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A research inventory of community welfare services (British Columbia and Vancouver, 1959) Crawford, Robert Neil

Abstract

This study comprises the basic framework for the highly important but complex question: what are the areas in community welfare services where research is most needed and most likely to be valuable? Necessary preliminaries for such a study include consideration of (a) the definition of "social welfare", and its most immediately relevant history; (b) the possible kinds and directions of research; (c) a descriptive summary picture of existing welfare services. For the present study "the community" is at some points interpreted nationally (e.g., the social insurances) and provincially (e.g., social assistance), but particular attention is given to Vancouver agencies (many of which have metropolitan or provincial reference). The main sources of data are fourfold, (a) Significant examples of similar projects undertaken elsewhere (community surveys by Bradley Buell and Associates, Welfare Council Surveys in Philadelphia, Pa., and Berkeley, Calif., reviewed for their comparative value on method, (b) Annual reports of public and private agencies, and relevant studies made by agencies, including the Community Chest and Council, (c) Statistical data (including Census, D.B.S. bulletins and departmental reports, revealing incidence and trend aspects of welfare problems. (d) Finally, two comprehensive questionnaires, sent to over 130 agencies in Greater Vancouver. The agencies' appraisals of needs is analyzed through (a) service statistics, (b) estimates of unserved clientele, (c) direct evidences of potential need (such as waiting-lists, etc.) The subject-matter headings of Part I (Some Historical Perspectives) and Part II (Social Services Today) are: (l) income-maintenance and general social security; (2) personal services, counselling casework and social adjustment; (3) recreation and leisure-time; (4) crime,, delinquency, corrections. (Health services are to be the subject of a separate companion study, though consideration is given in the present survey to welfare services contingent upon medical and psychiatric care). Welfare and research needs, as interpreted by the agencies in the community and further analyzed in Part III., are brought together in Part IV. Most characteristic among these are (a) services which are seriously deficient or non-existent because of lack of funds, or qualified personnel (e.g., a residential treatment centre for emotionally disturbed children); (b) extensions or additions to service for particular groups, either for experimental purposes or demonstrated specialist attention (e.g., homemaker service for various kinds of family need); (c) several aspects of coordination, improved organization etc., of actual and potential community resources. Research needs illustrated include (a) proposals for the improvement of current administration, (including studies of incidence leading to predictive formulae), (b) causal studies (e.g., of the etiology of several types of dependency;) (c) better understanding of social work services in specific settings (e.g., residence projects for potential delinquents, and for discharged offenders.) (The next stage of the total project, which this "operational survey" now permits, is the formulation of a systematic "welfare research agenda". This is the subject of a separate study).

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