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pardon if convicted; the illicit liquor business, which is so profitable and so devastating? Recently an Italian boy who has lived all his life on the West Side of Chicago was talking with us about one of the recent murders and other crimes. He asked me about a friend of his who was accused of rape, a case in which we were interested, and I made the remark that I thought a great deal of influence was being used in this case. He said, "It won't do any good. You know rape is the only kind of case in which money won't count. You can buy your way out for almost anything else, but not for that."
Our system of patronage, of pre-election favors and post-election payment of political debts, our election of judges and other officers whose duties demand specialized professional knowledge and judgment rather than political astuteness and influence, our failure to develop our police departments along professional and socialized lines-all of these conditions have great elements of danger.
The failure to enforce our laws, the obvious overlooking, on the part of the authorities, of the sale of liquor, of gambling, of houses of prostitution, result not alone in crime and disease and demoralization. They represent a disregard for law and order and decency on the part of those who have been elected or appointed to take responsibility and those who profit commercially, but no less on the part of the community itself-the citizenship which fails to protect its children and young people from such a state of affairs. You may or may not believe in prohibition, but our failure to enforce the Eighteenth Amendment has emphasized and brought to the attention of the American public as never before certain great weaknesses in our local, and state, and federal government, and an attitude on the part of parents and officials and citizens for which our young people can have little respect. All those communities which permit an alliance between crime and politics are not only unsafe for their children, but for us all.
If the shadows cast in the lives of children have been so great that they have eventually led them to our police departments, our police stations, our jails, our detention homes, our courts, our probation systems, our reformatories and prisons, then the task of the community is great indeed, to reconstruct, to substitute, to re-establish the girl's or the boy's faith in the integrity and possibilities of life. No child is safe in any community if when he has failed for one reason or another and we attempt to rehabilitate him or even punish him, this is not done with all the intelligence and socialized procedure which we have learned to know is possible. In the recent reports of certain public departments in Chicago for the last year we read the following figures:
There were in one year 93,779 complaints of truancy in our public schools; and we still attempt to adjust them, for the most part, considering only the factor of truancy; there were 16,640 (1924 report) complaints of delinquent boys and girls at our police stations, and over 14,000 of them adjusted by the police: these are of children, and the complaints are incorrigible, larceny, stealing of automobile, burglary, assault, robbery, immorality, runaway, malicious mischief, concealed weapons. In addition to these there were in the same year, 1924, 2,707 complaints of delinquent boys and girls in our juvenile court. There were 14,331 boys and 1,294 girls, from
sixteen to twenty years of age, arrested the same year; and 48,075 boys and 4,777 girls, from twenty-one to twenty-five years of age, inclusive, arrested. The complaints were larceny; forgery; murder; rape; burglary; assault; carrying concealed weapons; as inmates and keepers of gambling houses, houses of prostitution; seduction; pandering; prostitution; and many others.
You have only to read the paper today to realize how we have failed in at least one city to provide public departments and officials adequately to reconstruct these young lives, and we know that our community conditions have entered more or less into all the tragedies these figures portray.
It is not easy to challenge commercial and industrial interests; to persuade the moving picture producers and theatrical managers and dance hall owners to look at their productions from the point of view of the educator and the conservation of youth. It takes great understanding to build up a friendly cooperative relationship with these men. It takes money and courage and determination to prosecute vice interests that are intrenched politically, and, one might say, socially. One must have indisputable facts and strong public support and respect before one can publicly denounce public officials and departments and institutions.
It is so much easier, not only for communities but for social workers, to organize juvenile courts and clinics and probation systems and to build institutions than it is to face fearlessly and honestly great fundamental wrongs and deficiencies and dangers in our modern life-in housing conditions, in child labor, in education, in amusements, in politics, in our economic situation; all those things which now keep many normal young people from having, in the words of Adolf Meyer, "health, happiness, efficiency, and social adaptation," and which inevitably make many of our less privileged children dependents, delinquents, and even criminals. As social workers or social engineers, as someone has flatteringly called us-do we recognize community influences and use the vast material we have to awaken the civic conscience in behalf of our children?
MAKING THE CHILD SAFE FOR THE COMMUNITY
There is a philosophy that formerly dominated all child protective work, and while it has been replaced to some extent, it still controls many of our organizations and is a partial factor in many others. It was clearly stated a few years ago by the then president of the American Humane Association, which lists in its affiliated membership nearly all the child protective agencies of the country: "We recognize the importance of general social work, but our people
Cook County Juvenile Court, Annual Report for 1924, p. 19; Police Department, City of Chicago, Annual Report, 1924, p. 18 (table); ibid., p. 61.
are not social workers. We have a special function under the law, decided by legislatures and courts, and as demonstrated by long years of practical work." This feeling, that child protective work is something set apart from other social case work, was caused by the law enforcement function of the protective agency. One such organization received 675 complaints in 1924. In 306 instances, or nearly 50 per cent, court proceedings followed. In 150, advice or warning was given; and in 103, the investigation was closed because of insufficient evidence. To the discerning these figures tell the story. If sufficient evidence of law violation could be secured, the family was either warned or immediately prosecuted. If such evidence was not obtained, the case was closed. I believe this to be a very fair picture of much of our organized child protective work. It is police work, and not of very high order. The laws governing child neglect and abuse are broad in their scope, and have been intentionally made so by the legislatures in order to afford protection to children under a wide variety of circumstances. This makes it possible to secure evidence, technically sufficient to warrant a prosecution, in a large percentage of cases. If the societies' relations with the court are cordial, as they usually are, the percentage of convictions is remarkably high. Thus, in annual reports a gratifying showing of hundreds or thousands of children rescued from neglect and terrible conditions can be made, and all is well.
With certain types of evangelists, individual salvation is indicated by recognizable signs, such as "hitting the sawdust trail." Few religious leaders today, however, feel that individual salvation can be reduced to percentage tables. What is salvation? is to most of us too perplexing a question for such treatment. So it is with child rescue. I believe that many of these prosecutions are possible because the prosecutor does not know the story that lies behind the evidence. Have we not too blindly assumed that laying the evidence before a court almost automatically results in child protection?
I have known of a great many cases where the whole future life of parents and children has been decided by judicial opinion based upon the unsupported testimony of a child protective worker; testimony that really was hearsay in character, gained by the worker through one office interview or one home call, with absolutely no check-up on the information so obtained. It starts with the statement of one witness, it gathers prestige when repeated by a protective worker, and it assumes the finality of law when restated by the court. Probably no organization will admit that this is a fair picture of its work. The phrase "thorough investigation" has been generally adopted and widely proclaimed as the policy of nearly all children's agencies. They would warmly deny that they act without investigation; but with many such is the fact.
There are some so-called "case work agencies" employing sincere people who, when confronted with a difficult family or individual, do not know how to obtain an adequate knowledge of the facts and have no skill to interpret the facts if they were available. These workers, having sought vainly for a solution
of their difficult problem, decide that the only answer is to run to a judge. Such people are really sorry to break up a family; their hearts do bleed for them. But how pathetic, how tragic, it is for us to go on year after year, disrupting families and expanding our facilities for child care and not facing the fact that we have done nothing that in the least degree approaches the process of case work, in which we theoretically put our trust. If we believe, as we say we do, that knowledge of the facts, social, physical, mental, and spiritual, is necessary for the beginning of the case work process, and if we are convinced that there is no adequate substitute for good case work, then, in the name of the suffering humanity to whom we minister, let us begin to practice it! The phrase "adequate investigation" we have adopted, but the practice is in many places still an unclaimed orphan.
Then there is the process called supervision. A home is found which is dirty and where intemperance and child neglect exist. Evidence of law violation is easily obtainable. But we are modern in our approach, and we do not immediately seize the children through a court action. No; we warn the parents that from now on they must be sober, industrious, and kind to their children. We may even point out to them the great importance of their jobs as parents, and then we pay a series of visits to note the effect of our first warning and to give other warnings. In some cases the situation in the family improves, and then we promptly close the case, only to have it reopened later with the situation as bad as it was before. In a few instances the improvement is permanent, due, not to our warnings, but to forces within or without the family which were operating unknown to us. But many times we warn until our patience is gone; we feel it is no longer fair to the children to leave them in their neglectful homes; and we prosecute, and save some more children. In all earnestness and with no sense of exaggeration I assert that this is what is done over and over again in the name of child protection. With some modifications of language, it is what many organizations assert to be their function; it is what is meant by the quotation from the distinguished Humane Society leader with which I opened these remarks. With the growing realization in our communities of the possibilities of social case work it is not an idle prophecy to say that either our child protective organizations will wake up and socialize their work or they will find that other agencies, possibly public ones, have taken over their functions. The raising of large sums of money in our community funds is forcibly calling the public's attention to the social needs and the social machinery of their communities, and the time is not far distant when the effectiveness of our work should be, and it will be, forcibly challenged.
In general there are two tests we may apply to our child welfare work. We may compare the physical surroundings in which we place children with the environment from which we have taken them. They formerly slept four in a bed, under dirty quilts, and were used to irregular meals; they now have individual beds and good food in an institution run by our best citizens. And so our
work is good! Or we may measure our achievements by our opportunities, and compare what we have done with what we could and should have done. By this test our success is meager, and we are forced to conclude that we have not measured up. We intend to, but our own situation is so difficult. There are certain influential personalities in our communities; there are traditions; money is hard to get; people don't understand; in some other city, on some far-distant green hill, we could do more. That attitude reveals a lack of faith in our program that is worse than ignorance. Our courage and determination to achieve in our home town the things we proclaim in our out-of-town conventions must be greater.
When Abraham Lincoln was a young man working as a river pilot on the Mississippi he wore a pair of buckskin pants. The buckskin, exposed to river, rain, and sunshine, shrank, while at the same time young Lincoln's legs grew longer, until a considerable portion of his lower anatomy was uncovered. In thinking of the gap between our National Conference standards as expressed in papers and discussions and our local practice as expressed in our service to the children in our communities, I am conscious of a gap, greater, more revealing, and more embarrassing than young Lincoln's. What we need is not to know more things to do, but to do the things we already know. If the standards stated and reiterated in this conference for the last ten years were really to go into effect in all of the agencies affiliated or related to this conference there would be such a revolution in social work in this country as would make the Russian revolution seem like a tea party.
If child protective work should not consist merely of warnings and prosecutions, what should be its functions? Child protective work is one branch of social case work. It is based on the belief that problems of child neglect and abuse are complex, and that careful investigations by trained case workers are necessary to determine the facts. It is important in this work to know what the situation is, but it is more important to know why it is. It recognizes the family as a unit for the purposes of investigation and treatment, no matter how dramatic the behavior of any one member of the family may have been. It is based on a belief that the family has a remarkable strength and vitality which must be conserved for the welfare of the children. It appreciates the importance of understanding the individuality of the members of the family. It believes that delinquency is caused to a considerable extent by social and environmental conditions, and therefore that prosecution without understanding is more likely to do harm than good. It therefore regards prosecution as only one of a great variety of methods which a child protective society should use.
Because of these considerations, this plan calls for the united efforts of all the social forces in the community in the fight to protect children. In some families the services of a health agency are most important; in others, family social service, recreation, education, or vocational guidance. Therefore under this conception good child protective work must be closely related to the other social