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that families shall be visited before children are placed. Nevertheless, the statute provides that careful inquiry and satisfactory evidence shall be furnished to the trustees that the person taking the child is a suitable person to be intrusted with its care.

The law authorizes the establishment of children's homes in each county, or a number of counties, not exceeding four, may unite in forming a district home. In 1878 I attended with Governor Bishop and Rev. Dr. Byers, then secretary of the Ohio State Board of Charities, the dedication of one of these homes, which was among the first that were founded. It was not anticipated then that there would be a large number of them built or that children would remain long in them. They were designed as temporary refuges to save children from commitment to the infirmaries. In respect to the number of homes that have been built and the detention of inmates therein, these expectations have not been fulfilled. In the eighty-eight counties of the State there are now forty-four of these institutions, and the number of inmates has increased in a greater ratio than the population. Since the establishment of county homes, however, the children have been almost entirely rescued from the county infirmaries. On Sept. 1, 1882, there were 1,070 in these institutions; and on Sept. 1, 1896, there were but 81 between the age of three and sixteen years.

The Ohio system of county homes has its advantages; but, as intimated, there is a tendency to abnormal institutional growth, which threatens to prevent the rapid absorption of children into the normal condition of home life. The qualification in the statute that children placed out shall be visited by a commissioner at least once a year, "if practicable," and the optional requirement of a paid agent to assist in finding homes and visiting them after the children are placed, and the failure to require that homes shall be officially visited before children are placed in them are weaknesses in the system.

Pennsylvania has no State system, but the plan of boarding out children has been adopted on a large scale by the Children's Aid Society of Pennsylvania. This society places out children of Philadelphia, and has an arrangement with a considerable number of counties in the eastern part of the State for placing out their children. These are, in some instances, adopted into families; but, more generally, they are boarded until they are old enough to earn

their living, when they are permanently placed, without compensation, with the family with whom they have been boarded, or they are withdrawn and placed in other families who are willing to receive them without payment for board. This method has been adopted in some other parts of the United States, and is substantially the same as that introduced by Miss Joanna M. Hill into England, whereby the children in the workhouses were removed from the demoralizing atmosphere of the workhouse to the purer and more elevating influences of family life. This method is also practised in Scotland; and, from personal observations made in visiting groups of children so placed in hamlets and little villages in both countries, the work seemed to me commendable. The work of the Children's Aid Society of Pennsylvania is highly spoken of by the Pennsylvania Board of Public Charities. It is easy to adopt this system, because many persons will take children for compensation who would not take them out of pure benevolence or a desire to co-operate in child-saving work. It has been found, however, in many localities where the boarding-out plan has been adopted, that the voluntary system is displaced. People will not gratuitously take upon themselves the burden of a work for which their neighbors are receiving pay. The rearing of children in this way becomes a business, as is the boarding of the insane in families. Such a system requires close supervision, checks, and counter-checks, as does any successful business enterprise.

The Pennsylvania society has a large force of agents and visitors who inspect the homes of applicants before children are placed in them. The agents examine the environments of the home, and watch the child critically after it enters the home. Frequent reports are required from the foster parents, from the school which the child attends, and from the pastor of the church to which the foster parents belong. All visits to the home by the society's agents are recorded in books kept for the purpose at the general office, and a complete history of the child and of everything pertaining to its interests is preserved.

One of the most powerful agencies in America for restoring dependent and homeless children to family life is the Children's Aid Society of New York City, which during the forty-three years of its existence has placed upward of 85,000 children in families in various States of the Union, but mostly in homes in the West. The

plan of this society is to send an agent to a selected and prosperous district in one of the Western States, who makes his headquarters in some town or village. To use his own language: "I then set about finding out who are the best-informed and best-hearted people in the place, explain our work, and organize a committee of representative persons, residents of the town, to co-operate with me. I then advertise that a party of children will be brought into that place on a given date, and that parties desiring children must apply through, and get the approval of, that committee. The committee get together before my arrival, and determine upon the applications as to who are proper persons to take children. When the children arrive, they are assigned by me on the recommendation of the committee; and that committee acts as the local guardian of the children. If they find that they have made a mistake in assigning a child, they are authorized to remove it and place it elsewhere. We do not very often have to do it, but we reserve that right. When I return to New York, the full particulars respecting each child are given in to the office, and there recorded. The office clerk charged with this duty soon writes to each person having a child, inquiring how they like it and how the child is getting along. Within the year an agent from New York visits the place, and investigates each and every one of the homes in which children have been placed; and, if he finds the child is better than the home, he removes it, and looks up a good home for it. The society employs two men for that purpose, one alternating with the other."

Some of the orphan asylums in New York State, the management of which is mainly in the hands of women, have been very successful in saving children through placement in families. Deserving of special mention, in this respect, is the American Female Guardian Society of New York City. The society makes a careful scrutiny of the proposed home and its environments before placing out the child. Subsequently, by visitation and correspondence, an intimate knowledge is kept up of the child's welfare and progress, with counsel extended, if necessary, to both foster parents and child, thus removing friction and preserving harmony for a long series of years. one of my visits to the society's rooms some years ago, I found an aged couple who had just returned from a visit to their two children, who had been committed, when quite young, to the society's keeping by the court. The mother had frequently been sent to Blackwell's


Island for drunkenness; and the father, at the time his son and daughter were committed to the society's care, was an inmate of the penitentiary. The disposition made of their children was kept secret from them; and they were told that they should never see them unless they reformed, as they would bring disgrace upon their offspring. The parents did finally reform. Both of the children had become members of the church, and were heads of families. In this way the patient, persevering Christian work of the society had sayed not only the children, but the parents. As is customary with this society in every instance, the full particulars of the history of these interesting cases are recorded on its books.


During recent years there has been a large accumulation of children in the orphan asylums of New York State, especially in the municipalities of New York and Brooklyn, consequent upon increased admissions and longer detention, so that institutionizing influences have retarded the development of the children, while the public have been burdened with a needless expense. The State Board of Charities found in its examinations during the past year many inmates of these institutions that had passed the legal age of children and were still retained as public charges. Under the authority conferred by the amended State Constitution, these abuses are now being corrected. This state of things has not been universal, howThe city of Buffalo, for example, has not as many children in its orphan asylums now in proportion to its population as it had twenty years ago. There is a popular error respecting the retention of children in some of the asylums, it being thought that they all should be placed out in families, whereas in many cases this is impracticable. In making an examination of the inmates of some of the Buffalo asylums a year or two ago with special reference to the length of their detention, in one of the asylums I found that there were only two children out of 138 inmates that were eligible to placing out, and that homes were already selected for these two. All the others were either temporarily boarded at the expense of relatives or guardians, or were temporarily committed by the superintendent of the poor to tide the families to which they belonged over some misfortune and save them from being broken up, or they were children that were mentally or physically defective, and not acceptable in families. Some of these had been placed out and returned. I found that the asylum averaged a change of inmates about once a

year. Those living remote from seaboard cities do not realize the vastness of the work that must be done for dependent children, nor the difficulties that surround it in New York State, with its estimated population of seven millions, its immense immigration of foreign paupers, and the undermining social influences that must be contended with. These should be had in mind while criticising the work.

In comparing the results of work for dependent children in different States, the systems of those States should be kept clearly in mind. For example, it should be remembered that the children in orphan asylums, Houses of the Good Shepherd, and similar institutions in Michigan are not reported to the Board of Corrections and Charities as in New York State; and a comparison of the number of dependent children as reported by the Boards of Charities of these two States is therefore misleading. The same is true of some other States. An interesting article recently published in one of our leading periodicals gives the number of dependent children in institutions in New York State as "about" 35,000. According to the last report of the State Board of Charities the number of this class on the 30th of September, 1896, was 26,808.

The proper function of the orphan asylum is to prepare children over two years of age, whose habits, manners, speech, and morals need reforming, for the family home with as little loss of time as possible, and to prevent the breaking up of families in bereavement or distress, by caring for their children until the parents can again establish themselves in independence. In this field there is a vast work remaining; and we should not discourage the great organizations composed of benevolent persons working in connection with the orphan asylums, but strive to make their work more efficient by the adoption of active placing-out methods and by raising the standard of the orphan asylum to the highest degree of efficiency.

In localities where dependent children are placed in families there should be organized groups of benevolent people, alive to the interests of homeless children, who, by the exercise of watchfulness that is not obtrusive or meddlesome, will keep informed as to the welfare of children placed out, and by fostering an acquaintance purely personal build up their self-respect, while being in a position to perform the delicate duty of notifying the placing out agency when official action for protection is necessary. In States having State

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