At the 1929 annual meeting of the National Conference of Social Work in San Francisco a delegation of public agency representatives voted to organize a national membership organization open to all levels of government. In 1930, approximately forty persons from twenty different states met in Boston to found the new organization. Initially, the organization was named the American Association of Public Welfare Officials and its mission was to help and improve the activities of public welfare organizations throughout the nation. The name was changed in May 1932 to the American Public Welfare Association (APWA); and in 1998 it was changed again to: American Public Human Services Association.” These entries describe the history and growth of the American Public Welfare Association (APWA) and several of the key actors in that history.

  • American Association of Public Welfare Officials: Annual Meeting, June 18, 1931 A supplementary report of the Committee on Organization was read by Mr. Conant who made the following statements: “Your committee hands you herewith its reports, recommending the establishment of a central office with a paid staff. We recommend further that the Executive Committee, with power to act, be authorized to raise the necessary budget, employ a director or executive secretary, and establish the office is such a place as it deems wise.” On motion of Mr. Conant, this recommendation was adopted.
  • American Association of Public Welfare Officials: Executive Committee Meeting-January 1931The program of the Public Welfare Association meeting in Minneapolis in June, 1931, was first discussed. A tentative program drawn up by the chairman provided for meetings from June 12 and through June 14 and for joint meetings with Division IX of the National Conference during the National Conference week. Several members of the committee thought it would not be advisable to have meetings in advance of the Conference, as the tendency would then by for the Public Welfare Officials coming to these early meetings to leave before the National Conference was over.
  • American Association of Public Welfare Officials: Executive Committee Mtg., June 15, 1931Mr. Croxton stated that with reference to the resolution which had been adopted at the luncheon meeting authorizing a committee to cooperate with the President's Committee for employment and other organizations, he wished to point out that there were four aspects of the problem which required attention, as follows: (1) Information (2) Organization of local resources (3) Maintaining or developing standards (4) Developing resources
  • American Association of Public Welfare Officials: Its Founding - June 12, 1930Mr. Conant opened the meeting by stating its purpose and the scope and name of the proposed association. After discussion, it was moved and seconded that those present proceed to form a new association to be known as the American Association of Public Welfare Officials and that a president be elected. The motion passed. Mr. Conant was nominated as president, but he declined to serve, saying he thought Mr. Halbert should be elected president because Mr. Halbert had been made Chairman of the Division of Public Officials and Administration at the National Conference of Social Workers for 1931.
  • American Association of Public Welfare Officials: Luncheon Meeting, June 15, 1931Miss Katharine F. Lenroot of the U. S. Children's Bureau, proposed the adoption of the following resolution: “That the President of the American Association of Public Welfare Officials appoint a committee to cooperate with the President's Emergency Committee for Employment and other organizations in promoting public appreciation of the need for public relief during the unemployment emergency and developing plans for more effective public welfare organization are improved administrative standards.” The motion was seconded by Mr. Fred Hoehler, of Cincinnati.
  • American Association of Public Welfare Officials: Program Committee Meeting, February 7, 1931 In considering the selection of an Executive Director for the new association it was recommended: The Association would want an executive some one who has held a major executive position in the field of Public Welfare, has had successful experience during the last a 10-year period, has a wide acquaintance in the public welfare field, ability to meet and deal with trained workers and lay groups, and sufficiently good professional attainments to be eligible, if opportunity offered, for a teaching appointment in connection with social work. The names of the following were suggested: William Hodson, Director of Welfare Council of New York City, formerly Director of the Minnesota Children's Bureau and in charge of child welfare legislation work of the Russell Sage Foundation; Stanley Davies, Assistant Secretary, State Charities Aid Association, New York; Frank Bane Commissioner, State Department of Public Welfare, Virginia; L. A. Halbert, Rhode Island; Dr. Ellen C. Potter, New Jersey Department of Institutions and Agencies, formerly Commissioner of Welfare, Pennsylvania.
  • American Public Welfare AssociationAt the 1929 annual meeting of the National Conference of Social Work in San Francisco a delegation of public agency representatives voted to organize a national membership organization open to all levels of government. In 1930, approximately forty persons from twenty different states met in Boston to found the new organization. Initially, the organization was named the American Association of Public Welfare Officials and its mission was to help and improve the activities of public welfare organizations throughout the nation. The name was changed in May 1932 to the American Public Welfare Association (APWA).
  • Dunn, Loula FriendMiss Dunn resigned as Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Public Welfare in 1948 to become Executive Director of the American Public Welfare Association (APWA). Dunn was the APWA’s first woman executive. From 1948 until her retirement in 1964, she played a key role in bringing together social welfare leaders from all over the country to help study and draft legislation establishing many federally funded social work welfare programs. She influenced many, and during her long career she maintained close associations with such public figures as Eleanor Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, and Nelson Rockefeller.
  • Halbert, Leroy AllenHalbert also served as as vice president of the National Public Welfare League and as editor of its monthly pamphlet, Public Welfare. In 1930 he was elected the first president of the newly-formed American Association of Public Welfare Officials (later the American Public Welfare Association). Halbert was the author of What Is Professional Social Work? (1923).
  • Hoehler, Fred K. Fred Kenneth Hoehler was a public welfare and social service administrator. He was director of public welfare in Cincinnati, OH, he became head of the American Public Welfare Association during changes following passage of the Social Security Act in 1935; his leadership enhanced the understanding between public welfare workers and social workers in private agencies.
  • Public Welfare In The Democratic ProcessThe leadership of the A.P.W.A. has been a signal factor in the growth of public welfare agencies and it the dissemination of knowledge of the need of people of resources to meet them At the same time, it is through the Association that the thinking of professional and lay people has been welded together and ideas have been exchanged. Few organizations can boast a greater degree of membership interest and participation than the American Public Welfare Association. It is the mutual interest and sharing of responsibility that assure the vitality of the organization.