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Supervised homemaker service in Vancouver, Canada Burch, Gwendolyn

Abstract

Supervised Homemaker Service in the Family Welfare Bureau of Greater Vancouver provides "homemakers" to families that are without mothers, either temporarily or permanently, for the purpose of maintaining the home and caring for the children. The Bureau has developed over a period of twelve years a group of experienced and well-trained women to do this work. The Service alleviates what might otherwise be a traumatic experience for a growing child, by keeping him in the familiar surroundings of his home; and it relieves the anxiety of the parents. As a result, in case of illness of the mother, either at home or in hospital, her recovery is not retarded by worry about her family. The Service builds upon the existing strengths within the family toward planning for their future well-being, and to this end it is co-ordinated with casework service to assist in the solution of family problems. The material for the study was secured from many sources within the Family Welfare Bureau, which included minutes of the Homemakers' Committee; Director's Reports since 1938; minutes of other committees and meetings having a bearing on the homemaker service; minutes of homemakers’ meetings; personal discussions with members of the professional staff; records of homemaker cases and applications for service. Two questionnaires were used; one for the caseworkers supervising homes which had homemaker service; the other to secure the views of homemakers themselves. The balance of the material was obtained from articles on the subject and correspondence with and visits to agencies in other cities having a similar service. The study traces the development of the Service in Vancouver from its beginning in 1937; the methods by which it has been supervised; and the changing direction of policy, from the provision of an emergency housekeeper to coordination with casework. Types of service, and special problems are illustrated by sample cases. A tentative evaluation is made of the homemakers as a group, and of their growing appreciation of their contribution to team-work within a family agency.

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