The Welfare Planning Council was created in 1953 when the Welfare Council of Metropolitan Los Angeles was reorganized at the recommendation of the Citizen's Study Committee of the Welfare Federation of Los Angeles. To create a division responsible solely for programs and agencies, the committee had judged that the Welfare Council should be separated from fund-raising functions of the Los Angeles Welfare Federation, then known as the Los Angeles Community Chest. This establishment of the Welfare Planning Council continued the historical evolution of social welfare supervisory councils in Los Angeles. The first such council had been the Charity Conference Committee, organized in 1908; the next, the successor Los Angles Council of Social Agencies (1914), which then changed its name to the Welfare Council of Metropolitan Los Angeles, in 1944. Thus, the WPC dated its origins to 1914. The Council's purpose, as outlined in a 1961 brochure, was to conduct research and development in the area of social welfare, plan social welfare programs, and coordinate health, welfare, and recreational programs in the Los Angeles area. In short, the WPC was to provide an overall vision and coordination for social welfare in the Los Angeles region, as well as to take an active part in the Community Chest's hearings on budgets of member agencies. These Council activities are well documented in this collection, especially in the area of research, where a large number of research reports have been preserved.
The Council had a President and a fifty-five member Board of Directors drawn from the general public, representatives of Council social welfare organizations, and state agencies. Such Los Angeles governing bodies as the Board of Education, City Council, and Board of Supervisors played a major role in selecting some directors. The Welfare Planning Council would maintain this structure until its reorganization in 1961, in the form of a non-delegated Board of Directors whose members came from a broader spectrum of Los Angeles groups and interests than the previous board.
As a social welfare organization dedicated to the interests of all Los Angeles County, the Welfare Planning Council, early in its history, began to develop local councils, so that area concerns might be more fully addressed. In 1954, the Harbor Area Welfare Planning Council was established, while in the same year, the San Fernando Valley and West Los Angeles areas received staff for area planning councils. This emphasis on local concerns continued during the tenure of Mrs. John W. Eagle as president of the WPC (1955-1957). For example, the Administrative Study Committee under her leadership emphasized "area planning extension," with plans for area councils for South Central and East Central Los Angeles. By 1964 six area councils would exist; studies and reports that these councils issued are numerous in this collection.
During the late 1950s the Welfare Planning Council undertook a major project in the area of mental health. In 1957, the three-year Mental Health Survey of Los Angeles was begun, with the Survey's results published in 1960, and the "Mental Health Development Program" established in 1961 to follow up on the Survey's findings. This important milestone in mental health services in Los Angeles is well documented in this collection. See, for example, the Mental Health Survey Report found in Box 4, folder 1.
By 1971, the Welfare Planning Council had been absorbed by the United Way and given the new name of "The Planning Council."
All information on the Welfare Planning Council comes from holdings in this collection.