xt73tx353392 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt73tx353392/data/mets.xml Alabama United States. Works Progress Administration. Division of Social Research 1936 Other contributors include Dusseldorp, Wilma Van; Woofter, Thomas Jackson, b. 1893; United States. Works Progress Administration. Division of Social Research. [2], 70 l. : maps ; 27 cm. Mimeographed.  At head of title: Works Progress Administration, Harry L. Hopkins, administrator. UK holds archival copy for ASERL Collaborative Federal Depository Program libraries. Call number Y 3.W 89/2:13/L-1. books  English  This digital resource may be freely searched and displayed in accordance with U. S. copyright laws. Alabama Works Progress Administration Publications Organization and procedures of the Alabama Department of Public Welfare, prepared by Wilma Van Dusseldorp under the supervision of T. J. Woofter, Jr., Coordinator of Rural Research text Organization and procedures of the Alabama Department of Public Welfare, prepared by Wilma Van Dusseldorp under the supervision of T. J. Woofter, Jr., Coordinator of Rural Research 1936 1936 2015 true xt73tx353392 section xt73tx353392 UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY I y
[ 3 ULIE5 5175253 U ‘
HARRY I,. I-Ic>I=·I, bcth
remedial vnd treventirc." l
.$l2;L._° P1".?   FH S TQ  c~ f Gcuzggg Fund s J
While przvidlng fdr the Child Telfvre Der rtmcrt, the state lad l
broadened the pcrmisgivc newer gréntcd ts cgwgty cimmiseirn rll’- rs fzr tic use {
cf county funds to zect specific t7*cs cf r=lief needs. ln lQE5 the stcte {
granted permissicm tc the ciuntics ts use their funds fdr the torment nf
b:~rd fir children under ld in fnril; hdxcs cpcr #eC Lg the Stdtc Child
Welfare Department. I1 l9E7, it wds mad, illeg~l to pl~ce vny chill under
lé yerre nf age in an ulmshduse. In l93l, crc isiwn was mcd; for Ccunty
Ciurts of Ccnmissicners cr Ccrnty jegrdc cf Rev»;u+l/ to cztcni r¤li¤f to
children under ld years of nge.
Also, in l95I, prdvisizn was made far ccunties ti cert “eier—
Ei3Cy" Leeds 3f indigent tcrscmc i; their c;n Lot s, with gnc qrxlificn-
tidh twat “in ccze df temporary relief el ac¢·;mt of illness, such relief
cnnict be extended keypad r rcvernqble lergt? cf titr." In cwunties with
IEC :';lT?L3]1CF1S€ as , the cr. Jiiiii s Si Gzic r   1T.3rt_· pq rrii t t ti 1 t 0 méplgf cfiviiitj fill   DD
the suppdrt Jf iniigcnts at w sur ict exceeding 3% a zinth.
L/Gdunty gcvernipg bzdics in Alnbqmq are c¤ll¤Q County Courts of Cormie-
sitmers when tlc juige ef probate ciurt is an official renter cf the
grcup. The gzvernirg bzdy is a County Eagrd of Rcvrndt nic; the juige
is mit wfficlnllj a ntxbcr cf thc griup.

 9553 l
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In November 1952 nn not wss passed empowering and authorizing t
the governing body in any county, with the approval of the State Child T
Welfare Department, “to make other snd further provision for the care of
the poor nnd need; of each county." This ect permitted the extending of
poor relief to aged in their own homes on n more permanent basis than
before and the granting of temporary relief to fnmilies in which children
presented special relief needs.
The   lisigf Pros nu; i¤-A.l&w
The first grants by the Reconstruction Finance Gorporntion to
individual Alabama counties were made in September 1952. By the early
part of 1933 all but three counties in the state had applied for and ob-
tained R.F.G. money for emergency relief.l/ It was all locally adminis-
tered, the county officials drawing liberally upon the services of their
respective child welfare workers for help in establishing their relief
offices in accordance with the requirements of the Federal office.
The Alsbsme.Relief Administration to administer R.F.C. funds
was established by official proclamation of the Governor on December El,
l932, and held its first organization meeting January l, l953. The first
relief granted to families through the Alabama Relief Administration wss
given in February l933. Counties readily respondedto the opportunity to
obtain money for relief purposes and quickly set up their own relief or-
ganizations. Although they were expected to match the state grunts ms
nearly es possible this was not mandatory. All rural counties were soon
disbursing more money for relief in n month than they had ever before
spent in s year for the core of dependent persons.
The person selected by the Governor to serve es director of the
Alabama Relief Administration wss retained by the succeeding Governor. He
had been director of the Alabama Industrial Development Eonrd and regional
field worker in the relief program of the R.F.C., prior to his appointment
as state administrator. He seemed to appreciate the importwrce of the con—
tribution to be made by the social work division, for he developed his
state program in such n way as to afford full opportunity for this division
to function. When county relief programs were set up_hc sought persistently
to protect and further the interests of the unemployed for whom the pro~
grams were established. He met the opposition of local officinls who had
political rather than socinl interests and succeeded in winning the support
of msjor political groups.
The director of the Relief Administration cooperated with the
Child Welfare Department in its reorganizgtion effort in l93%. The counties
were no longer required to contribute to relief funds, but their contribue
tion to the newly reestnblished child welfere programs was regarded by the
state relief administration ns "loonl pnrticipntion." Later, the ndminis—
trator gave his support to the public welfare bill and urged the members of
his staff to explain its provisions, in their ccnt~cts with the general
public. ‘
l/It is noteworthy that the probate judges up for re—el4ction in those
three counties were all defeated because of their opposition to apply-
ing for R.F.C. funds.

§§f§gt"g§_Federal Supervision
Disapproval of Federal administrative standards and regulations
for relief w;s expressed from many quarters. In some areas the minimum
rate of pay was considered too high for any group of relief labor. Others
would accept the rate of BO cents an hour for white labor on relief projects
but not for Negro lrbor. The administrative order that assignments to
work projects should be made without regard to race met with opposition  
where the number of projects was limited. The standard of adequacy recom-
i mended by the Federal administration and adopted by the Alabama state ad—
ministration was also opposed, particularly in rural areas. Of all Fed—
eral policies the one causing the most reseitment was the unprecedented
practice of extending relief to strikers.
The commissioner of the new Department of Public Welfare told
the observer that in two years of Federal supervision the state had made
notable advances in social thinking, although many deep convictions rc-
mained.unmoved. In his opinion, to effect really fundamental changes, 5
Federal supervision should continue.
He cited a situation in one of the large cities of the state
which had a conservative Public Welfare Board. When the coal minors struck
in the fall of 1935, the Board took the position that the Federal govern-
ment would force it to feed the strikers; and anyway if the Board failed
to do so, there would be riots and killings. The strikers were fed, —
helped by more local money than had ever before been subscribed for any
local disaster,
The commissioner said that he himself in carrying out the new
public welfare program used the threat of Federal pressure as a last V
resort in dealing with "stubborn politicians." He generally tried to l
present Federal standards to the public as desirable, and to establish
them throughout the state on their merits. W
The commissioner said he had observed that rural counties rc- I
sisted state and Federal supervision and guidance less than urban commun-
ities. He attributed this difference in part to the fact that the cities
for many years had been accustomed to making their decisions about relief
independently of state leadership, l/ whereas the relief problem was new and
overwhelming to the rural communities. The commissioner added that in his i
opinion the state had been more successful in rural than in urban areas in l
effecting non—political administration. This was largely due to the qual~
ity of personnel filling executive positions in rural counties. His theory
was that well educated, personally attractive women with executive ability
"impressed" the rural county officials, who yielded to their judgment.
Urban officials, on the other hand, were more accustomed to this type of
women and less in awe of them. E
l/ Relief work in the cities prior to l9d2 had usually been administered y
by a local group acting independently of the local unit of the child
_ welfare program. In rural counties, local child welfare workers were
looked to as co—ordinators of relief work and services to under—priv—
ileged children. (

Some of thc othor members of tho Department of Public Welfare
administrgtivs and supsrvisory stoffs addsd that thcy liksd th; fooling
of bslomging to a hation—wido social movamcnt which their position as
members of tho Federal program gave them. This comment camo ospscially
from professional workers who had attondsd schools of social work vutsidc
thc stats. They folt g rssponsibility for importing this fooling to ill
inter stud worsons, in ordsr to make tho Federal program more acceptable
to tho lay and official public of Alabama.

II. Establishment of the Department A
The Alabama Department of Public Welfare was established in
September l935 in accordance with the provisions of the Alabama Department
of Public Welfare Act approved August 27, 1935.
Purbose and Functions
The aim of the Department, as stated in the Act, was to be "the I
promotion of a unified development of the welfare activities and agencies
of the state and of the local government so that each agency and each gev-
ernmental institution shall function as an integral part of a general
Its duties and resvonsibilities ma be stated briefl, as follows: l
l Y -
1. Administer or supervise all forms of public assistance, including gen-
eral home relief outdoor and indoor care and old eee eensions· eer-
s 1 Qb l J l
form duties having to do with the determination of need and authoriza-
tion of relief, formerly the responsibility of the Alabama Relief
2. Exercise all the powers, duties, and responsibilities of the former
State Child Welfare Department;
3. Hel ceuntv or munici al overnments te or anize their welfare functions·
u P g g !
supervise these welfare activities; compile statistics and other infor-
mation relative to ublic welfare make survevs and in other wavs as-
p f r. I e
certain the facts which cause or contribute to the need for welfare
activities; ·
4. Issue certificates to a nlicants for staff rositions, who have met
P- P
qualifications prescribed by the State Board;
5. Assist other departments, agencies, and institutions of the state and
Federal eovernment requesting hel ·
O - Q pi
6. Act as the agent of the Federal government in welfare matters, and in
the administration of any Federal funds granted to the state for the
Department; ,
7. Designate county departments as its agents to perform any of its
8. Administer "such welfare functions as may hereafter be vested in it
by law;" I
l/ See Appendix A, Department of Public Welfare Act, Section 8.

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9. Provide a mental hygiene program of non-institutional care in the
interest of preventive work and general mental hygiene activities.
The law further states, however, that "No power herein con-
ferred shall be so exercised as to impair or infringe the powers, author-
ities, and functions of the boards and officers governing or controlling
the Alabama Insane Hospitals, Partlow State School, Alabama Boys Indus-
trial School, State Training School for Girls, Alabama Institute for Deaf ,
and Blind, State Health Department, Juvenile Courts, and Courts of Dom-
estic Relations."
In accordance with these provisions, the Department of Public
Welfare took over all duties and functions of the Alabama Relief Admin-
istration and of the State Child Welfare Department. The only exception
was the administration of the state child labor laws, which was trans-
ferred to the jurisdiction of the State Department of Labor provided for
in legislation approved on September ll, 1935.
Practical Operation of the Department
» The Department of Public Welfare Act placed supervisory and
advisory as well as administrative responsibility on the Department.
· Definite power was given and a specific duty was imposed upon the Depart-
ment to "administer or supervise all forms of public assistance." It
appears that the intent of the Act was to establish an agency which would
have the supervision of local welfare administration and in addition
would have the power to administer a local welfare program if the local
agency failed to meet the needs.
The legal powers, duties, and responsibilities of the former
State Child Welfare Department, taken over by the State Department of {
Public Welfare were generally supervisgpy in nature. However, the De-
partment's relation to the local probate courts in regard to adoptions {
was advisory in character while it had gdmgpipprative responsibility with {
respect to wards of the State Department and of children brought into the .
state without bond.
In actual practice the Department did not always assume the
type of responsibility specified in the law. Its policy was generally
to exercise less than maximum authority. Members of the state staff ex- i
plained that communities long accustomed to low standards of living, im- A
posed by mining companies or mills, stubbornly defended their meagre pro-
visions for social welfare and strongly resisted state interference. The
State Department therefore generally established relationships with local
units or individuals under supervision or care, in accordance with what
appeared to the local worker to be most helpful as well as consistent {
with good public welfare work. Thus the representative of the Department {
"advised with" a County Board of Public Welfare on which all five county
commissioners were serving, and gave almost no supervision with regard to ~
the local program, although offering supervision on social work practice
_ to the local director. The state staff seemed to feel that if the Depart-
ment exercised its full powers before it made a thoughtfully planned

 _ 9563
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effort to help the communities appreciate the need of protecting handi-
capped groups, its whole program might be cancelled through organized
opposition on the part of the communities.
Financial Support
Since the Department of Public Welfare Act and the state Public
Assistance Act met the requirements of the Federal Social Security Act, ,
Alabama became entitled to receive Federal funds for Old Age Assistance 1
and Aid to Dependent Children. The Department of Public Welfare became
the agent to administer these funds.
After enacting the law, the state legislature appropriated $99,000
for administrative expenses and for the care of wards of the new depart—
ment. This represented only a provision of $15,000 for administrative p
A service in addition to the amount already appropriated for the annual ex-
penses of the old Child Welfare Department — approximately $84,000.
The Federal government through the F.E.R.A. furnished the bulk
of the funds for the State Department's activities through December 1935. I
The Department took over the administration of a grant of $250,000 which
the F.E.R.A. had made to the state through the Alabama Relief Administra-
tion in September 1935 for relief and administration on a temporary basis.
An additional $537,500 was advanced by the F.E.R.A. to the Department of
Public Welfare in October. Except for about $12,500 reserved for admin—
istration, this money was to be advanced to counties on a four—to—one
matching basis to meet relief needs until December 30, 1935. The advances
were made under an agreement that the county units of the Department of
Public Welfare would accept responsibility for relief to all classes of
unemployable persons, and extend help to employable persons pending assign- I
ment to W.P.A. Most of the counties met these terms through November and Y
In January and February 1936, funds from Federal and state E
sources were rapidly reduced and by March were completely exhausted. In .
January and Febru