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foster home is a suitable home for the child." The board is required to submit to the court a full report in writing with its recommendation as to the granting of the petition. Furthermore, no petition can be granted until the child has lived for six months in the proposed home, except "upon good cause shown" satisfactory to the court.
Another angle of the problem is met in the Minnesota law by a provision that the name of the putative father shall not be entered without his consent upon the birth certificate by the attending physician or midwife. When he is adjudged the father, the clerk of court is to notify the State Registrar of Vital Statistics, who enters the record. To avoid the possibility of inquisitive people learning from the bureau the name of an illegitimate father or mother, registrars are required to transcribe in a book which is known as "the public record of births" certain identifying interns relating to all children, including the name of the mother, but with the name of the father omitted. This applies alike to all children whether born in or out of lawful wedlock. All transcripts for use in connection with school attendance and employment certificates are to be taken from this record. No registrar is now permitted to "disclose the fact that any record of birth or death shows that any child was either legitimate or illegitimate," except when so ordered by a court of record.
It is necessary to refer to another law which is destined to play an important part in the care of these children in Minnesota. It is the one which authorizes the Board of Control to call an annual conference with officials responsible for the enforcement of laws relating to children for the purpose of promoting economy, uniformity, and efficiency in their enforcement, and providing for the payment of the expenses of probate judges attending. These judges serve as juvenile court judges in all but six of our eighty-six counties.
To complete the picture of what the new laws do for these children in Minnesota, we must also refer to the provision for County Child Welfare Boards. Already twenty-six counties have organized these boards, which are charged with the performance of "such duties as may be required of them by the Board of Control in furtherance of the purposes of the act." Through these county boards, it is expected that the central bureau at the capitol will be able to reach out into the furthermost corner of the state and render assistance quickly to any needy child.
Summary and Comparison
The principal difference between the Minnesota law and the provision submitted to the Missouri legislature, which unfortunately did not become law, is that the Missouri commission provided for less centralization of authority and responsibility in a single agency, while placing more responsibility and initiative in the hands of county boards. Nether was provision made in Missouri for an official investigation by the state precedent to the granting of adoption papers. Of course, there were many differences in detail.
In the fundamental principles, there is a remarkable similarity between the provisions of the Castberg Law passed in Norway and those of our own Minnesota law and the proposed Missouri code. An important difference, however, is that in Norway the child is given an equal right to the name of the father and mother. No similar action has been taken in this country. In Minnesota we deliberately omitted such a provision, believing that it was of doubtful advantage to either mother or child, while possessing decided disadvantages for both.
In addition to placing the responsibility for care and maintenance upon both parents the Norwegian law adds that such maintenance shall be in accordance with the economic condition of the one most favorably situated. It also gives the child the same right of inheritance as if legitimate. If more than one man is involved, they may all be held liable for maintenance, the amount being apportioned among them.
An interesting provision makes it possible to make a special assessment on the father for confirmation expenses. The provisions to compel payments are very rigid. Wages may be garnisheed, banks required to give information as to the means of the father, and tax authorities as to his taxable properties whenever the man has been adjudged the father or has acknowledged his paternity in writing.
Any discussion of recent legislation affecting children of unmarried parents would be incomplete without reference to the Compensation Act passed by Congress for men in service. In this act, the national government itself has recognized the duty of the illegitimate father to provide for his offspring by placing the granting of allowances on the same basis as for children born in lawful wedlock.
The Minnesota laws became effective on the first of last January. Since then, the Board of Control has established a department of child welfare and has given encouraging indications of its determination to develop this phase of the work. It is too much to expect that practices that have come down through the centuries until they have become fixed in our customs and laws can be wholly changed in a few months. It is too early to even predict what the results are going to be, but such indications as there are give grounds for optimism on the part of those who are battling for the welfare of that great army of innocent children long compelled to suffer bitterly, yet to so large an extent unnecessarily, because of the mistakes of others.
Yesterday the child born out of lawful wedlock was regarded as filius nullius—the child of no one. Today a more reasonable world makes him the child of his natural mother. May we not hope that we are at the dawn of a tomorrow where a more just world will regard him as the child of both parents, entitled so far as possible to the same care, support, education and training that he would have had if born of lawful parentage.
THE ATTITUDE OF MARRIED PARENTS AND SOCIAL WORKERS TOWARD UNMARRIED PARENTS*
Mrs. Frank D. Watson, Haverford, Pennsylvania, Chairman, Philadelphia Conference on Parenthood
In his introduction to the book by Mr. Kammerer on The Unmarried Mother, Dr. Healy states that he believes that the question of misconduct involved in conception outside the bounds of legal marriage should be taken up apart from all other forms of delinquency, inasmuch as it involves the initiation of the most important of biological processes. Whereas most infraction of law coincides with destructive results, here we have a law-breaker as a constructive agent giving as concrete evidence of her "misbehavior" nature's highest product, a human being.
Standards of Constructive Parenthood
This statement is a challenge to an analysis of the factors involved in parenthood as a constructive force in human society. Is every parent necessarily "a constructive agent," or are there certain standards which must be met in the production of a human being before such production can be called "constructive?"
The following standards are offered tentatively as a basis for a discussion of constructive parenthood:
1. Every child to be born should be consciously desired and purposively conceived in love by both parents. In other words, parenthood should be voluntary, deliberate and based on mutual love.
2. Every child born should have a sound heredity and be free from congenital disease and defect.
3. Before any child is conceived, its potential parents should bv certain that they will have the economic necessities of life, i. e., at least enough to build up health and maintain physical efficiency in their child.
4. Adequate parenthood must in addition depend on the intelligence of both parents and the willingness of both to exercise responsibility without cessation during the period of dependence of their offspring on the following points:
a. Physical development, including a rational diet, attention to the laws of hygiene, care in sickness and in health.
b. Mental development, including home training, training for industrial efficiency, and training for cultural enjoyment.
c. Moral and spiritual development, including daily training in right habit formation and character, education for an understanding of sex and parenthood, training for citizenship and social service, education in the religious and spiritual life.
5. Adequate parenthood also includes on the part of both parents an understanding of the value of membership in a social group and oi the great desirability of the conscious acceptance by both parents of the decisions and customs of their social group as expressed by law.
* Paper prepared in connection with studies leading to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, under the Carola Woerrishoeffer Department of Social Research, Bryn Mawr College.
Such a set of standards is necessarily tentative. Is it not desirable, however, that something of the kind should be prepared, carefully thought out and tested by experience, with a rating assigned to each significant point? To illustrate, if adequate parenthood, acceptable to society, should be counted as entitled to a rank of 100 points, given points of varying amounts could be assigned to each of the subdivisions under this. For the sake of discussion, the following chart has been prepared with arbitrary rating allotted as follows:
II III IV
Standards in Parenthood
(Adequate parenthood = 100 points)
Parenthood based on mutual and abiding love,
Parenthood based on sound heredity and con-
Parenthood based on sufficiency of economic
Parenthood based on intelligence and respon-
1. physical development . . . .•10
2. mental development 10
3. moral and spiritual development. . 10 Parenthood based on legality
Points 10 2G 20
30 J20 100
Such a set of standards would have a direct bearing on the point of view already quoted from Dr. Healy. Would a parent who failed to come up to any of these standards, or even to a majority of them, be called a "constructive agent"? Surely the giving of life may be a destructive act if a pathological human being results. A human being may be nature's highest product, but it certainly is not so if it lives without health, without peace, without joy or without making any contribution to social walfare.
The application of this set of standards to the problem of the unmarried mother now becomes clear. In the past our emphasis has been largely upon the fact that the unmarried mother has failed to come up to our fifth standard—that of legality.
Because of her failure on this one point, because she and her child stand out clearly as law-breakers, society has placed a stigma upon her and upon the child. The illegitimate father who has also failed to come up to this same standard has often escaped. Other parents who have failed to come up to other standards, which may be of equal or higher rating fail to incur the same severe stigma. It is true without doubt that the illegitimate parents often fail to measure up to other standards beside the one of legality, but it is not for such failure that they are punished or that they are branded with stigma.
As the words punishment and stigma are used so frequently in this discussion, it seems wise to define them at this point. By punishment is meant suffering inflicted by society upon an individual for an act committed against its laws, the measure of the punishment being determined by the crime, irrespective of its effect on the offender.
By stigma is meant that form of punishment which society inflicts by expressing its scorn or condemnation through complete or partial ostracism.
The Social Attitude
As leaders of thought, married parents with normal experience and social workers, is the present attitude of society that which we wish to have prevail? Is this attitude something inherited from the past, and outworn by changing conditions, or is it clearly thought out and consciously accepted in order that we may reach a definite goal? If so, what is the goal which we aim to reach, and are we succeeding in reaching it?
In an article entitled, When Mating and Parenthood are Theoretically Distinguished, Elsie Clews Parsons voices an objection to our present attitude toward unmarried parents. She outlines a plan whereby parents should before their marriage make a definite contract with the state, "a parenthood contract," agreeing to give proper care to their children. She then advocates that parents who fail to come up to certain standards ("parents of improper age or otherwise defective," parents shifting their responsibility as to the care and bringing up of their children) shall all be considered illegitimate. Illegitimacy then would refer to parents only, not to offspring, and to parents in so far as they shirk their responsibilities, both to their offspring and to the state.
While we may not feel that as yet these standards of Mrs. Parsons, or those suggested in this paper, almost identical as they are, should be made legally binding, few would question but that these standards (or others to be worked out) are the goal which an ever increasing number of parents must reach in order that the coming generations may be men and women of the calibre needed by our country. In the case of illegitimate parents, can our present attitude help such parents to attain this goal? Can anyone with a knowledge of human behavior fail to realize that punishment and stigma do not help an illegitimate mother to develop a sense of responsibility and to become as fine a mother as she still may be to her child? Neither entire freedom from responsibility nor punishment helps the man to become a better father. The writer advocates that neither punishment nor stigma should be the lot of either the man, woman or child involved in the illegitimate family.
This is certainly clear in the case of the child. While he or she is the result of an act breaking the law, the child is entirely innocent and may have, in any given case, potentialities as great as any other child. "A society that does not properly care for this individual, born or unborn,