Case records from a charity organization/family case work agency in the early century provide means for evaluating the interaction of nascent social workers with female heads of poor households receiving relief 1900-1930. Class differences and social control appear in retrospect as defining certain elements of this activity; although social workers provided needed material resources, positive impact on poor women's lives was limiited by workers' lack of knowledge and unquestioning commitment to traditional values. Casework, however, is shown as a complex process with concerned leaders in social work trying to shape professional behavior and recipient families engaged in their own problem solving processes.

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