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Municipal public welfare services for the unemployed : an analytical review of a Vancouver suburban municipality, 1958-1960. Rippon, Arthur William

Abstract

The increasing incidence of unemployment in recent years (1960-62) has again brought the problem to the attention of governments and citizens, many of whom are attempting to reduce the consequences of unemployment in a mariner appropriate to their authority. One of the methods of dealing with the result of unemployment is through the administration of public welfare services. This study was designed to determine the requirements of the unemployed, the public welfare services they receive and to evaluate the adequacy of these services, using a suburban municipality of Vancouver as a case example. The history of public welfare of the Dominion, provincial and municipal governments is reviewed; and attention is then directed to the detailed organization of public welfare services in the Municipality of Surrey. Within the municipal structure of the Department of Social Welfare, the administrative controls, the size of case loads and social work staff were reviewed. The services available include the financial aid granted under the Social Assistance Act, health services, casework services, and the Winter Works programme. The unemployed employable persons in the municipality are identified by such characteristics as age, size of family, education, occupation, work history, financial assets, housing, and personality problems. The method of study is both historical and analytical. The literature pertinent to the historical development and present status of public welfare programmes is reviewed as background. An analysis is then made of cases requiring services, and the services given are evaluated. Information required for this study was received from the records of the Municipality of Surrey Social Welfare Department, current and past literature, interviews with administrative leaders, and the personal experience of the writer. The employable man without a job presents many severe problems which are only partially handled by the local social welfare department. The basic administrative organization is able to cope with the difficulties presented; but the interpretation of legislation and indecisive attitudes to welfare and rehabilitation programmes make the implementation of an adequate service practically impossible to attain.

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