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INTAKE OF CHILD CARING INSTITUTIONS
WHAT CHILDREN SHOULD BE RECEIVED FOR CARE BY
C. C. Carstens, Executive Director, Child Welfare League of America,
This paper is principally intended for the discussion of the kind of children's problems with which agencies other than the child's own family should be concerned and with which they should equip themselves to deal intelligently.
Forty-two states and the territories of Alaska and Hawaii have passed laws which make it possible for the state or local units within the state to provide for certain dependent children in their own homes. The conditions as to whether such support is given in the families of widows only, or in families where the father may still be alive, or to unmarried mothers, vary from state to state. Likewise the length of time that must elapse before the family becomes eligible, and various other conditions differ very much in the various states. The principle is, however, well established. Most of the states have more law than is now being used, or at least satisfactorily administered. A greater uniformity in the conditions applying to mothers' assistance funds is undoubtedly desirable, but in most of the states the administration of these funds is at present of greater concern than any amendment of statutes. Such an administration is largely a question of the better application of case work principles by the social servants of the local units as well as by the supervising visitors of the respective states where the state departments are in position to provide such supervision.
This paper is, however, not intended to discuss the various questions of mothers' aid, but we desire to express our interest in having every case of dependent children considered first of all from the standpoint of the possibility of applying the mothers' assistance principle to the solution of the problem, consistent with the maintenance of safe and intelligent care for the children.
A further fundamental principle akin to this is that all applications for the care of children must be examined from the standpoint of making such slight or even complicated adjustment, with or without financial assistance, that will make it possible to maintain the family home, or if a brief absence of the children is necessary, to rebuild it again. Homes should not be broken up because