From a Child to a File: Why Parents, Families, and Communities are the Agents of Change in Children's Lives, not Governments and Services Kevin Campbell, Raif O'Neal, and Elizabeth Wendel A Child as a File was also a member of the Eugenics Society and believed in "improving the human race" by controlling reproduction. 1,2
Few Americans know much about the creation of the modern welfare state. Our references and understanding are shaped primarily by our personal experiences or professional affiliations with welfare systems and programs. Many have said our history matters; some have warned that those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. Unfortunately, there are few more significant examples of the wisdom behind these words than the decades of effort and failure to reform social welfare systems in Western democracies.
The trouble with Beveridge and what would become the American postwar welfare state begins here. Beveridge believed, like other eugenicists, that the poor, indigenous, stateless, persons with disabilities, persons with mental health conditions, women who conceived outside of marriage, and those convicted of crimes were subhuman and could not become fully capable and contributing members of society. America's elite and powerful agreed with him. Thus, the welfare state must create social welfare bureaucracies, both public, private, and church-run, operated by those from higher classes who would become the case managers of the poor—substituting their values and fully human capabilities for those afflicted with the ‘pauper gene’. 3,4 This view of a postwar world without anyone poor, indigenous, or descended from enslaved people became central to the ‘opportunity’ for building a new America without the poor. ______________ 1 Antwerp University. “1942 William Henry Beveridge: Architect of the Welfare State.” History of Social Work , 2019, https://historyofsocialwork.org/eng/details. php?cps=14&canon_id=134. 2 Beveridge, W. “Social Insurance and Allied Services. 1942.” Bulletin of the World Health Organization , World Health Organization, 2000, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih. gov/pmc/articles/PMC2560775/. 3 Platt, Lucinda. “Beatrice Webb, William Beveridge, Poverty, and the Minority Report on the Poor Law.” LSE History Beatrice Webb William Beveridge Poverty and the Minority Report on The Poor Law Comments , 2018, https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/lsehistory/2018/02/23/ beatrice-webb-william-beveridge-poverty-and-the- minority-report-on-the-poor-law/. 4 MacKinnon, Mary. “Poor Law Policy, Unemployment, and Pauperism.” Explorations in Economic History , Academic Press, 15 Nov. 2004, https://www.sciencedirect. com/science/article/abs/pii/0014498386900070.
What can explain the repeated harms of governments, charities, and institutions over decades of effort to deliver on the promise of just and dignified social and health systems? William Beveridge, a revered figure in the United Kingdom, is seen as the father of the modern welfare state in postwar democracies. Beveridge was the Director of the London School of Economics before leaving for Oxford University. Beveridge published a plan for cradle-to-grave social insurance for Britain in October 1942. However, his most cherished contribution today was creating the National Health Service. Lord Beveridge
26 | FIJ Quarterly | Summer 2022
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