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The intake policies of group work agencies DuMoulin, Phyllis Anne

Abstract

This study deals with theoretical aspects of sound intake policies in group work agencies, in general, and also with specific intake procedures as actually practised in Vancouver agencies at present. In this treatise, the term “intake” refers to the way in which a group-work agency deals with an individual from the time of his first contact with the agency in applying for membership until the time when he actually participates as a member of a group activity. The author points out the pitfalls of haphazard, inadequately planned intake procedures and the necessity for a critical evaluation of both the agency’s facilities and of the individual applicant's needs if an agency is to fulfill its aims of developing human personalities through providing constructive group experience in leisure time pursuits. Intake procedures not only help workers to determine whether an agency can help the individual but also presents the client with a sample of the atmosphere and approach of the agency. In discussing personnel assigned to the handling of intake, the writer points out the necessity also of careful choice of workers who have both an understanding of individual human behaviour and also a complete knowledge of their agency's facilities, potentialities, and limitations. Intake must be based on an acceptance of the principle of individual selection and the use of both case work and group work skills. The importance of keeping both quantitative and qualitative records of intake procedure is discussed. The writer describes the various ways of classifying quantitative records in relation to groups, individuals, or families, and lists the types of record forms used for individuals, groups, and agencies. The uses of statistical records are also described as they may be of value to group leaders, supervisors, agencies, or communities. The usefulness of qualitative records as a basis for evaluating various types of procedure in research projects is also stressed. Further chapters include discussion of bases for selection of personnel assigned to intake, and an evaluation of objectives and practices with regard to publicity and public relations. Existing intake practices in Vancouver, British Columbia, are evaluated on the basis of replies to a questionnaire which was devised and submitted to seven group work agencies in that city. Agencies were asked for information as to their policies and practices with regard to orientation of the applicant, registrations, fees, requirements for eligibility for membership, referrals, selection of activity, and methods used to recruit membership. Observations regarding the strengths and weaknesses of present intake methods used by the agencies studied and recommendations as to modifications and improvements for the future conclude the thesis.

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