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discussion Mr. Reynolds adds legal interests, health, education and labor. He says: "About these eight groupings of subject matter the various interests of child welfare cluster."
He, too, is thinking primarily of the old never-to-be-finished job of caring for the old familiar group of the specially handicapped children; but his thought also goes beyond the old limitations in insisting further that to understand and prevent the causes of the handicaps of some children, and to guide ourselves in the treatment of children with these handicaps we must give attention to four other general factors that concern not only all the handicapped children but all children, namely, legal activities or processes affecting children, their health, their education and their labor.
Finally, it is largely to provide care for the old classes of handicapped children, that the Children's Code Committees of Ohio and Missouri and Minnesota and other states have deliberated, to devise state programs and children's codes.
Since 1893, also in addition to the handicapped classes that had received special attention before that time, at least three other classes of specially handicapped children have been singled out for renewed if not new attention and public care, namely:
1. Border line feeble minded children
2. The children of unmarried parents
3. Tubercular, anemic and underfed children.
The primary interest of humane people in the specially handicapped children for a hundred years has been only natural. For the next hundred years also it will be merely natural that all the old classes of specially handicapped children and all new classes of such that we may discover will make a strong appeal to the hearts and activities of socially minded people.
But all our controversies over methods will not end and all our efforts toward ideal and co-ordinated local, state, and national systems of care for these children will not fully succeed until we recognize two basic principles that the inherent facts of child nature and current child welfare efforts are trying their best to teach us, namely:
First: That we cannot really save and bring up aright the handicapped children until we learn how to bring to the individualized needs of each handicapped child all the essentials of welfare upon which children of normal opportunity thrive.
Second: That we cannot save and bring up aright the handicapped children in the individualized ways that they need without, at the same time, learning how to bring to all other children, in ways individualized according to their needs, the same essentials of child welfare.
In short, we cannot learn how to save and bring up the specially handicapped without at the same time finding out how to save and bring up aright all children.
Child Nature and Welfare Movements
What then are some of the inherent facts of child nature and what are some of the current child welfare activities from which we must learn what both the handicapped and all other children need?
They are too many to be mentioned by name here, but as illustrations a few may be singled out. Most of them have sprung up since 1893, though some of them had their roots in the past and had begun to grow before that time. Many of these activities are significantly referred to in common speech not as systems but as movements. For example, notable among such movements are:
The child labor movement The compulsory education movement The juvenile court and probation movement
The infant welfare, or prevention of infant mortality, movement The medical examination of school children, and physical education movement
The social hygiene movement
The mental diagnosis and special school class movement The manual training and domestic science movement The vocational guidance movement The club and community center movement The recreation movement The Big Brother and Big Sister movement The Boy Scout and Girl Scout movement The Camp Fire Girl movement Christian Endeavor, Junior League and other religious movements The family-as-the-unit-of-social-work movement Now what do all these movements mean? How are they to change the old institutions and agencies and systems of care for both the old and the newer classes of specially handicpapped children? Whatever else they may mean, they surely mean this: that each great movement in behalf of children that has drawn to itself the thought and the work and the money of big-hearted and able men and women is concerned with a phase, or stage, or condition of child welfare that is of vital and permanent concern to all children, not merely to specially handicapped children These movements mean that all the children hereafter, whether in their own homes or not, whether specially handicapped or not, must increasingly have the benefit of these movements.
For example, the infant welfare, the children's year, the physical diagnosis, the physical education, the social hygiene and the malnutrition movements each one separately and all together mean that the health of all children can in future be neglected by any institution or agency only at its own peril.
The recreation movement means that play is a sacred birthright of all children and can be taken from any child only by personal or community robbery.
The manual training movement, the vocational guidance movement, the mental diagnosis of school children movement and the child labor movement mean that to deprive a child of individualized and purposeful activity for useful ends is an educational blunder, and to stunt his body and mind with premature and exhausting and unsuitable toil is crime.
The probation movement, the Big Brother movement and the Big Sister movement mean that there is love enough in the world to go around so that every handicapped and lonely child can have his share. They mean that all custodians who fail to connect each child with a real lover must answer for it to the community.
The Boy and Girl Scout movements, the Camp Fire Girls movement and certain religious movements among the young mean that there is a spirit of service and of beauty and of aspiration to something higher than themselves in the young adolescent that if permitted and guided will lift children who are without handicaps and even crippled, blind, deaf, homeless and delinquent children toward a higher life and better citizenship.
These movements, taken as a whole, mean that there is a new spirit in the world that will champion the cause of all children whether specially handicapped or not. They mean that not only is there a minimum wage ideal in the world and a national minimum ideal in the British Labor Party, but there is a child welfare minimum ideal in our democracy that will make that democracy worth saving by insisting that every child must have his full human individualized chance. And of a necessity do these movements mean that all the children in the old familiar classes handicapped by homelessness, blindness, deafness, neglect, wayward tendencies —yes, even those handicapped by mental defect, are to have their full share in this national child welfare minimum.
In short, whatever else these manifold child welfare movements mean, they surely mean at least this much: that the child welfare minimum for every child must include health, play, adjusted work, individualized education, love, beauty, and spiritual guidance.
As was before stated, all of this is implicit in the nature and inherent needs of childhood and is also implicit in all that has been done for the specially handicapped throughout the past. We have persistently tried to care for actual children whose concrete bodily sufferings have been seen and felt most keenly. Our century long efforts to care for dependent, neglected, defective and delinquent children have all the time implied the ideal of a child welfare minimum for all children; but we have been so busy trying to overcome separate and specific handicaps that we have not clearly seen the implication. For example, the orphan asylum implies that every child should have a real home. Special institutions for the deaf imply that all children need ears that can hear. Institutions for blind children emphasize the need of all children for good eyes. To protect children against neglect and cruelty implies that all children ought to have loving care and sympathetic discipline. To forbid persons to employ children at exhaustive work for long hours implies that all children need constructive work conditions adjusted to their strength. To punish parents for keeping some children out of school implies that all children ought to have an education, etc.
During these last 25 years we have been coming more rapidly to a recognition of all these implications and that our task for each child is not merely to remove one handicap, but to give that child positively all the conditions of activity and growth that will help him to come to the maturity possible to him as a human being and to his possible usefulness as a citizen in the community.
From Child Saving to Case Work
Our progress through the century has been natural and orderly in spite of its slowness and many controversies. This progress has been symbolized by our changing emphasis in the use of terms. Child Saving had to yield a large place to prevention, and now both child saving and prevention are giving way to the larger and newer conception of child welfare. The steps of our progress have been these:
First: The handicaps of homelessness, cruelty, deafness, blindness, hunched backs, delinquency, imbecile minds, crushing labor, illiteracy and playless leisure have been most keenly felt, some by one group of people and some by another.
Second: As soon as each group got really into action to overcome a handicap of long standing, that group began to talk about prevention of that handicap in which they were most interested. We must help the children who are already blind of course, but why not prevent other children from becoming blind? So with homelessness, deafness, delinquency, feeble-mindedness and all the other handicaps. By seeking to save children from one handicap those workers became champions of prevention of the particular juvenile handicap that has stirred them to action.
Third: As soon as all the persons interested in different groups of handicapped children reach this stage of organized activity to prevent any child from suffering the particular handicap which has aroused them to action, an interesting period of controversy is ushered in. Up to this stage there may have been controversies within a group as to the best way to overcome or to prevent a particular handicap; for example, a fight between the manual alphabet and oral language teaching of the deaf; the contest between Moon type, English Braille, American Braille and New York Point as types for the blind; between a congregate and cottage type of orphan asylum; between orphan asylum and family care, etc.
But now the controversy broadens so that any group of people who seek to overcome or prevent one handicap by methods which, at least, by lack of emphasis or neglect, tend to the development of other kinds of handicap, finds a host of critics raised up against them. After this stage has been reached, so far as any institution or agency or system for the deaf, blind, homeless, crippled or any other handicapped child neglects the health, work, love, play, education, beauty and moral needs of children so far must severe public condemnation be expected.
This is the stage of development in child welfare to which some of our progressive communities and states have already come. To this stage all communities and states must come. Every agency and institution and system of child saving must be tested to the bottom by the new standards of a child welfare minimum for every child. The method of this testing must be by the intelligent and consecrated use of case work for every handicapped child. In short, every institution and agency dealing with children must make haste in all humility and earnestness to learn and practice in the service of children, the method now known as case work, or openly confess inefficiency and failure. And not only those who are caring for the old classes of handicapped child must soon abide this test, but all others as well, who through schools, recreation and all other forms of work are serving as individuals children with more recently recognized forms of handicap. Already the Dewey philosophy of education and the first steps that have been taken in the physical and mental diagnosis of school children are leading to a revolution in education.
Perhaps the greatest lesson for us to learn from the century long story of child saving, prevention and child welfare is this: that there is and can be no one ideal system of care for children that leaves out the method of intelligent case work, for each child according to his individual needs and the best resources for care the community offers.'
The long search for a co-ordinated system of child saving and the making of community plans for child welfare on a state and national scale must go on. We must achieve efficiency in service to all children as one of the greatest tasks laid upon a democratic people, but without case work the ideal of the chairman of the children's committee in 1893 will be but a dream. Without provision for case work all community plans in children's work, reports of children's code commissions, National Public Welfare Leagues and auxiliary committees of national and state councils of defense will fall short of securing for every child the full child welfare minimum that is each child's due.
There is no easy or cheap way to bring up children to potential maturity and anything less than this is a poor investment for the community and results in a dwarfed human personality.
We in America shall be slow to learn if this war does not teach us at least the social economy of investing heavily enough in each child handicapped and unhandicapped alike to bring him up to his potential level of mature physical, intellectual and social fruitage.
The community plans and the co-ordinated systems of child welfare must be so co-ordinated as to carry out an infinitely varied service for each individual child. Any other plan will prove to be mechanical and will defeat its own ends. Child welfare is not found at the end of any merely mechanical system.