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dependency. When the Ohio courts obtain legislation providing for probation forces and psychopathic laboratories for the domestic relations division of the court, they will be very near the principles embodied in the resolution. It will not be difficult probably to obtain for the Ohio courts, additional jurisdiction in paternity cases and guardianship of the persons and adoption matters. In fact, there are now certain provisions in the Ohio statutes which, for the practical purposes of providing for an illegitimate child, gives the court power to act.
The committee at this time, with your permission, desires to emphasized and re-state some of the facts, based upon social service necessity, which should impel the organizing of these courts in every community.
Relation to Juvenile Courts
The family court is not intended to limit or restrict the jurisdiction incident to juvenile courts. In fact, the juvenile court will become an integral part, or division, of the family court. By reason of the organization of family courts, we believe that the administration of the juvenile court will become more effective and significant and better understood, not only by those connected with the juvenile court, but by the public generally. There is need for publicity on this point.
The juvenile courts were founded and organized not as criminal courts, but as child saving institutions from which were to be excluded all semblances of criminal procedure and penal methods. In many localities the interest of social workers in these courts has decreased, because they have become no more than police courts where children are "tried." The idea of saving the child has been lost, and the instances are altogether too frequent when the judge in the spirit of semivindictiveness, such as the populace sometimes exercises, commits the child to a semi-penal institution as punishment. And, strange as it may appear, beating, lashes and whipping posts are sometimes covertly suggested, if not actually used.
There is a misapprehension in some jurisdictions as to the function of these courts. So serious has this become that the co-operation of the Federal Children's Bureau has been obtaind for making a nation wide study of the juvenile court. It is not a court in which the child should be tried for the commission of an offence; in fact, in a number of the states of the Union it is specifically enjoined upon the judge not to try a child for the commission of an offence, but to transfer the guardianship of the child from the parents to the court, as the representative of the state, and save the child for the benefit and welfare of the state. The misconception of the juvenile court that exists in some localities deserves investigation.
It is the duty of the juvenile court to save the child by whatever means it may have at its command. If the child be feebleminded, it should be sent to an institution for the feebleminded to ascertain the extent of its feeblemindedness and the chances of its being educated, so that it may be released without danger to the community. If the child cannot be educated or returned safely to society, it should be permanently segregated in order that it may not propagate its kind, or commit devastating offences. If the child comes into court by reason of social influences, such influences should be removed.
If a child, who is mentally normal, comes into court with a mind bent upon the commission of some offence, he should be sent to a special school, having for its purpose the education of such children. This is one of the great problems for the schoolmen to solve. There is a strong probability, amounting almost to certainty, that a normal child, having a tendency to commit anti-social offences, can be cured by means of proper education and treatment. We believe this statement is sustained by the works of such sociologists as Ward, Giddings and Small. Let the great departments of psychology and sociology of our colleges and universities devise a course of instruction and education that will reclaim a juvenile delinquent, who is mentally and physically sound. If they can accomplish this, thousands of boys and girls, who annually pass through the juvenile courts, will be redeemed.
These brief comments on the juvenile court are made in this report, because of the obvious connection of the juvenile court with the family courts. It is clear from the reading of the resolution, that the principle of the juvenile court is the foundation upon which the family court must be constructed.
It is becoming apparent to all social workers that anti-social conduct is involved in divorce cases. The states exercising complete control over the status of residents within their respective borders, have enacted codes stipulating therein the character and nature of the anti-social acts that warrant the dissolution of a marriage contract. In fact, the divorce laws imply that the anti-social conduct of one of the parties in a divorce case is so great as to warrant the severing of the marital bond, and the disintegration and disruption of the family. The family is the greatest institution of modern society and government. It is the foundation stone upon which our social fabric has been constructed. It is of great importance that this institution be preserved in its purity and intergrity.
While all but a small percentage of men and women are capable of living in peace and happiness in the marriage relation, yet the number of divorce cases is so great as to reserve serious investigation as to the cause of marital dissensions. In some of our cities divorce cases constitute 60 per cent of all the cases filed in the courts of record. These cases involve a multitude of children, whose welfare is threatened; some authorities holding that from 50 to 75 per cent of the children of divorced parents become delinquent or dependent. In all time past no consideration has been given these children by the courts, so far as supervision is concerned. An order seldom enforced, and then with difficulty, is made and thereafter the case and the children forgotten. There is an urgent, immediate necessity that these children at the time of the divorce, become in fact, wards of the court, as the representative of the state, and all means provided for their care. There is as great a need for probation officers in the divorce courts as in the juvenile and criminal court.
The work in the divorce division of the family court will throw a flood of light over the work in the juvenile division. In divorce cases will be revealed pathological and social conditions of parents that have existed from their childhood. We are convinced that in 50 per cent or more of the cases, the real cause of the trouble is not stated in the complaint or petition and is not known to the lawyer or the court. It is true that neglect, cruelty of some character, infidelity and such is mentioned, but back of these are other matters that caused the neglect, the cruelty, the infidelity. Here is the greatest available field for scientific research that is presented to social workers and students of abnormal psychology. If psychopathic laboratories be established in connection with these courts, many of the causes of anti-social conduct will be disclosed, which heretofore have not been known, except by a few investigators in this field. We submit that we are justified in these views by many specialists who have written on this subject, and particularly by the works of Dr. William Healy, the pioneer and greatest of all investigators in the field of juvenile deliquency.
The committee, in conclusion, desire to submit for your consideration the following recommendations in the organizing of family courts: First. That an active educational campaign be conducted by the members of this Association for the establishment of these courts throughout the country. This can be accomplished through the newspapers and other publications and by the aid of clubs and societies interested in social work. We believe that the necessity for these courts and their purpose should be presented to the public. Local sentiment must be created before any progress can be made.
Second. While local conditions may demand some changes in the plans for the family court as provided in the resolution contained in the report of 1917, we feel that the leading principles contained in the resolution should be followed and insisted upon by social workers.
Third. That the court may have a fixed, definite and certain policy governing its proceedings and work, we recommend that the judges of these courts be appointed or elected for a term sufficient in length of time to afford the opportunity to develop the social service program necessary in carrying out the work for which the court is designed. The rotation of judges, such as prevails in some of our larger cities, should be discouraged, so far as it applies to family courts, as it has been abundantly shown in juvenile and domestic relations courts that this principle has been productive only of chaos and constant conflict in the work incident to these courts.
We further recommend that judges of these courts be selected because of their especial knowledge and information concerning social service work, as well as their attainments in knowledge of the law.
Fourth. That an immediate effort be made in all jurisdictions to obtain probation forces in the divorce courts, for the purpose of investigating the alleged grounds for divorce, and the home conditions and environment of the children of the parties in the divorce action, and for supervising the homes and children after the decree is granted.
Charles W. Hoffman, Judge, Court of Domestic Relations,
1. Martha Riley, juvenile probation officer, Madison, Wisconsin, asked: Is there any way by which we can raise the qualifications of the standards of those who apply for marriage licenses. We are bringing in families with from three to seven which the father is not capable of supporting financially, and in which the mother has no capacity for home management. Some associated charities relief or county aid is given, but as soon as the children become ten or twelve years of age they become delinquent.
2. Judge Hoffman responded as follows: "We have always refrained from advocating any theory in reference to marriage. In the report of The Family Court made at Pittsburgh in 1917, our committee said that it would not place within that court the power to issue marriage licenses, because long before the public was able to understand that for which we were striving, we would have serious trouble and it would interfere with the work of the court. It is a fundamental rule of our court that divorce shall be discouraged. The question of hasty marriages is often raised. It cannot be prohibited by anyone. Nature intends to perpetuate humankind. Nature will assert itself. The race will continue and will be recruited from the lower levels. Our Harvard graduates do not propagate very rapidly. Miss Richmond suggests 5 to 30 days between the period of issuing licenses and the date of marriage. We believe 5 days to be sufficient. The greater number of marriages do succeed; it is a small percentage after all that fail. Divorce in our county has not increased since 1914; it has slightly decreased. Divorce occurs only in a small proportion of the marriages, and back of everyone of them is a reason. The marriage relation implies forbearance. All should forbear, but some cannot do it, and in 75 per cent of such cases a terrible condition results. Now comes the time for the challenge; place at the aid of the court a psychopathic laboratory like those in Boston and Chicago; there will then be revealed so many causes of anti-social conduct that we will not have to concern ourselves very long with marriage laws. They will automatically be revised and reformed.
3. Mrs. Jane Deeter Rippin, director of the section of women and girls, Law Enforcement Division, Commission on Training Camp Activities, of the War and Navy Departments, said: I am interested in Judge Hoffman's discussion of marriage laws, especially where they relate to some of the social problems that are arising from mobilization. I wonder if we might in this meeting discuss juvenile marriages; and as a result of that discussion, will this Conference make a constructive suggestion? At many of the camp cities we have found children marrying out of grammar school. As a reflex from this we have attempts at suicide. This number is very small, however, and not at all alarming. However, we do want to know now before there is a tremendous increase, how to control these early marriages and how to treat them. Should we recommend forced marriage? Is this wise after the birth of a child born out of wedlock? Some of the members of this Conference believe that marriage will settle any situation and that after marriage the child is a woman and a different factor to be dealt with. Personally I do not agree with this opinion. Mr. Towne suggests that the juvenile court be responsible for investigation before marriage if the girl is under the juvenile court age. In a few instances in which these child marriages have occurred, it was later learned that the man was already married.
Mrs. Rippin said, further, in response to questions that in such cases where a soldier has really committed the crime, the judge advocates have been very quick to administer the law, and if the man is found guilty is sentenced to Leavenworth or some some other military prison. The ratio of rape and illegitimacy in cantonment cities is almost negligible in comparison to the cases handled among civil population in large cities. This seems to me a great credit to our men who are going from our country and are being sent over to fight for democracy.
Most of these girls are married by ministers or justices of the peace, not always with the consent of their parents.
4. Lottie S. Olney, superintendent, Municipal Bureau of Protection of Columbia, S. C, said: An order was issued May 1st, to the effect that no soldier could marry without consent of his commander, and in some cases before such consent could be secured the name of the bride was sent to the provost marshal and inquiries made as to the character of the bride. This was because we had had a number of marriages of common prostitutes to soldiers.
5. Katharin Ostrander, director Social Service Department, State Board of Health, Lansing, Mich., said: Michigan has a state law whereby no girl under 18 can be married without the parents' consent. In my follow-up work for venereal disease under the State Board of Health the question of whether or not a girl suffering from venereal disease shall marry comes up constantly for discussion. We are getting girls of all ages and all stages of infection. The question of deciding whether marriage is advisable or not has never been discussed in any general conference, so far as I know. I am urging that my women wait until the man comes back from France, continuing her treatment during that time. There is no legal way of preventing these marriages.
6. Mrs. Rippin took the position that the public health officer should have the power of decision as to whether or not the girl should marry.
7. Mrs. Hodder made the inquiry: Doesn't your law say that your patient shall be held until no longer in an infectious stage? We have a law in Massachusetts which requires all persons in penal and charitable institutions to be so held; to which Miss Ostrander replied that the legulation did not apply because it is not a conrt case.