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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Public assistance: the recipients experiences Kuhn, Gottfried John

Abstract

This study was designed for the purpose of learning from the families, who are receiving assistance, what dependency means to them. The sample was selected from the Mothers' Allowance and Social Assistance categories. A group of twelve families comprised the sample that was used for intensive study. The families were interviewed personally by the writer to study their status prior to the onset of dependency, and specifically their experiences and status during their dependency years, with emphasis on the meaning of case work services to the families. The families' experiences and status point up the fact, that the maximum standard of living to be achieved within the policies of the agency is unusually low: the assistance payments are too small for a family to be able to maintain or achieve a standard of living providing for a "reasonably normal and healthy existence"; policy concerning treatment of other income and resources, appears to be sufficiently restrictive to prevent the families from making successful use of them to improve their standard of living; and finally, the professional case worker's role to help the families develop their own strengths, and make full use of other (community) resources is invalidated to a large degree, through the agency's rules and regulations concerning treatment of such income and resources. The case worker's role as a helping person to the families appeared to be especially significant during the early stages of the families' dependency status. The follow-up service, or sustaining case work treatment, is largely concerned with, verification of continued eligibility for financial assistance, only in terms represented by the maximum provided for in the social allowance scale. The implications of the study are, that the agency's policies, in terms of the families experiences, might warrant some revision to the extent that the professional case worker can function in his intended role as a helping person to the family.

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