CHAPTER XIX
THE UNDERLYING PHILOSOPHY

ALTHOUGH mention has been made more than once in earlier chapters of the interdependence of individual and mass betterment, it will not be amiss, in bringing this long discussion of the diagnostic process to a close, to re-enforce briefly the position already taken that social reform and social case work must of necessity progress together. We have seen, for example, that the diagnostic side of case work received a great impetus when the plans of reformers began to be realized, and that social work immediately had at its command more varied resources than it could apply without further knowledge of the differences between men.1 To understand these differences and adapt its working programs to them, account has had to be taken of men's social relationships.

Less emphasis is placed in these pages upon the other side, upon the number of social reforms that have been direct outgrowths of case work, and the number that owe to this work either effective amendment or successful administration. There are few administrative tasks in the social field, in fact, which do not have to utilize some form of social diagnosis and treatment. A new piece of social legislation may give case work a new direction, it almost always modifies such work, and sometimes renders it unnecessary in a given field. This last eventuality, however, is predicted many times for once that it is realized.

When, for example, the restriction of child labor was made possible, several new kinds of case work became necessary, one of them involving greater skill in sifting the various evidences of age, one involving the development of other family plans to take the place of children's earnings, etc. The methods of many agencies engaged in case work were modified by these child labor measures. In some states, on the other hand, data supplied by the agencies pointed the way for improvement in the new laws. Discussing this subject of the relation of case work to social reform at a recent

____________________
1
See p. 32.

-365-

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