Katharine Felton

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Felton drafted nearly all of the State's early legislation covering welfare and relief.

Katharine Conway "Kitty" Felton (1873–1940) was a head of Associated Charities in San Francisco at the turn of the 20th century.

Felton was born in Oakland, California, on July 7, 1873, the daughter of a prominent San Francisco Bay Area family. Her father John Brooks Felton, was a judge and mayor of Oakland and has the Santa Cruz County town of Felton, California named for him. She was called "the conscience of the city" because of her dedication to social work according to History of FSA by Dan Kelly, Director of Planning for the Human Services Agency of San Francisco.[1]

In 1901, at the age of 28, Felton was appointed director of Associated Charities (now the Felton Institute--formerly the Family Service Agency of San Francisco).

In the crucible of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire, she became the head of the social service efforts to restore the life of the people of the city and developed innovative solutions that are common practice today. She created the first employment agency in the United States, developed mental health counseling to deal with the traumatized, became an advocate for foster care, and by combining private and public funds made it possible for widowed and single mothers to remain at home with their children. She also was responsible for emptying the refugee camps and finding placements for the dispossessed, all of which she accomplished within one year. These innovations became known as the "San Francisco Model" by 1907.

Felton drafted nearly all of the State's early legislation covering welfare and relief according to the Proceedings of the National Conference of Social Work, Volume 13, 1901. [2] In 1928, with the help of her friend architect Bernard Maybeck, she built what is today the office building of Family Service Agency at 1010 Gough Street in San Francisco.

In 2006, the Felton Institute for Excellence in Clinical Training was named for Kitty Felton.


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