14 Development of modern welfare Trattner 10

Development of the modern
welfare system
Early 20th Century
Public v. Private
Pendulum swayed back and forth
throughout U.S. history
By late 1800s welfare work mostly
private – COS, Settlement Houses
Could the two work in harmony?
Origins of Current Public
Welfare System
1909 White House Conference on
Dependent Children
Supported by social workers and
sponsored by Theodore Roosevelt
The beginning of social work’s
domination of child welfare issues
Purpose of Conference
Bring together leaders and their
Develop a thorough plan for care of
dependent children
“Home life is the highest and finest
product of civilization” and “children
should not be deprived of it except for
urgent and compelling reasons.”
Importance of foster care and adoption
Cottage type living if in institutions
Establishment of U.S.
Children’s Bureau
Supported by social workers, especially
those concerned with child labor
Opposed by businesses, who feared it
would end child labor
Initially placed in U.S. Department of
Commerce and Labor with a budget of
about $25,000
Children’s Bureau was mainly charged with
investigating and reporting conditions
Headed by Julia Lathrop, social worker
Politically savvy, she first tackled infant
mortality as an issue
Passage of Sheppard-Towner Act (1921) led
to child and maternal health centers
Opposed as socialist (fear that
government would come into home)
Opposed because headed by women’s
Brought the federal government into
child welfare through health through
federal grants in aid to states
Widows’ Pensions/Mothers’ Aid
Another spin-off from 1909 conference
Children should reside at home and not
be put in institutions or for adoption
when widowed moms could not support
Anti-delinquency (mom should
End the separation of mother and child
for reasons of poverty alone
Also thought to be less costly (mom and
child in institutions)
Opposed because it would transform
charity into entitlement
Beginning of gendered welfare state
(OASDI benefits men and means tested
benefits women)
Widows’ Pensions Enacted
1911 Missouri enacted for “full time
mothers with dependent children”
In 1919, 39 states had such laws
By 1935, all but SC and GA
Return of public home relief
Foundation for Title IV of SS Act
(AFDC) – needy children cared for in
own homes
Part of a Broader Movement
Progressives also sought end to child
Also compulsory social insurance,
workmen’s compensation,
unemployment insurance, old age
insurance (labor union support)
Women’s suffrage (1920)
Prohibition (1919)