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Safeguarding child placement : a study of the work of the screened intake committee in St. Paul, Minnesota Heckels, Enid Mabel


This study examines the services rendered by a committee composed of representatives of the Saint Paul case work agencies. These agencies were formed in 1941 to coordinate the placement of children outside their own homes, and to safeguard their welfare. The study has three purposes: first, to preserve in available form historical information about the development of ' Screened Intake' in the City of Saint Paul; second, to review the purposes and functions of the Committee; and third, to evaluate the extent to which it integrated and implemented the complementary principles of human rights and human needs of the family cases which were presented to the Committee for 'Screening.' Material was collected from a manual of minutes as recorded by the Screened Intake Committee from before its inauguration in 1941 to 1948; by personal interviews with the Executive Director of the Family Service of Saint Paul and chairman of the Screened Intake Committee; and from others active on this Committee. Fifty individual cases were read. These were summaries prepared by case workers for presentation to the Committee. Spot checks were made of formal case records. From an appraisal of this work, it is evident that many worthwhile changes in the social welfare programme for children were accomplished. The Committee was responsible for a considerable decrease in the total number of children being cared for outside their own homes - both for the State of Minnesota and more particularly for the City of Saint Paul. It was also responsible for eliminating the precipitate foster home placement of children. It clearly defined responsibilities between the social agencies concerned, and was an assurance to the community that the welfare of both parents and children would be protected by social agencies during the placement period. Although the study indicated that the social case work agencies in Saint Paul continued to be somewhat unaware of the emotional components of the family situations, in general the Screened Intake Committee performed valuable work and the principles it has established deserve continuous consideration in the future.

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