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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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 51 of 73)
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games, tell stories and have a general good time. When a set
of books has been sufficiently read, it is moved on to a new
group, and another case takes its place.

In Boston, Baltimore and Philadelphia the Home Libraries
are supervised by charitable institutions. In New York, Cincin-
nati, Helena and Pittsburg they are maintained by the public
libraries. The charitable and library associations in Providence
combine in the work. Brooklyn, Chicago and Albany have
placed them under the management of library schools and asso-
ciations. Boston and Pittsburg alone have paid supervisors in
charge of the work. Chicago is planning to do the same soon.

Removal of Children from Poorhouses. — Mr. Folks touched a
weak place in the methods when he wrote: "The delay in the
removal of children from almshouses is a lamentable illustration
of the slowness with which such reforms proceed. Thirty-five
years have passed since Ohio enacted the first law in the United



States looking toward the removal of all children from alms-
houses, but as yet barely a dozen States have followed her ex-
ample, and even in those States the laws are not, in all cases, en-
forced." The Iowa Senate (1904) has refused to pass a bill
already passed by the Assembly forbidding the further retention
of children in poorhouses and providing for their transfer to
State institutions. And the reason? That parents of the chil-
dren would be unable to visit them, if removed to the more dis-
tant State institutions !

Deserving special mention is the remarkable service of the
New York Children's Aid Society, founded in 1853 by the gifted
and devoted Charles Loring Bruce. This man believed that the
Christian missionary spirit among the farmers could be trusted
to receive and humanely care for even unattractive little waifs.
Since its beginning up to 1903 this society has rescued and placed
in family homes 23,061 orphans or abandoned children, provided
situations for 25,200 older boys and girls, and restored 5,551 runa-
way children to parents. While not all have done well the ma-
jority have become assimilated with the general population and
some have reached distinction. Material help had been given
in some form in the year 1903 to 49,983 boys and girls; of whom
15,816 were enrolled in the industrial schools, 10,236 were re-
lieved in their homes, 4,302 were sheltered in the lodging houses,
602 were trained in the farm school, 389 were in the charge of a
probation officer, 8,648 were given a week's country outing, 5,408
a day's outing, 1,522 treated by the sick children's mission, 533
placed in family homes. The attractive lodging houses help to
win homeless boys from the cheap poolrooms, Bowery theatres,
gambling places, and the company of thieves ; and the society has
diminished juvenile vagrancy and crime.

Federation and Cooperation on a National Basis.^ — The situation
at the present hour is about as follows : There are in some States
public institutions for dependent children. Thus we have State
public schools for temporary homes, supplemented by a State
agency for selecting homes, placing children and supervising
their care, as in INIichigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota. There are
homes for the orphans of soldiers in Illinois, Iowa and elsewhere.

^ By C. R. Henderson.


There are State infirmaries for the treatment of eyes and ears,
and cripples, as in Illinois and Minnesota. Very generally in
the case of defective and undesirable children the county poor-
house is still used, although much less commonly than in earlier

In some States boards have been charged with the care of
dependent children in institutions and families: as the State
Board of Charities in Massachusetts and Indiana; a board of
guardians in New Jersey and the District of Columbia. In In-
diana there are county boards of guardians ; in Baltimore and
Boston, municipal boards ; in Michigan, county agents.

The recent rapid development of juvenile courts, with pro-
bation officers, is another form of public care.

A survey of methods of private care would reveal many types
and methods; for example: orphan asylums and half-orphan
asylums, supported by churches, societies, endowments and
sometimes in part by subsidies. The home-finding societies
usually own or rent temporary receiving homes where children
are sheltered until they are sent to families to be boarded out or
permanently adopted. Then come the home farms, the George
Junior Republic, homes for waifs and newsboys in cities, board-
ing industrial schools, foundling asylums, hospitals and sanatori-
ums, day industrial schools, vacation schools, night schools,
schools for cripples, parental schools for truants.

There are now in most of the States some kind of placing-out
societies and children's aid societies whose chief function is to
find suitable families to take homeless children and educate them.
For special needs are organized societies to prevent cruelty to
children, and others to send them for a time to the country for
an outing.

In adition to these, closely allied to them, are all the agencies
for dealing with delinquent children.

With all this array of child saving agencies there are impor-
tant gaps to fill. Even in States where the government provides
for all dependent children in a very noble way, as in Michigan,
voluntary associations find a great work to do and for many
special reasons are needed to supplement State action. Thus the
members of a church wish to place their dependent children
under the continued influence of the family faith. Catholics,



Jews, Protestants and members of various nationalities have this
feeHng, and the State respects it.

In most of the States there is no general public policy of
child saving, and the initiative must be taken by private associa-
tions to avoid utter neglect. It seems likely that for many years
to come this will be true ; and many believe that voluntary asso-
ciations can carry on the work of placing and caring for depend-
ent children better than a political and public administration. It
must be remembered that the benevolent public in the United
States is constantly shocked by the revelations of the inhumanity
and cold blooded cruelty of partisan politicians when placed in

In several States neither the government nor voluntary socie-
ties attempt to meet the need and provide for all dependent chil-
dren, and many little ones are left in immoral homes, in poor-
houses, even in jails because there is no responsible agency alert
and ready to protect them and care for them.

Even where there are such agencies there are serious defects
to be corrected by better organization and by State supervision.
There is occasionally an unhappy conflict between competing
societies in the same territory. At times the selection and super-
vision of families are very much neglected, and helpless wards
are subjected to neglect and cruelty.

The necessity for inter-State cooperation is revealed in the
fact that the Eastern States and cities have long been accustomed
to send their homeless children to families in the Western States,
sometimes without further attention to them. This has naturally
produced evil results, complaints have grown, and unfriendly or
regulative laws have been enacted. This experience has shown
that the migration of wards must be brought under the strict
and intelligent control of some national agency, public or volun-

The beginnings of coordination and federation have been
made by the National Children's Home Society. This society
has an imperfect organization, and is simply a federation, without
authority in its executive board to control the action of its mem-
bers ; and yet through counsel, advice, information, conference
and correspondence it has already corrected abuses, pushed ag-
gressive work in several States, secured the local appointment



of agents and helped to educate the pubhc in the duty and meth-
ods of child saving work.

The National Children's Home Society was organized in 1883,
and is now a federation of 26 State societies. The total number
of children received by all the societies included in this federa-
tion since 1883 is 23,726; the number now under guardianship is
12,473; children in receiving homes, 491; children handled in
1903, 3,720. The current expenses of all the societies in 1903
were $230,000, and the value of property in their possession
March i, 1904, was $279,014. It will be observed that a very
considerable amount of work has been accomplished with a very
modest average outlay for each child. The States having socie-
ties of this federation are: California, Colorado, Florida, Illi-
nois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota,
Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Carolina,
North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma (including Indian Territory),
Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota (including Wyoming),
Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin.^

Legal Protection. — In addition to the measures already mentioned
in connection with the poor law, it may be said in general that
the educational and preventive agencies of society in relation to
minors are receiving increasing attention from legislatures and
courts. The tendency has always been to regard minors as under
special court protection, but this principle has been of late much
extended into new applications, although as the minor approaches
maturity the degree of control is properly relaxed.

"Our constitutions are silent upon family rights and relations,
and we should have to regard the parental power not only as a
natural right, but as a natural right above the power of the State,
to declare its legislative restraint to be unconstitutional. It has,
however, been held that the right of parental control is a natural,
but not an inalienable one ; that there is no parental authority
independent of the supreme power of the State; that in other
words the parental right is no vested right. "^

The welfare of the child, considered in relation to the interests

^ The office of the Society is Unity Building, Chicago; the secretary is H. H.
Hart, and the president C. R. Henderson.

s E. Freund, Police Power, p. 248, and cases cited.



of the community, is the decisive matter with legislatures and

The first demand of the law is laid upon parents, as the re-
sponsible authors of the existence of the child and as the persons
who are bound to give proper training for citizenship. The
tendency is to bring all possible legal pressure to bear on the
family to induce it to perform its duty. Thus the father of an
illegitimate infant is sought for, and, if found, is required to fur-
nish it support. The mother is held to her task. If the parents
cannot be found, or if they die, or become wholly unfit for the
office of education the State assumes the place of parent, but
transfers the neglected child to a new home. When the parents
have not abandoned a child and claim their natural rights of cus-
tody they are entitled to a hearing, but not to a jury trial, since
it is not of the nature of a criminal proceeding.

Private institutions may be recognized as moral persons and
clothed with the powers of legal guardians. Such institutions
have no more control than the laws give them, and they may
be and often are subjected to State supervision and control.

The States go further in their care of children in such matters
as compulsory attendance at school and prohibition of such pre-
mature labor as interferes with the growth and education of the
young person. While parents are free to send their offspring
to a private or parochial school if they choose to do so at their
own expense, the States generally provide free instruction for
all, and many of them make attendance on some school for a
certain minimum period obligatory.

Parental Schools. — The law in some States goes still further
and provides special schools for children whose parents are un-
able to control them and secure their attendance in the public
schools. Various devices have been tried. In some cities special
rooms or buildings are set apart for unruly and truant pupils, and
special methods are used for interesting, influencing and bringing
them under control. The children live at home, are looked after
by special officers of the police or schools, and are rewarded for
good conduct by permission to return to their places in the ordi-
nary school rooms.

But when more close watchcare is necessary for discipline
and training the unruly child may be sent to a "parental" school,




as in Massachusetts and Illinois, where he is boarded, taught and
trained for several months, until he seems ready and willing to
take his proper place at home and in school.

L. Care of Youth from 12 to 18.^ — This topic is not confined
to the care of the wayward youth, but suggests for consideration
the treatment of all youth who have been deprived of, or who
have lost all opportunities for self-cultivation and expression ;
those who have never had a hope nor a desire satisfied ; who have
never known the support of another's interest; but whose ambi-
tions have died from lack of the friendly counsellor; whose paths
upward have been more difficult and less inviting than the ones
downward ; those whom we have misunderstood and allowed
society to maltreat. Until a few years ago the only attempt that
was made to reach these boys and girls was after they had be-
come a menace to the community and had a fairly good start in
the way of criminality. That attempt ended by confining them
amid prison surroundings, high walls, gloomy cells and dark
dungeons. The idea that hope should replace the despair which
the prison surroundings cast upon the young lives did not occvtr
to anyone. It is a new idea. It has introduced industrial and
reform schools to take the place of prisons ; but until it has been
made a more fundamental part of these institutions they will not
accomplish the work hoped for.

It is of prime importance to study the causes which have made
these youths dependent and refractory. Not very much can be ex-
pected from the youth who has not known home life or home sur-
roundings. Nor is the child apt to have a very high ideal of life
or hopeful ambitions who has only seen life as it is pictured in
the gloomy, squalid streets and alleys where thousands live hud-
dled together. It is not reformation that these children need.
They have all the faculties of the normal youth, but their forces
are dormant. They need to be awakened. Due consideration
should also be paid to the trials which accompany changes going
on in the child's life at this time. It is the critical period. It is
the time when the individuality demands expression and if not
allowed to take one course will take another. It is the time
when the youths most need guidance for they have reached the
age when they are supposed to be able to shift for themselves.

* By Miss Ashcraft.



Poverty compels them to support themselves or take criminal
risks to gratify their needs ; but they are at an age and are sur-
rounded by circumstances which make them less capable of earn-
ing an honest living or to resist temptations. Adverse conditions
have drowned every ambition ; there is no self-respect nor self-
interest because there has been no opportunity to test their own
powers or to become acquainted with their better selves. The
lower self is dominant, and in keeping with its nature persists
in dragging down, but it cannot make the nature so depraved nor
the heart so hardened as not to be awakened by friendly interest.
It is only this interest with sympathy and a keen understanding,
and with the due allowance made for the hardships that have
been borne that can arouse ambition, incite self-respect, and gain
self-control, and hence character, for the wayward youth. The
correctional institutions which lack these lack all.

Clubs. — The institutions do not reach all of these young people.
Many of them pursue their daily rounds without disturbing the
community. The young girls employ themselves in peddling or
strolling about the city as rag and bone pickers. The boys sell
papers or become the frequenters of saloons and gambling dens.
For these the clubs answer the same needs as they did for the
younger boys and girls and should be conducted in the same man-
ner. There should be a library, reading room, gymnasium and
class rooms. The hunger of these young men and women for
instruction and learning should be satisfied. The director of
the club should be their counsellor and surround the club rooms
with an atmosphere of home. It is best that the ckibs for the
boys and girls be separate. Where it is possible, a lodging house
should be conducted with the clubs, at least in each city there
should be a lodging house for the young men and one for the
young women apart from those for the older men and women.

Day Industrial Schools. — The day industrial schools, with their
manual training and sloyd for the boys and their domestic sci-
ence for the girls, have proved an attraction to many of the way-
ward youths. Where they have been tried in connection with
the public schools they have been the means of preventing tru-
ancy and they hold the interest of the backward children. But
a greater good would be derived for young people from the in-
dustrial schools if they were made entirely independent of the



public school and were situated in the populous districts. The
program should be made to appeal to the older ones, the same
things v/hich hold the interests of the younger children in the
public schools will not attract the older ones. The courses of-
fered should be practical, not those whose only object is to in-
struct, but those which afford preparation for some business pur-
suit. A night industrial school would reach many who would
not be able to take advantage of the day school. Social activity
should have a part in the school, finding expression in such
organizations as the clubs.

Rural Industrial Schools. — Much attention has been directed to-
ward the care and training of the city youth, but until recently
little has been said of the need of such training in the rural dis-
tricts. The work that is being done in the South shows the
possibilities and need of such work. The greater part of the
undertaking is being accomplished through industrial schools.
Booker T. Washington is doing much for the colored youth at
Tuskegee. The Calhoun colored school at Calhoun, Ala., in-
cludes in its work the academic industrial departments. In the
academic department courses are given in arithmetic, reading,
geography, history, citizenship, drawing, spelling, science, sing-
ing and methods of teaching. The industrial department has
the usual classes in manual training, in carpentry and farming for
boys, and domestic science, with cooking, laundry and sewing
for the girls. Similar work is carried on among the poor whites
by the Southern Industrial Institute at Camp Hill, Ala. The
object of this school is to help deserving young men and women
to help themselves by providing a course of study and a way
for any boy or girl to pursue such a course ; farming, saw-milling
and carpentry are among the industries in operation; cooking,
sewing, weaving and laundering are taught in the domestic sci-
ence department ; in general, primary and secondary academic
courses are offered. This same work is urged for the rural dis-
tricts of the North. Much is gained by aiding these young peo-
ple before they drift into the city and increase its number of
vagrant youth.

State Provisions. — The industrial school for girls and the training
school for boys and the reformatory are the usual State institu-
tions provided for this class of children. The commitments to



these institutions are in general the same. For commitment to
the reformatory the Ilhnois statutes provide that any boy be-
tween the ages of ten and sixteen years shall be committed to
the State Reformatory whenever he is convicted before any court
of competent jurisdiction of any crime which if committed by an
adult would be punishable by imprisonment in the county jail or
penitentiary. Similar provisions are made for the commitments
to the State Home for Juvenile Female Offenders. The object
of the industrial and training schools, when first established, was
to afford training for the dependent boys and girls only. At
present, especially where the Juvenile Court law prevails, they
receive delinquent children as well. A more general use of these
schools for the delinquents should be encouraged, but such insti-
tutions for juvenile offenders should be separate from those for
the dependent children.

Industrial and Training Schools. — The most successful of these
schools are built on good farming land which can be cultivated by
the pupils, thus affording an opportunity for agricultural em-
ployment for both hygienic and educational reasons. The
grounds are large and have all the conveniences for outdoor oc-
cupation and recreation. The buildings are best constructed on
the cottage plan in order to permit the necessary classification
and sub-divisions of the pupils according to age, ability, disposi-
tion and character. Each cottage accommodates not more than
thirty students, with their matron and teacher, and should con-
tain school rooms and dormitories. There is usually a central
building containing the dining-hall, offices, shops, etc. The ideal
life of the institution is that of a family. The buildings should
be free from bars, grated windows and all features of the prison.
There should be an outdoor play ground, gymnasium and chapel
for religious and literary exercises.

Instruction. — In addition to the school work there are shops for
the industrial training for the boys. Opportunity is given for
instruction in many of the different trades, such as carpentry,
printing, shoe making, farming, etc. In the selection of the trade
the boy's special aptitudes and desires are considered. It is im-
portant that each should choose a profession or trade and be en-
couraged to carry out one line of work. The Jack-of-all-trades
spirit should not have too much encouragement. The girls have


their school -work and opportunities for instruction in business
courses, such as stenography.

Period of Detention. — The time that the students should be con-
fined to the schools has been a matter of dispute. The general
rule has been that sentences are not to be less than three months
nor more than two years, and in any case commitment does not
extend beyond minority. Experience has shown that the larg-
est per cent, of commitments has been due to home environment,
and the return home to evil associates after short sentences has
resulted in re-commitment. For this reason it is urged that
sentences should be made long and release should not be granted
until the boy or girl has been safely launched into some occupa-
tion, or until some suitable home surrounding has been assured.
Discharge under any condition should be under parole and sub-
sequent supervision of the probation officer. This supervision
should not end before majority has been reached, and even then
advice should still be given if the youth is not strong enough to
pursue his course without counsel and guidance. The purpose
of these institutions is for the training of children above ten and
twelve years of age. Children under that age are usually placed
in families for adoption or boarded out under the supervision of
a responsible society until final disposition of them can be made.

Support. — For the sake of children and parents, the parents as a
rule are obliged to furnish clothing and pay the board of their
children in so far as they are able. In cases of inability of the
parents to pay, or where the parents are not living, or are un-
known, the duty falls upon the State or county.

Separate Institutions for Girls and Boys. — It has been generally
agreed that the industrial school for girls and the training school
for boys should be located in different communities. However,
several successful institutions have found it profitable and bene-
ficial to combine the institutions. There is a great saving of ex-

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 51 of 73)