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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between those ages. School authorities must, on the other hand,
provide suitable schools for such children, or contribute to a certi-
fied private school for the education of such children. The expenses
of and incidental to the attendance of such children at school must
be borne by the school authorities ; but the parent is liable to contrib-
ute such weekly sum as he is able; and if the amount cannot be
agreed upon, it is to be decided by a court of summary jurisdiction
and collected as a civil debt.

(2) Deaf -Mutes. — The public provisions for the relief and in-
struction of deaf-mutes are almost exactly the same as those for the
blind. The guardians may relieve them either outside or inside of
the workhouse, or may provide for their maintenance in some private
institution. Deaf and dumb pauper children may be sent by the
guardians to a school suitable for their instruction, as in the case of
blind children. But their education is now, as we have just seen, pro-
vided for in the elementary school system of the country; and their
maintenance is included in their education, unless their parents are
able to contribute.

(3) The Feehle-Minded, Imbeciles, and Idiots. — The term
"feeble-minded" is not used in England in a generic sense including
all the mentally defective from the dull child down to the low grade
idiot. It is rather used to designate those who are only slightly
mentally defective — who cannot be taught by ordinary methods.
Provision for this class of defectives has only recently been made
in the English educational system, and is still very inadequate. A
movement for special schools for these children was first started in
London about 1890. Since then thirty-two schools for the special
instruction of defective children have been opened in different parts
of London, and these had in 1901 an average attendance of 884

By the Elementary Education Act for Defective Children (1899),
very similar provision has now been made for defective and epileptic
children to that for the blind and the deaf. Children who are not
imbecile, but incapable, by reason of mental or physical defect, of
receiving proper benefit from the instruction in ordinary public ele-
mentary schools, and epileptic children, must attend some certified
special school between the ages of seven and sixteen. School au-
thorities may make provision for the education of such defective


children by the establishment of special classes, or schools, or by con-
tributing towards the establishment or maintenance of some certified
(private) school. Further expenditures may be incurred by the
school authorities as in the act for the education of blind and deaf

There is a National Association for promoting the welfare of the
feeble-minded, which works in co-operation with the public authori-
ties. The association has three homes, and to these Poor Law
authorities can commit feeble-minded children. Poor Law authori-
ties also have the same powers in dealing with feeble-minded children
as in the case of blind and deaf children.

The public provisions for the care of the imbecile and idiot classes
in England are extremely deficient. In the whole of England there
were in 1901 but eight institutions exclusively devoted to their care
or education, though there were a number of county asylums with
special wards or annexes for their accommodation. It follows that
the vast majority of England's idiot and imbecile class are still in
the workhouses, or with friends or relatives.

The guardians have large permissive powers with respect to
this class. They may send idiotic persons to certified schools, and,
with the consent of the Local Government Board, to any asylum or
establishment for their reception and relief. They may also provide
for the education of idiotic or imbecile children in the same manner
as blind or deaf children. But the permissive character of these
laws, as well as of the Lunacy Act of 1890, which empowers local
authorities to provide separate institutions for idiots, renders them
almost inoperative.

In London the provisions for this class of defectives is better
than elsewhere. The Metropolitan Asylums Board provides accom-
modation in its Darenth Schools and at Ealing for more than 1,000
imbecile children. The Darenth Asylum also has custodial care
of nearly as many adults ; and at Leavesden and Catherham there are
asylums for adult idiots and imbeciles and for harmless lunatics under
the same board. The Darenth Asylum is the only institution for
idiots in England wholly supported from the poor rates. The other
seven are largely supported by charitable contributions and payments
for inmates, nearly all of them expressly refusing to receive pauper

(4) Epileptics. — No public provision has yet been made in Eng-


land for the care of epileptics save that contained in the Elementary
Education Act for Defective and Epileptic Children of 1899, which
■we have already noticed. By this act the school authorities, as we
saw, are empowered to provide for the education and maintenance
of epileptic children by means of certified homes, either under their
own or under voluntary management. Adult epileptics, if sane,
who are unable to care for themselves, are left either in the work-
houses, or with friends, or to private charity. A census of the
workhouses of England showed that on January i, 1900, there were
in them 2,566 sane epileptics.

There are, however, three or four important institutions of a
semi-public character for the care of epileptics. The chief of these
is the Chalfont Colony established by the National Society for the
Employment of Epileptics. The colony is organized on the German
plan. The society is carrying on the work of establishing such col-
onies and homes for epileptics, and is agitating for State action in
the matter.

(5) The Insane. — There were, on January i, 1900, a total of
96,865 insane paupers in England. Of these 17,460 were in work-
houses ; 5,847 were in receipt of outdoor relief (being boarded or
with relatives); 70,833 were in the county or borough asylums;
1,243 were in registered hospitals or licensed houses (private asy-
lums) ; and 1,482 in unlicensed houses.

These different modes of caring for the insane demand a word of
explanation. The county or borough asylums, which contain the
largest number of the pauper insane, are supported mainly from
county funds and are under the local control of visiting committees
of the county or town councils. By the Local Government Act of
1888 a payment of four shillings per week is to be made from the
county revenue for each inmate of these asylums when the cost of
maintenance per inmate is equal to or exceeds that sum. The dif-
ference over and above the four shillings is made good from the poor
rates of the Poor Law unions from which the inmates come. Thus
the unions are without motive for keeping their insane paupers in
the workhouses, since the cost of their care in the county asylums is
almost wholly met from county revenues.

Nevertheless, as we saw, there are still about 17,000 insane pau-
pers in the workhouses. This is due to the fact that many chronic
lunatics who are harmless are discharged from the asylums to the


workhouses. But this can only be done by consent of the Local
Government Board, and a medical officer must certify in writing
that the insane person in question is a proper person to be allowed to
remain in the workhouse. It must not be supposed that the condi-
tion of the insane in English workhouses is in any way comparable
to the condition of the insane in American almshouses. Their pres-
ence in the workhouses is safeguarded by the central authorities of
the Government in every way. Yet it is generally admitted that
it is undesirable that any insane should be kept in the workhouses,
and there is considerable agitation for their complete removal.

A number of the harmless insane are boarded with friends or
relatives under the supervision of the guardians. Unlicensed houses
are allowed to care for only one patient. Licensed houses may care
for several and are inspected frequently. They are simply small
private asylums, carried on for private profit. Registered hospitals
differ from licensed houses in that they rest on charitable endow-
ments. To all of these, guardians may commit insane paupers with
the consent of the central authorities.

Over all the public and private institutions for the care of the
insane are the Lunacy Commissioners. These constitute a super-
visory board with extensive powers. They consist of a chairman,
one unpaid commissioner, and six paid commissioners, of whom
three are legal and three medical. Each county asylum is in-
spected annually by two or more commissioners ; each licensed house
six times a year ; each registered hospital once a year. The com-
missioners also visit workhouses in which there are insane, and in-
spect all unlicensed houses at least once each year.

Commitment of the insane to institutions takes place through
"reception orders" issued by a justice of the peace or other judicial
authority. A petition for a "reception order" must be accompanied
by two medical certificates from different practitioners to the effect
that the person is insane. In some cases, especially where property
is involved, the inquiry may take place before a jury. If the judicial
authority is satisfied that the facts are as alleged, he issues the recep-
tion order, and the relieving officer accompanies the lunatic to the

After-Care Associations exist to aid poor patients who are dis-
charged recovered from the asylums to start again in life. The
associations provide cottage homes in the country for convalescent



purposes, find employment for the recovered insane and assist them
by grants of money and clothing. In this way much is done to pre-
vent relapses.

(6) Inebriates. — Until recent years habitual drunkenness was
considered merely as an offense calling for punitive treatment. But
in England as elsewhere the tendency now is to consider it a malady
nearly allied to insanity and calling for remedial treatment in special
hospitals and sanatoria. By the Inebriates Act of 1898 State inter-
ference and control in certain cases of habitual drunkenness are pro-
vided for. A person who is convicted of an offense punishable with
imprisonment and who is an habitual drunkard, if the court is sat-
isfied that the offense was committed while under the influence of
drink, or that drunkenness was a contributing cause, may be sent to
a State inebriate reformatory or to a certified (private) inebriate
reformatory for a term not exceeding four years. Again, any per-
son who has been convicted of drunkenness three times during twelve
months, and who is an habitual drunkard, may upon a fourth con-
viction be sent to an inebriate reformatory to be detained not longer
than three years.

This act, however, has not been put into operation widely for
the reason that there are comparatively few inebriate reformatories.
The act provides for the establishment of such reformatories either
by the Secretary of State from moneys provided by Parliament, or
by county or borough councils from county funds supplemented by
grants from the treasury. Counties may also contract with private
reformatories to receive criminal inebriates, if such reformatories
have been certified by the Secretary of State as fit for the purpose.
By the end of 1901 eighteen counties and seventy-eight county and
municipal boroughs had made some provision for drunkards con-
victed in accordance with the terms of the act.

Under the Habitual Drunkards Act (1879) a system of licensed
"retreats" exists for the voluntary reception and detention of habitual
drunkards. A borough or county council can give a license to keep
such a retreat for a period of two years. A competent medical man
man must be attached to each retreat, and they are inspected twice
each year by a government inspector of retreats. Any habitual
drunkard may apply to the keeper of the retreat for admission if
he is willing to sign a statement that he will submit to the regulations
and remain in the retreat a certain time. Two persons must also



make a declaration that the apphcant is an habitual drunkard and
understands the effect of his application; and finally, a justice of
the peace has to attest the applicant's signature on the same two
conditions. The applicant once admitted cannot leave the retreat
until the expiration of the period fixed upon for his detention, unless
discharged by the order of a justice. He cannot be detained longer
than two years ; but he can be readmitted at any time upon his own
application, and thus in effect the term of his detention extended.

There are about twenty of these "licensed retreats" having ac-
commodation for about 250 patients, and nearly as many more not
licensed, having provision for about the same number. On the
whole, the stage of development of these institutions, as well as of
the inebriate reformatories, must be considered far from satisfactory.
There is no compulsory detention in retreats other than that agreed
to by the applicant and no provision at public cost for the treatment
of poor inebriates, or those of limited resources. Moreover, those
retreats and homes which have admitted, upon contract with counties
or boroughs, cases committed by the courts have been seriously de-
moralized, as often these cases on account of their moral depravity
have been found unsuited for treatment in such private institutions.

(7) Cripples. — As we have already seen, there is the same pro-
vision under the Elementary Education Act of 1899 for lame or
deformed children, who, by reason of their physical defect are incap-
able of receiving proper benefit from instruction in the ordinary
public elementary schools, as there is for defective and epileptic
children. In addition, the guardians have the power of sending such
children to certified schools or to any asylum or institution where
they may be permanently cared for, the expense being borne by
the Poor Law union. There are now about a half-dozen such homes
or schools for cripples, under different auspices, where they receive
industrial training. Besides these, there are a number of orthopedic
hospitals where the diseases and malformations of cripples are treated
by surgical means. But on the whole it must be said that the special
provisions for this class of unfortunates in England, as in other
countries, are still extremely meager and manifestly insufficient.
The bulk of this class in adult life seems to be found in the work-
houses or in private homes for incurables.

10. The Treatment of Children.^ — The law of 1834 left

^ Under this head see Chance's Children Under the Poor Law, Aschrott's Eng-



the children in the workhouses, but even at that early time there were
not wanting those who protested against such an arrangement. Ac-
cordingly in 1839 the Poor Law commissioners instituted an inquiry
into the condition of the children in the workhouses, which resulted
in a report in 1841 recommending that unions be combined into dis-
tricts for the establishment of schools for pauper children. Three
years later a law was passed authorizing the establishment of these
so-called "District Schools." Since then the agitation for the com-
plete removal of the children from the workhouses has continued,
and various methods have been placed at the option of boards of
guardians to bring this about. But on January i, 1901, there were
still 50,828 children under sixteen years of age receiving indoor
relief, nearly one-half of whom were in workhouses. Nevertheless,
the educational standpoint is now dominant in the treatment of pauper
children, though there are still those who oppose every measure
which seems to make the condition of dependent children better than
that of the children of the lowest independent laborer, forgetting
that this principle is wholly negative and repressive and that in the
treatment of children the curative side of the Poor Law should mani-
fest itself.

There are now at least seven different ways in which Poor Law
authorities may care for dependent children, besides the ordinary
method of granting outdoor relief :

( 1 ) They may keep the children in separate wards in the work-
house, providing a school for them within its walls. This system
is still common in the rural workhouses, though the number of unions
which practice it is steadily decreasing, as the Local Government
Board does not encourage such workhouse schools. However, in
1900 there were still in such workhouse schools 2,836 children.

(2) Guardians may keep children in the workhouse, but send
them to an ordinary public elementary school. This system is now
in general vogue; no less than 508 out of 649 unions in 1900 sent
children to the public elementary schools. While this system is
some improvement upon the workhouse school, it is to be condemned
as in no effectual way removing the children from the moral con-
tamination and degradation of workhouse life.

(3) Children may be sent to what are called "Poor Law

lish Poor Law System, and The Annual Charities Register and Digest, Intro-


Schools," of which there are several kinds. First of all may be
mentioned the "District Schools," provided by two or more unions
according to the act of 1844. These district schools are usuall}
associated with large urban unions, such as those of London. They
are generally institutions of considerable size, accommodating from
300 to 1,000 pupils. Their size and the barrack-like plan upon which
they were formerly constructed have occasioned much criticism of
these schools in recent years. It is justly claimed that large numbers
of children cannot be cared for under such conditions Without seri-
ous danger to their physical and moral health. To meet this criticism
the latest of these schools have been constructed upon what is called
the cottage-home system. A village of cottages is built around a
school, a chapel, a hospital, and other buildings. Each cottage pro-
vides accommodation for not more than thirty children and a foster
father and mother who are supposed to make something like a real
home for the children. The schools built upon this cottage plan
have been highly successful, and this system of caring for pauper
children is, perhaps, most in favor with the central authorities at
the present time; but the costliness of construction and administra-
tion in this system precludes its general adoption.

Another form of Poor Law School is the training ship. Ships
for training boys for sea service may be provided by boards of guard-
ians or the boards of school or asylum districts, and are under the
same general regulations as other Poor Law schools. At present the
only such training ship provided is the "Exmouth" under the control
of the Metropolitan Asylums Board.

The most common form of Poor Law school are the so-called
"Separate Schools." These are provided by single unions, and are
known as separate schools because they are built outside of the work-
house walls, and usually at some distance from the workhouse. The
children live in them, usually in large dormitories, and in all respects
they are essentially like the district schools, only smaller. They
are under the management of a special committee of the board of
guardians of the unions to which they belong. In 1900 there were
10,300 children in these separate schools, as against 6,6go in the
district schools and 2,836 in the workhouse schools. This made a
total of 19,826 children in the Poor Law schools, while in 1883 there
were 35.335.

The instruction given in the Poor Law school is of the highest


grade. They are under periodic inspection by inspectors appointed
by the Local Government Board ; and to encourage the employment
of competent teachers ParHamentary grants are made according
to the grades of the teachers' certificates. The instruction is mainly
of an industrial character.

(4) A fourth means which the guardians have of educating
pauper children is by sending them till the age of fourteen to cer-
tified schools under private management. These are mainly eccle-
siastical schools or homes, many of them under the control of the
Roman Catholic Church. They must be certified by the Local Gov-
ernment Board as fit to receive pauper children and they are inspected
from time to time by the Poor Law inspectors. The guardians can-
not pay for the maintenance and tuition of a child in such a school
more than what would have been the cost of its support in the work-
house during the same period, and in any case not more than six
shillings weekly. Many of these schools are for children with some
physical or mental defect, such as the blind, and the deaf and dumb.
No child can be sent to a school conducted on the principles of a
religious denomination to which its parents did not belong, or if they
be alive, without their consent.

(5) A new plan of caring for pauper children is through what
are known as "Scattered Homes." Houses are built or hired by
the guardians in various parts of a town or union at convenient
distances from the public elementary schools, and in each of them
about ten children are lodged under the care of foster parents. Thus
far only a few unions have tried this plan, and as yet it must be
considered as only in the experimental stage.

(6) Another means which the guardians have of caring for
dependent children is boarding them out, either within or without
the union. This is regulated by a special Poor Law Order of 1889.
Unions which board out children beyond their own limits must have
a boarding-out committee consisting of three or more members who
are responsible for finding and superintending the homes at which
the children are boarded; but unions which place children only in
homes within their own limits may do so without a committee, in
which case the duty of looking after the children falls upon the re-
lieving officer and the medical ofBcer of the union. The children
who may be boarded out must be orphans or deserted, and between
the ages of two and ten, except that a child above ten may be placed


in the same home with a younger brother or sister. Before a child
can be placed in any family it must be furnished with a certificate
of health by the medical officer of the union. Except in case of broth-
ers and sisters, not more than two children can be boarded in the
same house, and never more than four. The foster parents have to
undertake to bring up the children as their own and to see that they
attend school and church. There must be a school within a mile
and a half of the home, and the residence of a member of the com-
mittee must be within five miles. When once placed, a child remains
with its foster parents until the age of fifteen, unless the guardians
withdraw the child, which they may do at any time upon one week's
notice. Every six weeks the child must be visited by a member of
the committee and its moral and bodily condition reported to the
board of guardians. In addition children who are boarded outside
of the union are inspected from time to time by women inspectors of
the Local Government Board. The compensation to the foster par-
ents may not exceed four shillings weekly for each child, exclusive
of small allowances for clothing, school, and medical fees.

There are still other regulations and restrictions, only a few of
which can be mentioned. Thus the child cannot be placed with
relatives, or with persons who have recently received public relief.
Again, in placing children, preference is to be given to the families
of laboring men, and they are not to be sent to homes in places having
a population of more than 15,000.

The boarding-out system has the obvious advantage over any
form of institutional care, that it furnishes a natural instead of a more
or less artificial life for the child. It makes possible that individual
care and those personal attachments without which the normal de-
velopment of the child cannot take place. Moreover, it efifectually
removes it from the atmosphere of pauperism and puts it into a
normal relation with its social environment. Nevertheless, the board-
ing-out system has many opponents. This is partly due to bad man-
agement. Unless there is strict supervision by both local and central

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 22 of 73)