NEW YORK (Feb. 24)
The Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds urged the Federal Government today to take a major step in the War on Poverty by strengthening the nation’s public welfare program.
Louis Stern and Philip Bernstein, CJFWF president and executive director respectively, reported to a governmental advisory group their deep concern “with the broad and basic needs which are beyond the capacity of voluntary agencies to meet, and which require the resources of the entire nation, through government.”
In a statement submitted to the Federal Advisory Council on Public Welfare, a statutory body set up to advise Congress, Mr. Stern called for “substantially improved” public assistance payments, an end to restrictive “citizenship or residence requirements” and an increase in “skilled service” to welfare beneficiaries.
Mr. Bernstein, who is also chairman of the Committee on Social Issues and Policies of the National Social Welfare Assembly, spoke on behalf of CJFWF and several other national organizations affiliated with the NSWA. He called for “further action” at both “the state and federal levels.” This was the first in a series of meetings to be held in various parts of the country at which organization spokesmen will give their views on needed negislative changes in federally-aided public assistance and child welfare programs.
Mr. Berstein described the present level of income support as “shockingly inadequate.” He said that “the inadequate level of payments under the federally aided assistance program is itself a major source of the poverty on which the Federal Government has declared war.” The CJFWF statement was sharply critical of the practice in some states of projecting minimum subsistence budgets, and then appropriating funds to provide only a fraction of such budgets.
The statement recommended that Congress extend “Federal social insurance to provide for the costs of medical care in hospitals and related programs for the aged through Social Security system, while making adequate provisions for those persons not so covered.”
Mr. Stern urged “increased Federal participation in the financing of research and demonstration projects.” These, he said, would help prevent and reduce “dependency,” would aid “rehabilitation service,” would “foster effective coordination between public and private welfare agencies” and generally “improve the administration and effectiveness” of national programs of public assistance. “We are particularly troubled by the absence of Federal appropriations to educational institutions for facilities and personnel to train more social workers,” Mr. Stern stressed.