MAY 24, 1947
NEW YORK, Friday—I wonder if our concept of welfare is being changed by certain groups of legislators in Washington and in Albany. The current outcry against the New York City Welfare Department for doing the best it could for large families seems to me extraordinary. There may be inefficiency in the department, but there is such a shortage of housing that it was a question of putting a family in a hotel at minimum rates or letting them sleep in the park, in which case the attacks made on the Welfare Department are completely unjustified.
I also rebel at the thought that large families of some of the city employees have to receive welfare aid because their government salaries are not sufficient to take care of them. I think that, instead of Albany investigating in order to try to remove the welfare subsidy paid by the state, it would be well to investigate how many people there are on the relief rolls and what miserable lives they are doomed to live under present conditions.
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I went last evening to the annual meeting of the New York City Citizens' Committee on Children. It was particularly interesting because, after the very efficient staff made their brief reports, the meeting turned into a discussion group and I learned a number of interesting facts.
It appears that a great many workers in this field, in both private organizations and city departments, feel the need of some form of standardized annual report. This, of course, would involve a standardized vocabulary and, next, the analyzing of these reports on both public and private organizations, so that it would be easy to get information pertaining to allied fields of work.
For instance, if you are interested in the health of children, you should be able to find out from the Department of Schools the approximate number of children who will be in kindergarten next year, so that you can plan the health services with that in mind. If you are planning parks and playgrounds, you should have all the information available about children from both the Health Department and the Department of Education.
As things are at present, planning seems to frighten our officials in the city government as much as it does our Congressmen. Congress refuses to plan on national resources, and our city officials are afraid to plan even on statistics!