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ginia, and Camden, New Jersey. Institutions in several other localities are under way or planned.
Some of the physical features of an adequate detention home, in addition to fire protection and proper lighting and ventilation, are the following: first, sufficient space to accommodate without crowding the number of children likely to require care at any one time; second, arrangement of rooms so as to permit segregation according to sex, character, and physical condition; for older children, single rooms being preferred decidedly to dormitories, and less night supervision being necessary when single rooms are provided; third, security against escape. Bars should be avoided, as giving the home too much the appearance of a jail. Windows may be protected by iron screening, or may be construtced of iron frames with small panes of glass; fourth, separate and ample bathing and toilet facilities for boys and girls, and for children suffering from infectious diseases; fifth, conveniently arranged kitchen, dining-rooms, recreation rooms, and schoolrooms; sixth, outdoor play space.
The juvenile court itself should operate the detention home, or at least control its policies and the admission and release of children. Effective supervision of the children should be maintained. Adequate facilities should be provided for the study of the child's physical and mental health. Specialized school work, recreational facilities, and opportunity for the exercise of the child's religious duties are necessary. Among the homes which have worked out constructive programs for occupying the time of the children are those of Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Newark, New Jersey, and Camden, New Jersey.
More important than the physical aspects or the daily routine of the detention home are the personalities of the superintendent and his or her assistants and their conception of the opportunities for service which are theirs. A community intending to build is wise if it selects its superintendent before beginning construction, and allows him to have a part in the planning of the building. It will then be more likely to be both planned and used as an instrument, not merely for safekeeping, but also for understanding and helping the children whom it shelters.
The boarding home plan.-The boarding home plan of detention care was first developed in the central district of the city of Boston, where it has been in operation for twenty years. A similar plan has recently been developed in Minneapolis, where there is no detention home of the ordinary type. St. Louis is using the plan extensively, about 30 per cent of the children provided for being delinquents. The city also maintains a detention home, which is now used only for delinquent children. Los Angeles, which has a large detention home, reports that boarding homes are being used to some extent.
It will be remembered that forty-four of the 136 cities of from 25,000 to 100,000 population reported using boarding homes for temporary care. Nineteen of these used them for delinquent, dependent, and neglected children; six, for delinquent children only; eighteen, for dependent and neglected children
only; and one did not report the types of children detained. Thirty-seven cared for both boys and girls in boarding homes, and twenty-four, for both white and Negro children. The number of homes in use ranged from one or two (in twelve communities) to ten or twelve (in two.) Doubtless the cities with the largest number of boarding homes used some of them at times for other purposes than temporary care. Among the smaller cities in which the boarding home has been developed for temporary care of court children are Wilkes-Barre and Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, Madison and Kenosha, Wisconsin, Charleston, South Carolina, Augusta and Columbus, Georgia, Gadsden and Tuscaloosa, Alabama. State departments in Massachusetts, Virginia, and Alabama also use boarding homes for the temporary care of children committed by courts, the Massachusetts department furnishing detention care in cases of children temporarily committed, pending the final disposition of their cases. Reference has already been made to the use of boarding homes in rural counties of some of the other states.
The boarding home plan has a greater chance of being successful if it is developed in cooperation with an agency or department which has already had experience in children's aid or child placing work. The Boston Children's Aid Society, the United Charities of Wilkes-Barre (an organization with a broad program), the Children's Protective Society of Minneapolis, the St. Louis Board of Children's Guardians, the Charleston Department of Health and Welfare, state departments that have engaged in child placing, are among the agencies which, in cooperation with the courts, have been developing this type of service. If it is to be generally successful in rural communities and small cities it is probable that it must be worked out by courts in close cooperation with a state department that can assist in developing standards and in the actual selection of homes. The task is not a simple one, but requires experience and skill.
Financial arrangements sometimes include a monthly rate or subsidy paid to each home, which is the same regardless of the number of children cared for and which insures the home being on call at any time, and an additional per capita rate on the basis of the number of days' care actually given. Outfits of clothing, drugs, medical attention, and extras are usually supplied.
In selecting a boarding home the composition of the family and the personality of its members, especially the mother, are of primary importance. Certain homes are adapted to some types of children and not to others, and they must be used with discrimination. Ideally, not more than one or two children should be cared for in the same home at the same time, unless provision is to be made for a group of brothers and sisters. Unfortunately in some communities this standard has not been maintained.
Sometimes it has been found possible to send certain children to the public schools. The children are often given medical attention while in the home, and must be taken to and from clinics. They play indoor and outdoor games, read and sew, help with the housework, and are taken to the movies and to church
and Sunday school. The agency supervising the homes must have a member of the staff who can keep in very close touch with them, be on call in all emergencies, and give the boarding mothers instruction, guidance, and encourage
It is very important that there be complete understanding and cooperation between the agency supplying the boarding home service and the police department. Children arrested should be taken direct to the home or to the court or agency supplying the service, and not to the police station. In at least two communities the success of the plan has been seriously jeopardized by the fact that children are often held in the police stations several hours, or even days, before being placed in the homes.
The boarding home plan is relatively inexpensive, can be used by communities with very few children or with larger numbers to be provided for, is extremely flexible, does not present the temptation offered by large detention homes to detain children unnecessarily, and permits classification of children and individualized treatment. Its chief advantage is thought by some to be its psychological effect upon the child. Whether it can be made a complete substitute for a detention home in a large city is probably still to be determined. Certainly it can render effective supplementary service. Outside the large cities it appears to be the most practicable plan for detention care that has yet been devised.
The psychological aspects of the detention problem.-Little has been said or written regarding the psychological aspects of detention or the relation of detention to other parts of juvenile court organization. An exception is a suggestive paper by Judge Cabot, given at the twenty-fifth anniversary celebration of the Chicago juvenile court. In the belief that the child guidance clinics are in the best position to obtain information bearing on this question, the directors of a number of clinics and a psychiatrist of nation wide experience were asked to state their opinions as to the psychological effects of care in detention homes. The letter of inquiry suggested six points to be considered, four as possible bad effects, and two as possible good effects, of detention home care.
Twelve replies have been received. Some of the clinics have been recently established and some of the directors state that their experience has yielded no definite information, but that their replies are based mainly on their own opinions and general impressions. On the other hand, some give concrete cases as illustrative of certain points.
Six psychiatrists emphasize the possible bad effects of detention home care, while six are inclined to minimize the dangers; two, however, stating that their opinions are based on conditions in communities where the administration of the court or the detention home is unusually good. Naturally the experience of the clinic is greatly affected by the quality of the local detention service.
The four possible bad effects mentioned may be briefly stated as follows: first, creation of a "defense reaction," a spirit of antagonism to the whole juvenile court process; second, development in certain children, especially members of
gangs, of a spirit of bravado, the experience making the child more or less of a hero to his associates; third, suffering due to fear, humiliation, and separation from parents, especially in the case of young children; fourth, contamination from children with bad habits or a bad outlook on life, and exchange of delinquent experience.
Time does not permit analysis of the statements relating to each of these points. Regarding none is opinion unanimous. The fourth point (the danger of contamination) is the one which is given the greatest emphasis. Six psychiatrists believe it is serious; two, that it is avoided in their communities through segregation and supervision; and a ninth, that it is difficult to evaluate and is probably less prevalent in a well regulated detention home than formerly.
The two points regarding probable good effects were: first, opportunity for the child to "think over" his own conduct; second, removal of children from family situations in which the parents are inclined to vent on the child their own feelings of anger or humiliation caused by the child's court experience.
Four replies state that the argument that detention gives an opportunity to "think over" his conduct is "ridiculous," or "grossly exaggerated," or "can be completely eliminated," or that the children are rarely capable of comprehending situations unaided. Three indicate that in a few instances detention is advantageous for this reason, and two unqualifiedly assert that it is an advantage, one emphasizing the additional value which results from the child's taking his court experience more seriously than when temporary care of some other type is provided. With reference to the second possible advantage, removal of the child from difficult family situations, four of the five who state that temporary care is sometimes desirable for this reason add that the problem can be more adequately met through boarding homes. Several of the replies emphasize particularly the opportunity that a properly conducted detention home may give for observation and careful study of the child, believing this to be its chief function.
The inquiry has brought out the present lack of unanimity of opinion on the part of those who are having an opportunity for scientific observations of the results of detention home care, and the need for accumulation of data regarding this and other methods of temporary care. Child guidance clinics are studying the successes and the failures of the home and the school as they affect the development of the child's personality. Is it not time for the juvenile court itself and all the phases of the juvenile court process to be included in such a study?
In the meantime, ordinary common sense tells us that the problem of temporary care, like the problem of probation and of institutional care, is fundamentally a question of bringing the child who needs it, and only such a child, in contact, under favorable conditions, with wise and understanding men and women whose concern it will be to discover his individual difficulties and capacities and to help him to better self-understanding and social adjustment. Such provision will become general only when the public understands its need and its value.
THE JUVENILE COURT AS A CASE WORKING AGENCY:
Francis H. Hiller, Field Secretary, National Probation
We are agreed that the juvenile court must be a social case working agency, although there are courts to which this is an alien thought. I shall not discuss the theoretical limitations of case work in the juvenile court in comparison with the public schools or other agencies, vital as is the bearing of this issue upon the direction of future evolution in this field. In few juvenile courts, if any, has social case work so closely approached the ideal limitations imposed by necessary inherent conditions as to be seriously hampered thereby. The juvenile court should perform thoroughly and efficiently the functions assigned to it, however much we may disagree as to what those functions ought to be, in the present or in the future. Observation of the juvenile court case work actually being done in communities of various types and sizes in various parts of the country and experience in devising means for its improvement suggests emphatically a more immediate and practical aspect of the subject. What are, in fact, today, the forces limiting the development of good case work in the juvenile courts? In our efforts for progress are we facing the real obstacles?
To remind ourselves how far, taking it the country over, our juvenile court practice lags behind our knowledge is a painful but salutary exercise. The gloomy picture of the situation occasionally drawn for us is true. But why are the shadows so extensive and the high lights so few? Why, after a generation of rapidly improving standards, given wide publicity, and even after the enactment of juvenile court laws conforming, in many respects, to the best of these standards, does actual juvenile court work over so large a portion of the country remain so incomplete and ineffective? This inquiry will concern some rather commonplace and uninspiring considerations. But they are none the less vital and fundamental.
There are, in the first place, the limitations imposed by the qualities of the judges themselves. However much we may exalt the importance of the probation staff and the equipment of the juvenile court, it is the judge who immediately determines the policies of the court, its organization, its procedure, and its spirit. The "Juvenile Court Standards" adopted by the United States Children's Bureau and the National Probation Association state that "the judge should be chosen because of his special qualifications for juvenile court work. He should have legal training, acquaintance with social problems, and understanding of child psychology." A few state laws reiterate and even amplify this standard. Yet in most communities the judge exercising the juvenile court jurisdiction has not been chosen with primary reference to that function at all. He has been chosen to preside over the circuit, or district, or county, or municipal, or probate or other court, and the juvenile court law imposes upon him only an