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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History


The CUYAHOGA COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES, formed 1 Jan. 1948 as the Welfare Dept., assists and supervises the county's disabled and disadvantaged. The governmental division was preceded by several private and governmental efforts at providing WELFARE/RELIEF. The Welfare Dept.'s establishment by county commissioners John F. Curry, John J. Pekarek, and Joseph F. Gorman formally acknowledged the county (rather than private agencies, the city, or state) as responsible for human services. The Welfare Dept. was charged with administration of the public welfare sections of the Ohio code: aid to dependent children and the needy blind; poor relief and burials; emergency aid in war- or peacetime; and cooperation with state and federal authorities. John J. Schaffer was appointed as the first director, responsible to the commissioners.

As a result of national legislation and Ohio code changes, the Welfare Dept. took on more responsibility during the 1960s and 1970s. By 1983 it was the largest county governmental division, with 2,500 employees serving 250,000 residents each month. Functions were later divided into: social services (nonfinancial support, such as shelters for the abused, CHILD CARE, FAMILY PLANNING, homemaker services, and alcohol and drug rehabilitation); income maintenance (determination of eligibility for and administration of Supplemental Security Income, Aid to Dependent Children, Title XX funds, and general relief, through programs such as food stamps and home-delivered meals); and shared services (internally focused planning and training, management, administration, and finance). In 1983 the Welfare Dept.'s operation costs represented 38% of the county's general fund. On 20 July 1984, it was renamed the Dept. of Human Services. In 1993 the main office was located at 1641 Payne Ave. The director in 1995 was David Reines.

Last Modified: 20 Jun 1997 10:27:30 AM

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