The Jewish Child Welfare Association (JCWA) was formed in 1936 through the amalgamation of the Jewish Children’s Bureau, the Jewish Big Brother Movement, and the Jewish Big Sister Committee. This merger was intended to improve service to families in the community by making one agency responsible for all cases dealing with children and adolescents. The JCWA’s funding primarily came from the Federation for Jewish Philanthropies (later the United Jewish Welfare Fund) and municipal and provincial grants.
The JCWA’s chairman was Bertram N. Davis and first executive secretary was Anne Gussack. Gussack was succeeded by Freda Manson in 1939 and Aaron B. Feld in 1941. Soon after its formation in 1936, the JCWA became one of the first unionized social agencies in Canada when it formed the Staff Association with the Jewish Family Welfare Bureau (JFWB).
Located at 179 Beverley Street, the JCWA’s core activities included placing children in foster homes, arranging adoptions, supervising children in their own homes, providing housekeeping services to families, and providing supervision and guidance to unmarried mothers. The JCWA paid for the foster children’s room and board, clothing, and medical care; supervised their religious education; and supplied scholarships for vocational training through its Jewish Children’s Vocational Fund. The JCWA also ran the Foster Mothers’ Parent Education Group, initiated a foster day care program to allow foster mothers to work, and arranged for the placement of children in summer camps. A constant problem for JCWA was the lack of appropriate foster homes. In order to secure more homes, the agency regularly engaged in a foster homefinding publicity campaign.
The Child Welfare Committee of the Hebrew Maternity Aid Society assisted the JCWA with finding and visiting foster homes, arranging adoptions, and attending to chronic clinical cases. The Hebrew Maternity Aid Society also participated in a Car Corp program with the JCWA by providing its social workers with volunteer drivers to help them travel to different locations.
The JCWA’s Big Brother and Big Sister Departments provided guidance for delinquent, troubled, and developmentally disabled adolescents through individual and group work. Both departments assisted troubled youth with employment, vocational training, school adjustment, and recreational activities. In 1941, the Big Sister Committee left the JCWA to become affiliated with the JFWB.
Discussions regarding the co-ordination of services between the JCWA and the JFWB began as early as 1935. Since both agencies worked with children and families, a merger was believed necessary to improve service to the community and ease confusion. In February 1943, the JCWA and the JFWB merged to form the Jewish Family and Child Services (JF & CS).
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of textual records documenting the programs, operation, finances and special projects and studies of the Jewish Child Welfare Association and its predecessor the Jewish Children's Bureau. Included is correspondence, reports, surveys, memos, meeting notices, agendas and minutes, financial records, questionnaires, speeches, client and membership lists, case presentations, news articles, theatrical scripts, event invitations and statistics.
Fonds has been arranged with one sous-fonds, which contains the records of the Jewish Children's Bureau. In total there are 25 series. The Jewish Child Welfare Association (main fonds) series are: 1. Board of Trustees; 2. Executive Director; 3. Committees; 4. Adoption; 5. Foster care; 6. Summer camp program; 7. Nursery school; 8. Jewish Children's Vocational Board; 9. Finance and accounting; 10. Human Resources; 11. Operational statistics; 12. Special studies and surveys; 13. Publicity; 14. Liaison with other social welfare organizations; and 15. Welfare Council of Toronto. The Jewish Children's Bureau (sous-fonds) series are: 1. Board of Trustees; 2. Executive Director; 3. Adoption; 4. Foster care; 5. Finance and accounting; 6. Human resources; 7. Building administration; 8. Special studies and surveys; 9. Publicity; and, 10. Liaison with other social welfare organizations.
Associated material note: for related records held at the City of Toronto Archives, see also: Children's Aid Society of Toronto fonds (fonds 1001); Welfare Council of Toronto records in the University Settlement House fonds (fonds 1024, series 658); and, Department of Public Welfare records in the Former City of Toronto fonds (fonds 200).
Jewish Child Welfare Association
Jewish Children's Home
Jewish Children's Vocational Fund
Davis, Bertram N.
Feld, Aaron B.
Jewish Big Sisters Committee
Jewish Big Brothers Movement
Jewish Family and Child Services
Federation of Jewish Philanthropies
United Jewish Welfare Fund
Department of Public Welfare
Welfare Council of Toronto
Children's Aid Society
Partially closed. Researchers must receive permission from the OJA Director and the head of Jewish Family and Child prior to accessing some of the records.
See also: Jewish Family Welfare Bureau fonds (fonds 87); Jewish Family and Child fonds (fonds 79); Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of Toronto fonds (fonds 66); and, United Jewish Welfare Fund fonds (fonds 67).
Records of the Jewish Big Sisters Committee, the Jewish Big Brothers Movement and records documenting programs of the JCWA that continued after the formation of JF & CS, such as the Foster Homefinding Campaign and the Foster Mothers' Parent Education Group, are arranged with the JF & CS fonds 79.