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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Fee charging in a family service agency : an examination of fee charging experience and its relation to family casework in the Family Service Agency of Greater Vancouver, 1951-58 Moir, Ward Washington


Fee-charging has been the subject of extensive discussion within voluntary family agencies. The trend toward initiating fees, particularly in American family agencies, has been growing steadily. However, there has been little research designed to evaluate the supposed objectives of this policy; including the therapeutic values, the expansion of service, or the reinforcement of the professional status of social work. In addition, the basic question of why fees should be charged at all, has been largely ignored. The present study is necessarily an exploratory one. It is confined to the analysis of a particular period of fee-charging experience in the Family Service Agency of Greater Vancouver. The techniques, values, and appropriateness of this policy were reviewed for (a) the total caseload in a survey year; (b) cases selected for the analysis of specific areas. The largest attention was given to "fee cases", and those cases where a fee was proposed, but not charged. The analysis suggests strongly that, while there can be therapeutic benefits from fee-charging, the fee itself is most often appropriate where it is based primarily upon ability to pay. The task for the Agency is to be selective enough in determining which clients should be told about, and charged, fees. Client resistance to casework is a significant factor, influencing worker attitudes toward fee-charging. Consistency in the application of the present policy is needed. It is particularly necessary to exclude the very dependent client. A major premise is suggested for fee-charging, after discussion of alternative premises, and of the reason for charging a fee under this premise. Fee-charging practice would have a changed emphasis; there would be clearer administrative exclusions, and more skilled exclusions based upon casework judgment. Adequate ability to pay would be primary data in deciding between alternatives.

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