American Public Welfare Association.Alternative names
APWA, founded in 1930 as the American Association of Public Welfare Officials, is a professional organization for staff members of public agencies and others interested in public welfare. APWA studies and distributes information regarding legislation and also offers its members professional development opportunities.
From the description of American Public Welfare Association records, 1930-1970 (bulk 1950-1970). (University of Minnesota, Minneapolis). WorldCat record id: 63313449
The American Public Welfare Association (est. 1930) is a professional organization for staff members of public agencies and others interested in public welfare.
From the description of American Public Welfare Association records, 1942-1967. (University of Minnesota, Minneapolis). WorldCat record id: 62441788
A group of public welfare officials attending the 1929 National Conference of Social Work (NCSW) in San Francisco agreed there was a need for an independent professional organization of their own. The group voted to organize such an association at the 1930 NCSW meeting. The American Association of Public Welfare Officials, organized June 12, 1930, in Boston, was the result.
Association founders agreed initially to limit their membership to state public welfare officials and, as the board minutes of June 12, 1930 expressed it, "that the object of the Association should be to make these officials acquainted and bring about a good exchange of information." Later, membership in the association was opened to professional staff members of public agencies at the federal, state, and local levels. Among the first areas of concern were "interstate problems and to promote reciprocity in the transfer of cases to their proper places of residence and to bring about as large a degree of universal legislation as possible in regard to settlement laws," (June 12, 1930 board minutes).
A grant from The Rockefeller Foundation's Spelman Fund enabled the association to hire, in 1931, its first administrator, Frank Bane, formerly commissioner of the Virginia State Department of Public Welfare. The association grew rapidly, from the initial 151 persons to nearly 1,000 members two years later. In May 1932, the association changed its name to the American Public Welfare Association. (APWA)
One of APWA's earliest activities was promoting passage of the Social Security legislation in 1935. Indeed, Social Security has been one of the organization's long-time interests. APWA faithfully monitored Congressional action on the amendments of the 1950s and 1960s. Among APWA's other legislative interests have been aging, medical care, and Aid to Dependent Children.
APWA also organized annual regional conferences and biennial national conferences, remembering the association's original goal of giving officials a chance for "good exchange of information." Executive Development Seminars were offered in the 1960s to give officials a chance to improve their managerial skills.
Initially, the association's offices were in Washington D.C., but in 1932, APWA moved its headquarters to Chicago. It returned to Washington D.C. in 1974, where APWA remains at this writing.
For more detailed historical information, the researcher should consult the article regarding the American Public Welfare Association in Social Service Organizations, Peter Romanofsky and Clarke A. Chambers, editors, pp. 131-138. Additionally, Narayan Viswanathan's "The Role of the American Public Welfare Policies in the United States: 1930-1960" (Ph.D. dissertation, Columbia University School of Social Work, 1961), offers more detail. To mark APWA's 50th anniversary, the American Public Welfare Association's journal Public Welfare (vol. 38, #1, Winter 1980) contains historical material. (See folder 1:1).
From the guide to the American Public Welfare Association Records, 1930-1970, (University of Minnesota Libraries. Social Welfare History Archives [swha])
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