Wallace H. Kuralt, Sr.


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(1908–1994) Wallace H. Kuralt, Sr., father of noted journalist Charles Kuralt, was a lifelong social work practitioner and administrator. Throughout his career, Kuralt was distinguished by his innovative spirit and deeply held convictions about helping children and families. From 1945 until his retirement in 1972, Kuralt directed the Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services (Charlotte, North Carolina). He pioneered efforts to implement child care and child development centers and is credited with instituting family planning services long before such programs were nationally accepted. Many of his innovative ideas served as models for public welfare programs throughout North Carolina and the nation. Kuralt was highly regarded as an imaginative administrator who was at the forefront of efforts to implement programs to enable welfare recipients to escape poverty and dependence. He was also a strong advocate of the value of early childhood education and stressed the importance of giving children a sense of their own worth and ability even before their kindergarten years. Kuralt's advocacy efforts to improve public welfare programs included frequent testimony before government bodies, including the North Carolina general assembly, the U.S. Congress, and the United Nations. Numerous foreign countries sent social services officials from the public and private sectors to visit Mecklenburg County to learn about innovative programs implemented by Kuralt. Kuralt was a skilled teacher and mentor, and many of those he influenced became successful directors of social service agencies throughout North Carolina. Kuralt was a 1931 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and attended the university's School of Social Work from 1937 to 1938. In 1991 the Wallace H. Kuralt, Sr., Professorship in Public Welfare Policy and Administration was established at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Work. In 1994 the Department of Social Services building in Charlotte was named in his honor.

From Encyclopedia of Social Work in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Social Work.

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