ' s t o t a l needs can be met.  The  d i s p a r i t y i n the  program, t h e r e f o r e , i s not i n the amounts of the grant. "On  s o c i a l a s s i s t a n c e " , f e a r s are aggravated by  procedure and technique of g i v i n g the h e l p , and  the particularly  by the expressed emergency or temporary nature of t h i s type of a i d .  So f a r as the f a m i l i e s are concerned, i t i s p a r t i a l  s e c u r i t y on a t h i r t y day  basis.  63  CHAPTER VI FAMILY STRENGTHS AND COMMUNITY RESOURCES When a f a m i l y f i l e s an a p p l i c a t i o n f o r a s s i s t a n c e , i t has broken down to the extent that i t can no longer cope with the problems of everyday l i v i n g .  The nature and causal  f a c t o r s l e a d i n g to the breakdown, however important i n developing a treatment p l a n , must give way to the more immediate and c r i t i c a l problem of meeting the f i n a n c i a l need of the f a m i l y .  A f a m i l y ' s strength f o r s e l f help may be  found i n the character of t h e i r members, t h e i r p e r s o n a l i t y t r a i t s , a b i l i t y to work, the a v a i l a b i l i t y of r e l a t i v e s who can and are w i l l i n g to a s s i s t e t c .  Whether the break-  down i s of temporary or r e l a t i v e l y permanent nature w i l l often depend upon the h e a l t h of the adult and, t o a l a r g e degree, upon the number and ages of the c h i l d r e n i n the family. The  status of the breadwinner i f he i s i n the home,  has some bearing on the f a m i l y s ' p o s s i b i l i t y f o r s e l f - h e l p through the employment of the r e c i p i e n t (mother). The husband's p o s i t i o n as an unemployable member of the f a m i l y has been e s t a b l i s h e d ; however, h i s presence i n the home takes on added s i g n i f i c a n c e when employment i s being considered  f o r the mother.  I f he i s able to perform some  of the domestic tasks i n the home and care f o r the c h i l d r e n , the p o s s i b i l i t y of the mother becoming a wage earner i s g r e a t l y enhanced. For purpose of t h i s d i s c u s s i o n , the area of s e l f  64  h e l p , as exemplified I n the sample cases, may be simply reduced to three sources: employment o f the r e c i p i e n t , employment of the minor c h i l d r e n i n the home, and assistance from r e l a t i v e s . Employment of the R e c i p i e n t . The p o s s i b i l i t y of the mother r e p l a c i n g the breadwinner i n the f a m i l y depends t o a l a r g e extent upon: h e a l t h , number of c h i l d r e n i n the f a m i l y , age of the c h i l d r e n , s k i l l , earning c a p a c i t y , working hours, p h y s i c a l residence i n r e l a t i o n t o work a v a i l a b l e , contact w i t h employers e t c . or on a combination of these f a c t o r s which would u l t i m a t e l y determine i f the mother could work f u l l time, r e g u l a r l y p a r t time, o r p e r i o d i c a l l y f u l l time f o r short periods. Any p l a n c a l l i n g f o r the f u l l time employment of the mother would need t o have provided f o r an adequate s u b s t i t u t e mother i n the home. P a r t time employment may be more e a s i l y achieved because she would have considerable time t o devote to the f a m i l y . for  P e r i o d i c f u l l time employment  short periods may be q u i t e p o s s i b l e t o p l a n f o r i n  s p e c i a l cases. I t i s assumed f o r the moment that c o n d i t i o n s are such that the mother could work; and that proper arrangements were made f o r the care of the c h i l d r e n i n the home, during her absence.  The f i n a l d e c i s i o n would r e s t l a r g e l y on how  much money she could earn.  I t would have t o be enough to.  pay f o r expenses attendant to her working such as; h i r i n g help i n the home i f needed, make up f o r l o s s i n economies  65  not e f f e c t e d i n her absence from the home, t r a n s p o r t a t i o n c o s t s , e t c . and i n the end should represent a net gain i n the f a m i l y budget.  I f she has l i m i t e d s k i l l and t r a i n i n g  she w i l l not be able to earn much:  i f the hours are too  long o r the work too exhaustive, the e x t r a money earned may not represent a gain at a l l but may be at a s a c r i f i c e • of her h e a l t h and the f a m i l y ' s welfare.  The m a j o r i t y of the  r e c i p i e n t s i n the sample would be c l a s s e d as u n s k i l l e d workers.  A number have had no work experience outside of  t h e i r own home. Out of the twelve cases s t u d i e d , three mothers had some employment i n s e m i - s k i l l e d c a p a c i t y i n f a c t o r i e s o r general o f f i c e work.  Pour haye some experience as domestic,  chambermaid, dishwasher, w a i t r e s s , e t c . p r i o r to marriage. F i v e had no p a i d employment experience e i t h e r before or a f t e r marriage.  I n the area of educational q u a l i f i c a t i o n s ,  two went beyond the e i g h t h grade, one completing grade t e n and the other grade twelve.  The remaining t e n i n the sample  d i d not complete grade e i g h t .  I t i s therefore q u i t e c l e a r  that the earning Capacity of these mothers i s low and i n most cases, could not be drawn on without d i s r u p t i n g the family. As the c h i l d r e n grow o l d e r , however, they can begin to assume greater r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r themselves  and f o r each  other and the p o s s i b i l i t y of the mother t a k i n g employment Is somewhat enhanced. The development of s u i t a b l e "home i n d u s t r i e s " as a source of income t o supplement the assistance grant and t o 66  f o s t e r the development of the f a m i l y strengths toward s e l f - s u f f i c i e n c y , may be a p o s s i b i l i t y .  I n some instances  i t would r e q u i r e the development of some s k i l l and i n others p o s s i b l y a small investment i n c a p i t a l goods.  The r e -  h a b i l i t a t i o n process might also c a l l f o r short periods of s p e c i a l t r a i n i n g f o r the c l i e n t .  Because of the r e l a t i v e  permanency of the f a m i l y ' s economic problem, a move i n that d i r e c t i o n should be d e s i r a b l e . The extent to which such a development could take place would depend on the c l i e n t ' s capacity and on the philosophy and f i s c a l p o l i c y of the agency, the l a t t e r p o i n t being p a r t i c u l a r l y important. Employment of the C h i l d r e n . As the c h i l d r e n grow o l d e r they o f f e r p o s s i b i l i t i e s to increase the f a m i l y income through t h e i r employment.  But i n  actual earnings the amounts are not as impressive as they are p o p u l a r l y b e l i e v e d to be.  I n t h e i r tender years, the  part time employment a v a i l a b l e to these c h i l d r e n i s u s u a l l y i n the areas of errand boy, paper d e l i v e r i e s , f l u n k i e s i n business establishments, mowing lawns, e t c .  The  earnings  range from a small amount of " p i n money" to l a r g e r amounts from which the c h i l d i s able to provide h i s or her  own  i n c i d e n t a l s and c l o t h i n g , or even to make a small c o n t r i b u t i o n to the f a m i l y . That t h i s can happen i n some f a m i l i e s does not mean i t can happen i n a l l f a m i l i e s .  There  are numerous f a c t o r s to be considered. The number of jobs a v a i l a b l e i s a b i g f a c t o r and e q u a l l y as important i s the f a c t that the c h i l d r e n who are members  67  of families receiving assistance are not alone i n seeking that type of employment. demand.  The supply obviously exceeds the  Therefore this f i e l d i s extremely competitive and  much w i l l depend on contacts with employers, employment service etc.  In this respect the c h i l d i n a public  assistance family i s somewhat under a handicap.  The  immediate family environment and especially the neighbourhood i n which they l i v e , might be a challenge to stimulate incentive and desirable development, or i t may be a spring board for gangs, delinquencies and practices i n the ways of " l i v i n g off the land" at an early age. The neighbourhood i n which a family l i v e s i s not necessarily determined by their own choice: more often i t i s dictated simply by the rent they can afford to pay.  The  probability of normal development for a c h i l d l i v i n g i n the slums of a c i t y i s dubious indeed; but some of the families i n the sample l i v e under those conditions. When the c h i l d becomes of high school age, his earnings i f working part time, may increase, but the p o s s i b i l i t y of finding employment may be no greater than before. I r r e g u l a r i t i e s of work, and hit-or-miss methods of finding jobs do not help his future career. As might be expected, the economic status of the family i s a major factor i n determining how long the c h i l d w i l l stay i n school.  This i s confirmed by the fact that s i x  out of eight children had to quit school because of the family's financial i n a b i l i t y to meet that cost, and  6 8  secondly, no l e s s important, the f a m i l y needed the a d d i t i o n a l Income t h a t the c h i l d could earn.  The c h i l d who  i s taken from school t o get employment and who continues t o l i v e at home, sharing h i s earnings w i t h the f a m i l y , gave them a chance t o improve t h e i r economic c o n d i t i o n s . I t may be u n d e s i r a b l e , but i t i s a l l too necessary f o r f a m i l i e s who have t o s u b s i s t on an assistance grant inadequate t o s u s t a i n healthy f a m i l y l i f e . Relatives. Help from r e l a t i v e s was not a s i g n i f i c a n t f a c t o r i n s u b s t a n t i a l l y improving the way of l i f e o f these f a m i l i e s . Some f a m i l i e s had no help whatsoever from t h i s source.  Half  of them however received help i n a v a r i e t y of ways; used c l o t h i n g , pieces of f u r n i t u r e , bedding, cash l o a n f o r property r e p a i r , and i n one case, a s p e c i a l l y low r e n t a l f o r t h e i r home because i t was:owned by a r e l a t i v e . In i t s e l f , t h i s type of help may not have been worth much i n cash, but i n terms of u t i l i t y t o the f a m i l y , i t f a r exceeded the cash value.  For example: a mother w i t h three  c h i l d r e n had no stove f o r heating or cooking and had no money to buy one.  She borrowed a two burner hot p l a t e which  served both purposes u n t i l months l a t e r she acquired a range from her brother which he had bought second-hand.  Although  the cost to him had been s m a l l , the stove was p r i c e l e s s t o t h i s mother. C l o t h i n g hand-me-downs from r e l a t i v e s f o r adults and c h i l d r e n i s g e n e r a l l y the major item of a i d .  69  A l l too o f t e n  such an a r t i c l e has l i t t l e value because i t i s the wrong size.  This means that unless the c l i e n t i s s k i l l e d i n  making a l t e r a t i o n s and has equipment to work w i t h , l i t t l e use can be made of i t . Unfortunately, cash a i d from r e l a t i v e s i s l i a b l e to be deducted i n f u l l from the b a s i c assistance grant.  This  type of income, i f any, therefore i s c l o s e l y guarded by the client.  The agency's present p o l i c y i s l i k e l y to d r i v e t h i s  source of a i d underground, or even dry i t up e n t i r e l y .  In  view of the low assistance standards, the wisdom of the agency's p o l i c y may be open to question.  Were the income not  subject to such close s c r u t i n y and i f there were some l e e way i n treatment of i t ; the f i n d i n g s would i n d i c a t e that t h i s resource could be developed I n some cases to the extent of being a s i g n i f i c a n t f a c t o r i n r a i s i n g the f a m i l y ' s standard of l i v i n g . Family Status. One of the primary r e q u i s i t e s f o r f a m i l y l i v i n g i s housing.  The importance of t h i s can h a r d l y be over-  emphasized.  Some of the things that could be used as c r i t e r i a  to determine the adequacy and standard of housing a r e ; l o c a t i o n , number of rooms, s a n i t a t i o n f a c i l i t i e s , c o n s t r u c t ion  etc. L o c a t i o n of the home can have a d e f i n i t e  demoralizing  a f f e c t on the adult and on the c h i l d r e n when s i t e s such as a l l e y s , i n d u s t r i a l s t r e e t s , and the slum areas are f o r c e d upon them.  More d e s i r a b l e surroundings;  70  schools, p l a y -  grounds, churches, l i b r a r i e s , and such p u b l i c assets should be w i t h i n easy reach f o r f a m i l i e s . The number of rooms should a l l o w f o r a degree of p r i v a c y and separate s l e e p i n g arrangements f o r c h i l d r e n of the opposite sex.  G e n e r a l l y a home without a l i v i n g - r o o m  where the f a m i l y can gather would be considered sub-standard. S a n i t a t i o n and plumbing f a c i l i t i e s , a t a minimum, should provide f o r running water and separate f a c i l i t i e s . Of the f a m i l i e s s t u d i e d , two owned t h e i r homes.  One  i s a very p l a i n and modest s t r u c t u r e which the f a m i l y has been able t o keep i n r e p a i r and improve only through the help of a r e l a t i v e .  By r e n t i n g part of i t there was a p e r i o d  of time during which they also b e n e f i t e d from the r e n t . The other can h a r d l y be considered standard housing f o r any reason other than f l o o r space.  A f t e r purchasing t h i s property,  the f a m i l y became dependent before they had completed the job  of renovating i t and during the p e r i o d they have been  on a s s i s t a n c e , they have not had enough money to improve i t . Three f a m i l i e s r e n t s i n g l e housing u n i t s .  One f a m i l y  of f i v e i s l i v i n g i n a two and a h a l f room house, the small room i s used as the c h i l d r e n ' s bedroom.  The place has been  condemned as u n f i t f o r occupancy by the c i t y h e a l t h department f o r over a year.  The f a m i l y had moved i n t o t h i s  home subsequent t o becoming dependent when they could no longer a f f o r d to pay the former r e n t of $25.00 per month. The second f a m i l y of t h r e e , mother, son and daughter, l i v e i n a two room house w i t h a porch.  71  The porch serves as the  boy's bedroom.  The housing i s q u i t e inadequate but the  mother reported " t h i s i s the best she has had and was able to rent i t through the help of a f r i e n d " .  The t h i r d f a m i l y  i s r e n t i n g a modern home i n an average r e s i d e n t i a l s e c t i o n . When they a p p l i e d f o r assistance they l i v e d i n a three room shack.  The improvement i n the standard o f housing was made  p o s s i b l e through the sons' earnings, who were l i v i n g at home. Seven f a m i l i e s l i v e e i t h e r i n an apartment or duplex. Two of these have q u i t e adequate, average quarters. One f a m i l y i s able to a f f o r d t h i s .because a r e l a t i v e owns the property and l e t s her have i t f o r a very low r e n t a l .  I n the  other case, the mother was given a d d i t i o n a l help by her c h i l d r e n who were employed.  The remaining f i v e f a m i l i e s  l i v e i n inadequate, d e f i n i t l y sub-standard u n i t s , two of which have been condemned f o r human occupation. D e s c r i p t i o n of household f u r n i s h i n g s can only be made i n terms of q u a n t i t y , not q u a l i t y . Pour f a m i l i e s had an adequate amount of f u r n i t u r e . Three had such when they applied f o r assistance and i n the other case, the c h i l d r e n bought the a r t i c l e s f o r the mother. Of the remaining e i g h t f a m i l i e s , f i v e have some f u r n i t u r e and three have none whatsoever.  Two of the l a t t e r are  r e n t i n g f u r n i s h e d s u i t e s i n condemned b u i l d i n g s .  Household  appliances may be i n d i c a t i v e of the f a m i l y ' s standard of living.  Three have washing machines, ten r a d i o s , nine  t o a s t e r s , eleven e l e c t r i c i r o n s , one telephone, f o u r sewing  72  machines, and one vacuum cleaner.  I t may be s i g n i f i c a n t to  mention that the l a r g e r items are d u p l i c a t i o n s i n the same homes. Recreation and s o c i a l a c t i v i t i e s are very r e s t r i c t e d . The adults do not belong to any o r g a n i z a t i o n or neighbourhood group.  F i v e c h i l d r e n , representing three f a m i l i e s ,  belong to some o r g a n i z a t i o n .  Two  are members of a cub pack,  one j u n i o r f o r e s t warden, one belongs to a church boys c l u b , and one g i r l to a j u n i o r Womens A u x i l i a r y . Commercial r e c r e a t i o n c o n s i s t s mostly of going to a show.  Attendance  of adults and c h i l d r e n was infrequent i n most cases.  Some  of the f a m i l i e s have d r i f t e d away from the c i r c l e of f r i e n d s they had at one time up to the p o i n t where they virtually live  alone.  The basic reason f o r the complete withdrawal on the part of the adults and the r e s t r i c t i o n s on the c h i l d r e n i s due to l a c k of income. Community Resources. Community resources agencies of a l l k i n d who  are g e n e r a l l y thought of as can o f f e r supplementary help  ranging from c o n s u l t a t i o n , t r a i n i n g advice, guidance programs e t c . , to r e c r e a t i o n a l f a c i l i t i e s , summer camping, scholarship a i d and so on. they may families.  Occasionally but not  typically  include c o n t r i b u t i o n s i n cash or k i n d f o r needy To what extent the worker i s able to make use  of  such, resources w i l l depend f i r s t , of course, on t h e i r a v a i l a b i l i t y ; second, the worker's knowledge of, and  73  skill  i n using them; and f i n a l l y i t depends l a r g e l y on the c l i e n t ' s attitude toward receiving help from such sources. The agencies vary i n organization and scope, from the very l o c a l i z e d neighbourhood area to those that are organized on the international l e v e l .  Since the sample  i s drawn from the c i t y , mentioning a few organizations, on different l e v e l s , should serve the purpose to t i e these potential resources i n with the public assistance programs. Making reference to an organization does not imply that i t s services or resources are available for use to the general public, for there are some who are organized on a membership basis and their benefits reach out only to their own members. On the neighbourhood l e v e l are the: churches and their auxiliary organizations, parent teacher groups, l o c a l c i v i c clubs, business mens clubs, recreational organizations, neighbourhood houses, various young peoples organizations, etc.  An example of a city-wide organization i s the  community chest and council, concerned with the welfare of a l l residents within the c i t y .  I t i s the central fund  raising and sponsoring body i n part or i n total of some forty or more neighbourhood or city-wide organizations carrying on welfare service a c t i v i t i e s of one kind or another.  Other organizations a f f i l i a t e of National or  International bodies are: service clubs, Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions etc; Fraternal organizations, E l k s , Masons, Knights  74  of Pythias, Odd Fellows; others John Howard Society etc.  are; Red Cross, PTA,  In addition there are trust  funds, endowments, educational subsidies, and so on that may be a source of help. To what degree community resources were u t i l i z e d to help the families who are the subject of this study was d i f f i c u l t , i f at a l l possible, to assess.  Families are  quite aware of help received i n a material and tangible form.  Seven of the sample families at one time or another  were brought i n touch with such resources through the i n i t i a t i v e of the case worker or upon their request to the worker respecting their i n a b i l i t y to meet a special need. These included counsel through the l e g a l aid society, consultant service from the d i e t i t i a n representing the Metropolitan health service, r e f e r r a l of children to nursery school, camp, and material aid through the Red Cross.  The amount received from the Red Cross, for example,  ranged from a single pair of baby shoes i n one family to a rather inclusive clothing issue i n another. The benefit derived from an organization's a c t i v i t i e s are less tangible i n many areas, but the effect on family l i f e may be equally as p o s i t i v e .  The contribution made, i n  this respect by the worker, can hardly be measured from the c l i e n t ' s point of view, but might be evaluated i n terms of the kind and number of community organizations he belongs to and actively participates i n . the scope of the present study.  75  This, however, i s outside  Further reference to problems involved i n successful u t i l i z a t i o n of community resources w i l l be brought out i n dealing w i t h case work services i n terms of the c l i e n t ' s experiences.  76  CHAPTER V I I CASE WORK SERVICES The f a m i l i e s comprising the sample group f o r t h i s study came i n t o contact with the case worker under a v a r i e t y of circumstances; the trend of events which eventually these f a m i l i e s t o the assistance some degree, i n each case.  led  agency was d i f f e r e n t , t o  However, there was one s a l i e n t  f a c t o r which was common t o a l l the f a m i l i e s at t h i s p o i n t . They were a l l i n d i r e need of f i n a n c i a l assistance.  Most o f  the f a m i l i e s made a p p l i c a t i o n at the agency's o f f i c e . However, i n two instances the family's need f o r assistance was c a l l e d to the a t t e n t i o n of the agency by a t h i r d party.  In  these cases the case worker v i s i t e d the f a m i l y , and completed t h e i r formal a p p l i c a t i o n i n the home. The process o f e s t a b l i s h i n g e l i g i b i l i t y began with the f i r s t contact.  A formal a p p l i c a t i o n form was completed, and  a general s o c i a l h i s t o r y of the f a m i l y was taken.  I n an  atmosphere o f p r i v a c y , the applicant t o l d h i s o r her own story, and answered the worker's questions. The formal a p p l i c a t i o n form l i s t e d the immediate members of the f a m i l y , r e l a t i v e s , f i n a n c i a l s t a t u s , residence, previous employment and other f a c t s .  This was u s u a l l y  supplemented w i t h more d e t a i l from the c l i e n t ' s own s t o r y , i n terms of s o c i a l , f i n a n c i a l , and work h i s t o r y .  I n the case o f  an emergency s i t u a t i o n such as e x i s t e d i n a number of f a m i l i e s , the worker arranged f o r a small grant t o be issued immediately, without a d d i t i o n a l study or i n v e s t i g a t i o n . 77  F o l l o w i n g the o f f i c e  i n t e r v i e w the worker v i s i t e d  family,  a n d i n t h e p r i v a c y o f t h e home, t h e p r o c e s s  filling  i n further  of  d e t a i l s o f the f a m i l y ' s h i s t o r y c o n t i n u e d .  The c l i e n t - w o r k e r r e l a t i o n s h i p , a s remembered b y t h e generally indicated a helping, friendly interest worker.  the  by  client, the  I n some c a s e s t h e r e were r e p e a t e d v i s i t s w i t h i n  r e l a t i v e l y short p e r i o d of time; apparently these necessary f o r v e r i f i c a t i o n of e l i g i b i l i t y .  a  were  To t h e  family  t h i s was a r e a l and p u r p o s e f u l e x p e r i e n c e , r e g a r d e d  as  necessary to e s t a b l i s h t h e i r e l i g i b i l i t y f o r a s s i s t a n c e , i n t h i s t h e f a m i l y p l a y e d an a c t i v e  part.  I n g e n e r a l , t h e f a m i l i e s were i m p r e s s e d w i t h t h e for,  and t h e  applicant, status,  thoroughness  o f the  those workers are  One  husband's  d i d n ' t t a k e them l o n g t o f i n d h i m ; some o f just  as good as  The d e v e l o p m e n t o f t h e meant  need  a p p l i c a t i o n procedure.  whose e l i g i b i l i t y h i n g e d o n h e r f o r m e r  said, "It  and  detectives".  s o c i a l h i s t o r y i n some  cases,  s h a r i n g p e r s o n a l o r f a m i l y s e c r e t s w i t h the w o r k e r .  The w o r k e r may h a v e h a d a t  t h i s p o i n t , more i n t i m a t e k n o w -  l e d g e o f the f a m i l y than any o t h e r p e r s o n .  The  familys'  r e a c t i o n s v a r i e d : t o some t h e  sharing of t h e i r  problems had been a c c e p t a b l e ,  a n d t h e y may h a v e b e e n more  peace w i t h themselves because  of i t ;  threat,  to others  intimate at  i t was a  a n d t h e f e e l i n g p e r s i s t e d t h a t t h e y were d i v e s t e d o f  t h e i r d i g n i t y and p e r s o n a l i t y .  They subsequently  the need f o r such i n f o r m a t i o n ; i t u s e was made o f i t  questioned  a p p e a r e d t o them t h a t  and h e n c e c o u l d s e e no p u r p o s e I n  78  the  little  detailed  study.  feelings:  In general  these f a m i l i e s expressed  "They ask a l o t o f q u e s t i o n s  w h i c h a r e none o f  their business".  T h e r e a r e numerous  statement; but  w o u l d be p r e m a t u r e a n d j u d g m e n t a l  it  c o n c l u s i o n s from i t , agency's  records.  i m p l i c a t i o n s i n such a  without p r i o r examination of  However, the  area f o r c l o s e r p e r u s a l ,  to the  because the  family's  general  statement.  i n f o r m a t i o n g i v e n by the  families.  applicant  verify  was n o t known t o  M o s t o f them b e l i e v e d t h a t t h e r e was  income o r o t h e r  f i n a n c i a l resources.  references. was t h a t ,  to  to l o o k i n t o p e o p l e ' s  families  character  The f e e l i n g c o n c e r n i n g i n v e s t i g a t i o n " t h e y have  details  Some o f t h e  r e c e i v i n g mothers allowance a l s o r e f e r r e d  the  some  additional v e r i f i c a t i o n , p a r t i c u l a r l y w i t h respect to of  an  observations  The e x t e n t t o w h i c h t h e w o r k e r s a t t e m p t e d t o the  draw  statement might i n d i c a t e  were made i n r e t r o s p e c t w h i c h may a d d t o t h e s i g n i f i c a n c e o f the  their  generally  business,  or  t h e r e w o u l d be a l o t o f p e o p l e r e c e i v i n g h e l p who d o n ' t  need  it". F o r the w o r k e r , t h i s foundation for diagnosis basis  detailed  of the  study l a i d  f a m i l y ' s p r o b l e m , and  f o r developing a treatment p l a n .  g e n e r a l l y may be o f s p e c i a l v a l u e t o process  helps  the  more o b j e c t i v e l y .  the  the  The s o c i a l  study  family i t s e l f .  c l i e n t to view h i s or her  often r e v e a l i n g sources  themselves  of strength  79  The  circumstances  Through d i s c u s s i o n w i t h a s k i l l e d  the f a m i l y ' s problems r e f l e c t  the  worker,  i n a new l i g h t ,  and p o t e n t i a l  self  help  which, under  the  stress of financial  c r i s i s had  escaped  them. The w o r k e r ' s k n o w l e d g e o f c o m m u n i t y r e s o u r c e s  available  t o a f a m i l y i n n e e d , may be u s e d i n c e r t a i n c a s e s t o the f a m i l y to r e - a t t a i n  economic s e l f - s u f f i c i e n c y .  assist The  d i a g n o s i s o f t h e f a m i l y p r o b l e m s h o u l d r e v e a l more t h a n area of need,  and the r e a l and p o t e n t i a l  strengths of  f a m i l y t o cope w i t h i t ;  the  examination should also  the e x t e n t  the  amount o f f i n a n c i a l  required,  o f the need,  and t h e n e c e s s i t y f o r o t h e r  f a m i l y may r e c e i v e ways.  There are  services.  the  the  indicate  assistance The h e l p  a  t h r o u g h a c a s e w o r k e r i s l i m i t e d i n many  statutory  and f i s c a l  p o l i c i e s , the  and s k i l l ,  and t h e  restrictions,  extent  s i z e of the  o f the  agency  worker's  regulations training  w o r k e r ' s case l o a d .  The  c l i e n t ' s w i l l i n g n e s s and c a p a c i t y t o make u s e o f c a s e w o r k s e r v i c e s m u s t be t a k e n i n t o c o n s i d e r a t i o n as w e l l . these l i m i t a t i o n s are superficially  so f u n d a m e n t a l  at l e a s t ,  case worker are  t h a t the  that i t might  s e r v i c e s o f the  Some o f appear,  trained  almost i n v a l i d a t e d .  In speaking of t h e i r  experiences  w i t h case workers,  p r a c t i c a l l y a l l the f a m i l i e s mentioned the  first  worker  specifically.  They spoke w i t h f e e l i n g , on a n o t e o f  and g o o d - w i l l ;  " s h e was v e r y n i c e ,  T h i s may be i n d i c a t e d b y t h e f a c t was i n i t i a t e d a t of  this point.  s e v e r i t y i n the  referred  original  gratitude  she h e l p e d u s a l o t " . t h a t the h e l p i n g  process  E v e n t h o u g h t h e r e was a d e g r e e investigations  to i n a previous chapter,  80  i n some c a s e s  t h e w o r k e r was " s t i l l  as nice"  b e c a u s e she h e l p e d t h e m . met,  at l e a s t  i n part.  The f a m i l y ' s f i n a n c i a l n e e d The f e a r s  of hunger,  were t e m p o r a r i l y m i t i g a t e d t o some e x t e n t assistance welfare, beliefs  grant.  The w o r k e r ' s i n t e r e s t  as e x e m p l i f i e d i n t h e i n themselves  establishing their process  social  through i n the  study,  follow-up  reinforced  s t a t u s i n the  community.  The  contacts  diagnostic out  w i t h the worker thus c r e a t e d  a challenge to the  the  worker  family periodically.  t h e s e v i s i t s was l a r g e l y o n t h e  i n how t h e  a n d how t h e  f a m i l y was,  giving  did  "getting  concern.  along",  their  case l o a d s a p p a r e n t l y p r e c l u d e d the  policy.  s u c c e s s f u l use  exempted (income) t h r o u g h community r e s o u r c e s demands  of large  the  w i t h the  the v i s i t s not o n l y l a c k e d  81  This  worker,  they h e l p you i f they c a n , but  Over a p e r i o d o f y e a r s ,  services being l i m i t e d ,  to a  they  worker's the  The  grant  Large  on the w o r k e r ' s t i m e .  l e f t many f a m i l i e s w i t h t h e f e e l i n g t o w a r d s " t h e y are good p e o p l e ,  small  The w o r k e r was u n a b l e  area because o f f i x e d f i s c a l  because o f the  of  the  c h i l d r e n were p r o g r e s s i n g i n s c h o o l .  was g e n e r a l l y t h e i r m a j o r  do m u c h " .  The  G e n e r a l l y t h e w o r k e r was  problem o f m e e t i n g t h e i r needs w i t h the  help i n this  a  The e m p h a s i s  economic f a c t o r ;  f a m i l y have any d e d u c t i b l e i n c o m e . interested  their  re-  s e r v i c e s o r s u s t a i n i n g case work t r e a t m e n t .  worker would v i s i t  can't  family's  and p o i n t e d i n the d i r e c t i o n o f  s e t t i n g w h i c h was l a t e r  degree,  the  future.  The o r i g i n a l  family's  cold,  o f a n a l y z i n g the f a m i l y ' s t o t a l problem h e l d  hope f o r the  health,  and  was  to  v i t a l i t y o f the f a m i l y ' s but the v i s i t s many c a s e s . further  initial  e x p e r i e n c e s with, the w o r k e r ,  also acquired routine characteristics  To some f a m i l i e s ,  the w o r k e r ' s i n a b i l i t y to  was d i s a p p o i n t i n g , a n d t h e y became r a t h e r  the w o r k e r ' s p e r i o d i c v i s i t s .  in  Their interest  critical  i n d i c a t e d by the remark: " I always enjoyed t a l k i n g to  around and v i s i t  families  This feeling worker.  part  is unlike  that expressed towards the  a note  of despair.  O n l y one f a m i l y  s t a t e t h a t t h e i r own a c t i o n s p r e c i p i t a t e d t h e  first  expressed the  t h e y come f o r  However, i t i s s u f f i c i e n t f o r p r e s e n t  to a l a r g e degree,  go  appear  agency as r e p r e s e n t e d b y  w o r k e r : " t h e y d o n ' t come f o r my b e n e f i t ,  rather  job to  on r e l i e f " .  strong f e e l i n g s towards the  own".  of their  as  them.  A l t h o u g h i t i s n o t e n t i r e l y n e g a t i v e i t does  to suggest  of  i n the worker  as a h e l p i n g p e r s o n became p a s s i v e t o a c e r t a i n e x t e n t ,  They c a n ' t h e l p y o u b u t I g u e s s i t ' s  help  purposes,  their to  circumstances,  w h i c h made a n y c o n t a c t w i t h t h e  agency  unpalatable. Some o f t h e f a m i l i e s  the case w o r k e r ' s v i s i t ,  stated  because  o v e r t h e i r p r o b l e m s w i t h someone. s t a t u s o f some o f t h e f a m i l i e s neighbours, friends,  that they looked forward to i t h e l p e d them j u s t Remembering the  to  talk  social  - out of touch w i t h  a n d s o c i e t y as a w h o l e - I t  g i v e s added  w e i g h t t o t h e n e e d f o r someone t o be i n t e r e s t e d i n t h e m , t h e i r problems of l i v i n g .  Individual  and f a m i l y  and  strength  to s u c c e s s f u l l y c a r r y on i n the f a c e o f a m u l t i t u d e o f problems o f l i v i n g ,  stems,  to a l a r g e degree,  82  from  association  w i t h other the  people.  I n the  case worker appeared  absence of such  to f i l l  One f a m i l y v i e w e d t h e essential". to the  Through the  extent that  role.  c a s e w o r k e r as a n  case worker,  she was a b l e ,  with medical problems,  that  associations,  quite  this  c l i e n t was  successfully,  a m a r i t a l problem, her  adjustment problem i n the  s c h o o l , a n d numerous  worker v i s i t e d r e g u l a r l y ,  and i n a d d i t i o n t h e  the h a b i t i n her  "absolute  o f c a l l i n g the  worker by telephone,  helped to  cope  child's others.  The  c l i e n t was and  in  visiting  office. A p e r i o d i c c h a n g e i n w o r k e r s was n o t v i e w e d g e n e r a l l y  as  a problem by the f a m i l i e s , i n terms o f  relationship.  Because  become r o u t i n e  i n some w a y s , a c h a n g e i n w o r k e r s  anticipated the  t h e home v i s i t s . i n  client-worker  a s an i n t e r e s t i n g  w o r k e r was j u s t  a k i n to meeting the  experience.  a bit different. first  worker.  was r e c e i v i n g more " i n t e n s i v e some c o n c e r n o v e r t h e  frequent  some c a s e s h a d  With every  I n some ways i t  However t h e  from other  change, was  c l i e n t who  c a s e work s e r v i c e " ,  expressed  changes i n w o r k e r s .  The c a s e w o r k e r i s i n a p o s i t i o n t o make services  was  organizations  a v a i l a b l e to  consultant families  receiving assistance.  S e r v i c e s which are  to these f a m i l i e s , are  t h o s e w h i c h a i d them t o make t h e  of  t h e i r meagre a l l o w a n c e .  social careful  allowance i s  of p a r t i c u l a r  S i n c e the. m a j o r  allotment  in  designated  f o r the purchase  of  b u y i n g and p r e p a r a t i o n  o f meals permits  certain  economies.  In her  contact  w i t h some f a m i l i e s , t h e  83  value most the  food,  case worker  may e n l i s t the a i d of a d i e t i t i a n or home economist, i n planning t o meet food costs on a more economical b a s i s . Pour of the f a m i l i e s i n the sample were v i s i t e d by the d i e t i t i a n from the M e t r o p o l i t a n Health S e r v i c e . The contact occurred i n d i f f e r e n t ways.  One c l i e n t had heard a r a d i o  program, sponsored by a c i t y newspaper, o f f e r i n g f r e e c o n s u l t a t i v e s e r v i c e t o f a m i l i e s w i t h budgeting  problems.  This c l i e n t submitted her problems i n w r i t i n g .  She r e c e i v e d  an answercfrom the home economist, which stated that her income f o r a f a m i l y of f i v e was so low that i t was not p o s s i b l e f o r her t o o f f e r any h e l p .  The c l i e n t ' s  problem  was r e f e r r e d to the agency and the case worker arranged f o r the d i e t i t i a n t o v i s i t the f a m i l y . The d i e t i t i a n worked out a food budget w i t h the f a m i l y which included menus, shopping l i s t s and other d e t a i l , on the b a s i s of a low cost minimum, but adequate d i e t .  The food  budget on t h i s standard as computed by the d i e t i t i a n , requires approximately $64.00 at present p r i c e s . the f a m i l y ' s assistance grant i s only $75.50.  However,  The minimum  expenditure f o r food, based on the low-cost d i e t would therefore r e q u i r e approximately 84$ of t h e i r income. Three of the f a m i l i e s were brought i n touch w i t h the d i e t i t i a n through the case worker, apparently as a r e s u l t of t h e i r d i s c u s s i o n of the d i f f i c u l t y i n planning to meet t h e i r needs on the allowance.  Since the f a m i l i e s had made no  d i r e c t request f o r the s e r v i c e s , i t made the entry i n t o the home a t r i f l e awkward f o r the d i e t i t i a n .  84  The problem i n a l l  the s i t u a t i o n s was s i m i l a r .  I n the case of a f a m i l y of two,  the food budget as worked out, ranged between $24.00 and $26.00 per month.  The f a m i l y was r e c e i v i n g an allowance of  $50.00 per month from which they p a i d $25.00 per month rent f o r two f u r n i s h e d rooms.  The f a m i l y o b v i o u s l y could not  a f f o r d to spend the minimum amount recommended f o r food.  This  combined w i t h the r e n t , would use up t h e i r t o t a l allowance, l e a v i n g nothing f o r c l o t h i n g , and a l l other Items necessary for family l i v i n g . The p o t e n t i a l value of the d i e t i t i a n ' s s e r v i c e s appeared to have been f r u s t r a t e d to a l a r g e degree simply because the f a m i l y could not a f f o r d to spend that much f o r food.  Their  economies had to exceed t h a t set out i n the low-cost d i e t . These f a m i l i e s reacted to t h i s c o n s u l t a t i v e s e r v i c e r a t h e r p a s s i v e l y and i n two cases decidedly unfavourably.  I n the  l a t t e r instances i t was expressed w i t h some f e e l i n g : " I don't know why she came, she couldn't help us any, but I suppose the government must have some money they want to spend".  I n terms of the hopelessness of the f a m i l y ' s s i t u a t i o n  t h e i r f e e l i n g s can be more e a s i l y understood. In the l i g h t of the f a m i l y s ' experiences, the r o l e of the case worker i n administering the s o c i a l u t i l i t i e s i s of special significance.  S o c i a l u t i l i t i e s represent the  commodities provided f o r the f a m i l y , i n k i n d , through the case worker. Within the f a m i l y s ' experiences there have been many changes i n procedure.  At one time n e a r l y a l l of t h e i r needs 85  were met, In kind, through the d i s t r i b u t i o n of food, rent orders, grocery orders and clothing.  Most of t h e i r u t i l i t i e s  have been replaced by cash payments to the r e c i p i e n t .  The  c i t y ' s clothing d i s t r i b u t i o n depot was closed to these families over a year ago.  At.present the social u t i l i t i e s  are represented by issuance of shoes upon the recommendation of the school principal i n some cases, free milk to the c h i l d i n school i f the family i s c e r t i f i e d as being destitute, clothing through the worker from the Red Cross, and possibly others. For the purpose of i l l u s t r a t i n g the part of the case worker i n administering a s o c i a l u t i l i t y , and i t s effect upon the parents and children, the clothing d i s t r i b u t i o n system can be described b r i e f l y : The d i s t r i b u t i o n of clothing formerly was effected through a central clothing depot for some years, financed l a r g e l y through the agency. A small amount was deducted from each family's monthly grant (somewhere between five and ten percent) by the.agency. In l i e u of t h i s , the family's clothing needs were met i n kind. Children were e l i g i b l e for clothing issues every s i x months, and the adults once a year. The case worker would v i s i t .the family and inventory the clothing needs, l i s t i n g the items and sizes. She would make out a clothing order and send i t to the clothing depot. There the order was f i l l e d according to sizes (only), wrapped i n a package, and the family was sent a card to come and get i t . Upon returning home, they would open the bundle, see what they had received, sort i t out for size and t r y i t on. I f i t did not f i t they could return the items and exchange them. Color and style were not considered. Most of the families who were e l i g i b l e for clothing 86  made use of this resource.  Without exception they  reported the clothing of good q u a l i t y .  They explained how  much better off they were when they received the clothing then they are now. When the clothing d i s t r i b u t i o n was discontinued, t h e i r cash grant was increased, ranging from $2.50 to $5.00 per month, depending on the size of the family.  This addition to the grant was an i n s i g n i f i c a n t  sum when clothing costs for a family are considered. The effect on the children and parents of the methods employed i n administering t h i s social u t i l i t y was manifold. Meeting the clothing needs was reduced to a routine on a semi-annual basis for the children and annual basis for the adults.  I t might be expected that this type of planning  would f a l l short of a successful meeting of the family's need.  However, i n emergencies, the family could contact the  worker for a supplementary issue.  The worker was obliged  to assume the role of the parent i n this procedure.  If a  c h i l d asked his parent for a pair of shoes, a jacket, or some other item, the l i k e l y answer would have to be, "wait u n t i l the case worker comes".  An alternative, i f shoes  were needed, was to t e l l the c h i l d to go and ask, "your school p r i n c i p a l " .  During the c h i l d ' s tender years a w e l l -  l i k e d garment might represent a (very nice) case worker, whereas a garment d i s l i k e d could mean, (she i s a horrible person, why does she have to come).  When other children  would speak of going shopping with their mother or father, to buy a pair of shoes, and a l l of the things they saw, how 87  much f u n i t was, t h i s dependent c h i l d could only l i s t e n f o r these experiences were denied him.  I f questioned by other  c h i l d r e n where he got h i s new shoes, he would l i k e l y be compelled to answer, "from the case worker" or "from the school p r i n c i p a l " .  The c h i l d ' s problem i n t h i s area  become more numerous and more acute as he grows o l d e r .  It  may l e a d the c h i l d to question more s e r i o u s l y why he i s d i f f e r e n t , and why h i s parents are d i f f e r e n t .  I t might be  a t r y i n g experience f o r the adolescent at a h i g h school p a r t y , i f asked where he bought h i s new shoes, to r e p l y , ''the case worker brought them", or "he got them from the school p r i n c i p a l " . The administering of any s o c i a l u t i l i t y i s a k i n i n some form or another to the experiences i l l u s t r a t e d above. The parents are replaced by an outside f o r c e not "unlike that of a guardian. The c h i l d r e n i n such a s e t t i n g must look to someone outside of t h e i r own parents f o r the things they need.  The case worker r e a l l y i s the parent i n t h i s  particular setting.  However, the p r i n c i p l e of meeting the  f a m i l y needs through the use of s o c i a l u t i l i t i e s , may not be without m e r i t , from the purely economic p o i n t of view.  The  s a c r i f i c e s made i n terms of human values are obviously great, when needs are met through s o c i a l u t i l i t i e s .  The f a m i l y s ' experiences i n d i c a t e a need f o r , and general acceptance o f , case work s e r v i c e s .  The p o s i t i v e  values of the worker to the f a m i l y are p r i m a r i l y evidenced I n 88  the f a m i l y s ' i n i t i a l experiences w i t h the worker. During the process of e s t a b l i s h i n g e l i g i b i l i t y , worker was  a p o s i t i v e f a c t o r ; the f a m i l y was  a c t i v e l y p a r t i c i p a t e d ; t h e i r experience was  the  drawn i n and r e a s s u r i n g and  the f a m i l y f a c e d the f u t u r e w i t h hope. Because of apparent l i m i t a t i o n s p l a c e d on case work s e r v i c e s , the worker's c a p a c i t y to h e l p f o l l o w the establishment of e l i g i b i l i t y was negated  t o the p o i n t of the  s e r v i c e being l i t t l e more than a r o u t i n e checking of continued e l i g i b i l i t y  requirements.  89  CHAPTER V I I I IMPLICATIONS FOR ADMINISTRATION This study emphasizes the f a c t that from the f a m i l y ' s point of view there i s no d i v i s i o n i n the f i e l d of case work s e r v i c e s .  The worker represents  the agency i n a l l i t s  aspects; p o s s i b l y even more than t h a t , the p u b l i c ' s a t t i t u d e . towards dependent f a m i l i e s i s r e f l e c t e d through the worker. The f a m i l i e s assess t h e i r status i n terms of the help received from the case worker. In the s e t t i n g of an assistance program a d i s t i n c t i o n between case work s e r v i c e s and the g i v i n g of f i n a n c i a l assistance i s not r e a d i l y made, i f at a l l p o s s i b l e .  In  terms of t h i s study, from the f a m i l y ' s p o i n t of view, there i s no d i s t i n c t i o n apparent between the two. A common c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the sample f a m i l i e s which brought them to the agency, was l a c k of income. needed help to buy the n e c e s s i t i e s of l i f e .  They a l l  Beyond t h a t ,  they were i n d i v i d u a l f a m i l i e s , with problems of d i f f e r e n t kinds and d e s c r i p t i o n s p e c u l i a r to each f a m i l y .  Their  a d d i t i o n a l needs were apparent i n such areas a s , housing, h e a l t h , education, v o c a t i o n a l r e h a b i l i t a t i o n , household f u r n i t u r e , household u t e n s i l s and equipment, bedding, c l o t h i n g , f l o o r covering, and many others.  Individual family  s i t u a t i o n s were f u r t h e r complicated by the absence of the breadwinner.  The burden of c a r r y i n g on successful f a m i l y  l i v i n g , which normally i s a challenge  90  t o the strength of  both parents, now f e l l on the mother alone.  Home management,  planning, care f o r the c h i l d r e n , and a l l the other d e t a i l s of f a m i l y l i f e were the sole r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of the mother. The extent to which the f a m i l i e s were helped to meet these needs warrants a b r i e f review o f the l i m i t a t i o n s placed upon the worker. Any s t a t u t o r y l i m i t a t i o n s i n the s o c i a l a s s i s t a n c e and mothers' allowance act have been set f o r t h i n chapter two. I t i s apparent that the l i m i t a t i o n s i n the mothers' allowance act  concerning e l i g i b i l i t y and a s s i s t a n c e payments are more  r e s t r i c t i v e than those provided f o r i n the s o c i a l a s s i s t a n c e act.  However, the mothers' allowance a c t i s s u f f i c i e n t l y  broad enough to a l l o w f o r considerable e l a s t i c i t y i n interpretation.  I n the a c t u a l p r a c t i s e of meeting f a m i l y  needs, any b a s i c d i f f e r e n c e s i n the statutes are not r e a d i l y i d e n t i f i a b l e i n terms of a s s i s t a n c e grants, treatment o f resources or i n other areas.  Therefore, the d i s c u s s i o n i n  general terms, drawn from the f a m i l y s ' experiences, w i l l include both the s o c i a l a s s i s t a n c e and mothers allowance categories. Prom the f a m i l y s ' p o i n t of view t h e i r needs have not been examined or assessed on an i n d i v i d u a l case b a s i s . Measurement of the extent of t h e i r need i s made by the a r b i t r a r y a p p l i c a t i o n of the s o c i a l allowance scale which i s based on the number of persons i n a f a m i l y according t o a maximum  grant.  I t has been pointed out p r e v i o u s l y t h a t the  amount of the allowance meets l e s s than h a l f of an average f a m i l y ' s needs i n r e l a t i o n to a minimum standard f o r low-cost  91  d i e t and the bare e s s e n t i a l s f o r f a m i l y l i f e . Since there i s no p r o v i s i o n f o r exceeding the maximum scale there are no demands made on the worker to assess the f a m i l y ' s needs other than counting the number of persons.  I f there are f i v e the grant i s $75.50.  Unless  there i s some income which needs to be deducted, the budgeting process i s complete.  This r o u t i n e could h a r d l y demand  r e c o g n i t i o n , beyond that of a c l e r i c a l task.  To the f a m i l i e s  i t has been d i s a p p o i n t i n g because i t has not been w i t h i n any of the sample f a m i l y s ' experience to have a case worker attempt to f i g u r e out a budget f o r them on an a c t u a l need b a s i s . Therefore the f e e l i n g p e r s i s t s at times as expressed i n , "they don't care". "how  The question i n the f a m i l i e s ' minds i s ,  does the worker know what our nee^i are; she has never  attempted to f i n d out".  I n terms of the a d m i n i s t r a t i v e  p o l i c y I t appears that the highest standard of l i v i n g to be achieved by the dependent f a m i l y i s not to exceed t h a t r e f l e c t e d i n the s o c i a l allowance s c a l e .  To p o i n t t h i s up  more c l e a r l y i n terms of the f a m i l i e s ' experiences, note must be taken of the treatment accorded other income and resources. Over the p e r i o d of years that the f a m i l i e s have received assistance there have been numerous changes i n agency p o l i c y r e s p e c t i n g other income.  The f a m i l i e s v a r i e d to  some extent as to t h e i r understanding of the present p o l i c y : t h i s might i n d i c a t e inadequate i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of agency p o l i c y to the c l i e n t by the case worker, or i t might pose a  92  very basic question on the administrative l e v e l : how does the information concerning a change i n agency policy get out to the client? . The most general understanding of the treatment of other income on the part of the families receiving social assistance was; that earned income was exempt up to $10.00 per month and $2.50 for each c h i l d , the t o t a l monthly exemption not to exceed $15.00.  Any earnings above that are  to be deducted from the monthly allowance, and a l l other income, whatever i t s source, to be deducted i n f u l l from the basic grant.  The families receiving mother'allowance  reported similar experiences, but with the exception that the earned income exemption; was believed to be $20.00 per month per family. The establishment of such policy on the administrative l e v e l may have many implications; but to the family this simply means that their standard of l i v i n g w i l l be at or below the l e v e l of the social allowance scale, but even more important i s the fact that this policy has negated the potential value of the case worker to the family.  The only  demand made upon a case worker i n this setting i s to check on technical e l i g i b i l i t y requirements and to be able to calculate other income for purpose of adjusting the social allowance grant.  The question may well a r i s e : what i s the  place of the professional social worker i n the assistance program setting?  An analysis of the f a m i l i e s ' experiences  has established that the need for the professional social  93  worker i s r e a l ; i t i s apparent to them because of t h e i r i n a b i l i t y to cope s u c c e s s f u l l y with t h e i r problems.  These  problems a r i s e to a l a r g e degree, from t h e i r dependency status.  The i m p l i c a t i o n s are,therefore, that from the  c l i e n t ' s point of view, some m o d i f i c a t i o n of the r u l e s , r e g u l a t i o n s , and p o l i c i e s , on the a d m i n i s t r a t i v e l e v e l are indicated. The greatest l i m i t a t i o n of case work s e r v i c e s appears to stem from the way i n which other resources  and income  are t r e a t e d , and the standard of l i v i n g that i s to be achieved by these dependent f a m i l i e s . The amount of the assistance grant i t s e l f i s s i g n i f i c a n t , but i t does not stand alone as a f a c t o r i n l i m i t i n g s e r v i c e s to a f a m i l y . Prom the family's p o i n t of view, the highest  standard  of l i v i n g they can achieve i s s u b s t a n t i a l l y determined i n monetary terms by the s o c i a l allowance s c a l e .  Whether the  present maximum i s set because of l a c k of funds, or i f i t i s e s t a b l i s h e d i n the b e l i e f that a f a m i l y can a t t a i n a s a t i s f a c t o r y standard of l i v i n g w i t h i n the amount, i s a question.  However, the f a m i l i e s ' status i n d i c a t e that the  standard i s unduly r e s t r i c t i v e .  I t i s e s p e c i a l l y so when  i t i s applied to those f a m i l i e s who w i l l r e q u i r e assistance over a r e l a t i v e l y long period. Therefore,  i f the agency's p o l i c y provided f o r an  assessment of the f a m i l i e s ' t o t a l needs, on a case by case b a s i s , and could be implemented by a minimum scale In monetary terms, a r e c o g n i t i o n of the f a m i l i e s ' needs on a  94  r e a l i s t i c b a s i s would be p o s s i b l e .  The challenge to the  f a m i l y , and the case worker, would be to f i n d a way  of  meeting that minimum need, or even to exceed i t , i f p o s s i b l e . The question l i k e l y to a r i s e i s that the agency does not have enough money to meet t o t a l f a m i l y needs on that b a s i s , and t h i s may be a l l too t r u e .  That, i n i t s e l f , i n  novway i n v a l i d a t e s the idea of assessing the f a m i l i e s ' needs on a r e a l i s t i c b a s i s .  I t does permit the workers to  say to the f a m i l y that he recognizes  the inadequacy of the  grant, and t h a t the s i t u a t i o n e x i s t s because there i s no more money a v a i l a b l e . The next problem than becomes very r e a l f o r the f a m i l y , and the worker; they must work together to seek a s o l u t i o n .  This w i l l l e a d them i n t o the area of  other income and resources, to be developed w i t h i n the f a m i l y ' s own strength, or through outside (community) resources. Under the present r e g u l a t i o n s , i t appears that the treatment of other resources i s geared to the maximum provided i n the s o c i a l allowance s c a l e .  This, i n i t s e l f ,  would be a deterrent to making e f f e c t i v e use of these resources.  E q u a l l y as true would be the f a c t that there  would be no demands made upon the case worker to help the f a m i l y develop such resources; present p o l i c i e s appear to e s t a b l i s h an assumption that t h e i r f u l l needs can, and being met,  are  through the s o c i a l allowance s c a l e .  However, i f the standard of l i v i n g to be achieved would be on a more r e a l i s t i c b a s i s , other resources 95  could  become an item of primary importance.  This would be  p a r t i c u l a r l y true i f the assistance grant had to be r e s t r i c t e d because of shortage of funds. I f the agency's p o l i c y provided for f u l l use of other income and resources, at least to the point where t h i s a i d , i n addition to the grant could mean a desirable standard of l i v i n g , the worker's relationship with the family could become more meaningful.  The handling of other resources i n  the individual family situation could be l e f t with the worker as a case work problem, rather than a procedure on the administrative l e v e l . Simply stated, a desirable standard of l i v i n g to be attained by the dependent family i s one thing, and the amount of money available to meet i t i s another.  As the spread  between the family's real need, and the extent to which i t i s met by assistance grant increases, the family's need for case work services increases i n l i k e proportion. The challenge to the case worker i s to apply his utmost s k i l l i n the u t i l i z a t i o n of other resources, and to help the family to draw upon i t s own strengths to the greatest extent. He would be given increased scope i n which to apply the principles and techniques acquired through long and I n tensive study.  I t would no longer be necessary for him,  when faced with a dependency s i t u a t i o n , to r e s t r i c t the p o t e n t i a l i t i e s of h i s training within the r e l a t i v e l y narrow limitations of present operating p o l i c y .  The reward to the  worker, and also to the agency, i n terms of improved s k i l l s 96  and strengthened families transcends measurement i n monetary terms; nevertheless, i t i s highly probable that the increased efficiency which would accrue to a broader and more l i b e r a l policy would more than pay for i t s e l f .  97  APPENDIX A  * , who i s doing graduate work i n the department of Social Work at the University of B r i t i s h Columbia, and who has had several years experience i n the f i e l d of social work, has informed us that he i s interested i n making a study of the Mothers' Allowance and Social Assistance programs, and what they mean i n the everyday l i f e of the families receiving assistance. M r  To make this study i t i s of course necessary for him to get to know some of the families who are receiving assistance, and he i s hoping that some of them w i l l volunteer to help him study t h e i r experience. Since our records are confidential, we cannot give him your name and address without your permission. We have suggested to Mr. that we would write a l e t t e r to a large number of families on our l i s t , and leave i t to you to offer to help i f you are w i l l i n g . I f you would be w i l l i n g to have Mr. meet with you to explain the purpose of h i s study, would you please send your name and address on the enclosed Card placed i n the self-addressed envelope and mail i t to him. i  This office does not take part i n the study i n any way, and i t i s not necessary for us to know whether you are going to participate i n the study or not, My personal opinion i s that there i s great value i n the kind of research he proposes to do. I t should undoubtedly aid us i n giving d i r e c t i o n , and i n planning assistance programs to meet family needs. You can be sure that Mr. w i l l approach the subject, sympat h e t i c a l l y , and that a l l confidences w i l l be respected. Your name w i l l of course not be mentioned i n the study; Mr. |_s plans are to v i s i t you as soon as he hears from you. Therefore i f you are interested, w i l l you please mall him your name and address immediately. Sincerely Yours, name t i t l e of agency administrator  BIBLIOGRAPHY City of Vancouver Incorporation Act, Statutes of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1921, Amended. Mothers' Allowances Act. Statutes of B r i t i s h Columbia, Chap, 53, 1937, Amended. Municipal Act. Statutes of B r i t i s h Columbia, Chap. 52, S. I . Amended. Social Assistance Act. Statutes of B r i t i s h Columbia, Chap. 62, 1945. Social Welfare Branch Manual. V o l . I . Department of Health and Welfare, B r i t i s h Columbia. Table P - I , Cost of Living Index, Labour Gazette, Dec. 1948, Department of Labour, Ottawa. The Cost of L i v i n g , Toronto Welfare Council, Toronto, 1939.  

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