The Door of Hope: A Case Study of Five Unmarried Mothers Who Were Referred for Psychiatric Consultation

Margaret Rose Shields, Fordham University


It is the thinking of the Salvation Army that one cannot give effective help in planning for the unmarried mother or baby unless definite knowledge or indication of the meaning of the pregnancy is known. It is important to help the client feel secure and to function adequately; otherwise, she will feel lost and dissatisfied. As the worker observes the unmarried mother’s reactions and listens to her story, she evaluates the client as an individual. The social problem of the unmarried mother and her illegitimate child is one which social workers have to handle constantly, and the caseworker should be aware of her own feelings and her own attitudes for effective casework. This is particularly necessary when working with unmarried mothers. The reasons why a girl becomes pregnant are as diversified as are the individual situations. It is necessary that the worker face with the client the implications involved in an illegitimate pregnancy. The Women’s Social Service Department of the Salvation Army operates thirty-three maternity homes and hospitals in the United States, one of which is the Door of Hope in Jersey City. This Home offers service to the unmarried mother, and in so doing, hopes to give both physical and spiritual care to the girls who receive their help. In the program at the Home, the Superintendent and the staff members aim toward helping the girl to make a better adjustment . The program includes such methods as client worker relationship through casework techniques, handicraft classes, practical experience in homemaking and baby care, Bible studies and religious services. At the Home there is a very definite relationship between the girls and the staff members, many of whom are members of the Salvation Army.

Subject Area

Military studies|Individual & family studies|Social work

Recommended Citation

Shields, Margaret Rose, "The Door of Hope: A Case Study of Five Unmarried Mothers Who Were Referred for Psychiatric Consultation" (1952). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI30557639.