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The rehabilitation of public assistance recipients : an analysis of rehabilitation possibilities among current social assistance recipients, based on the caseload of the Social Welfare Department, Victoria, June 1952 Hooson, William Thomas

Abstract

"Rehabilitation" is the term commonly and often loosely used in public welfare to connote the restoration of the physical functioning of the client. Restoration on a physical and economic level has, to a marked degree in the past, taken precedence over the casework treatment process. Although such restoration is vitally important, its lasting value to the client and his family is doubtful if not accompanied by a thorough effort on the part of the worker to mobilize the client's personal resources. This study examines a public assistance caseload of a small size coastal city with a population of approximately 60,000, as it existed during one particular month of the year, with the view to analyzing the rehabilitation possibilities of the clients. The initial classification distinguishes (a) the temporarily dependent person, that is, one who is receiving public assistance for reasons other than chronic physical or mental illness and likely to become self-supporting, and (b) the permanently dependent person, one who is unlikely to become self-supporting because of age, physical or mental illness, or disability. Within these classifications, sub-groupings of partial and total dependency were evolved. Factors promoting or retarding rehabilitation have then been analyzed in two groups, summarized as "extrinsic" and; "intrinsic". "Extrinsic" factors are physical and economic including; the reason for the granting of assistance, the length of time the grant has been in pay, and the degrees of skill and the work histories of the wage-earners. The "intrinsic" include personal and emotional factors conditioning the acceptance of assistance and the potentialities for improvement or readjustment. Two basic methods are employed: (1) statistical classification of the total sample group (Chapter II) and (2) case description of typical individuals (Chapter III). As a byproduct of the study, a rating scale of emotional maturity has been compiled (Appendix A) as an aid to future case recording, assistance in diagnosing rehabilitation problems, and setting or evaluating casework treatment goals for social assistance clients. It is evident that the rehabilitation plan for persons on public welfare rolls should include an assessment of the emotional factors of the client's personality development. Because these are vital in the individual's total adjustment pattern, it is recommended that such assessments should be made by qualified social workers during the intake process when the client first applies for assistance. While only a cursory review is made of medical and vocational rehabilitation facilities available for handicapped persons, a provincial coordinator of rehabilitation (including public and private resources) seems indicated to provide integrated and long-range planning for rehabilitation. Finally, it must be recognized that a large proportion of persons in receipt of current public aid are suffering from medical disabilities which are irremediable. For these, the goal of total rehabilitation is not realistic; but a proper function of the social worker is to help such clients accept their handicaps and achieve a limited adjustment.

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