Ch. 5 Pg. 1
The Great Depression
he trauma created by the depression produced a new kind of government and a new way of thinking about poverty. The depression, with its high unemployment rates among willing workers, shattered the dominant view that poverty was the result of personal failure.
Before the depression, most people thought of welfare as something poor people received from mostly private charities. After the depression, welfare became a widely recognized responsibility of the federal government, and poverty was better understood as a situation caused by forces beyond individual control. Before the depression, relief programs were relatively simple arrangements. After the depression, welfare programs became a complex array of services, benefits, and taxes that effect virtually everyone.
SOCIAL WORK AND THE DEPRESSION
he Great Depression left important marks on the social work profession. Largely due to the leadership of individuals who began their careers in settlements and moved into public service in the twenties, social work took its place on the national stage.
Protégés of such early settlement leaders as Florence Kelly, Jane Addams, and Lillian Wald were major architects of what is now recognized as watershed public welfare policies. Harry Hopkins, Frances Perkins, Molly Dewson and Aubrey Williams not only led social work's advance into public welfare but became public figures who greatly enhanced the publics previously low opinion of welfare and the social work profession.
While the social work profession had made substantial gains in status during the twenties, it still needed more prestige. Many social work leaders felt that new advances in social casework and clinical social work had catapulted social work into full professional status. However, the general public continued to view social work as a vocation rather than a profession. Low salaries were a symptom of the problem. A 1930 survey of practicing social workers found that average salaries were 30 percent below that of high school teachers.
A young migrant mother worries about the future.