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American Association of Public Welfare Officials: Program Committee Meeting, February 7, 1931

Ed. Note: This document was transcribed from the original located in the files of the Social Welfare History Archives at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. It is included here because it presents the discussion of programs and prospective relationships leaders of this new organization deemed important.  It also includes a budget and discussion of the qualifications for an executive director.


Minutes of Meeting of Special Committee of Association of Public Welfare Officials to Consider the Program of the Association

February 7, 1931, 10 a.m., Children’s Bureau, Washington

Leroy Allen Halbert, President AAPWO
Leroy Allen Halbert, President AAPWO
Photo: NASW Foundation

Presiding:  Mr.  L.  A.  Halbert


Mr.  Odum

Mr.  Bane

Mr.  Frankel

Miss Abbott

Miss Lenroot

Purpose of Meeting

The Chairman explained that the purpose of the meeting was to consider the future program and budget and staff of the Association.

Relations to Commission on Social Trends and Research Program for the Association:

Dr. Odum, who is in charge of a study of trends in public welfare work for the Committee on Social Trends, stated that he would like to have the Association appoint an individual or a committee of three to work with the Commission.  One of the key assignments of the Commission is to find out what are the limitations of social statistics in the United States today.  Shelby Harrison and Mr. Hurlin are working on this.  He suggested that the Association might wait for the report of the Commission which would be made in the fall before outlining its own research program.  Miss Abbott stated that she thought the primary function of the organization should be to promote better standards through its own membership rather than to undertake a program of detailed assembling of facts.  She thought that consultation with the Association’s membership was needed in preparation for the report of the Commission.

Dr. Odum stated that a preliminary report of the finding of the Commission on Social Trends with reference to public welfare could be presented at the Minneapolis Conference and could be submitted to the Committee of the Association in advance of the Conference.  He emphasized the desire of the Commission to cooperate in whatever the Public Welfare Association decides should be undertaken.  It was agreed that this Association should gladly accept Dr. Odum’s offer of cooperation, it being the sense of the Committee that mutual service can be developed.  It was decided that the Executive Committee of the Association of Pubic Welfare Officials can be used to cooperate with the Commission, making it unnecessary to appoint a special committee.

Participation in the Exhibit on Social Service at the World’s Fair in Chicago in 1933:

Dr. Odum asked for the cooperation of the Association of Public Welfare Officials in the exhibit on public welfare to beheld in the Hall of Public Service at the World’s Fair in Chicago in 1933, and requested the appointment of a committee for this purpose.  The expense of the exhibit will be met by the World”s Fair.  At the suggestion of Mr. Bano it was agreed to recommend at the June meeting participation in this exhibit and appointment of a committee.

Cooperation with the President’s Emergency Committee for Employment:

A letter was read by the Chairman from Fred C. Croxton, Acting Chairman of the President’s Emergency Committee for Employment, requesting the cooperation of the Association in promoting the organization by State Welfare Departments of resources for meetings relief need throughout their States, particularly in the less populous counties, and development of constructive procedure in administering relief.  It was moved by Mr.  Halbert and seconded by Miss Lenroot that the request of the President’s Emergency Committee by accepted subject to the condition that the necessary financial resources for the Association can be obtained.  The motion was carried.  It was decided that the President of the Association should write Mr. Croxton a letter indicating acceptance of his request and outlining the financial and budgetary needs of the Association.

At this point Mr.  Fred K.  Hoehler, Vice-President of the Association, joined the meeting.


It was decided that the budget should be prepared in two parts, one for the permanent work of the Association which should be planned for a period of five or ten years, and the other for the emergency needs in connection with cooperation in meeting the unemployment emergency.  A budget was drawn up and approved, divided into two portions, a permanent budget and field budget.  The budget is as follows:

Permanent budget 5 or 10 year period:

Executive secretary                                                     $10,000

Research assistant                                                           4,500

Office secretary                                                                2,000

Office rental                                                                       1,500

Postage, telephone, telegraph                                       1,000

Travel, subsistence and conferences                            3,500

Office supplies and equipment, printing                    2,500

Total                                                                               $25,000


Field budget – year ending June 30, 1932


4 field workers at $4,00                                              $16,000

Travel and subsistence                                                    8,000

Travel of committee members, consultations, etc.     1,500

Field stenographic service                                              2,000

Office assistant                                                                  1,800

Telephone, telegraph, etc                                                   700

Total                                                                                 30,000


Consideration of possibilities for Executive Secretary:

Mr. Halbert stated that he was a candidate for the office and wished to present his qualifications, which include degrees of M. A.  and B. D., long experience as head of the Kansas City Department of Public Welfare, eight years as head of the Council of Social Agencies of Kansas City, experience with the Children’s Code Commission of Missouri, one and a half years with the State Department of Public Welfare of Rhode Island, war work, speaking, writing, etc.  Mr. Halbert then withdrew.  It was decided that the request to a Foundation for funds should name several people of the type which the Association would consider for Executive Secretary.  Some general principles governing qualifications were discussed.  It was suggested by the Chairman that the Association might wish to make it a principle that should not interfere with any going State concern.  The Association would want an executive some one who has held a major executive position in the field of Public Welfare, has had successful experience during the last a 10-year period, has a wide acquaintance in the public welfare field, ability to meet and deal with trained workers and lay groups, and sufficiently good professional attainments to be eligible, if opportunity offered, for a teaching appointment in connection with social work.  The names of the following were suggested:  William Hodson, Director of Welfare Council of New York City, formerly Director of the Minnesota Children’s Bureau and in charge of child welfare legislation work of the Russell Sage Foundation; Stanley Davies, Assistant Secretary, State Charities Aid Association, New York; Frank Bane Commissioner, State Department of Public Welfare, Virginia; L. A. Halbert, Rhode Island; Dr. Ellen C. Potter, New Jersey Department of Institutions and Agencies, formerly Commissioner of Welfare, Pennsylvania.

It was decided that women should not be ruled out of consideration.

It was proposed by Mr. Hoehler that the Chairman, Miss Lenroot and Mr. Meriam should be considered a nominating committee for the purpose of considering names to be present to a Foundation as an indication of the types of persons who would be desired for secretary, such a committee later to present a list of names to the Executive Committee for final selection.  The motion was seconded and carried.


Purpose of Application for Funds:

A memorandum prepared by Mr. Halbert outlining a proposed program of work of the Association was read.  It was moved by Mr. Halbert, seconded by Mr. Hoehler and carried, that the President and Miss Lenroot prepared a statement to accompany the budget, using Mr. Halbert’s memorandum, as suggested.  Each member of the Executive Committee is to receive a copy of this statement for his information.

Publication of 1931 Proceedings:

A telegram form Miss Edith Abbott to President Ellis was read suggesting that the Social Service Review would like to publish the proceedings, probably in the September number.  It was moved by Mr. Halbert, seconded and carried that the invitation to be accepted with appreciation.  The secretary is to write to Mr. Brownlow in order to obtain his consent for publication in the Review of the President’s address, as Mr. Brownlow has offered to see that it was published.  Purchase of reprints to the amount of $50.00 was authorized, the reprints to be sent free of charge to members of the organization.  It was hoped that an introductory statements embodying the present action of the Executive Committee could be included.

Articles regarding the Minneapolis Meetings:

A letter from Public Management requesting a four-hundred word note and a brief article prepared for this purpose by Miss Lenroot were submitted to the Committee.  The article was approved.

A letter from the American City asking for minutes of the meetings and for copies of papers that might be of interest was submitted.  It was decided that a brief not covering the Conference should be sent to the American City and that they should be informed that the proceedings were to be published in the Social Service Review.

The Secretary was directed to prepare a note similar to the note for Public Management for submission to the Survey.

The meeting adjourned at 5:20 p.m.

Katharine F. Lenroot, Acting Secretary

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