EVELINE M. BURNS AND THE AMERICAN SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM, 1935-1960: A MODEL OF PROFESSIONAL LEADERSHIP
JONES, LINDA R. WOLF
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The study examines the work and professional leadership of Eveline M. Burns on Social Security old age retirement issues from 1935 to 1960. The enactment of the Social Security Act in 1935 represented a landmark for social policy in the United States. Frequent, subsequent legislative change shaped the Social Security program's growth and development over the following decades. Dr. Burns was a social policy expert who realized from the outset the program's significance for the future of social welfare in America. She devoted a lifetime to thinking, writing, speaking and teaching about the ramifications of different courses of action, attempting thereby to influence the direction of policy change.;The present study proceeds from the hypotheses that Dr. Burns, in order to try to influence national social policy through the exercise of professional leadership, used her professional positions and associations to gain attention for her views on Social Security old age retirement, to provide and get support for preferred policy positions, and to advocate for realistic and continued legislative and policy change. The study uses a method of qualitative content analysis within an historical framework to demonstrate relationships among historical conditions and events, the introduction of legislation in response to them, and the use by an individual of policy analysis and professional leadership roles as a way of advocating on behalf of specific legislation and policies. It looks at the relationship between the social work profession and the social welfare institution as manifested in the efforts of an esteemed professional to lead and guide in institutional development and change.;The study found that many of the liberalizing changes advocated for the Social Security old age retirement program by Dr. Burns were enacted over the years. In carrying out her analytical and advocacy work on Social Security program issues and the need for continued program improvements, she gained attention, respect and support from professionals, policymakers and the general public. Her activities constituted a model for professional leadership within the social welfare institution and have continuing implications for the future of social welfare and social work education in the United States.
- Theses and Dissertations