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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necessary to interfere, or to take charge of a child, they aim to
secure for it good, healthy surroundings, careful training and thor-
ough instruction; such children enjoy the protection and care of the
respective charities even after entering the business world, while they
are already earning their own livelihood. But here again we meet
with the very same mischief already mentioned above in connection
with the support of forsaken women. In an extraordinarily large
number of cases the care of children by public relief is welcomed by
faithless parents as a very convenient way in which to receive aid
themselves. This is especially true in the cases of the illegitimate
offspring of workwomen and servant girls, who are hindered by their
child in returning to work. One favorite trick is to place a child in
another and strange family on promise of payment for its keeping;
the promise is not kept, and the foster parents are forced to ap-
peal to charity. It is, of course, impossible completely to abolish

^Zeitschrift f. d. Armenwesen, March, 1904, Dr. E. Nawratzki,


the nuisance ; it may be checked to some degree by dealing severely
with the parents and, under circumstances, by legally prosecuting
them. Here (in Germany), as well as in other highly civilized coun-
tries, the principle of anonymity has been entirely abrogated ; found-
lings, i. e., children who are found entirely helpless, and whose par-
entage is really unknown, are comparatively very rare. Whenever a
child is received into a charitable institution, its personal relations are
fully established. It is attempted, wherever possible, to leave the
child in its natural surroundings, — to return it to its parents, or to its
mother. Only when domestic relations and domestic environment
prove such as would expose the child to too great danger, the child is
cared for by public charity, which, in the matter of care for helpless
children, is now usually exercised by placing them in good healthy
homes (Familicnpflege). As a rule a child is first placed in an
institution which serves the purpose of a temporary home. Here the
children are carefully observed, and every effort made, particularly
in case of the older ones, to determine whether they are better adapted
for care in an orphanage or in a private family {Anstalts, oder
Familienpflege). The orphan board (Waisenverivalttmg) has con-
nections with a large number of respectable families, mostly in the
country ; to these the children are entrusted, certain fixed rates being
paid for their keeping. When so placed a child is under the guard-
ianship of an inspector, usually a local clergyman or teacher, who
may, in case of necessity, return it to the orphanage. Here, as else-
where, experience has taught that cases of total depravity are rare.
Most of these children improve immediately when placed in new and
healthy surroundings. Thus nearly all of the orphanage work has
taken the form of family care, which has given by far the most satis-
factory results in the matter of development of character. The sick,
the frail, and the feeble-minded, are placed in separate institutions,
which afford such care and instruction as the nature of the malady
may permit or demand. Institutions for the care and keeping of
children while the mother is away at work are not maintained by the
public relief. This department is left entirely to private charities,
which are sometimes assisted by public appropriations.
Unification of Methods^.

Where the mother, even with the aid of poor-relief, cannot care for

^ Das Ziehkinderwesen, by City Councillor E. Putter, Schriften d. D. V. f.
A. u. W., Heft 59. Cf. Heft 62, p. 94, for the vote on Putter's recommendations.



her child, or when an unmarried mother deserts her babe, modern
charity turns to family care as the best substitute. Foundling asy-
lums have fortunately not been accepted in Germany. But the super-
vision of infants is vital to the success of the modern methods. In
former days in great cities the helpless babes were often entrusted to
incompetent or immoral persons, and in their hands the mortality was
so frightful that these "baby farmers" acquired the grim title of
"angel makers" {Engelmacherin) . Associations of good women,
shocked by disclosures of charity visitors and police, began to organ-
ize methods of inspection of the homes of the nurses and brought
them under such a measure of control that actual murder became
rare ; but the mortality from other causes continued. It is now clear-
ly seen that constant medical inspection of the infants placed out is
necessary, and that along with voluntary visitors, a few trained
women, paid a modest salary, under the direction of the poor-relief
and medical officers, are most efficient agents. The infants are exam-
ined and weighed by these city visitors and at intervals are brought
to the city physician for inspection. If they need treatment by a
specialist, or in a hospital, or a change of diet, or if the foster mother
is ignorant or negligent, the proper order is given by the physician
and the visitor sees that it is executed.

There is no imperial law on the subject, and the legislation in the
several states is by no means uniform. In some cases the infants are
under police control and in others under the care of the poor-relief
board. This matter was fully discussed at the 22d annual meeting
of the national conference (in 1902). It was agreed that all infants
who are placed out should be under the supervision of a board ; that
medical advice and supervision by women are necessary; that for
infants under two years trained and paid nurses were the best inspec-
tors ; but the conference was not ready to recommend any general law
on the subject.

An example of the care of infants is the maternity hospital of
Breslau, which in its 21st annual report (1902) showed that it had
cared in that year for 112 infants and 11 1 mothers, the average time
of care being 26 days. In 21 years the hospital had sheltered and
treated 1,597 infants and 1,533 rnothers ; 1,452 of the infants having
enjoyed their mothers' milk and 130 were artificially fed. The chil-
dren which had natural food showed a mortality of only i.i per cent.^

^Zeit. f. d. Armenwesen, July, 1903, p. 222.



The children's cHnic {Kindcr-P oUkUnik) at Hamburg treats chil-
dren which suffer from defective nutrition. It weighs the infants,
teaches mothers how to feed them, and furnishes artificial food when
necessary. In 1902 it treated 1,611 infants, with excellent results.^

Medical Examination of School Children. — Physicians are ap-
pointed by the authorities of Berlin, one person to four schools ; and
it is their duty to examine twice a year all the pupils who enter the
school with reference to the senses, the spinal column, the develop-
ment of the limbs, etc. ; to make examination of those pupils who
should receive a special form of instruction on account of stuttering
or other defect ; to make a quarterly inspection of the school rooms
with reference to their sanitary condition ; also of the health of the
pupils and the presence of contagious diseases. The school physician
does not prescribe for the children, but sends information to the
parents, so that the family physician, who knows them best, may give
them treatment. When necessary a specialist is called in.^

Child Labor. — On January i, 1904, a new law (of March 30,
1903) went into effect. There had already been laws regulating
child labor, as that of June i, 1891, which prohibited the employment
of children of school age in factories and certain other places. It
was forbidden to employ children in wandering occupations, as exhi-
bitions, and in local plays, except under certain restrictions. In 1897
it was ordered that children under 14 years should not peddle wares
and engage in street traffic. The most recent law goes further and
prohibits child labor in all manufactures, except under strict limita-
tions named in the law ; but this law does not yet fully regulate
domestic service and agricultural labor of children. It does, how-
ever, go further than ever before in the control of working children
in their homes ; for hitherto the state has permitted parents to exploit
their own children with hard labor while outside employers were
prohibited to do so. The execution of the law, so far as it does not
belong to the factory inspectors, is in the hands of police authorities.
It is required of teachers and visitors of the poor and physicians to
cooperate with the police in discovering cases of violation of the law,
but they must first inform the parents of the requirements and report
them only when they refuse counsel and persist in violating the law.

^ Zeit. f. d. Armenvvesen, July, IQ03, p. 222.
* Consular Report, April, 1904, p. 173.



The protected age is up to 13 years or the end of the obligatory school

Summer Outings. — The central bureau of the union for summer
outings in Germany, in its report for 1903, shows that its branches
had given outings to 35,596 children at a cost of 1,040,381 M. ; 15,465
in colonies, 2,669 ^^ rural families, 6,423 in sanatoria, and 10,857 i^i
city colonies. Of the societies 27 give treatment in winter. The
reports include the work of 185 societies in 116 cities.^

Educational Guardianship of Neglected Children and Youth. —
Closely related to both the relief and preventive action is the recent
legislation in Prussia and other states called the law for educational
guardianship {Fiirsorgeerziehungsgesetz) . Before the enactment of
the civil code (1900) there was a general law which enabled the judge
in cases of guardianship to protect children whose parents treated
them with cruelty, led them into immorality, or refused to maintain
them. The child might be taken away from such parents and en-
trusted to suitable guardians for education and support. In common
law also the parental authority was restricted on account of gross
neglect or abuse. But use was rarely made of these legal provisions,
especially when parents were too poor to pay the cost of such transfer
of responsibility.^

The enactment of the penal code brought the subject of state
control of neglected children into clearer light and forced direct
action of authorities. In Sec. 56 of the penal code of the Empire, it
was enacted that any minor between the years 12-15 who is released
from condemnation on account of a punishable act by reason of lack
of discernment, might be sent to an educational or correctional insti-
tution. But the judges seldom availed themselves of this permission
of the law. It was Sec. 55 of the penal code which gave the impulse
to important advance in the employment of compulsory training.
This article said that a child which had committed a punishable act
before its twelfth year might be brought under control by a court, and
the judges began to make frequent use of this permission.

Prussia (March 13, 1878) enacted a law which included the care

* Blatter fiir das Hamburgische Armenwesen, March, 1904.

'Zeit. f. d. Armenwesen, 1903, p. 224, from Bericht der Zentralstelle der Ver-
inigung fiir Sommerpflege in Deutschland, 1903.

2 F. Schiller, H. Schmidt, and P. Kohne, in Schrift. d. D. V. f. A. u. W., Heft 64,


of children between the ages of 6-12, who had committed a punish-
able act ; but those children who were in danger of physical and moral
ruin through the fault of their parents or guardians were not aided
by this law. The child must commit a crime in order to secure the
attention of the court. Prussia modified this law of 1878 in 1881 and
1884. But the principle of state intervention was so novel that the
law was resisted or set aside in action. Poor-relief officers did indeed
give aid to neglected children, very often without express legal au-
thority. As late as 1880 only 612 children in all Prussia were brought
under compulsory training {Zwangserziehimg) } But gradually the
good effects of the law made it more acceptable to the courts and in
1882 the number rose to 1,887. On April i, 1901, the number was
10,759, ^"d the expenditures in 1900 were 1,677,977 marks. It be-
came more and more apparent that compulsory training should be ex-
tended not only to all morally imperilled children but even to all who
were in danger of moral contamination and demoralization. Eminent
experts in the national conference of charities, in the conferences of
teachers, prison societies, criminalistic associations and the central
committee of the Inner Mission advocated the new idea, until the
governments were convinced that the whole matter should be re-
formed, no longer on the basis of penal law but of social policy. The
Prussian law of 1878 was related to the penal code, but it did not in
fact diminish juvenile offenses. The new idea was to make the effort
on the basis of education. The child under 12, however imperilled,
was left to himself; and the child over 12 received no notice until he
had committed a crime, although he might be in a situation which
would certainly make him a criminal in time. True the church and
the school were everywhere ready to influence the child, but all was
in vain, so long as the child was held in the grasp of a vicious domes-
tic environment.

The enactment of the imperial civil code (1900) did not embody
the new principle, but made room for it and left the several states
free to make laws on the subject for themselves, and very rapidly
have they made use of this liberty. The most noteworthy legislation
of this type was the law of educational guardianship of Prussia
(passed July 2, 1900; went into effect April i, 1901). The very title
of the new act is significant ; it is no longer " Zwangserziehung" but

' The phrase "compulsory training" is used only for neglected children. In
Germany all children of school age attend school.


"Filrsorgecrziehung;" no longer a penal but an educational statute, in
which the parental function of the state is distinctly expressed. The
novel element in this action was this : there is no lower limit of age
for this providential care, and any child who is neglected or in danger
through the guilty conduct of parents is brought under the shield of
the courts. If the spiritual or physical welfare of a child is im-
perilled by the neglect or vice of the father or mother, or if the court
of guardianship decides that the child shall be sent to a correctional
institution or to the care of a suitable family, or if precaution is neces-
sary to prevent injury, the provisions of the law apply.

In most of the states besides Prussia the statute of the Civil Code
of 1900 has been applied by the enactment of administrative laws
which secure the educational guardianship whenever the minor under
12 years has committed a punishable act, and when such protection is
necessary to prevent the moral ruin of the child. The statutes vary
in details but agree in principles.

In respect to the cost of care the laws of the states diflfer widely.
Most of the laws lay the burden in greater part on the state, but in
some cases the commune and poor-union may be required to share it.
As a rule the state or union may recover the cost from the parents or
relatives, if they are able to pay, and this by administrative process.
But it has been made quite evident by experience that such laws fall
far short of their purpose unless the state guarantee the means of
administration. It is precisely where parents are poorest that the
need of guardianship is greatest.

The tendency of recent legislation is to give the communal au-
thorities the right to lay complaint and bring morally imperilled
children to the notice of the court ; and thus the officers of poor-relief,
who have the most intimate knowledge of neglected children, have
a very direct part in the administration of the law. But, even when
there is no direct law for it, teachers, pastors, and other responsible
citizens, as well as the police, may initiate proceedings. Since the
question of cost must generally be considered, it is thought that the
poor-relief officers should always be heard. The poor-relief agents
usually deal with children under 14 years, and the police most fre-
quently with the older minors who are arrested for punishable of-
fenses. School physicians discover physical signs of parental neglect,
abuse or cruelty, and it is their duty to institute proceedings. Parents
will, though rarely, appeal to the court for help, and when they are


too poor or too weak to perform the duty of oversight, their appeal
is heard. But when they simply wish to be rid of the cost and bur-
den of support the case is critically investigated.

There are many societies which charge themselves with the edu-
cation of neglected children, and which offer their assistance to the
authorities. It does not yet seem possible by any public or private
agency to enter homes merely on suspicion, with the purpose to
inspect and discover possible cases of neglect or temptation. The
discoveries must be made in the indirect and occasional ways already
mentioned, and it is not likely that many will escape notice.

It seems to have been the intention of the legislature to protect
not only children already morally injured and depraved, but also those
exposed to physical and moral neglect through the extreme poverty
or the vice of parents. It has been claimed that judicial decisions
have very much restricted the usefulness of the law. No doubt
amendments will be found desirable and improved administrative
regulations. Very curious examples of the methods of the bureau-
cratic "circumlocution office" are given in the discussions.^ In the
year 1901 Prussia spent on 7,787 wards, 2,296,474.98 marks in
in educational guardianship, of which the state paid 1,530,983.29 M.
and the provinces 765,491.69. Experience under the law seems to
indicate that state funds should assure the support for the law and
state control should direct its administration. Local poor law officers
have not the proper facilities nor training for a social task which is
essentially educational. The local poorhouse is not a fit place for
wayward or neglected children.

Schools for household arts for girls of 13 years of age have been
opened in Berlin since 1893. In the first year there was one school
with 20 pupils, taught at an expense of 415 marks. In 1903 there
were 5 school kitchens, with 19 courses of instruction, 500 children
from 22 ward schools, carried on at an expense of 6,400. School
gardens are also used for training the children. The methods of
instruction have gradually improved and for two years the teachers
have been required to pass an examination. The city and royal
authorities promote the enterprise which is carried on by the society
for instructing youth in household arts.

^ Heft 64, Schriften des Deutschen Vereins f. A. u. W. 1903, L. Schiller,
H. Schmidt, and P. Kohne.



M. Preventive and Constructive.

Legal Advice. — The trade unions have found it difficult to secure
the legal assistance which the law provides and so have established
an advisory office. In 1901 there were 35 such societies, the most
important being in Nuremberg and Frankfort. In 1900 information
was given to 94,581 persons in respect to poor-relief, pensions, funds,
police rules, civil rights, adoption, etc.^

Workingmen's Insurance. — In all countries with advanced meth-
ods of production, steam-driven machinery, specialized division of
labor, and world markets, an industrial group of wage earners has
grown up and presents difficult problems. Separated from the land,
the primary source of food, and without ownership or control of the
materials and instruments of production, the members of this group
are compelled to face the ever imminent danger of beggary or starva-
tion in times when the income of the family is cut off by reason of
injury, sickness, unemployment, invalidism, old age, or death of the
breadwinner. To provide for these emergencies is one of the chief
problems of modern society. Taking an average of years, classes
and trades, the probability of occurrence can be calculated near enough
for the introduction of the principle of insurance and of associated
action for mutual help. The subject of insurance is one of highest
interest to students of charity because it is the alternative of poor
relief in the case of vast numbers of the wage earners who are always
living close up to the margin of subsistence and who depend on the
daily wages for the daily bread.

In all modern countries and for a long time various systems of
insurance have been tried and with encouraging results. It is a
principle almost universally accepted that public and private charity
should be held in reserve as a last resort, after all other measures have
failed. In many ways the working people have themselves organized
associations for mutual benefit and help. In other instances employ-
ers have established funds or subsidized those founded by the em-
ployes. Especially have great corporations, relying upon the perma-
nence of their organization, called into existence funds for the assist-
ance of their workingmen.

But in no nation has it been found possible to organize the ma-

I Die deutschen Arbeitersekretariate, von Richard Soudek C1902), Schott,
Das Armenrecht der Deutschen Z. P. O. — Goldschmidt, Zur Reform der Armen-
pflegerecht (1899).


jority of the wage-earning group, and especially those who are un-
skilled, by any device of voluntary association. Immense as has
been the advance in this direction the merely optional schemes fall far
short of their aim.

The German Empire has embarked upon a system of compulsory
insurance against accident, sickness, invalidism and old age, which is
far in advance of the methods of any other people ; and the motive
of that system was set forth in the famous message of Emperor
William I., November 17, 1881. In that instrument the founder of
the Empire acknowledged the moral obligation of the nation to give
greater security and help to its least prosperous citizens. He would
begin with the voluntary associations already existing and develop
them into a comprehensive system by means of state protection and
assistance. In this place we can do no more than indicate the essen-
tial features of the German plan and its relations to public and private

Sickness Insurance. — This was made compulsory by imperial laws
of 1883 and 1892, for all workingmen and employes in trades and
industry, with an annual income of less than 2,000 marks. It may
be extended to persons with a higher income at their option. Accord-
ing to the statistics of 1898, out of a population of 54,300.000 inhab-
itants, 14,000,000 wage workers were under this law. The form of
organization is that of a local fund, with a measure of administrative
power in the local association. Voluntary auxiliary funds are also
established and recognized. In 1898 there were 22,997 funds, and
9,200,000 members. The premiums are paid, two-thirds by the
workingmen and one-third by employers. In the voluntary associa-
tions the employers are not obliged to pay.

The benefits given are : free medical treatment and payments in
money (50 per cent, of the average wages), or free treatment in a
hospital and one-half the sickness money to the family. Payments
continue 13 weeks. Women at the time of confinement receive the
same rate for four weeks. In case of death the payment is 20 times
the amount of a day's wages of the person. The benefits may be

* The limits of space forbid a complete analysis and explanation of the
German system of workingmen's insurance. See 4th Special Report of the
Commissioner of Labor, Compulsory Insurance in Germany, prepared by John
Graham Brooks, 1895 (revised edition). — Workingmen's Insurance, by W. F,
Willoughby, 1898. — Leitfaden zur Arbeiter-Versicherung des Deutschen Reichs,
1900. — N. Pinkus in Yale Review, Feb. 1904. (Many references).



made higher by the regulations of the fund. The sum expended in
1898 was 137,000,000 marks, or on the average of 2.5 marks per day.
In case of disputed claims the matter is decided by a supervisory
board without cost of litigation.

Accident Insurance. — The laws on this subject were enacted in
1884 to 1887. The scheme is available and obligatory for wage
earners and foremen in agriculture and manufactures, with annual

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 8 of 73)