Charles Schottland

1906 – 1995

Influential administrator at all public sector levels who advanced considerable legislation, especially in adoptions

Charles Schottland was a Californian who made singular contributions to social work at local, state, and national levels. With a degree in social work from the New York School of Social Work and a law degree from the University of Southern California, he used the training from both as a social work practitioner and administrator in the public and private sectors and as a distinguished educator. He continued to carry productive roles in voluntarism both in and outside of California.

During the Great Depression, he served as director of the California State relief Administration, assuring that help was given to needy persons in an apolitical fashion. For a short period he then became assistant chief of the United States Children’s Bureau, leaving that post to hold an important position in Military Government during WWII to work with refugees and displaced persons, a role he continued to fill for the emerging United Nations. He returned to Los Angeles, where he briefly practiced law while serving as an active volunteer in the Welfare Planning Council. An outstanding contribution at this time was his 1950 successful effort, in behalf of the Welfare Planning Council, to obtain the first modifications and reforms in the state’s adoption laws, making it possible for public and voluntary agencies throughout California to establish child adoption programs.

The Jewish Federation of Los Angeles then invited him to head that organization, where he remained until Governor Earl Warren induced him to take over the leadership of the California State Department of Social Welfare. There he was instrumental in improving mandatory and permissive state services as well as relationships with, and standards and programs in, the respective counties. In 1954 Schottland was appointed Commissioner of Social Security and in this position effectively improved federal-state relationships and programs. He then became Dean of the newly formed Baerwald School of Social Science Administration at Brandeis University, maintaining this post until he was made president of the University.

Schottland retired to live in Tucson, Arizona, but he continued to work with social agencies in Los Angeles as a board member and consultant. He returned frequently to carry out assigned responsibilities that focused on the social work and social welfare scene in California.

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