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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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pist Craig Colony, and opened in January, 1896. A steady de-
velopment and a continuous policy have been made possible be-
cause the very competent superintendent, Dr. William P. Sprat-
ling, has directed the enterprise from its legal inception in 1895,
and because the boards of managers and of State charities have
taken a pride in protecting it from the spoilsmen. The property
of the institution at the last report was valued at $660,517.81.
The institution possesses 1,895 acres of land and has a capacity
for 830 patients. The average weekly cost of support, including
the value of home and farm products consumed, was $3.59; ex-
cluding such value, $3.16. Application for admission is made
through the county superintendent of the poor. The object of
the institution, as stated in the law, is to furnish epileptics in-
trusted to its care every chance of recovery and improvement that
scientific treatment, humane care, pleasant and gentle associa-
tions can provide. The institution is removed from the excite-
ments of city life and gives on its extensive grounds an oppor-
tunity for a quiet, natural and wholesome existence. The entire
separation from all other forms of disease, insanity and idiocy,
makes it possible to give to the patients the specific kind of treat-
ment which is best adapted to their peculiar needs, without the
necessity of making concessions to the demand of afflicted per-
sons of entirely different requirements. At the same time other
persons are spared the pain and injury caused by constantly wit-
nessing the terrifying convulsions of epilepsy, and the restraints
which accompany the dangerous types of this malady.

Massachusetts opened its hospital for epileptics in 1898. It
then had about 220 beds available for patients ; and at the last
report the daily average patient population was 409.5 for the
year, of whom 303.20 were town patients, 80.52 State patients and
25.81 private patients. On October i, 1903, there were 913 epi-



THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA



473



leptics under supervision of the State Board, of whom 422 were
in the State Hospital for Epileptics, 115 in the insane hospitals,
93 in the School for the Feeble-Minded, 93 in the hospital cot-
tages for children, 2 in private institutions for the insane, 8 in a
private institution for the feeble-minded, 2 boarded out. In addi-
tion to these there are about 100 epileptics in city and town alms-
houses and in private families under control of overseers of the
poor. There are groups of buildings on the farms and conges-
tion at one place is avoided. There is a house for 40 female
nurses. No recoveries are reported but improvement is observed
in a great majority of cases. The mortality was 3 per cent, of the
whole number treated. The total expenditures for maintenance
in the last year reported were $97,162.90, and the property was
valued at $443,974.24. The net weekly per capita cost was $4.09.

Inebriates. — Public policy in regard to the treatment of habitual
drunkards is by no means clear and consistent. The drunkard
is a sick man, in the eyes of physicians ; yet the hospitals are not
prepared to give adequate treatment. Alienists recognize brain
disorder, but the asylums for the insane cannot, for legal and
financial reasons, retain a drunkard after he is sober enough to
walk away. Inebriates are very liable to commit crime and are
generally dangerous to public order and comfort, but they cannot
be treated as criminals unless they actually commit some offense,
and then a prison gives little promise of healing their disease or
restoring them to moral uprightness. The medical profession
seems to be in agreement that habitual drunkards, to be per-
manently cured, must, in many instances, be placed under re-
straint and held under control for two to four years, until the
poison is eliminated from the body and a new life is built up.
For this kind of treatment very little preparation has been made
in the United States.

In some commonwealths the sellers of liquor are forbidden
to sell to intoxicated or intemperate persons. When a statute
has been enacted creating a power to restrain the drunkard of
liberty and place him imder treatment in an asylum, he must
have notice of such action and opportunity to defend himself.
The ordinary penal treatment, a short sentence in jail or bride-
well, has no value in restoration to health. It disgraces a man
without helping him to recover himself.



474 MODERN METHODS OF CHARITY

Massachusetts has a Hospital for Dipsomaniacs and Inebri-
ates to which patients are committed when they give promise of
amendment by hospital treatment. The fifth annual report of
the State Board of Charities (1904) states that the average pa-
tient population in 1903 was 140, against 204 in 1902 and 243 in
1901. Some inquiry has been made as to the conduct of patients
discharged since the opening of the hospital. Of 1,043 patients
who completed the full course of treatment, 243, or 23 per cent.,
were reported abstinent or temperate ; 206, or 20 per cent,, im-
proved ; 594, or 57 per cent., unimproved, unknown or deceased.
The information indicates that a certain number have been
helped, but does not exactly reveal how many have become
abstainers.

The necessity for measures of restraint and close supervision
is shown in the fact that in the decade since the establishment
of the hospital, 3,005 commitments have been made and 1,685
escapes have been effected, being 56 per cent, of all commitments.
Most of the patients are supported at public expense.

The Census Bureau is now engaged in a special investigation
of the statistics of crime, pauperism and benevolence, and of the
deaf, dumb and blind, but the results are not yet accessible. We
have the volume of the Tenth Census (1880) on Defective, De-
pendent and Delinquent Classes of the Population, and two vol-
umes of the Eleventh Census (1890) on Crime, Pauperism and
Benevolence, and the volume on the Insane, Feeble-Minded, Deaf
and Dumb, and Blind in the United States.

K. Treatment of Children.^ — The time has passed when
philanthropy will permit the adult and the child to be classed
together. When children were placed in almshouses and were
made companions of the criminals in jail, the possibilities that
lay in the child were overlooked, for then the work of charity
consisted merely in making existence possible for those who were
unable to care for themselves and in keeping society untainted
by contact with its criminal members by the intervention of the
stone wall and prison bars. But charity is no longer satisfied
with being a mere conscience alleviator, for it has found among
its most discouraging tasks that the education of ill-bred youth
would restore to society as useful citizens those who had been

' By Miss Ashcraft.



THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 475

its dependents. Work among the children has caused inspira-
tion and hope. Study and experience have shown that the de-
pendent and delinquent children differ from the normal only in
that they lack proper counsel and guardianship ; that they have
been brought up amidst poverty and crime; that "home" is a
foreign word to them ; that they have no incentives from parental
interest ; and, consequently, see no purpose in life. It is the duty
of charitable workers to give these children a chance to live,
surrounded by the opportunities which belong to them.

The Juvenile Court. — The institution of the Juvenile Court is a
recognition of this duty. Its object is to reach the delinquent
children and juvenile offenders who have been accustomed to
stand trial among the criminals, and to become their counsellor
and guardian. To carry out its purpose several States have
passed Juvenile Court acts, which in substance have given the
power to any reputable resident of the State to petition the court
and call attention to a neglected or delinquent child. The acts
also provide that a summons shall issue requiring the person
who has charge of the child to appear in the court and give
answer to the declarations of the petition. The court is given
authority to appoint one or more persons of good moral character
to serve as probation officers, whose duties are to make investi-
gation of the case on trial, to represent the interests of the child
in court, to furnish the court such information and assistance as
the judge may require and to take such charge of any child before
and after trial as may be directed by the court.

Disposition of Delinquent Children. — The law further provides
that in the case of the delinquent child the court may continue
the hearing from time to time, or may commit the child to the
care of a probation officer, or may allow the child to remain at
home subject to the visitation of the probation officer and sub-
ject to be returned to the court for further trial whenever such
action may appear to be necessary ; or the court may cause the
child to be placed in a suitable family home subject to the super-
vision of the probation officer, or it may authorize the child to be
boarded out in some suitable family home ; or the court may com-
mit the child, if a boy, to a training school for boys, and if a girl,
to an industrial school ; or the court may commit the child guilty
of criminal offense to any institution within the county incorpor-



476 MODERN METHODS OF CHARITY

ated under the laws of the State for the care of delinquent chil-
dren. In no case shall the child be committed beyond his or her
minority.

The thirteen or fourteen cities which have introduced the
Juvenile Courts have followed very closely the general course
given above and their work has been successful, but attention
should be called to several points which the law does not in every
State cover. In the first place, children awaiting trial should not
be committed to the jail or police station. The county or State
should provide a suitable place for such detention. A judge
should be chosen with special regard to his ability in dealing with
children. Kindly and fatherly admonition should take the place
of many sentences. It is important that no one judge should be
required to hear as many as forty or fifty cases in one session.
The decisions are the making or marring of the child's career, and
time is needed for deliberation. Too much thought cannot be
spent upon the manner of conducting a trial. A child will never
forget the scene of a trial in a confused and crowded courtroom.
Special hours are set aside for the trial of juvenile offenders. Per-
sons not connected with the trial are requested to leave the court-
room. The officer who made the arrest tells his story, the com-
plainant his, and the witnesses are examined. The child is called
to the judge's desk and tells his story. Confidential relations are
at once established between the child and the judge. The pro-
bation officer then makes his report, after which the judge an-
nounces his decision.

The Juvenile Court has been accused of being a medium
through which parents have been relieved of the responsibility
of caring for their wayward children. Such a tendency is pres-
ent and it carries with it its problem. It is often necessary for
the sake of the child to take it from its parents. At the same
time the home is the only place for the natural development of
the child. Unfortunately, the home often means more to the
child than the child does to the home. In such cases the parents
need the instruction and discipline, not the child. In this con-
nection Colorado has provided penalties and the parent may be
made to answer for his neglect of the child or for the act which
resulted in delinquency.

Probation OfJiccrs. — The most important work of the Juvenile



THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 477

Court is done by its probation officers. The object of the proba-
tion system is not punishment, but the prevention of crime and
rescue of the child from a criminal career. Every endeavor is
made, especially after the first offense, to give the child another
and a fair chance to show his ability to live rightly. For this pur-
pose a probation officer is required to make a complete investi-
gation of the child's character, home and environments before
the trial. After the trial the care, custody and discipline of the
child is made to approximate as nearly as possible that which
should be given by its parents, and in all cases where it is pos-
sible to be done the child is placed in a family home and made a
member of the family by legal adoption, or otherwise. Wher-
ever the child is placed the probation officer is expected to keep
especial oversight by frequent visits and by reports from the
parents or guardian. In some States the period of probation is
limited to three years, in others, until the child has reached his
or her majority.

Much is required of the probation officers. They must be
persons who have the ability to enter into the child's life and
exert an influence in the home. The work calls for much sac-
rifice. As a rule the services are voluntary, no provision being
made by law for their compensation.^ In many cases, however,
the salaries are paid by the contributions of the Women's Clubs,
Children's Aid Societies and other charitable organizations.

The importance of the probation system lies in the fact that
the child is no longer placed behind the high walls, where con-
tamination is warded off at the expense of blunting the young
life, but the child is guided from the contagions of the daily
life to a natural development. The probation method also em-
phasizes the importance of home life. Where it is impossible
to raise the home surroundings and to instruct the parents in
its care, a new home is found. The child is spurred on by the
feeling that he has some one's interest and sympathy, and in the
probation officer he has found not only a watchman, but a coun-
sellor and friend.

The following report of the Juvenile Court of Cook County

^ This may prove to be merely a feature of the pioneer stage of the movement. In
some States provision is made by law for payment of probation oificers. — C. R. H.



478



MODERN METHODS OF CHARITY



shows in a general way the work that is being done by these
courts: During the year, from July i, 1900, to July i, 1901,
2,378 children were docketed and disposed of by the court. Of
these, 1,204 were delinquents, 126 of whom were girls; 1,071
were dependents, of whom 528 were girls; 1,089 were placed on
probation, 658 of these being children released from the John
Worthy School. There were only 195 probationers returned to
the court. The delinquencies consisted of petty thefts (374),
vagrancy (161), disorderly conduct (261), and incorrigibility
(153). The causes of dependency were lack of proper parental
care, desertion, drunkenness, or death of one or both of the
parents.

Institutional Care of Children. — What is most needed in the insti-
tutional care of children is the introduction of those elements
which will do away with the artificial institutional life and will
introduce more of the home life. The Chicago Jewish Orphans'
Home shows that this end can be reached even by a large institu-
tion. One feels in this home that he is in the midst of a large
and happy family. The children do not get up by bells, bells
do not summon them to get in line for dinner or bed ; they sit
down to their meals as a large family. Once in a while a strag-
gler will come in a few minutes late, but it is considered no crime.
The children attend the public schools. After school they toss
their books on the desk and run out to play with the rest of the
children. After dinner they go to the library,^ where they find
the superintendent ready to help them with their lessons, and one
by one they drop ofif to bed. In the superintendent they find a
father and in the matron, a mother.

Other institutions have endeavored to reach the same results
by the cottage plan. Under this arrangement it is designed that
from twenty to forty children shall occupy each cottage under
the direction of one matron. The groups sleep and live in the
separate cottages, but the dining-hall, school, chapel, offices and
shops are in the main building.

Support and Control. — The subsidizing by the State of the pri-
vate institutions has begun to be almost universally discouraged.
Where the private institutions are unable to carry on the work it
is the duty of the State to act. More of the institutions should
be entirely under public control.



THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA



479



The general management of State institutions is represented
by the following methods as found in different States.

Michigan has adopted the State school and "placing out" sys-
tem. Destitute and neglected children, committed by the courts,
become wards of the State. They may, however, be returned to
their parents by the voluntary action of the board in control of
the school. This board is composed of three unsalaried mem-
bers appointed by the Governor. The school is conducted on
the cottage plan. In connection with it are the "placing out"
agents who are appointed in each county to investigate applica-
tions from families desiring to receive children, and to visit the
children placed in homes in the county from any of the State
institutions.

The weak points in the Ohio and Connecticut plans speak for
themselves. Ohio has provided homes in each county under the
control of a board of trustees appointed by the county commis-
sioners. There are no exact records kept nor close supervision
made of "placed out" children. Connecticut makes the homes
only temporary and provides for the subsidizing of the private
institution.

Some States put especial emphasis upon the "boarding out"
and "placing out" systems. Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and
New Jersey, as a rule, board their children in private families
until permanent free homes in private families can be found.

When public attention was called to the evils connected with
the care of children in almshouses it was natural that people
should seek to place them in private institutions or in families ;
and in Ohio and Indiana the county authorities began to provide
in various ways for separate institutional local care. This was
a decided advance, and yet it has proved to be a transitional and
provisional method. As early as 1866 the Ohio legislature took
action which gave support to a children's home, and gradually
the system of county homes has been developed and children
taken from infirmaries. Trustees without pay are appointed by
the county board to direct the school, and a visitor is appointed
in the county to place children in families. Each institution has
its own school and some institutions have kindergartens. Be-
tween 1866 and 1899 5^' bomes were established. The impor-
tance of placing ovit children was not realized for several years.



48o



MODERN METHODS OF CHARITY



In 1900 only two homes were employing agents for this purpose.
May, 1901, 48 of the 88 counties had county homes, each with its
own board of trustees. Nine counties maintained children in
private institutions.

In 25 counties there were no homes, either public or semi-
public, and in these cases provision was made in the homes of
other counties. In April, 1901, there were in 51 homes, 2,260
inmates, the average age of whom was over 9 years. It was not
until 1902 that the legislature provided for State agents to facili-
tate the placing out and supervision of children. Local ad-
ministration had proved to be inadequate and central control
necessary, and the success in Indiana influenced a change. In
1902 there were 3,281 children in the county institutions, and the
expense for care was $308,696.87. The report for 1903 shows
the eflfect of State intervention and of the recent demand for plac-
ing out. There were then 43 homes, several having been closed,
and the number retained is diminishing. The tendency is toward
the reduction of the number of institutions, the improvement of
their management, the placing of children in families and the
reduction of expense.'

In 1881 the legislature of Indiana authorized boards of county
commissioners to establish homes for orphans in order to give
asylum to children then kept in almshouses. In 1897 was estab-
lished the system of State supervision of county institutions and
the placing-out agency of the State Board of Charities, and a
law was enacted requiring the removal of children from the
poorhouses. In consequences of the new policy not only are the
children removed from contact with paupers, but the number
of and population of county homes is reduced. The average ex-
pense for each child was $229.57 at 25 cents a day, and this is
saved by placing in families. ~

Michigan was fortunate in the early discovery of the wisdom
of central management of State wards, and in 1874 led the ad-
vance movement by establishing its State public school and its
system of selection and supervision of families by its own agents.
Hence this State has not built up a series of petty local estab-
lishments and has none to destroy. Nor has it become en-

^ Ohio Bulletin, lo, i'903, Vol. lo.

*i3th Report of Board of State Charities of Indiana, 1902.



THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 481

tangled in alliances with private institutions to which it must
pay subsidies, as in New York and California.

The scope of the work yet to be done in addition to combin-
ing and altering the above plans is shown by the fact that the
following States have no public system of caring for children
except outdoor relief, almshouses, and occasional "placing out"
in families, either directly or through "placing out" agencies:
Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Missouri,
Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South
Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, West Ver-
ginia and Wyoming.

"Placing Out" System. — As has been indicated, the object of the
institution is becoming more and more to serve as a temporary
home for the children. The goal which it is the endeavor to
reach is to find a suitable home for each child. Care must be
taken in the selection of such a home. Where the system is
used with best success careful investigation is made of the home,
surroundings and guardians. The child and the home are visited
regularly, and the institution through its agent kept in close com-
munication with the child. The "placing out" system is too
apt to be used as a convenient way of disposing of the wards of
the State. The children after leaving the institution are too
often lost sight of. Careful records are necessary, giving the
child's previous history, as far as known, and reporting the prog-
ress made in the institution's care.

Life in the Institution. — The time that the children are in the insti-
tution is spent in preparing them to take their place in the work-
a-day world. When it is impossible to send them to the public
schools the institution usually has its own school rooms. Out
of school hours the boys have classes in manual training and
sloyd, and the girls their classes in sewing, cooking and house-
work. There should be a kindergarten and nursery in every
institution for the younger children. On Sunday there are Sun-
day school or chapel exercises in the home, or the children attend
the churches in the neighborhood.

Foundling Asylums. — The care of foundlings and abandoned in-
fants is a problem which as yet is far from being solved. The
object of endeavor along this line is toward the saving of the
child and restoration of the parents, but it is a difficult task and

31



482



MODERN METHODS OF CHARITY



many of the efforts which have been exerted to save the child
have resulted in the greater moral degradation of the parents.
Among the methods now in existence the baby-farm, where in-
fants are adopted and placed in the hands of some home-finding
society, and the institutions where no investigations are made,
are institutions to be condemned. Careful investigation should
be insisted upon, and the legal responsibility for support enforced
upon both parents.

Marriage has often been the device for the rescue of the un-
married mother, but no general rule can be laid down. Separa-
tion is often better for both the child and the parent. Wherever
it is possible, however, the mother should be urged to remain with
the child. This is often accomplished by securing a position in
domestic service where she can take the child with her. Rural
communities afford many such accommodations.

Experience has shown that the large institutions which at-



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 49 of 73)