California Association for Health and Welfare was the name adopted in 1958 by the former California Conference of Social Work, which had been an important and highly influential assembly of professional social workers and lay members dedicated to public service. The group began in 1901, as the California Conference of Charities and Corrections, with the initial goal of promoting legislation to establish a state department supervising the state's welfare activities. After the California State Department of Charities and Corrections (later the Department of Social Welfare) was finally set up in 1903, the Conference played major roles in the development of the state's juvenile courts, in the reform of county hospitals, in pioneering state aid for needy children and the aged, and in the registration and certification of social workers. It also developed an effective legislative advocacy arm, first flexed during assaults on state social services launched by the legislature during the 1930s. At its height in the late 1930s and early 1940s, the Conference had a membership of over 3,000 and would often host 1,000 or more attendees at its annual conferences. The bulk of the collection reflects the condition of the Association from 1965 to 1969, when membership had sunk to around 600 and was in an apparently irreversible decline leading to dissolution of the group in February 1969.