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The Department of Public Welfare shall have the power and its duty shall be to perform the following functions:
(a) Assistance. It shall receive, care for and place dependent, mentally defective, neglected, incorrigible and delinquent children and mentally defective, aged, infirm and destitute adults whose support is paid for out of the City Treasury or out of other funds which are administered by the City. In cases where the Department has placed such children or adults, it shall from time to time investigate the manner in which they are being cared for. The Department shall also locate, care for and return to their places of residence transients, resident and non-resident, who because of age, lack of means, or other appropriate reasons require such assistance.
(b) Assistance Payments and Collections. The Department shall approve or disapprove all bills rendered to the City by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for the maintenance of City residents in State institutions for the insane and feebleminded and by private persons for the care of children and adults placed with them and no order shall be issued or paid without such approval. It shall transmit to the Department of Collections for collection all accounts due to the City for the care and placement of children and adults and the care and return of transients.
(c) City Welfare Institutions. The Department shall have general supervision over all City homes for the indigent and other welfare institutions now or hereafter owned or operated by the City, except as set forth in Chapter 12. It shall determine the capacity of such City institutions and determine and designate the type of persons and the proportion of each type to be received therein. The Department shall recommend and bring to the attention of the officers and boards of trustees of City institutions standards and methods helpful in the government and administration of such institutions and for the betterment of the condition of their inhabitants. 139
Sources: Act of June 25, 1919, P.L. 581, Article VIII, Section 3; the Administrative Code of 1929, P.L. 177, Section 2303, 2312 and 2315, as amended.
Purposes: 1. Welfare functions formerly vested in the Department of Public Welfare under the Charter of 1919 are of such importance and bear such scant relationship to the recreational functions formerly vested in the same Department that a separate department is needed to discharge them. Thus, the Department of Public Welfare established by this Charter has the sole duty of carrying out public welfare functions.
2. As in the case of City hospitals, City welfare institutions are placed under the care and management of individual boards of trustees. See Section 5-701. The reasons motivating this decision and the relationship of the Department of Public Welfare to the boards of trustees are the same as those in the cases of the Department of Public Health and the boards of trustees of City hospitals. See Annotations to Section 5-300 and 5-303.
3. Special emphasis is placed by the Charter on the establishment and fulfillment of a program of inmate labor so that inmates of penal, reformatory and correctional institutions will have an opportunity for compensable self improvement and the use of their time through the rendition of services which will also benefit the City. Such programs are limited by feasibility and the abilities of the persons who are to engage in them. Accounting requirements are imposed to make certain that the City and inmates will receive the full benefit from such programs as are instituted.