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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The community information service of the Community Chest and Council, Vancouver :a study of the process of community organization in the development of the community information service and a description and evaluation of its operations during an eight month period, 1953-1954 McRae, Donalda Elizabeth

Abstract

The widespread use of modern media of mass communication, the growth of the profession of social work and the direct impact of voluntary and government welfare programs on individual and family life have made the ordinary citizen aware of the existence of health and welfare services in his community. This awareness, however, is often generalized and may not prove sufficient to enable a person, at the point of human need, to communicate with that agency best fitted to serve him. To overcome these barriers in communication and to provide a continuing demonstration of the existence of and the co-operation between social agencies, governmental and voluntary, many communities have developed central information and referral services. This study seeks first to trace the development of central information services on the North American continent and in Great Britain. The process of community organizations leading to the inauguration of a "Community Information Service" in Vancouver, British Columbia, is described and evaluated, as is the pattern of administration and practice in the Vancouver Information-referral office during the first year of operation on an experimental basis. To evaluate the role of the Community Information Service, Vancouver, a compilation of inquiries according to source, nature and disposal during an eight month period is presented and analysed. The program of the Community Information Service is studied against six developed criteria. From this basis and from the replies received from eight organizations in response to a questionnaire, reasons for and against the continuation of the service beyond the agreed period of experimentation are presented and equated. Some modifications and simplification of agency structure may be anticipated. Schools of Social Work may lay greater emphasis on generalized preparation for practice. These factors may minimize the need for referral between agencies and with it the need for central referral services. But until the movements described above become more visible, the ordinary man living in a metropolitan area may still benefit from the existence of central information-referral offices.

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