The mission of the CSWA remains “to collect, preserve, and make accessible documents and personal histories that illuminate the emergence of social issues and problems in the fields of health and welfare in California as well as the solutions developed in response.”
CSWA achieves its mission by:
- Identifying and gathering historical documents portraying the development of social problems and the efforts to deal with these problems in California
- Conducting oral history interviews with individuals and groups who have made valuable contributions to social welfare in California
- Honoring individuals who have made significant and enduring contributions to California social work by inducting them into the California Social Work Hall of Distinctions where their contributions are memorialized
Accessing the Archives
CSWA is the only archival collection west of the Mississippi devoted exclusively to social welfare issues. It contains correspondence, minutes, memoranda, annual reports, research papers, conference proceedings, oral histories, and newsletters of California social welfare and related organizations which have reflected in their programs the development of social welfare programs, problems, issues, and services in the State. It also contains the personal papers of social workers or social work lay or civic leaders who participated in the emergence of social programs, public or private. Included in the collection are documents illustrating the roles of philanthropic groups and, especially, those depicting the history of marginalized groups as providers and consumers of mainstream social welfare services, as well as their experience in developing and using their own community services through, for example, benevolent societies and religious groups.
The Archives are accessible to social workers, researchers, historians, policy makers and students and anyone seeking to examine connections between the past and present in order to learn from history and inform understanding of contemporary and future problems and potential solutions.
CSWA collections may be consulted on the campus of the University of Southern California, in the Doheny Memorial Library, Special Collections.