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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The prevalence of leprosy gave occasion for the establish-
ment of four hospitals for those afflicted with this disease. In
the year 1866, 795 lepers were treated, but in 1895 the number
had fallen to 360, and one of the hospitals, at Reknes, was made
a sanatorium for tuberculous patients. Another hospital for con-
sumptives has been planted in Lyster in Sogn, in a well-wooded
district, 1,600 feet above sea level.

In Kristiania is a general hospital belonging to the state, with
medical and surgical, and special wards. The daily average of
patients in 1895 was 376. The state also supports two lying-in



hospitals, in connection with which instruction in obstetrics is
given. The number of births in the institution at Kristiania was
969 in 1895, and at Bergen 112.

Two seaside hospitals for scrofulous children (at Fredriks-
vern and Bergen) enjoy state subsidies.

Most of the countries support infirmaries, some of which are
open only in the fishing season. The cities support their own
hospitals, in which persons suffering from epidemic diseases
are treated. In Kristiania is a special hospital, with 200 beds,
for treatment of patients suffering from communicable disease.
There are also hospitals on charitable foundations, as St. Jergen's
Hospital for Lepers in Bergen, Oslo Lunatic Asylum, Our Lady's
Hospital, the Deacons' and Deaconesses' Houses in Kristiania.

There are several sanitoria for convalescents and neuras-
thenics, bathing rooms and medical spring baths are made acces-
sible to the indigent sick in some instances.

Nurses, men and women, are trained at the Deacons' and
Deaconesses' Houses in Kristiania, and by several associations,
as the Red Cross and the Norwegian Women's Hygienic Union.

Under the Department of Justice in Norway is a civil medical
board with a director. In districts and towns medical officers
are appointed to attend the sick poor and dependent insane.
Boards of health are charged with the duty of safeguarding public
health by enforcing sanitary regulations, quarantine, etc.

J. Defectives. — The cost of maintenance of pauper lunatics in
Norway is borne partially or wholly by the state exchequer.

There are three state hospitals for the insane with capacity
for 820 patients. Another is projected for the northern part of
the country, and the Trondhjem prison has an asylum for 30
insane convicts. Occasionally insane persons are found in the
county infirmaries, and in Kristiania, Kristiansand, Bergen and
Trondhjem there are municipal establishments for lunatics.
There are two private institutions for the insane.

In Norway deaf, blind and imbecile children are educated,
under the provisions of the law of 1881 and under the direction
of the Ecclesiastical and Educational Department. The law
makes such attendance obligatory. Elementary institutions and
practical training for industry are furnished by these schools.
The course is ordinarily 8 years. Deaf children are received at


7, blind children at 9, and imbeciles at 14 or 15 years of age.
The first school for the deaf was opened at Drontheim in 1824.
Instruction is at cost of the state, but expenses of support are
borne by the municipalities. The government has five schools
for deaf children and the lip reading method is used. There are
three state institutions for feeble-minded children. In 1898-99
there were 420 pupils, with 67 masters and governesses. The
state has two schools for the blind and maintains an institution
under private care for blind adults. In 1898-99 there were 130
blind pupils and 20 teachers. An industrial school at Kristiania
in 1898 had 44 pupils. There are several societies to aid adult
deaf mutes. The number of the deaf in Norway, January i, 1891,
was 2,139. June i, 1900, there were 309 pupils in all schools.

Sweden. — By a law of May 31, 1899, the school attendance of
deaf children for 8 years from the 7th to 9th year was made
obligatory. There are 8 institutions, for the most part boarding
schools, with 100 to 170 pupils ; also 2 private schools and 3 insti-
tutions for persons beyond the school age. In 1898 there were
860 pupils of school age and 78 over this age in institutions for
the deaf.

There is a school and home for the blind and deaf, with 6
pupils, and also 8 feeble-minded, hearing blind children are cared

K. Children. — In Sweden public relief is extended to dependent
children under the 15th year. In Norway orphans and friend-
less children are also wards of public charity.

In Sweden it is expressly provided by law that dependent
children shall enjoy Christian education.

In Norway, under the boarding system of relief dependent
children are under the protection of special regulations. Small
children may not be quartered on families but may be placed in
families who volunteer to care for them. Older children are kept
for several years in the same home, in order that they may enjoy
the advantage of continuous educational influences.

In Norway destitute and neglected children in danger of
growing up criminals, are now protected and cared for under a
law passed in 1896,^ in such a way that no child under 14 years

* Zeitschrift f. d. Armenwesen, 1903, p. 169.

* Schriften d. Deutschen Vereins f. A. u. W. Heft 64, p. 6.


of age shall be considered responsible for crime, but shall be
placed under careful educational influences. In each munici-
pality a Board of Guardians, on which a pastor, a magistrate, a
physician, and one or two women are appointed, decides what
shall be done with morally imperilled children. This board may
remove a child from the parents, place it in a home or school,
or safeguard it in its parental home, as they think most beneficial
to the child. The schools are carefully graded to prevent the
mingling of the better children with those already depraved.
This work for children is under the direction of the Ecclesiastical
and Educational Department, and the cost is divided between the
central and local governments.

Technical schools of all grades are supplied in Norway with
the purposes of fitting the young people to make their own way
in life. In 1897-8 there were 13 technical night schools, with
2,443 pupils and 239 teachers. The school fees are 2 to 5 kr. a
year. In some towns public drawing schools are maintained
by the local government with the aid of a state subsidy.

Employment bureaus are provided in the larger municipali-
ties, where there are the greatest movements of working men.

M. Workingmen's Dwellings. — In Norway the industries are
largely in the country (54 per cent, of the factories and 48 per
cent, of the labor counted in days).

In Kristiania land is dear. Private companies have done
something to meet the need for houses. The city itself has built
a few blocks of artisan dwellings, provided sanitary inspection
and regulated the condition of cellars. The government has
created funds to be lent for the purchase of houses.

Norzvay (Protection and Insurance of Workingmen). — The agi-
tation for state regulation and help began about 1878. Factory
inspection and protection of laborers in mines, handicrafts and
manufactories have been provided. The work of children is re-
stricted, education insured, and conditions of health required.
Children under 14 years of age may not be employed in fac-
tories; youths (14 to 18 years) may not be employed over 10
hours a day. Women may not be employed in mines, nor at
work with machinery, nor during six weeks after confinement.
Adult men may not labor after 6 P. M., before Sunday or a holi-
day, nor until 10 P. M. on Sunday or a holiday.


Norway (Accident Insurance). — By the law of July 23, 1894,
working people, domestics, miners, quarrymen, wharf laborers,
etc., are assured an indemnity in case of accident. Other persons
are permitted to insure themselves in the state office. Laborers
in agriculture, shipping and fishing were not included in this
law. About 80,000 persons in about 10,000 occupations were
included. The indemnity is: Expenses of medical treatment
from the fourth week after the accident. For the first four weeks
the sick benefit clubs are supposed to bear the expenses. Sixty
per cent, of the wages of the injured person is paid in case of
complete disablement, and a lower rate in case of partial inca-
pacity to labor. If accident results in death the funeral expenses
(50 kr.) and an annuity to the bereaved family (not more than
50 per cent, of the wage rate) are paid. If the man is to blame
for the accident there is no indemnity. The premiums are paid
by employers, according to wages up to 1,200 kr. per year. The
premium may not be charged to employe. A law for insurance
against disablement by sickness has also been under considera-
tion for several years.

There are private sick clubs, burial clubs and pension funds
in Norway; but, like all voluntary arrangements, they meet the
wants of only a part of the working people, and least of all, those
who are in greatest need of such protection.



A. Legislation. — The fundamental law of 1849 enacts that
"whoever is unable to support himself or those dependent on him
has a right to assistance from the community, if his support is
not incumbent on others ; but he is subject to the liabilities which
the law in this respect imposes."

This recognition of the right of the indigent to aid was held
in view both in law and practice long before this. The scope
was enlarged in 1708 so as to include the able-bodied indigent
as well as children, the sick and decrepit. In the early part of
the sixteenth century poor-relief organization was attempted and
laws enacted therefor, but it remained practically undeveloped.
A specific poor rate was first levied on landowners in 1762. An
ordinance of 1792 declared for poor aid through organized charity.
A commission worked out the plan embodied in the poor laws
of 1799, which served as the basis of poor-relief in Copenhagen
up to 1891 and which is even now dominant. In the same man-
ner the fundamental law of 1803 for the provincial cities and rural
regions prevailed until the same date and was not fundamentally
changed. The chief changes in the codes of 1799 and 1803 took
place in 1849, when the period of settlement was extended from
three to five years; in 1857 for Copenhagen; and in 1867-8 for
the other cities and country when the system of administration
was municipalized throughout the kingdom; in 1873 when relief
officers in Copenhagen were placed on a salary instead of volun-
tary basis; and in 1891 when old age rehef provisions were made.
The principle of state aid to indigent able-bodied persons involved
the imposition of such severe conditions that only those who were
driven or forced to be idle would apply, and hence the transition




of assistance through private charity organizations to public
reHef chiefly in workhouses.

Although poor-relief in Denmark divides itself into three
parts, Copenhagen distinct from the rest, the so-called "provin-
cial cities" or "cities," and the country, and although adminis-
tratively they are different each from the other, yet the same gen-
eral laws prevail in all. By remembering that the cities are di-
vided into districts and the country into communes, each of
which constitutes a poor district, confusion will be avoided.

Qualifications of Right to Aid. — Certain conditions modify the
right to assistance. Parents must maintain legitimate or step-
children up to the i8th year. This period may be extended for
the feeble-minded. Separated parents who are financially able
must maintain the children. This applies to adopted children
and to mothers of illegitimate children. A man must contribute
to the support of his illegitimate children. Parents of disordered
minds are sustained by their children. Wife and husband are
responsible for each other's support. In default of any on whom
his support is incumbent the pauper's right to relief is not

Liabilities Consequent on Aid. — The pauper must remain in the
district relieving him ; be subject to superintendence, to needed
discipline and punishment, e. g., placing in workhouse with hard
labor and confinement, or even to imprisonment in jail; prohibi-
tion to marry and removal of his children from his house or con-
trol.^ Loss of general electoral rights, e. g., to vote for mem-
bers of the Folkthing ensues upon application for and acceptance
of public aid. To prevent pawning of property, one receiving
continuous support is registered by the relief officers. The state
has certain rights of inheritance against the heirs of a pauper,
especially if he receives hospital relief. In some instances the
state may claim repayment of aid given. In Copenhagen a re-
stored pauper is primarily liable for such assistance given. In
the cities and country such liability ensues only upon his death.
The last four consequences ensue to anyone who fails in his duties
of maintenance of those dependent on him.

Settlement. — The working principle in Denmark is that tem-

^ This does not affect those who repay the aid granted nor those aided from
the "poor fund" who are not yet on the public poor list.


porary relief is to be given by the district in which the pauper
appHes, permanent rehef by that in which he has settlement.
Settlement is established by five years' free, continuous residence.
Continuity is interpreted to be retention of domicile or service
in a district. Married men contributing to the support of their
family, though separate from the latter, retain residence and
settlement thereby. Voluntary residence does not apply to the
movements of minors, idiots, soldiers, prisoners, and others de-
tained by force. In default of five years' residence, relief is
obligatory on the indigent's birthplace. In case neither residence
nor birthplace can be established, the place of longest residence
during the last five years is bound to give relief, provided the
residence was over one year; under that, local relief is granted.
Up to the i8th year children's residence goes with the parents'
home district, and illegitimate children have the residence of the
mother. If the parents have no home commune, relief of the
child depends on the commune granting aid to parents. The
domicile of wives (not divorced) is that of the husband, and this
holds good for widows.

Temporary Relief. — Indigents are entitled to local relief and
also to^ sick benefits for not over six weeks, if they have a resi-
dence in the place for three months. Such aid does not include
lodging and rent. Three-fourths indemnification from the pau-
per's residence commune may be obtained. However, this repay-
ment does not generally include expense of medical attention,
midwife and burial. Either district concerned may insist on the
transfer of a dependent.

It is illegal to expel any one from a commune, on the supposi-
tion that he may become a public burden or to prevent his settle-
ment on the same grounds, if he supports himself.

Law of Outdoor and Indoor Relief. — The law of 1891 provides
for assistance in homes, private families and public institutions.
Begging and giving to the poor of institutions are prohibited.
Poor-relief, therefore, provides necessary maintenance — in sick-
ness medical attention and care — and directs the mode of appli-
cation for each person. Those not adapted to aid in the home are
to be removed to the appropriate public institution. On advice

^ The law of 1891 qualified this, as also for domestic servants.


of the physician a sick pauper is removed to a hospital or the
infirmary of a charity institution.

B. Administration and Organization. — The administrative
machinery of Denmark is three-fold : that for the country, that for
the cities and that for Copenhagen. In 1867 the principle of self-
government was applied to local affairs in Denmark and the coun-
try was divided into communes, each of which composed a parish
or parishes and possessed an elective council of four or five mem-
bers. This council has complete fiscal and administrative au-
thority and has in charge all matters of poor-relief. In addition
to this there is a kind of supervision of the prefectorial commune
(or county), chiefly in regard to secondary financial matters.
In rare cases appeals may go to the Minister of the Interior.
For purposes of relief the parish constitutes the unit or district.
Poor-reHef may be administered by a member of the parochial
council. Usually the chairman, who is also communal treasurer,
administers it. He receives applicants, makes investigations, de-
cides the kind and amount of relief and arranges for procuring
the relief. The council meets at least once in two months and
to this the chairman or deputed poor-relief officer makes a formal
report. Poor-relief budgets originate here.

In 1868 the municipal affairs of Denmark were reformed.
Town councils became elective. On them devolved matters of
poor-relief and conduct of charitable institutions. Administra-
tion is by standing committees or by other chosen means. Un-
paid overseers may be delegated to look after the needy. The
conduct of relief work pertains properly to that municipal officer
who is chairman of the section of the council having poor-relief
business in charge. He may personally administer relief as the
chairman of the parochial council cited above, or by unpaid
overseers, who are appointed by the council for a definite time
and are expected to make those investigations before assigning

In respect to Copenhagen the administration of outdoor relief
is divided into three circuits, the east, west and north. Each
circuit consists of four districts. All poor matters are under the
control of the third section of municipal administration, spe-
cifically under the second secretary. Here is lodged final au-
thority for aid and decisions in cases of reference. Each cir-


cuit has an inspector. Besides having immediate direction of
all matters touching the aged poor, the inspectors form a medi-
ating agency between the section and the district. The inspector
does not receive applicants for aid. He reports to the section
all matters which must go before it, or later be referred to it, and
also advises the district heads. For the latter purpose he meets
them in a weekly conference in which circuit events are discussed.
Out of these conferences come a uniform principle of relief and
greater cooperative efficiency. At the head of the district stands
the district overseer. He is the one who enters into close con-
tact with the poor. All relief requests go to him and he con-
ducts all investigations into the concrete individual needs and
informs the section about the kind of assistance demanded. He
himself may grant aid in kind of small value and in cash until
further investigation. If needed, unpaid assistants are provided
for the district overseer. Each poor district is divided into medi-
cal districts, in each of which resides a district physician, who is
obliged to give aid to those sent to him by the district overseer.
Consultation hours are daily from 9 to 11 and there are visits
to the sick. In many districts nurses are salaried for care of the
sick in their homes. Those opposed to such treatment are sent
by the overseer to a parish society which undertakes the care
of the sick. The bureau of the overseer is located near the center
of the district. Its four parts are waiting room, physician's office
and offices of the chief and assistant. It is open each day from
9 to I, on Sundays and holidays from 8 to 9 A. M. After office
hours the district chief makes his visits, investigations, etc., in
the district. So far as he is able he adjusts the course of domes-
tic and private relations of the poor and controls the life of the

Relief in Homes. — Copenhagen is a good example of poor-
relief administered in the homes of the indigent. For this reason
it is well to give the methods employed there in considerable
detail, as outlined by A. Krieger, Denmark's representative at the
International Congress of Public Relief and Private Charity,

Instructions to the district chief of the city require of them
three principal tasks: (i) To decide if the applicant for aid is
truly indigent; (2) as to how the indigence was caused, and (3)



in what manner it may best be remedied. There is large scope
for individuahzation in the work of investigation of cases. In
order to secure a full knowledge of the applicant, in addition to
an audience with him, it is visual to address letters of inquiry to
his employer or last employer as to kind of work, duration, rate
of pay, cause of discharge, etc., all the information the employer
is able to give. Often a personal visit to the employer follows
a reply to the letter of inquiry for fuller knowledge. This with
gleanings from neighbors, owner of his house, etc., enables the
chief to make a fair estimate of the economic condition of an
applicant, his moral worth and his ability to earn his own sup-
port. The principle is followed that relief should be given, not
as a preventive of physical indigence, but as a betterment of
economic conditions to make life less onerous and more dignified.
Such results are left to private beneficence and the individual
initiative of the poor. Thus relief is relief in and for itself. The
bare necessaries of life are included. It is no easy task to esti-
mate these. On one side is the minimum of the means of ex-
istence necessary to life and health ; on the other is the income
of the applicant. The difiference between these is the basis of
the amount of aid. In order to aid the overseers in deciding
amounts of aid they are provided with a normal tariff containing
a rate for one person without family and for each member of
a family, estimated in cash. For single persons this is 12^
cents per day. For families, the head received 621/2 cents per
week; the wife, 50 cents ; children 10 to 18, 50 cents ; children 5 to
10, 373/^ cents ; children less than 5, 25 cents per week. To this is
added the rent paid and 25 cents per week for fuel in winter.
This fixes the minimum. The overseers are not bound to it

There are two groups of public relief, aid in sickness and sub-
sistence. Relief for maintenance is in kind and in money. The
former is regarded as more efficient and less liable to abuse. In
a large district it is impracticable to give relief in kind to all.
Those having the right of domicile outside of Copenhagen are
commonly so assisted. Aid in kind is given as bread, food, coal,
clothing, bedding and tools. Normal tariffs for the first three
items afford a basis for decisions. Clothing is provided mostly
for children in school or on taking their first communion, etc., and



to adults only when absolutely necessary. Bedding is given in
homes with the understanding that it must not be disposed of.
It remains with the poor so long as they are under poor-relief
and it may be presented them at the end. Tools are not regarded
as public relief but may be given if it seems they will assist to
final independence. A public relief depot is maintained by the
section containing the last three items. Money aid is distin-
guished as temporary, fixed, and that for children. Temporary
aid is intended for emergency cases, such as for rental when the
renter will otherwise be turned out, and for lodging when a
month's advance will procure it for those without. In amount
temporary aid is fixed by scale according to the number of per-
sons in a family and by the current rental rates of the district.
For a single person it is $1.75 per month; for a family of two,
$2.00; for three, $2.25; for four, $2.50; for five, six, $2.75; for
seven, eight, $3.00; for nine or more, $3.25. Children under 18
are counted in the family when they live at home. The scale
may be exceeded in certain cases of sickness, where a part of the
apartment is used for shop or counter, where rent has uniformly
risen, etc. Aid is never given to pay debts. It is never paid to
the pauper, but always to the proprietor and upon his signature.
So as not to discourage payment of rent aid is given to the same
person only a few months at a time, generally in winter. Con-
stant rent may be granted to the honest, diligent, and in excep-

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 38 of 73)