Anitai Etzioni's concept of compliance structures is used as a focus for historical analysis of the organizational structures through which chld welfare services have been offered in the U. S. This article shows how a dual compliance structure arose, both normative and coercive, but with more emphasis on the coercive. The expansion of public child welfare services since 1935, especially foster care and placement services rather than in-home services, has drawn public attention to widespread ineffectiveness. Stress and strain are particularly intense at the service delivery level. Yet the problems and social polices have not been analyzed in terms of building and useing congruent or consistent organizational compliance structures and services to implement then. The authors suggest that Etzioni's organizational compliance theory may be a useful starting point for studying specific organizational responses to parental failure in order to clarify the existing confusion about organizational goals, means, and ends in child welfare.

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