Charles Richmond Henderson.

Modern methods of charity; an account of the systems of relief, public and private, in the principal countries having modern methods online

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products are exceedingly well executed. Great attention is given to
music. Health is promoted by required exercise in the garden and
by baths. Furloughs for visits are allowed to those who have rela-
tives, and life is cheered by concerts, theatres, lectures and social
festivities. The running expenses for a recent year were 59,860.77
flor.; profits on labor done, 2,051.76 flor.

There is an institution for the blind in Prague which besides doing


the work of an ordinary school for the blind with over lOO pupils,
and maintaining a kindergarten with about 20 blind children, also
gives a quite exceptional place in its activity to aiding those who have
received its instruction. Still other institutions exist primarily or
wholly to furnish homes with occupation for the instructed blind.
A finely appointed one is at Linz, another is at Prague, and one at
Graz, one each for men and women at Vienna, as above stated, one
for women at Bruenn and one for women at Melk a. d. Donau; so
that there are in Austria nine institutions of this class besides the 12

The Deaf. — Those informed long ago abandoned the idea that
the deaf mutes are necessarily or usually mentally inferior save as
the mind is dormant and undeveloped because of the defective access
through the senses to the external world. Catholic priests were the
first in Austria to teach deaf mutes. The first public institutions for
their instruction was founded at Vienna in 1779, in imitation of the
school of Abbe de I'fipee in Paris. The written language is the
basis of instruction. Sign language is used both as a means of teach-
ing the written language and for its own usefulness. Spoken lan-
guage, formerly attempted only with the most gifted, and as a sub-
ordinate factor in their education, with experience has been given
a more and more prominent place. The so-called "German method"
of instruction is used. Manual training is taught, but no trades.
However, there is a trade school for deaf mutes with a two years'
course which supplements the eight years' school course. Children
are admitted between the ages of seven and twelve. There is ac-
commodation for 120 pupils. Religious services are held on Sun-
days from 10 to II o'clock, and from ii to 12 review exercises for
those who have left the institution but gather there on that day. This
is an imperial institution, open to deaf mute children from the whole
Empire, if sound in body and able to learn.

There are now 25 institutions, the principal being Prague (170
pupils), Linz (100), Lemburg (100), Graz (128). In July, 1903,
there were in all 1,784 pupils ; 22 institutes arc boarding schools, and
3 receive pupils from outside. Of 6,000 deaf children of school age
in Austria only 1,800 could be provided for in existing schools. The
school period is usually from 4 to 8 years. There are 3 continuation
schools, but no homes or asylums for adults.^

^ Zeit. f. d. Armenwesen, June, 1903, p. 169.


The Hebrews maintain an institution located in Lower Austria
which receives Jewish deaf mute children from all Austria. At St.
Poelten in the same province there is a diocesan institute for deaf
mutes. Other schools for the deaf are situated at Linz, Graz, Goerz,
Mils, Trient ; private ones at Prague and Lemburg ; one for Moravia
and Silesia at Bruenn ; one recently founded by the Landtag at Salz-
burg, and there is a second one in Vienna besides two departments
for deaf mutes in connection with public schools. Others are at
Klagenfurt, Budweis, Letimeritz, Koeniggraez, Eibenschitz, Leipnik,
Lemberg, and one for girls at St. Michael.

In the treatment of the insane, in Austria much as elsewhere,
the transition from the shocking conditions of a few decades ago has
been by way of the following steps. First came the relaxation of
cruel bonds and imprisonment, and the readmission of the insane
to the circle of human sympathy. Next was the realization that many
cases are curable and a separation of the curable from the incurable,
that went so far as to placing them in entirely distinct institutions.
This was proved impracticable because of the impossibility of predict-
ing which were incurable, and which, under proper conditions, would
be restored to sanity, as well as because of the extravagance of the
duplication of plants. Accordingly the method most approved by
experience is to have separate departments in the same institution.
The classification, moreover, not being into curables and incurables
but rather according to the outward manifestations of disease, as
quietness, disturbance, violence, etc., avoiding associations injurious
to the patients and likely to interfere with the progress of possible
cures. This of course does not exclude the removal of cases proved
incurable. The latest and most important advance is the rational
employment of the insane, and the idea of outdoor work as a thera-
peutic agent. The most recent phase of this advance is the forma-
tion of labor colonies of the insane for systematic employment. In
great asylums there is a class of patients who are far better off
when taken out of the institutions and put in such colonies. Of
course the great asylum may maintain such a company of workers
as one of its departments. But the labor colony should not be within
the surrounding wall of the asylum, and in no case should the room
occupied by its members have barred windows. On the contrary
these patients should be housed on the open-door system in separate
cottages like ordinary country homes. Even incurables who do not


require restraint should, if possible, be freed from the sight of all
symbols of force and restraint. The number of hospitals for the
insane in Austria is 36. One of the largest has been built recently.
December 31, 1896, the number of inmates in the 35 asylums then
existing was 12,432, or more than four times as many as were in the
asylums fifty years earlier ; the general population meantime had in-
creased only one-third. The number of insane persons in Austria in
1873, according to official statistics was one to every 1,077 of the
population, and in 1896 one to every 825, an increase of 3 to each
10,000 (Dalmatia is omitted in each report). The per cent, of in-
sanity in different provinces varies widely; in 1873 this variation was
from I in 390 to i in 5,098; in 1896 it was from i in 383 to i in
2,089. The fact that during this period the number of inmates in
institutions increased from 5,965 to 12,432 indicates great progress
in hospital facilities for unfortunates of this class. The 36 hospitals
mentioned are public, and while most of them contain facilities for
caring for patients from the well-to-do classes in accordance with
their habits of life, yet they are chiefly intended for patients from the
more numerous classes of the population. There are in Austria 8
private hospitals for the insane, of which 5 are in Lower Austria and
3 in Vienna. One is at Bubenc near Prague in Bohemia and 2 are in
Galicia. The 8 have all together 359 beds. These institutions are
under strict legal regulations, especially with reference to the admis-
sion and release of inmates.

K. Children. — Among the public officials of Austria for the
care of the poor are Foster Parents for Orphans {Waisenvdter,
Waiscnmiitter). Each of these foster parents has charge of three or
four of the children who are boarded at public expense. Each of these
children the foster parent is expected to visit if possible several times
a month. The representative of the public is to see that the boarding
places of the children are suitable, their dwellings sanitary, their
clothing adequate, clean and whole, the child itself kept clean, and to
learn whether it is in good health, and whether school and church
are regularly attended. Every six months each foster parent gives
a concise report to the chairman under whom they are organized, and
these reports go ultimately to the magistracy. In spite of what can
be said of well planned activities here and there it must be admitted
that on the whole the care of orphans in Austria is totally inadequate,
and oversight of the education and bringing up of orphans outside


of institutions is generally lacking. There are private organizations
for the rescue and protection of children. The aim of such organi-
zations are: (i) After thorough investigation of cases of abuse
of children to report to the authorities; (2) to oversee persons to
whom abused children are transferred or to secure the transfer of
the children to persons chosen by the society or to institutions; (3)
to move the appointment of some person as guardian when the par-
ents have legally forfeited the right of guardianship, or the child is
for other reasons without a guardian; (4) to see to it that persons
responsible for the support of children perform their duty.

In Vienna in case of legal residence outdoor aid is granted for
children whose parents are living if it is proved that parents are too
poor to support the child, especially if one parent is arrested or in a.
hospital or other institution, or if the mother or grandparents of an
illegitimate child are willing to care for the child but unable to do
so without aid. Such aid to parents cannot exceed 2 flor. a month
for one child. Orphan stipends are 3 flor. a month, and the latter
sum under certain circumstances is allowed for the child of a widow.
Outdoor aid for children is allowed only for those under the com-
pulsory school age, that is to the end of the school year following the
fourteenth birthday. The grants are made for terms of six months
or a year and are renewable ; grants for orphans are for one or two
years. Unless proof to the contrary is given it is assumed that even
a widow can support one child and accordingly no grant is made for
only one child. The magistracy may pay the monthly allowance for
a child to a family not related to it, who in return agree to board the
child, when: (i) Both parents are dead, or (2) their residence is
unknown, or (3) both parents or the only surviving parent are
arrested or in a public institution, or for other exceptional reason un-
able to care for all their children, or (4) in the case of foundlings
discharged from the asylum at the age of ten and turned over to the
magistracy. Of every family that receives money thus it must be
proved that they inhabit healthy quarters, are fit to rear children and
in such circumstances as to preclude the suspicion that they take a
child in order to improve their own condition at its expense.

The original and for generations the only system of foundling

asylums was that of the turning box (Die Drehlade, le tour, la ruota).

A circular box was fixed in the house wall so that part was within and

part without. The infant was deposited in the turning box outside




the house and a bell was rung, whereupon the box turned around and
carried the child inside and allowed the person who had deposited it
to depart unseen. Thus no child could be refused admittance and the
anonymity was complete. Under the present Austrian system chil-
dren are admitted, without charge, if the mothers are legal residents
of the given municipality or of other municipalities that will pay
charges, but only when the children are illegitimate and the mothers
have submitted to the purposes of instruction at the obstetric clinic.
A fee is charged for the admission of children born in the pay sections
of the lying-in hospital. Admission is either temporary or perma-
nent. It is permanent when the mother binds herself to serve four
months as a nurse. Children taken thus permanently are kept in the
institution until they can be placed in families and remain under
the care of the institution for from 6 years (Prague) to lo (Vienna),
and the maternity is kept secret during that time, but not longer, the
child being then turned over to the magistracy of the mother's legal
residence unless she has meantime found the means to provide for
it. The Vienna foundling asylum is the largest in the world. It
regularly contains from 200 to 300 children, 20 to 25 per day are ad-
mitted, or 7,000 to 8,000 per year. Outside of the institution are al-
ways from 23,000 to 24,000 of its wards, of whom a part are with
their mothers or other relatives and the rest are placed in the homes
of married people. Thus the total number under the care of the
institution in a year is 31,000 to 32,000 children. The great mass
of these are illegitimate ; during ten years only 902 legitimate children
have been received. There is a foundling asylum in Prague where
the numbers are about half as large as those of this institution in
Vienna. At least five smaller asylums are situated in other parts of
Austria. As a rule the institution acts only as a bureau for receiv-
ing the children and placing them out as soon as may be done. When
possible the children are sent to the country. They are entrusted to
respectable married couples or to widows, whose fitness is attested by
the clerical and political authorities of their places of residence. The
certificates include, with more obvious requirements, statements as
to the physical health of the parties who offer to take children, and
vouch that the places where they live are not in sanitary or other
respects unfit for children. Only one child is placed in a family, ex-
cept in case of twins or triplets, and two may be entrusted to a family
specially commended. Each child must be taken from the institu-



tion by the woman who is to be its foster mother. An allowance for
travelling expenses may be made. On taking the child the foster
mother receives a printed booklet which gives a statement of the
rights and duties of child and foster parents, and directions for the
care of infants. Those who have a child in charge receive 6 flor. a
month till the child is one year old, 5 flor, a month during its second
year and 4 flor. thereafter to the end of the period of six or ten
years. A party which has kept a child for 8 consecutive months of
its first year receives extra 10 flor. Another extra 10 flor. is allowed
at the end of the full period when the child has been well cared for at
least one year and the party agrees to keep it free thereafter. If the
foster parents return a child to the institution they receive 5 flor.
Every year 50 or 60 especially good foster mothers are distinguished
by an extra reward. Sometimes the natural mother furnishes the
necessary documents and takes her child, and sometimes other rela-
tives do so. These receive only two-thirds as much pay, and after
one year they cannot give back the charge to the institution nor turn
it over to other parties except by special permit from the provincial
government. This two-thirds pay is allowed to the natural mother
even if she is married, if she declares before witnesses that the hus-
band is not the father, and if the husband agrees to take the child
with her. In any case the natural mother has the right to claim her
child at the end of the full period of 6 or 10 years. If investigation
shows that the natural mother is too poor then the foster mother has
the right. If neither the mother nor the foster mother takes the child
it is turned over to the authorities of the municipality which is its
legal residence. No child is given into permanent adoption unless
the mother is dead or has relinquished her right. Whenever a
foundling is ill, after being placed out, the foster parent is bound
without delay to summon one of the public physicians for the poor
who reports semi-annually to the institution. At the asylums the
children are vaccinated, and on certain hours of certain days of the
week any one can be vaccinated without charge.

The institution also serves as a bureau of wet-nurses, since nurses
who have served two months in the asylum and are no longer re-
quired can go into private service at the market rate. All but the
older children and those who are ill, or suspected of being so, have
the service of wet-nurses as long as they remain in the asylum. One
hundred and thirty-eight nurses are constantly employed at the


asylum in Vienna; from 80 to 125 at Prague. The whole number
that come to the latter institution from the maternity hospital in the
course of a year is about 3,000.

The asylum at Vienna was founded in 1784, and in that year
2,366 children were admitted, of whom 54 per cent, died before com-
pleting the period during which children regularly remain under the
watch and care of the institution. The death rate gradually in-
creased until of the 4,307 taken in 181 1 it was 74 per cent. There-
after the death rate diminished as expenditure was increased, until in
1829 20,540 children were admitted, of whom 13 per cent, died before
completing the normal period. The next year the expenditure
was cut down, and the death rate rose in consequence, and 32 per
cent, of the 25,050, who were admitted in 1866, died. In 1873 the
rate of expenditure was again increased, and the death rate dimin-
ished gradually thereafter until in 1883, 35,008 were admitted, of
whom 10.9 per cent. died. Since that year expenditures have again
been cut down, and the death rate has responded with an increase,
so that in 1896, 27,433 children were admitted, of whom 12.3 per cent,

At the institution in Prague 80.8 per cent, of those taken in their
first year, in 1863, died. This rate fell steadily, until of those taken
in 1868, 66.1 per cent, were lost. The per cent, of deaths among
those taken in the next three years increased until of those taken in
1872 it was 74 per cent. Children taken up to this time remained in
the care of the institution until the completion of their tenth year;
thereafter this care ceased with the sixth year, and of those received
in the year 1873, 63.1 per cent, died before completing the sixth year.
Thenceforward the death rate diminished steadily, and among the
infants received in 1893 it was 39.4 per cent, and the diminution has
continued from that time.

The foundling asylums of Dalmatia date from not later than the
fifteenth century, and are organized on a plan quite different from
the one just described. Children are received and no questions
asked. None are refused, and complete anonymity is allowed. In
Dalmatia there are five such asylums connected with maternity or
general hospitals.

In the asylum at Styria an attempt has recently been made to
replace the use of wet-nurses. Though doubtless this is the best, it
is far the most costly method of maintaining the infants, and it seems



an inconsistency to afford, for children thus dependent on the public,
a luxury scarcely within the reach of the well-to-do. However, with
weakly children, especially with those of imperfectly developed diges-
tive organs, no substitution is practicable. The death rate in the
Styrian asylum, including those who are classified as sickly from the
first, falls to a point between 123^ and 13 per cent.

There are two other classes of homes for children, those designed
for orphans and those designed for children whose parents are living.
Each class, as a rule, admits only children who have reached school
age, that is, six years, although a few maintain a kindergarten de-
partment and receive children between the ages of three and six. In
institutions of these classes care of the health does not cease to be
the main concern. Where the management is most intelligent, health
is promoted by open-air occupations, walks, baths, gymnastics, games,
skating. The management is as a rule under two head officials, one
of whom has the care of physical well-being, and the other the care
of instruction and discipline. These homes are numerous in Bo-
hemia. Information is accessible concerning twenty Bohemian
homes for children who are not orphans, which receive from 30 to
300 children each, and in all care for about 2,500 at a time. These
are not altogether charitable institutions, though mainly so, and the
expenses are partly met by fees from the parents, which in most cases
are small, and supplemented by municipal funds, endowments, socie-
ties, private subscriptions and the patronage of noblemen. There
are also over fifty homes in Bohemia that receive orphans, most of
them orphans exclusively. The number of homes where orphans are
received, in all Austria, exceeds two hundred.

While great institutions located in cities, where children are
brought up to trades, will always be necessary, it has come to be rec-
ognized that it is far better for children born in the country, to
remain when they can in the conditions from which they have sprung,
rather than to be thrust into the crowded labor markets of the great
towns. The state orphan asylum of Lower Austria owns a farm-
house in the country, which is carried on as a branch home. It is
thoroughly equipped for farming, and in charge of a practical farmer
and his wife, who become "father" and "mother" to a large family
of eight orphan children. As soon as the children reach the age of
fourteen, they go out to service in the region round about, and are
replaced by others. The "father" and "mother" are under obliga-


tion to keep the home always open to those who have been its inmates,
and to stand by them permanently with aid and counsel. If the
"parents" are able to make money in managing the farm and rear-
ing such a family, they are allowed to do so. But they are controlled
with reference to the standard of living and the manner of bringing
up the children. This control is exercised by a responsible committee
which consists of the local pastor, burgomeister and public physician,
a teacher, and two women who are expert in housekeeping. The
women have the right and duty to make requirements with reference
to the housekeeping; the minister is responsible for the moral and
religious character of the home ; the physician for the sanitary condi-
tion and the care of the children's health ; the burgomeister must see
that thrifty farming is carried on. When the farmer and his wife
grow old, they will be called "grandfather" and "grandmother," oc-
cupy a room in the house, and help with the children and such work
as they are able to do, while a younger pair come in as a new "father"
and "mother." The cost of equipping a number of such institu-
tions would be no more than that of founding one great asylum
to accommodate the same number of children, and while the main-
tenance of a child in a great orphanage in the most economical way
does not fall below 360 to 480 crowns a year, a child of school age,
in such a country home, costs not over 96 crowns a year.

There are three important kinds of institutions for the partial care
of children, of which the first is the creche. The creche is a private
institution where infants and children under three years of age are
cared for during the working hours of their parents. The first
creche was founded in Paris in 1840 by the physician Firmin Mar-
beau. Sanitary conditions are of prime importance. Rooms used
for this purpose must be dry and have abundance of pure air and sun-
shine. An ideally equipped creche will have a waiting room for
mothers, so that they need not enter the nursery with the dirt of the
street, the home, and workshop, and possibly bearing germs of con-
tagion. There will be a bathroom, where the babies can be washed
and the little ones cleanly dressed before entering the nursery ; an
isolation room for those who are suddenly taken ill and suspected of
contagion ; there will also be a room for nurselings, provided with
little iron beds or cradles, a diapering stand, a case with numbered
compartments for each child's eating utensils, and an air-tight re-
ceptacle for soiled diapers. There should be another room with


padded enclosure for the creeping children, and for the toddlers little
chairs, tables, playthings, and a carpet, perhaps of cork ; also a nap
room. Besides all these there may be rooms for the attendants, a
kitchen and cellar, or else a refrigerator to contain sterilized milk;
and a washing and drying room. The personnel will include a
matron, a cook and washer, who may be one person, and one attendant
for each three to five children.

The second kind of institution of this class cares for children
from three to six years old during their parents' working hours.
The first institution of this kind was founded in 1780 at Waldbach

Online LibraryCharles Richmond HendersonModern methods of charity; an account of the systems of relief, public and private, in the principal countries having modern methods → online text (page 13 of 73)