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THE CASEWORKER-CLIENT USE OF INTERPRETATION OF PRIVATE FAMILY AGENCY FUNCTION

A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School of Social Work The University of Southern California

In P a rtia l Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Social Work

by William A# Ehelebe June I 9 5 0

UMI Number: EP66338

All rights reserved INFORMATION TO ALL USERS The quality of this reproduction is dependent upon the quality of the copy submitted. In the unlikely event that the author did not send a complete manuscript and there are missing pages, these will be noted. Also, if material had to be removed, a note will indicate the deletion.

Diss&rtsfen Publishing

UMI EP66338 Published by ProQuest LLC (2014). Copyright in the Dissertation held by the Author. Microform Edition © ProQuest LLC. All rights reserved. This work is protected against unauthorized copying under Title 17, United States Code

ProOuest ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway P.O. Box 1346 Ann Arbor, Ml 48106- 1346

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& 53

Th is thesis, w rit te n under the direction of the candidate’s F a cu lt y C o m m i t t e e a nd a p p r o v e d hy all its memb ers , has been p r es e n te d to and a c ce p te d by the F a cu lt y of the G ra du a te Sc h o o l of S oc ia l W o r k in pa rt ia l fulfi lm ent of the re­ quirements f o r the degree of

MASTER OF SOCIAL WORK

D ean

Thesis o f.jra & U S U S B Q S S X ..E B E M B E

Faculty Committee

Chairman

TABLE OP CONTENTS CHAPTER I. II. III.

IV.

V.

PAGE

THE PROBLEM

. . • .

HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE # # .

. ........................... . .

SOURCE OF DATA AND M ETHOD OPPROCEDURE

. .

. . . . . .

1 4 11

The agency and Its. intake policy . . . . . . . .

11

Method of study

lij-

..........................

CASE DIGESTS AND DISCUSSION

................................

18

...........................

18

Digest No.

1 (The B. Family)

Digest No.

2 (The C.F a m ily )............................

Digest No.

3 (The A. Family)

Digest No.

4 (The F. Family) . . . . . . . . . .

26

Digest No.

J (Tii© E. Family) • • • » • • • . • •

28

Digest No.

6 (The H. Family) . . . . . . . . . .

31

Digest No.

7 (The E. Family) . . . . . . . . . .

34

Digest No.

8 (The F. Family) . . . . . . . . . .

37

.............................23

FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS................................................................ Findings . Conclusions

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

21

. . . . . . . . . . . . . ..........................

40 4°

l±6

..................................................49

CHAPTER X THE PROBLEM The social agency i s a community resource organized to meet various specific needs of the general public.

It

places resp o n sib ility for the interpretation^* of the services available fo r those who may need and choose to use them. The family agency with i t s broad function^ and variety of services faces a d if f i c u lt problem in th is respect.

These

services, and how they may be used flex ib ly and effectively, must be understood before they can be interpreted in the course of the casework proeess, and before the clien t can decide whether the agency offers the service he seeks* There is increasing in te r e s t throughout the fie ld in the sta b iliz in g element which function holds for casework

•* * In th is study the term ^interpretation* is used in the simplified dictionary sense of ”to explain the meaning of,* ”tr a n s la te .1 1 (Webster1s Collegiate Dictionary. F ifth Edition, 1 9 !}$.) ^ The term Hfunction” i s also used in the simplified dictionary sense of ”c h a ra c te ristic , , , , special purpose.” (Webster1s Collegiate Dictionary. F ifth Edition, 19i|-$.) Translated in to i t s meaning for social work, i t re fe rs to the ch aracteristic or special purpose for which an agency is established. Hence, in the casework sense, in terp retatio n of function leads to individualized tinderstanding between the worker representing the agency, and the c lie n t, as to what the agency can do and how i t works in re latio n to h is specific problem.

2 p ractice.

This in te r e s t centers on the dynamic aspect of

function in the in teractio n between the worker and the c lie n t which allows the c lie n t an opportunity to decide for himself whether or not the agency offers the type of help he seeks in a solution to h is problem.

This in te r e s t has

led to a wider recognition of need for specific, defined agency function as a source of support for the worker and as a source of maximum b en efit in terms of service for the c lie n t. This study was undertaken as an exploratory exami­ nation of contemporary casework in te rp retatio n of private family agency function, and the use which the c lie n t makes of th is in te rp re ta tio n .

The subject was broken down

into four parts fo r the purposes of th is study8 (1) The caseworker1s in terp retatio n of the function of the private family agency, (2) The caseworker’s rela tio n of agency function to the client* s problem, (3) In terp retatio n of agency function in re la tio n to the social work program of the community (where relevant to a specific case situ a tio n ), and (Ij.) Client movement fostered through in terp retatio n of agency function. The method of study was examination of social case records for source of application,

the c l i e n t ’s request or

problem, the scope, nature, and use of individual casework in terp retatio n of agency function*

I t was believed th a t th is

analysis would lend i t s e l f to an evaluation of the nature and extent of contemporary in terp retatio n of agency function and lead to some conclusions about i t s use* “ The study was undertaken with f u l l recognition th at the individualized nature of the casework situation influences Interpretation*

^ach c lie n t presents an individual personal-

social problem configuration which requires individualized in terp retatio n of the function of the agency*

And, each

caseworker brings to the relationship h is own individual difference in terms of knowledge, s k i l l , and discipline* Together, the human factor provides extensive v ariatio n in the application and use of the in terp retatio n of agency function*

CHAPTER I I HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE In a highly ind ustrialized society, ways must be found for providing special help for individuals whose needs are not being met.

Social casework3 i s a method of meeting

such needs through specialized services.^The f i r s t city-wide social agency organized through voluntary contributions was established in 1 8 7 7 .^

This was

3 Many descriptive definitions of social casework have been formulated over the years of I t s development as a method of helping people. One of the more recent d efin itio ns des­ cribes i t in these terms: "Social casework i s an a r t in which knowledge of the science of-human relatio n s and s k i ll in relationship are used to mobilize capacities in the individual and resources in the community appropriate for b e tte r adjust­ ment between the c lie n t and a l l or any p art of h is to ta l environment." Swithin Bowers, "The Nature and Definition of Social Casework," Part I I I . ^ Journal of Social Casework. 30sip-7, December I 9 I1.9 . ^ One of the objectives of social casework has been described as ". . . the creation of special services for groups of individuals whose needs are not being met.” Charlotte Towle, "Social Case Work," Social Work Year Book. 1 9 )4.7 (New York. Bussell Sage Foundation, 195?")", p. If77* ^ Prior to the creation of the f i r s t city-wide social agency there were several agencies le s s inclusive in th e ir areas* In 1873 the Germantown Relief Society was organized in Philadelphia (Germantown), Pennsylvania. This was followed in 1 8 7 !). by the New York City Bureau of C harities, and in 1 8 7 5 by the Cooperative Society for Volunteer V isitors in Boston. The growth and development of the private social agency in the United States Is treated in d e ta il by. Frank Dekker Watson, The Charity Organization Movement in the United S tates (New York. The McMillan Company, 1$ 2 2 ). Cf. pp. 175-186.

5 re a lly the forerunner, family service agency.

or the parent,

of today* s private

These early agencies were organized

to meet the problems arisin g out of the handling of the poorr e l i e f system, and, as mentioned above, were operated by funds obtained through contribution and subscription.

The

provision of the means of subsistence, not acquired by the individual in the ways usual in society, was the goal and function assumed by these newly organized agencies. The concept of public resp o n sib ility for meeting of basic subsistence developed slowly.

The depression of the

I 9 3 0 1 s expedited the in s titu tio n of the fed eral-state public welfare programs under the Social Security Act of 1935* Through th is program the public agencies set up the frame­ work to assume resp o n sib ility fo r meeting basic maintenance needs, a function which had been carried by the private family agency fo r the proceeding half century. This public agency assumption of resp on sibility for subsistence needs made i t necessary fo r the private family agency to re-define i t s function, and gave i t the opportunity to develop a program designed to meet other existing social needs.

In re-defining i t s role and purpose in terms of

services to the community, emphasis was placed on the strengthening of family l i f e as an important essen tial to the well-being of society.

A wide range of services were

accepted or f e l l to the function of the family agency.

6 Help and services were offered with problems whose scope covered social, economic, and emotional d if f ic u ltie s . The medium fo r bringing these services to the fam ilies within the community was the developing social casework method, th at i s ,

individualized help with problems

arising in the personal_social situatio n which a f f e c t the in d iv id u a ls smooth functioning and adjustment to social liv in g . The private family agency experienced changes as profound as those of the fam ilies which i t

served in the

course of the f if te e n years since the public agency took over the provision of maintenance needs.

As i t continued to

pioneer through study and research in the f ie ld of social casework, i t has become the testin g ground fo r two d ifferen t schools of thought re la tiv e to approach and procedure in case­ work method.

These approaches, the diagnostic and the func­

tio n a l, have developed . . . out of two d ifferen t ways of trying to meet the same central need in casework, th a t of making what we do as caseworkers psychologically effective . . . . They have produced some real divergencies in professional philosophy. They have given rise to dissim ilar con­ ceptions of.what casework is and what i t s re la tio n i s to psychiatry.°

Grace P. Marcus "Family Casework in l ^ Q , ” Journal of Social Casework. 29:261-262, July 19ij.8.

Tills c o n flic t lias led to d iffe re n t concepts of method­ ology.

The diagnostic approach recognizes the existence of

agency function,7 but places i t s emphasis on individual diagnosis and therapy.

By contrast, the functional approach

uses the concept of agency function as a dynamic determinant in the casework process.

In terms of family casework, the

functional approach requires th a t the agency, with i t s broad coverage, acquire a specific focus which w ill serve to integrate and unite the various services into a common purpose. Gomberg8 l i s t s the two challenging problems which confront casework in the family agency in th is way.

(1 ) the

need for establishing c r ite r ia for determining which services rig h tfu lly belong within the province of the family agency, and (2 ) the need for defining the e ssen tial function of the family agency so th at a l l services w ill n aturally derive from th at function.

7

A diagnostic concept of function has been described as r,Agencies have programs, resources and lim ita tio n s—in short, functions--so that the relationship w ill be used by both worker and c lie n t with some reference to what the agency is equipped to do. 11 Gordon Hamilton, Theory and Practice of Social Case Work (New York* . Columbia University Pre s s, l~9ljc5), p. 1 9 0 .

8 Cf. M. Robert Gomberg, 11The Specific Nature of Family Casework, 11 Family Case Work and Counseling--A Functional Approach (Philadelph!ia. University o f Pennsylvania ^ress. 19W . P.

. 8 He goes on to say that# . . a determinative focus for family casework does ex ist in the seemingly obvious but overlooked fa c t that the family agency, as d ifferen tia te d from any other, is intended to deal with the problems which primarily concern the family as a whole. 9 Since family casework i s an individualized process designed to meet the needs of the individual family, the exact nature of the service available to the c lie n t is generally not known a t the time he applies fo r help.

This means th at the

worker has a resp o n sib ility to in te rp re t the way in which the agency can help with the specific problem.

Until he knows

what the agency has to offer, and what w ill and w ill not be expected of him,

the c lie n t

. . * cannot move in te llig e n tly into the business of seeing what he can do about his problem, how he can go

9 Ib id ., p. 8g. G-omberg expands th is idea in effect* 111 believe 'that when family casework accepts as i t s focus a resp o n sib ility to the whole family, i t defines a useful uniformity of purpose, structure and method, in spite of the large variety of problems and services with which i t deals. This resp o n sib ility includes and understanding of family organization and the d iffe re n t ro les normally assumed by the several members of a family. I t involves an a b ility to re la te a p a rticu lar request fo r service to such an understand­ ing, and to help the family to c la rify which member should be the rig h tfu l c lie n t (or that both should play some part) under the circumstances. I t means being able to u tiliz e the policies and services of the agency in such a way as to help the c lie n t to reestab lish or preserve t h e i r d ifferen t roles within the family when the existing problem can be met within the sphere of family agency service and family case­ work s k i l l . ” p. 1 1 8

to work on i t , or whether using the agency is an altern ativ e he wants to embrace. “1 0 Miss Marcus continues* To meet th is problem of the clien t* s—h is need of a base for r e a lity testin g in moving through inner and outer co n flicts to decision and action—the agency defines i t s function* what i t has to offer, under what conditions i t i s available, and a t decisive points what is required by the agency for going ahead with the c lie n t within the bounds of a social purpose and on a professionally sound ground. ^ The family agency, focused to provide services to individual fam ilies, hence, also provides for a flex ib le in terp retatio n of i t s

services in terms of the individual

client-problem configuration.

Since the agency is established

on the b asis of community needs, i t must focus toward the preservation of the in d iv id u al's well-being as a member of the community.

Hence, the agency has a resp on sibility to the

community as well as the individual family.

Therefore, i t s

services must be interpreted in such a manner as to preserve the normal functioning of the individual in terms of h is dual role in the family and in the community. This requires the establishment of certain rules of service designed to meet the requirements of stewardship and a t the same time to enable the c lie n t to make the most e ffe c t­ ive use of the service.

An in terp retatio n of agency function

1 0 Marcus, o£. c i t ., p. 2 6 8 .

10 helps to carry out th is dual resp o n sib ility .

I t d iffe re n tia te s

the specific services of the family agency, and a t the same time establishes the framework within which the services are available to the fam ilies within the community. To achieve th is d istin c tio n of function, agency outlines i t s

the family

specific services in the form of an

intake policy (see Chapter I I I ) .

A functional application

to the individual problem of the specific fa c e t or facets of th is intake policy through individualized in te rp retatio n of the function of the family agency enables the c lie n t to orient himself in terms of the help available.

I t serves to focus

fo r the c lie n t the services of the family agency in delation to the other specialized -services in the community.

A clear,

meaningful in terp retatio n of policy, procedure, and require­ ments enables the c lie n t to t e s t the specific function of the family agency against h is needs.

In th is manner i t

serves

to fo s te r movement for the c lie n t while a t the same time to preserve his freedom of choice and his independence of action.

■#

CHAPTER I I I SOURCE OP DATA AND METHOD OP PROCEDURE The Agency and I t s Intake Policy Family Service of Los Angeles, in which th is study was made, was established in I 9 3 0 as a non-sectarian Community Chest agency to provide family social work

s e r v i c e s ^

within specific geographical divisions of the metropolitan area.

In regard to I t s acceptance of cases, the Agency sta te s

that* Since the private family agency1s area of concern is for people having d iffic u lty th a t threatens the harmon­ ious and effective functioning of family l i f e , and since i t s casework service is dedicated to the active improve­ ment or working through of these d if f ic u ltie s , then i t s intake policy must be related to these two factors, i . e . the s u ita b ility of the c lie n t*s request or problem in terms of agency function, and-the desire, and probability of the c l i e n t 1 s a b ility to use family case work help toward a solution* The caseworker determines how the c lie n t sees h is problem, what help he wants and needs, and what factors are con­ trib u tin g to th is d iffic u lty . She makes clear how the

12

The scope of the agency1s services include help for persons M * . * with family or-personal problems arising from illn e s s , lack of work, strained family or personal relation ship s. They may seek finan cial assistance or inform­ ation about community resources or they may seek a counseling relationship that w ill enable them to see th e ir problem more c le a rly . 11 Family Service of Los Angeles, Board Member* s Manual_ 19k6 - 191x7. (mimeographed, unpub1ished agencyd'ocument), p. 8 .

12 agency can help or i f not, why. She explains to him i t s way of working and what w ill be expected of him in working with the agency. ^*3 The scope of the Agency service i s defined in the intake p o lic y ^ as follows. Fatally Relationship Services - Helping one or both partners in regard to marital discord, family co nflicts or d if f ic u ltie s arisin g from current tension, separation, hasty marriage, problems with re la tiv e s , strained relationship resulting from over-crowded housing conditions, etc. 2*

Service to Children in Their Own Homes - Helping children, d ire c tly or in d irectly through th e i r parents, where there is mi sunder standing and strained relationship between the child and his parents, siblings, or other persons in the home, or where there are personality, health, vocational or behavior d if f ic u ltie s as evidenced in the home, school or other groups. This service i s offered where some adult member of the family desires the service and where need of placement has not been fu lly determined.

3.

Services to Unmarried Mothers - Helping mothers deter­ mine and carry out what plans they wish to make for th eir children. i . e . , keep them with them, maintain or establish t h e i r own family group, or place th eir child for adoption through a recognized agency. Mothers are helped with plans for pre-natal and con­ finement care, and with plans involving the alleged father or re la tiv e s . Unmarried mothers under eighteen years of age and not liv in g with th e ir parents or guardians are referred to the appropriate children1s agency.

13*Ibid. . p. 10. Ib id . , PP. H -12.

13 iu

Family Budget Service - Assistance in the budget­ ing of income and expenditure, use of cred it, debt adjustment, etc. This service is frequently given in connection with fin an cial assistance or in the working out of m arital problems* Services in Relation to Physical and Mental Illn e s s Helping people make use of resources to improve health, make plans to f a c i l i t a t e recovery and under­ stand the e ffe c t of illn e s s upon family relation ship s.

6*

Financial Service - Giving of lim ited financial assistance in order to work through some plan that w ill obviate the need for th is help. This is given with any of the above services or in instances where there is illn e s s or unemployment or any other problems where money may be used constructively. The amount' and duration of the giving of money w ill vary b u t i t i s always given f o r a specific purpose and toward a d e fin ite goal. Some c lien ts may have a plan well worked out and need only money to carry i t through, in th is instance, the Agency determines the soundness of the plan and requests a report from the c lie n t. Other c lie n ts may be too confused to have plans and the case worker's role i s in helping them c la rify th e ir situation-so that they can plan, here, the purpose of r e l i e f may be general a t f i r s t , becoming more specific as the c lie n t’ s situatio n is clearer.

7*

Homemaker Service - Temporary placement of a home­ maker as a mother substitute during the absence of the mother, or in situatio ns where the mother i s unable to perform a l l or part of her duties. She helps keep the family t ogether as a u nit and is in terested in the morale of the family as well as in the physical aspects of the home. Family Information Service - Giving information on the avaiiabiYity of community resources in rela tio n to an individual need, clarifyin g altern ativ es and help­ ing people work through feelings and indecisions in re la tio n to the use of these resources. Such resources include child placement, day care, clin ics and hospitals (medical and p sychiatric), vocational tra in public assistance, employment, legal aid, etc. The service i s available to clien ts applying d ire c tly or to in terested individuals in behalf of a c lie n t and i s given with individualized consideration.



111

Method of Study Individual social case records from the closed f i l e s of the agency were selected on the basis of the following c r it e r i a which were s e t up for the purpose of the study. (1)

F ir s t applications were selected in order to

observe the c lie n t’ s original experience with the agency* (2)

One-caseworker records were selected to ensure,

insofar as possible,

c la r ity and continuity in the in te r ­

p retation of agency function. (3)

Records consisting of three or more c lie n t-ln -

'person interviews were selected to provide ample opportunity for observation of the give and take involved in the use of in terp re tatio n of agency function. Closed cases were selected to obtain, insofar as possible, a complete perspective in terms of a c tiv ity around in terp retatio n of agency function, including discussion a t time of closing of the case. I t was believed th at those cases meeting the above c r ite r ia , and closed to the central f i l e s of the agency within a three-month period (October 20, 19ij-9, to January 20,

1 9 5 C), would present a f a i r sample of contemporary casework a c tiv ity involving in terp retatio n of agency function by the worker and the use of the in te rp retatio n by the c lie n t. Eight case records,

out of seventy reviewed in the

process of case selection, .were found to meet a l l of the

15

c r i te r i a set up for the purpose of study.

Some occasional

in terp retatio n was present in some of the remaining 62 cases, hut the cases did not meet other necessary c r i t e r i a .

The

eight,case records were f a i r l y representative of the applica­ tion picture based on the intake policy of the agency.

They

included six of the eight general subdivisions of the intake policy (see pp. 1 2. and IB.).

'Ehe subdivisions not represented

in th is group Of cases were "Services to Unmarried Mothers,” and "Homemaker Service / 1

The cases were not selected on the

basis of intake c la ss ific a tio n , and cases fa llin g within these two categories did not appear in the selection process. The eight cases represented the work of six d iffe re n t case­ workers. In order to determine the way in which the worker interpreted the function and intake policy of

the agency,

and the way in which the c lie n t responded to, and ultim ately used the in terp retatio n , a digest of each case record was made.

The purpose of the digest was to summarize pertinent

m aterial fo r analysis.

In addition to identifying data,

each digest included information on the following

points

(previously discussed in Chapter I ) . (1)

The caseworker* s in terp retatio n of the function

of the private family agency/*

v In some of the digests where specific d iffe re n tia tio n of p o in ts .(1 ) and (2 ) was lacking, they were c la ss ifie d and discussed together.

16 (2)

The caseworkers rela tio n of agency function

to the c lie n t1s problem, (3)

Interp retatio n of agency function in re la tio n

to the social work program of the community (where Relevant to a specific case situ a tio n ), and (If.)

Client movement fostered through in terp re ta tio n

of agency function. Each digest included a b rie f summary of the c lie n tproblem situatio n to the point where a c tiv ity on in te rp re ta ­ tion of agency function began.

Then, the digest material

was organized in discussion under the above four headings to focus on the worker-client a c tiv ity in these areas. Wherever possible,

the original structure and flavor of

the recorded expression was retained to focus on the verbal interplay which occurred around in te rp retatio n and use of agency function. Just as social casework i s an individualized process which does not lend i t s e l f to exact comparisons,

so is the

a c tiv ity centered around in terp retatio n of agency function also an individualized process—one which is related to the immediate client-problem situ a tio n and how the agency can help with i t .

I t was believed that th is development and use of

the case digests would serve to bring into perspective the in terp retatio n and use of agency function in the individual cases.

Further, th is procedure should lend I t s e l f suitably

17 to individualized summarization of findings, the extraction of any common elements to the group of cases, and to some over-all evaluation of in te rp retatio n of agency function as found in th is sample study.

CHAPTER IV

CASE DIGESTS AND DISCUSSION The following eight case digests and discussions were selected on the basis of the previously discussed c r ite r ia (see page 1 £) as an exploratory examination of contemporary casework in terp re ta tio n of private family agency function and the use which the c lie n t makes of th is interpretation* As such,

these case records are representative of casework

in terp retatio n of six d iffe re n t caseworkers in the family agency, and indicate six quite d iffe re n t approaches to casework practice in the in terp retatio n of agehby function* Digest No. 1 (The B* Family) The B* family consisted of Mrs* B*, 3 9 . two daughters, Mary, 18, and Jane, ll|_* and a grandson, Johnny, 2* The family were v is itin g another married daughter here. Mrs* B. was a widow, and had made several t r i p s with her children hack and fo rth between here and her home in the East* She decided to remain here upon returning e a r lie r in the month with her grandson.

She was aware that she could go to the

public agency for assistance pending her return home, but wanted to stay here i f th a t were a t a l l possible. At the end of the month Mrs. B. was directed to the agency by the Community Chest* her daughter, Jane,

She asked fo r help to get

into public school, and help in

19 establishing her e l i g i b i l i t y fo r assistance from her place of legal residence.

During the f i r s t interview i t was

c la rifie d th at Mrs. B. wanted financial assistance and help in getting established here so that she would not have to return to her home s ta te .

The p re cip itatin g facto r bringing

Mrs. B. to the agency was th a t her daughter and husband, with whom they were liv in g ,

could no longer continue to support

them. Agency contact included three interviews with Mrs. B. and one with her daughter, Mrs. 2. The caseworker* s in terp retatio n of the function of the private family agency.

A need fo r basic maintenance

which was present in the B. family problem was within the scope of the public agency, and hence did not f a l l within the function of the private family agency.

However, the

family agency does offer a c lie n t in co n flict about a specific agency and i t s

services an opportunity to c la rify these

services in re la tio n to the specific need so as to enable the c lie n t to return to th at agency. When family co n flict became apparent in the course of the f i r s t interview,

the worker interpreted the agency*s

concern with relationships which were disturbing family l i f e , and offered Mrs. B. an appointment i f she f e l t she wanted th is ,

since helping with th is type of problem was re a lly

related to what the agency did.

20 The caseworker1 s re la tio n of agency function to the c l i e n t 1 s problem.

Mrs. B. did not respond to the offer of

help with the family problem, but decided to ta lk with her daughter here and write another daughter regarding fin an cial help.

This resu lted in fu rth er family co nflict.

The worker

then decided th at the way she could help Mrs. B. was to consider with her what i t would mean to lose legal residence, since she was obviously fe a rfu l of being in a spot where' neither state would help.

Subsequently, Mrs. B. came in

with s t i l l other plans, again trying to find a way to stay here, yet being concerned th at she would not have help from a public agency i f gained i t here.

she lo s t her legal residence before she

The worker spent some time re la tin g to

Mrs. B.1 s feelings around her negative experience a t the public agency.

This enabled Mrs. B. ultim ately to return

and accept help from the public agency. In te r pr et a t i on of agency function in re la tio n to the social work program of the community.

The worker, in rela tin g

to Mrs. B .’ s fear of insecurity over loss of residence, was able to d iffe re n tia te the specific functions of the private and public agencies, and enable Mrs. B. to accept the public agency and plan with them in terms of needed security. Mrs. B. was then able to work through her feelings about returning and about using the public agency for th is purpose.

Client movement fostered through- the in terp retatio n of agency function.

C larificatio n of the functional d iffe r­

ence between the family agency and the public agency assisted the c lie n t in coming to the decision which she believed to be most rig h t fo r her.

In termination with the agency, the

worker in itia te d a short summary in which was reviewed the client* s use of the agency.

M^s. B. f e l t th a t i t had been

of help to her to come to the agency and ta lk about what was involved in staying here or returning to her place of legal residence, and in re a lly deciding to work through something which was more d efin ite for her. Digest No. 2 (The C. Family) The C. family consisted of Mrs. C., 27; Pat, 8 . and Jimmy, Mrs. C. had been separated from her husband for seven months and planned divorce. support of the family,

Mr. C. did not contribute to

so Mrs. C. worked during the day in

the hospital and in the evening a t a radio station .

She was

referred to the agency with Pat by the school psychologist, who f e l t the unsettled family situ atio n was affecting the boy* s application to his school work.

He believed the boy

had the a b ility to read and do h is work, but faile d to apply himself.

Foster-home placement was recommended for both boys

to provide the type of home l i f e they needed.

Mrs. C.

22 recognized th a t siie could not give the atten tio n and care needed by the boys u n til some time in the future when she planned to remarry.

On the other hand she had considerable

g u ilt feelings about placing the boys, and feared losing them to foster-parents. There were four interviews with Mrs. G. in the agency. The caseworker1a in terp retatio n of the function of the private family agency.

The behavior d if f ic u ltie s and

maladjustments in ^the children resu ltin g from the broken home created a situ a tio n which affected the whole family, and, as such, a problem within the function of the family agency.

However, functional c la rific a tio n included only a

statement that th is was not a child placing agency. The caseworker1s re la tio n of agency function to the c l i e n t 1s problem.

The worker related to Mrs. C.f s expression

of considerable uncertainty and g u ilt about having to place the boys by offering to help her to think through some of what might be involved in th e ir placement.

The worker also

suggested scheduling time to discuss th is together, and then i t would be possible to help her to get to a child placing agency i f placement,

she wished such a r e f e r r a l.

When Mrs. G. questioned

the worker offered to help her think through what

i t would mean for her and fo r them, and how they might feel about i t now and l a t e r .

When Mrs. G. determined that

23 in s titu tio n a l placement would be best fo r the boys,

the

worker offered to help her explore community resources and re fe r her to some of these* In terp retatio n of agency function in rela tio n to the social work program of the community*

The worker c la rifie d

that child-placing was not a function of the family agency, and offered a re fe rra l as something which might help her to decide whether she wanted to place the boys. Client movement fostered through in terp retatio n of agency function*

The w orkers re fe rra l assisted c lie n t to

get to the child-placing agency*

However, she found th is

was not what she wanted since she would have to assume the to ta l cost of placement within a short time, and there was s t i l l the fear that she might lose the boys to f o s te rparents*

As a r e s u lt of th is experience,

the c lie n t explored

other p o s s ib ilitie s and decided on in s titu tio n a l placement* After r e f e r r a l

she took care of the major d e ta ils involved

in placement.

In the ending phase with the agency there

was no formal termination,

or e f f o r t by the worker to

summarize client* s experience in the agency. Digest Ho. 3

(The A. Family)

The A. family consisted of Mr, A., 3 )4., and Mrs. A.,

32

.

alj. Mrs. A. was referred by her s is te r , also a c lie n t, who stated that M r s. A.»s husband would not support her, and th at she was confused and mixed up and needed someone to talk to as worker had talked to her. When Mrs. A, came to the agency she requested "advice,” expressing much negative feeling about her husband.

She

described him as an accountant who liv e d by "dollars and cen ts,” and devoted h is whole l i f e In addition,

to "planning and saving.”

she was uncertain about her relationship with

him, and of h is feelings toward her.

She stressed the fa c t

she wanted children and a home, and believed i f both of them were able to have help i t might be possible to work out a more satisfacto ry marriage. need for help.

However, Mr. A. did not see any

He had been rejected fo r m ilitary service on

the basis of "acute psychoneurosis."

Mrs. A. was also

motivated in coming to the agency because recent surgery had fostered a need for sexual sa tisfa c tio n which she did not receive from her husband, and she had considerable g u ilt feelings over occasional masturbation. Agency contact included nine interviews with Mrs. A. over a period of eight months. The caseworker1s in terp reta tio n of the function of the private family agency, and re la tio n of function to the c l i e n t 1s

25 problem.*

Mrs. A. had received a somewhat personal in tro ­

duction to the agency through her s i s t e r 1 s experience and r e f e r r a l.

She had th is upon which she could base some

understanding of the nature of agency service.

The worker* s

diagnostic understanding of the deep-seated nature of Mrs. A.*s problem led her to f ocus on r e fe rra l for psychiatric care rath er than upon agency function,

sp ecifically .

As such,

she used as a function of the agency the p o s s ib ility of r e f e r r a l fo r psychiatric help. The worker related to Mrs. A.f s involved expression of her problem by acknowledging how d if f ic u lt i t would be for her to make up her mind about the situation, and to decide what she wanted in the futu re.

Further,

she hoped to be able

to help Mrs. A. c la rify some of her feelings to the extent of deciding what she re a lly wanted to do, and suggested a few interviews to decide together whether i t would be helpful to continue a t the agency.

Mrs* A.*s extreme ambivalence

about help posed a considerable problem for the worker.

A

re fe rra l was fin a lly accomplished when Mrs. A. related more positively to accepting psychiatric help.

* The A. case was one in which there was no in te rp re ta ­ tion of specific family agency function (see page l£ ) .

In terp retatio n of agency function in re la tio n 'bo the social work program of the community. ambivalence about help was strong,

Although Mrs. A. 1 s

she eventually did become

able to recognize the need fo r and accept psychiatric r e fe rra l As recorded,

the worker did not indicate how Mrs. A. was

prepared fo r r e fe rra l to the c lin ic . Client movement fostered through in terp retatio n of agency function.

As mentioned above, there was no in te r ­

pretation of the specific function of the family agency except in terms of r e f e r r a l for psychiatric care.

The c lie n t was

able to make use of th is to the extent of one interview with the p sy c h ia tris t.

In the ending phase the c lie n t did recog­

nize a need fo r psychiatric help and indicated a plan to continue a t the clin ic as soon as she was more se ttle d and established on a job. Digest No. i|. (The G. Family) The G. family consisted of Mr. G., 30; Mrs. G., 28. Sally C., 7 (Mrs. G. 1 s daughter by a previous marriage), and Rita,

the G.*s daughter. The family was livin g here while Mr. G. was in m ilitary

service.

He had learned of the agency through a friend and

telephoned fo r an appointment requesting "marriage counseling. Mrs. G. came fo r the appointment and stated her problem a t

27 once as being her 11f r i g i d i t y / 1

The condition dated from

her f i r s t marriage eight years ago, and included periodic re-occurrance of a severe body rash. several physicians,

She had consulted

only to learn th a t the d iffic u lty was

an emotional disturbance.

The G.’ s had discussed the

problem together, and considered psychiatric help, but under­ stood i t was too expensive.

They were motivated in coming

to the agency to secure help which would ensure a continued happy marriage and enable them to have another child. Agency contact included two interviews with Mrs. G., and one with Mr. G. The caseworker1s in terp retatio n of the function of the private family agency.

The severe emotional problem which

Mrs. G. presented was of such nature that i t did not f a l l within the scope of family agency function.

The worker

interpreted agency service by explaining th at the agency did offer help to people with m arital problems, and she f e l t i t would be possible to work with Mrs. G. on i t .

However, the

worker’ s diagnosis of the deep-seated nature of the problem led her to use as a function of the agency a r e f e r r a l to psychiatric help. The caseworker*s relatio n of agency function to the g lip rit 1 s problem.

The worker related to Mrs. G.’ s explanation

of her problem by recognizing how much i t would mean to her,

28 her marriage, and her children to obtain help with the d iffic u lty .

Because of her diagnosis of the deep-seated

nature of the problem,

the worker focused discussion on

psychiatric r e f e r r a l, and interpreted the function of the p sy c h ia trist.

When Mrs. G. expressed anxiety about the nature

of psychiatric help (hypnosis, drugs, etc.), the worker explained what was involved in psychiatric consultations. In terp retatio n of agency function in rela tio n to the social work program of the community.

The worker related to

Mrs. G.1s recognition of need for psychiatric care, which she believed was too expensive, with an explanation of psychiatric c lin ic s , and how r e f e r r a ls were made.

She was

able to accept a r e f e r r a l almost immediately. Client movement fostered through in terp retatio n of agency function.

The c lie n t moved rapidly t oward accepting

a re fe rra l as the worker interpreted the re fe rra l process and the nature of psychiatric help.

In the ending phase the

worker provided information on procedure fo r application and suggested, i f the c lin ic were for some reason unable to accept her,

she was again to get in touch with the agency. Digest Ho. 5 (The D. Family)

The D. family consisted of Mrs. D#, 3 3 . Mr, D#, 3 2 . Jan, lij.* Gar, 12. John, 11. and Dan, 8 .

29 The D. family had resided here f o r the past three years*

Mr* X). was a truck driver, worked long hours, and

spent l i t t l e

time with the family except on weekends.

Mrs. D*

worked periodically in a laundry to help meet expenses.

They

were referred to the agency by the school guidance teacher be­ cause John manifested both insecurity and aggression in his behavior.

The teacher believed he needed an opportunity to

express resentment and h o s tility verbally rath er than having to take i t

out in the school situ a tio n .

He was believed to

be bright enough, having an 1 *0 ,'. of 1 2 8 , yet he did have d iffic u lty being a rtic u la te and organizing h is thinking. Mr. D. declined to be involved, believing th a t seeking help would be coddling John.

However, Mrs. D. showed genuine

concern, re al feeling, and a desire to do something about the situ a tio n .

She also brought the problems of Gar, who was

very in te llig e n t, but had a low opinion of himself and deepseated in f e r io rity feelin g s. Agency contact included fourteen interviews with Mrs. D., and seven with John. The caseworker1 s in te rp retatlo n of the function of the private family agency.

The problem which the D. family

presented required services to children through th e ir parents for the adjustment of behavior d if f ic u ltie s in the home, school, and group situ a tio n .

This was a service offered

30 witMn the function of the family agency.

However, the

worker did not in te rp re t th is as a service available to fam ilies confronted with th is type of problem. The caseworker* s rela tio n of agency function to the client* s problem.

The worker rela te d to Mrs. D.*s desire

to do something about the problem by offering to work d ire c tly with her on the problem.

When Mrs. D. wanted to

bring the boys immediately into the situatio n, the worker recommended waiting with th is u n til i t was possible to g et b e tte r acquainted with Mrs. D. and the problem.

She stressed

th at the boys would be helped m aterially by the work Mrs. D. would be doing with her in the o ffice. After getting started on John* s d iffic u lty , Mrs. D. referred a t some length to G-ar*s problems.

The worker

acknowledged that h is physical condition might have a great deal to do with h is adjustment, b u t th at he might s t i l l need the kind of help the agency had to offer to learn how to re la te to others d iffe re n tly . Interp retatio n of agency function in re la tio n to the social work program of the community.

The problem presented

by the D. family required no re fe rra l

service or d iffe re n tia ­

tion of the specific functions of the agencies in the community.

31 Client movement fostered through, the in terp retatio n of agency function.

As mentioned above, the worker did not

in te rp re t the specific function of the family agency (except as she offered to work with her d ire c tly on her problem). When the family decided to cease coming to the agency a t the close of school, there was no re a l summarization of the family1s experience in the agency or a formal termination, since the family expressed a desire to return the following F a ll. Digest No. 6 (The H. Family) The H. family consisted of Mr. H., 3 3 . Mrs. H., 2£. John, 12 (Mr. H. *s son by a previous marriage).

Johnny, $

(Mrs. H. 1 s son by a previous marriage), and Sandy, 3i months, the H. 1 s daughter. The H. family were referred to the agency by John's teacher, who believed him to. be capable but lacking in se lfreliance. fo r him.

John wanted atten tio n , and others to do things He was also defensively apologetic and over-polite

to an unnatural extent. Mr. H. in itia te d contact with the agency and explained the problem had arisen in part because of th e ir being a !l composite family . 11

He described John as being n e g ativ istic,

both a t home and a t school.

He resented Mrs. H. *s authority

and she had trouble getting him to do things like washing

32 himself clean.

He had to "be to ld over and over to do some­

thing, and i t was necessary fo r someone to stand rig h t over him.

He demanded atte n tio n and asked millions of questions

as an atten tio n -g ettin g device.

At school he said and did

things to a t t r a c t atte n tio n to himself, and a t home he was jealous of Johnny.

Although the family was motivated to

come to the agency because of John1 s d if f ic u ltie s as seen by h is teacher, they also recognized they were not together in handling him. Agency contact included one join t interview,

twelve

interviews with Mr. H., eigiht with Mrs. H., and nine with John. The caseworker* s in terp retatio n of the function of the private family agency.

The problem presented by the H.

family was one which required services in adjustment of parent-child relationships in the home, school, and group situ a tio n .

This is a service offered within the function

of the family agency.

However, the worker did not define the

function of the agency in terms of how i t could

help the

family with th is problem. The caseworker1 s re la tio n of agency function to the client* s problem.

Mr. H. seemed to have an idea of the

function of the agency in terms of h is problem. come to the family agency

since he did not want

He wanted to John to fe e l

33 bad or d ifferen t, and wanted John, as well as his wife, p articip ate in working on the problem,

to

Mrs. H. had much less

conception of the agency. After several interviews the worker discussed the famlly* s coming t o the agency with Mr. seemed to be of help, to them.

and asked i f i t

Mr. H. stated he and his

wife understood each other and the situ a tio n , but the trouble was with John and how to handle him.

The worker

explained that th is was an appropriate problem f or t hem to be coming t o the agency about. When Mrs. H. requested concrete suggestions and advice on the problem, that way.

the worker stated the agency did not work

In working together with the family,

the agency

would want to help them to figure out d iffe re n t and b e tte r ways of handling the situ a tio n through talks such as these. In terp retatio n of agency function in re la tio n to the social work program of the community.

The problem presented

by the H. family required no r e fe rra l to other agencies* however, the worker did distinguish the family agency to the extent th at i t worked d ifferen t from the child-guidance c lin ic . Client movement fostered through in te rp re ta ti on of agency function.

There was not s u ffic ie n t in terp retatio n of

agency function to fo ster movement fo r the c lie n t on th is basis in the case situ a tio n .

In the ending phase there was

a b rie f summary of the c l i e n t 1 s experience in the agency and mutual agreement to terminate with his feeling th a t he would be able to handle things more s a tis fa c to rily . Digest No. 7 (The E. Family) The E. family included Mr. E., 32* and Mrs. E.,

31.

Mrs. E. was pregnant and expected confinement within six weeks.

She had gone to the adoption agency to discuss

plans fo r placement of the child a t b ir th .

While there she

expressed the feeling th a t i f she and her husband were able to get help with th e ir m arital problem th a t i t might be possible t o keep the child.

At th is point the family was

referred to the agency. Mrs. E. described the m arital problem as one of considerable d iffic u lty over t!money,tT and who was to assume resp o n sib ility for providing the liv in g .

She considered her

husband unemployed since he worked only periodically on p arttime and odd jobs.

She believed he should have a steady

job which provided security for the family.

She quit her

job because of pregnancy and her in ten sified feeling about h is sh iftin g financial resp o n sib ility to her.

I f he were

unwilling to cooperate the a ltern a tiv e was to place the child fo r adoption.

Mr. E. recognized h is wife1s seriousness to

follow out with th is plan, and expressed a willingness to discuss the situ a tio n .

35 Agency contact included two interviews with Mrs. E. and one with Mr. E. The caseworker* 3 in te rp re ta tio n of the function of bhe f a^ ily agency.

A problem of m arital d iffic u lty as presented

in the E. family required a service which i s within the function of the family agency.

However, the worker did not in te rp re t

the service of the agency in terms of help with m arital d i f f i ­ c u ltie s, nor did she attempt to d iffe re n tia te the service of the family agency from th at of the adoption agency which had referred her. The caseworker1s re la tio n of agency function to the client* s problem.

Although Mrs. E. discussed a t length her

m arital situ a tio n and the c o n flic t she was experiencing in terms of possible adoption placement,

the worker did not

re la te agency service to e ith e r problem.

She did ra ise a

question of whether there would be something which Mrs. E. could salvage from a l l th is th a t would be more rig h t for her. When Mrs. E. spoke of going to a p sy c h ia trist fo r help, but not having the money,

the worker questioned whether th is

would be something she would want rath er than coming to the agency, apparently in an e ffo rt to t e s t her wish to come here. Mr. E. came to the agency for one interview because h is wife made the appointment for him.

The worker did not

in te rp re t the service of the agency or re la te i t to the

36 family problem for Mr. E ., but questioned whether there would be anything he could do in using the agency service th a t would make things b e tte r f or both of them and the child. Mr. E. believed there would have to be “big changes11 in both of them and that i t would be re a lly “pretending 11 to try* The worker seemed unable to in te rp re t the function of the agency in such a way th a t i t could be taken hold of by either c lie n t. in terp retatio n of agency function in re la tio n to the social work program of the community.

The c lie n ts were

fam iliar with the adoption agency and there were no re fe rra ls required in the course of agency contact. Client movement fostered through in terp retatio n of agency function.

As mentioned previously,

there was no

in te rp re tatio n of the specific function of the family agency. Following the l a s t interview,

the c lie n t wrote statin g she

wished to terminate contact.

She planned to continue with

her plans and did not fe e l the need for furth er help.

There

was no attempt to summarize the agency experience for the c lie n t or to re -in te rp re t agency service.

37 Digest No. 8

(The F. Family)

The P. family consisted of Mr. F .# 3&j Mrs. F .,

28*

Jackie, 4; and Jimmy, 2. Mr. P.

came to the agency a f te r having trie d every­

thing else he could think of to solve his problem.

He

explained there had been serious illn e s s for him and his wife, and although he earned #2 7 7 .0 0 per month, he had accumulated an indebtedness of #1350.00.

The family was

under pressure of c re d ito r’s and his job was in jeopardy with possible wage attachments.

The problem overwhelmed him

and he was unable to see h is way clear to work out of h is finan cial d if fic u lty .

He had been to many loan companies in

an attempt to make one loan to cover a l l of his indebtedness, but had been turned down because of lack of c o lla te ra l. Agency contact included six interviews with Mr. F ., and weekly interviews with Mrs. P. over a period of seven months. The caseworker’ s in terp retatio n of the function of the private family agency, and re la tio n of function to th e c lie n t1s problem/* The serious finan cial problem presented by the P. family involved budgeting of income and debt ad ju st­ ment which services were within the function of the family

The P. case was one in which there was no in te r ­ pretation. of specific family agency function.

38 agency*

However, the worker did not in te rp re t agency function,

sp ecifically , but concentrated more on the re la tio n of agency function to the solution of the c lie n t1s problem*

The worker

related to Mr* F*f s expression of in a b ility to correlate income and expenditures and fear of wage attachment by o ffer­ ing budget counseling and assistance in settin g up a more operable budget* In coming to the agency, Mr* F* was unaware of how the agency could help, and f i r s t requested 11advice” with his problem*

Afterward, he asked worker i f she could write his

creditors to l e t them know he was working with the agency to estab lish a plan to meet h is debts on a regular monthly basis*

After determining the f e a s ib ility of the plan,

the

worker agreed to contact some of the cred ito rs, planned with Mr. P* to contact others, and offered fu rth er service in the area of budget counseling. Several weeks l a t e r Mr, F. came down with the mumps and agency service was given through provision of financial assistance during th is illn e s s and a subsequent tonsillectomy. Some of the recording was extensively summarized, consequently, there was no indication as to how provision of assistance was presented, discussed, and c la rifie d with the family* addition,

In

there was no suggestion of other specific conditions

or lim itations such as time in the provision of financial assistance.

39 In terp retatio n of agency function in re la tio n to the social work program of the community.

In a discussion of

Mrs. P.* s health, need fo r medical care, and possible surgery, the worker offered to investigate clin ic f a c i l i t i e s .

A

re f e r r a l was made to county f a c i l i t i e s for emergency medical care.

A week1s vacation was also arranged fo r Mrs. P. and

the children a t a summer camp.

The recording did not show

how these services were presented to the family, nor how these other sp ecific community services were d iffe re n tia te d from those of the family agency. Client movement fostered through interpre t a t ion of agency function.

As indicated above, the specific nature

of the family agency was not iso lated from the re la tio n of agency service to the client*s problem.

Hence, the move­

ment of the c lie n t cannot be evaluated in this connection. The foregoing eight case studies have demonstrated the broad scope of the e lie n t— problems which come to the private family agency, and some of the d iffic u lty re la te d to in te rp re tatio n of the specific function of the agency in terms of the individual client-problem.

The following

chapter w ill outline and coordinate these findings in more d e ta il #

’ • *' i

CHAPTER V FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS This study, undertaken fo r tlie purpose of examination of contemporary in terp retatio n of family agency function and the use the c lie n t makes of th is in te rp re ta tio n , has certain lim itations*

I t was recognized th a t the e ig h t cases

in the study was not a su ffic ie n t number upon which to base conclusions.

However, the fa c t th a t only eight cases,

out

of seventy which were read, met the c r i t e r i a considered necessary for this study might in i t s e l f be Indicative of the real problem in th is area.

I t was also recognized th at

the recording, on occasion extensively summarized, may not have included the in terp re ta tio n of agency function even when given, but emphasized only those things upon which the c lie n t focused, or which made his problem individual or unique.

However, i f in terp retatio n of agency function were

given in a way which had individual meaning and usefulness to the c lie n t and significance fo r the worker, i t would probably be included in the recording. The study of these cases resulted in the following findings. The caseworker1s in terp retatio n of agency function. The eight cases showed considerable unevenness in the worker

in terp retatio n of function and service to the c lie n t, and also the use which the c lie n t made of th is .

In terp retatio n

ranged from the rath er f u l l functional d iffe re n tia tio n and purpose of the private family agency and th a t of the public agency, as demonstrated in the B. case, to the complete lack of in terp retatio n of agency function in the D., E., and H, cases.

Something of a middle range i s represented in the P,

case, where the worker interpreted certain of the agency*s services:

namely, budget counseling and r e f e r r a l f or medical

care. The function of the family agency was le ss well defined in the provision of informational and r e f e r r a l services in the three remaining cases, A., C., and G.

The

ambivalence of Mrs. A. about accepting help provided a serious handicap in offering service to the c lie n t, the worker concentrated on psychiatric r e f e r r a l, and gave no re a l in terp retatio n of the family agency in terms of help with marital problems.

In the C, case there was no re a l

c la rific a tio n of family agency function fo r the c lie n t, except for the statement by the worker that the agency did not offer child-placing service.

A r e f e r r a l was provided

which enabled Mrs. G. to decide she did not want a childplacing agency.

The worker then explored with her the

community resources for in s titu tio n a l placement and referred her to these.

This enabled Mrs. G. to s e le c t and place her

boys in a specific in s titu tio n .

In the G. case,

the family

had previously considered psychiatric care, and a f te r a b rie f but comprehensive in terp retatio n of psychiatric resources and the nature of psychiatric treatment, immediately accepted r e f e r r a l. Relation of agency function to the c lie n t1s problem. The eight cases showed a considerable a c tiv ity in relatin g agency function to th e c l i e n t ’ s problem through in terp retatio n of how the worker and the c lie n t together in the agency could work on the problem* In the B, case the worker, recognizing a problem in family relatio n sh ip s,

offered help with th is since th is was

re a lly re la te d to what the agency did. not accept th is ,

When Mrs, B, did

the worker focused on her request fo r

finan cial assistance, and what i t would mean for her to lose legal residence, agency.

so as to help her to return to the public

In the A, case the worker discussed with the c lie n t

what would be involved in working together in the agency, and recommended a few interviews to decide whether i t would be helpful to continue.

The worker’ s diagnosis of the deep-

seated nature of the c l i e n t ’s problem led her to focus on re fe rra l fo r psychiatric care.

In the G. case the worker’ s

diagnostic understanding of the psychological basis of the c lie n t’ s problem led to an early focus on psychiatric care.

1*3 The worker explained that the agency did help people with marital problems, but believed Mrs. G. needed the kind of help which could be given by a doctor specially trained to understand deeper emotional problems. In the D. case, the worker re la te d to the c l i e n t 1s desire for help by offering to work d irectly with her in her family situation, and emphasized th at the boys would be helped m aterially by what she and Mrs. D. would accomplish together.

In the H. case,

the worker stated the parent-

child relationship problem was an appropriate one for them to be bringing to the family agency.

In working with them

the agency would want to help them to figure out d iffe re n t and b e tte r ways of handling th e ir situ atio n .

In the P. case

the i n i t i a l in terp retatio n of function was in re la tio n to the budgeting problem, and th is was considered under the previous heading.

In the G. case, the worker suggested

scheduling appointments to discuss what would be involved in placement of the boys, and then i t would be possible to plan a r e f e r r a l to the child-placing agency i f Mrs. C. wished i t . There was no re a l re la tio n of agency function to the client* s problem in the E. case. Interp retatio n of agency function in re la tio n to the social work program of the community.

The need or opportunity

fo r th is kind of in te rp retatio n was not present in a l l of the

kk

eight case situ atio n s.

In five of the eight case records,

the worker did in te rp re t one of the functions of the family agency as th a t of a family information service, relatin g agency function in th is manner to th e

social work program

of the community. This was done in the B. case fo r the c lie n t by a functional .d ifferen tiatio n of the services of the private and the public agency in terms of how the public agency alone offered the f a c i l i t i e s for the client*s return to place of legal residence.

In the C. case there were re f e r r a ls

to the child-placing agency and to boys* homes for in stu tio n al care.

In the A. and G. cases there were re fe rra ls to

psychiatric c lin ic s , and in the F. case a re fe rra l to com­ munity medical f a c i l i t i e s .

Problems presented in the D.,

E ., and H. cases required no re f e r r a ls to other community resources. Client movement fostered through in terp retatio n of agency function.

In the B. case there was clear evidence of

movement fostered through the in terp retatio n of agency function to the c lie n t. a solution:

In th is case the c lie n t arrived a t

th a t of returning to place of legal residence

through f a c i l i t i e s provided by the public agency, which she believed to be rig h t for her.

There was a considerable

movement for the F. family through in terp retatio n of budget counseling, and the family was able to achieve a workable

budget.

In the C. case the c la rific a tio n th a t the agency

did not have child-placing f a c i l i t i e s enabled the c lie n t to accept re fe rra ls to the child-placing agency and other community resources.

As previously noted,

there was a

considerable difference in the in terp retatio n of psychiatric c lin ic re f e r r a ls in the A. and G. cases.

Mrs. A. moved

h altin g ly through considerable ambivalence about help to accept one interview with the p sy ch iatrist.

On the other

hand, the c lie n t in the G. case moved quickly in the course of two interviews to accept the re fe rra l. The absence of the in terp retatio n of specific agency function in the D., E., and H. cases eliminates these records from the consideration of c lie n t movement fostered through the in terp re tatio n of agency function.

CONCLUSIONS The in terp re ta tio n of private family agency function, whether i t be to the c lie n t or to the public a t large, beset with special problems.

is

In the early history of social

work the family agency was often the only social- agency, and to i t were channeled ,the multiple needs and problems of the community.

I t is always; important fo r the c lie n t to be

clearly aware of what kind of help is available, yet the d if f ic u lty of making th is known to him is greater fo r the family service agency than for other agencies whose function can be more narrowly-defined.

Today, the family agency no

longer accepts such " to ta l 11 resp o n sib ility , but i t s central concern for strengthening family l i f e carries with i t a su ffic ie n t v ariety arid range of services to require s k illf u l in te rp re ta tio n . The foregoing eight case records indicated a somewhat meager in terp retatio n of the specific function of the family agency.

In terp retatio n was not always lacking, but i t was

frequently fragmentary and often In s u ffic ie n t to enable the c lie n t to make a clear decision regarding his purposeful use of the family agency based upon an understanding arrived a t through mutual discussion of i t s working.

services and ways of

hi The intake policy of the Agency, lik e th a t of other family casework agencies, has as one c r i t e r i a fo r giving service 11* * # the desire and probability of the c l i e n t 1 s a b ility to use family casework help toward a so lution .”-**5 In terp retatio n of agency function can be one means of helping to determine whether the c lie n t meets th is c rite rio n , by giving him a basis fo r considering whether the agency offers the type of service he i s seeking, and whether he i s w illing and able to work within i t s lim itatio n s. While c lie n t movement took place in some cases where there was l i t t l e

in terp retatio n of the specific function

and services of the agency, there was re a l evidence that clear in terp retatio n fostered considerable movement as in the B. case, and th at lack of i t hampered movement as in the E. case. In general,

th is study indicated th a t an active in te r ­

p retation of the function of the family agency to the c lie n t was not consistently used in the course of the casework process.

The need to individualize the function and services

of the family agency through individual in terp retatio n in each case situ a tio n was clearly shown by the completely

ie

Family Service of Los Angeles, Board Member1s Manual. I 9 I4.6 - !Qli7 (mimeographed, unpublished agency document), p. 1 0 .

¥ d iffe re n t client-problem configurations in each of the eight cases. The problems surrounding the use of the in terp retatio n of the function of the agency to the c lie n t by the private family agency, as well as the potential values in such use should have fu rth er exploration and study.

There has been

progress made in th is d if f ic u lt area of the in terp re ta tio n of the function of the family agency, as indicated in the works of Gomberg and Marcus,-^ but much s t i l l remains to be done.

16

Cf„ ante, M. Robert Gomberg, 11The Specific Nature of Family Casework, 11 Family Casework and. Counseling A Functional Approach (Philadelphia. University of Pennsylvania Press, I 9 I18 ), and Grace F. Marcus, tfThe Necessity for Understanding Agency Function” (unpublished paper, I 9 5 0 ).

SELECTED

BI BLI OGRAPHY

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY A. BOOKS Hamilton, Gordon, Theory and Practice of Social Casework. New York. Columbia University Pre ss, "Y^O. 3&B PP• Paradise, Viola, Toward Public Understanding of Casework. New York. Russell Sage Foundation, I 9 I4.8 . 2l\Z pp. Robinson, Virginia P#, A Changing Psychology of Social Case Work, Chapel HillV University or North Carolina Press, 1 9 3 O. 20i|. pp. Taft, Jessie, ed ito r, Counseling and Protective Service as Family Case Work—A FunctlonaT~ Xpproa'c!h. Philadelphia. University of Pennsylvania’ Press, 19^b. 162 pp. "

. e d ito r, Family Casework and Counseling—A Functional Approach. Philadelphia. University of Pennsylvania P ress,r I%.8 . 3 0 I4. pp.

Watson, Frank Dekker, The Charity Organization Movement in the United State s . ~Yfew York. The McMillan Company, I 9 2 2 . & Q pp. Witmer, Helen Leland, Social Work. New York. Company, In c., I 9 I42 . 539 pp. B.

Rinehart &

PERIODICAL ARTICLES

Bowers, Swithin, “The Nature and D efinition of Social Case­ work, P art I I I , “ Journal of Social Casework, 30:lA2-l|-l7, December 19^-9» Hamilton, Gordon, “Helping People—The Growth of a Profession, Journal of Social Casework. 29:291-299, October I9i|9* Kasius, Cora# “Some Questions of Family Agency Program in Relation to In te rp re ta tio n .“ The Family. 17*67-72. May 1 9 3 6 . Marcus, Grace F ., “Case Work In terp retatio n . An Area fo r Professional Exploration.“ The Family. I 7 . l 6 9 . i 7 l4.. July 1936.

50 . “Family Casework in 1948, 11 Journal of Social Casework:. 29:261-279* July 194°. Stein, Herman D., “In terp retatio n Policy fo r the Family Agency, “ The Family. 2 6 *3 8 3 - 3 9 0 , February 1946. Swift, Linton B#, “The Purpose and Program of a Family Case Work Agency, “ The Family. 20*3-7, March 1939* C.

PUBLICATIONS OF LEARNED ORGANIZATIONS

Hamilton, Gordon, “The Underlying Philosophy of Casework Today, 11 Proceedings of the National Conference of Social Work, 19ip.: New XorkT Columbia University Press, 19l|2. pp 238

.

-^.

Pray, Kenneth L. M., “Generic Principle s of Casework Practice in 19if7,MProceedings of the National Conference of Social Work. 1947. New~*York. Columbia University Press.

T9WT 557^ 7=39,

Towle, Charlotte, “Social Casework,“ Social Work Year Book. 1947- New York. Russell Sage Foundation. 19li7. " PP. 477 - 84 . D.

UNPUBLISHED MATERIALS

Family Service of Los Angeles, Board Member1 s Manual, 19 I16-. 1947. Mimeographed, unpublished agency docme nt , pp* 1-31 and i to xxxiv. Marcus, Grace F ., “The Necessity for Understanding Agency Function,” unpublished paper, 1950.

Ufftivsigvttf of Southorn California Ut»r*nr