CONGRESSIONAL RECORD - SENATE
August 2, 1961
DEPARTMENTS OF LABOR AND HEALTH, EDUCATION, AND WELFARE
The Senate resumed the consideration of the bill (H.R. 7035) making appropriations for the Departments of Labor and Health, Education, and Welfare, and related agencies, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1962, and for other purposes.
APPROPRIATIONS FOR CAPTIONED FILMS FOR THE DEAF
Mr. MUSKIE. Mr. President, I would like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation of two modifications made by the Committee on Appropriations in H.R. 7035, the pending appropriation bill. I was gratified, first, by the action of the Appropriations Committee in approving a modest but necessary increase in the appropriation for captioned films for the deaf in the Office of Education. Last year we appropriated $185,000 for this program, out of a possible authorization of $250,000. In the budget request submitted January 16, 1961, the administration did not request an increase in this amount. The Appropriations Committee added $65,000 to the salaries and expenses account, as passed by the House, to bring the captioned films appropriation to the full amount authorized for this important program.
The captioned films for the deaf program was authorized under Public Law 85-905. It has been in operation for slightly more than a year, captioning, leasing and distributing films for use by deaf persons. Some 600 groups of deaf persons are registered for the loan of about 40 film titles, and it is estimated that more than 80,000 viewers have seen the films.
All the films distributed to date have been entertainment films. Approximately 45 additional titles are in preparation and should be distributed this fall. In addition, the Office of Education is negotiating for the production of about a dozen educational films in the area of science. Despite the fact that the program has offered no educational films to date, schools are the largest users of captioned films. Many schools are using a film a week, and the demand is even greater.
In his testimony before the House Appropriations Committee, Commissioner of Education Sterling M. McMurrin said that his Office could use, to great advantage, the full amount authorized under the basic act. It is my hope that the additional $65,000 provided by the Senate committee will be approved by the Senate, and that these funds will be directed toward the expansion of films for educational purposes.
There are 250,000 deaf persons in the United States. I believe $1 a year for each of these persons is a very modest investment in their educational and cultural opportunities.
TRAINING GRANTS FOR PUBLIC WELFARE PERSONNEL
Mr. President, as a former Governor of the State of Maine, I am aware of the great problem in securing qualified personnel to act as caseworkers in the social welfare field. It is my firm conviction that so long as we do not improve our training programs for such personnel, we will not be meeting the full needs of welfare programs, and we will be condemning ourselves to continue expenditures for maintenance purposes without alleviating the conditions which cause many of our social problems.
The program for training public welfare personnel was initiated in 1956, when Congress authorized special grants to the States. This program was to terminate on June 30, 1962. The amendment contained in Public Law 87-31 continues the program until 1963 and increases the Federal share to 100 percent.
The need for training public assistance personnel can be demonstrated when one realizes that in most States a high school graduate can be hired for the job. Such persons usually have neither the training nor the education to do social casework. They can only be investigators and money distributors.
Trained and qualified social case workers would be able to work with recipients of public assistance to enable them to return to productive jobs, or to cope with their personal and social problems. Under the present system, with untrained persons in public assistance positions, the recipients are not receiving help to seek solutions to their problems. They cannot, under most circumstances, achieve a self-sufficient status.
Another aspect is the impossibility of a student doing graduate work in social casework to hold down a job. The field study workload is so heavy that students need a fund source to finance their training.
The administration has requested $3.5 million for this program. The Senate committee has
approved a $2 million appropriation. While I would have preferred the larger amount, I support
the committee in its recommendation.