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Some patterns of dependency : an examination of ninety family units who were in receipt of social allowance in the Social Welfare Department of the District of Coquitlam Morrison, Archibald Oscar

Abstract

"Dependency" like many other concepts in social welfare needs careful and explanatory definition. The present study approached this first through a discussion of various meanings of dependency, and then by an examination of the characteristics of a representative sample of recipients of Social Allowance in a particular area of British Columbia. The area is the District of Coquitlam, a typical 'intermediate', semi-rural municipality. The sample includes some complete families, some broken or incomplete families, with only one parent, and a number of single persons. The "setting" 'of the study is described in two parts, (a) the eligibility requirements of the Social Assistance Act, and (b) the general characteristics of Coquitlam. The statistical survey of this group covers the following attributes: (1) family and non-family groups, and number of children; (2) period on assistance; (3) types of disability and (4) occupational background. Characteristic groups and problems are illustrated by case extracts. Several well marked patterns evolve from the statistical survey and are as follows: (a) family formation; (b) disability; (c) children in public assistance families; (d) the length of time that persons were in receipt of assistance, and (e) earning capacity. Implications for social welfare are considered with other comparable studies, including a number of University of British Columbia Social Work theses, as supporting references. The principal areas are (a) the need for better recording and information in certain areas critical for understanding needs and giving help; (b) the use of the welfare committee of the municipal council as a medium for better community participation in social welfare programs, and (c) a consideration of rehabilitation resources, both legislative and 'self-help'.

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