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UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
F rances Perkins , Secretary
C H IL D R E N ’S BU REAU

-

K atharin e F. Lenroot , Chief
*

A
HISTORICAL SUMMARY
OF

STATE SERVICES FOR CHILDREN
IN

ALABAMA
Bureau Publication No. 239
Part 3

UNITED STATES
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
WASHINGTON t 1938


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CONTENTS
Page

Forew ord___________________________________
The State and its administration_______________________________________
Development o f State welfare administration___________________________
State child-welfare department_____________________________________
State board o f control and economy________________________________
State board o f administration______________________________________
State prison inspector____________________________________________
State hospital system________________
Proposed reorganization o f State welfare services_________________
The State child-welfare department_____________________________________
Development o f services_____________________________________________
State child-welfare commission___________________________ 1_________
Organization o f the department____________________________________
Director of the department-____________________________________
Divisional organization________________________________________
Activities o f the divisions___________________________________________
Division of county organization________________________________
Division o f child care_________________________________________
Division o f institutions___________________________________
Division of child labor__________________________________________
Educational activities and publications_____________________________
Personnel of the department________________________________________
State services for children______________________________________________
Development o f local public-welfare services for children__________
County boards of child welfare________
Local public support for children_______________________________
Care of dependent children________________________________________
Children under care of the State child-welfare department_______
State supervisory services______________ :________________________
Services for special groups of dependent children______________ _
Care of mentally handicapped and problem children________________
Care of delinquent children________________________________________
Institutional provisions______________________ ^ _______________
Other services for delinquent children___________________________
Care o f physically handicapped children_______:_____________________
Blind and deaf children________________________________________
Crippled children_______________________________________________
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FOREW ORD
This publication is intended for students o f public-welfare admin­
istration who wish to understand the development o f State welfare
programs. Several States were studied, and tne report for each State
is being issued separately.
Material changes have occurred during the past few years in organ­
ization and services in Alabama, but the present program has devel­
oped from past experience. Therefore, it seems o f value to issue
for students o f the subject this report o f the development o f State
services for children. The picture given is o f Alabama in 1934, and
it should not be understood to represent the present situation.


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A Historical Summary of State Services for
Children in Alabama
TH E STA TE AN D IT S AD M IN ISTR ATIO N
Alabama is on© o f the oldest States o f the Union. Organized as
a Territory in March 1817, it was admitted to the Union in December
1819 as the twenty-second State. With each census its population
has shown an increase over the preceding census, until in 1930 its
inhabitants numbered 2,646,248, or 51.6 persons per square mile. The
population is largely native, 36 percent o f it being Negro. The
•Negro population is not evenly distributed; it ranges from 0.6 per­
cent in Winston County to 85 percent in Lowndes County.
Alabama is predominantly rural. In 1930 it had more than
17,000,000 acres in farm land, valued at over $354,000,000. Only 14
cities in the State had a population as large as 10,000 in 1930, the
three largest being Birmingham with 259,678 inhabitants, Mobile with
68,202, and Montgomery with 66,079. According to the 1930 census,
72 percent o f the population were living in rural areas, about 50 per­
cent o f them in rural-farm areas.
Agriculture is the chief industry, and cotton the principal crop.
In 1931 the State produced about one-twelfth o f the entire cotton
crop o f the United States.1 Alabama ranks high not only in the pro­
ducing but also in the spinning o f cotton. Its textile mills are
among the best in equipment and efficiency. During 1928 one-half
the spindles installed in the United States were placed in Alabama.
In the past 30 years the mineral industries o f the State have been
developed to a large extent. The mineral district, centering around
Birmingham, produces iron and has one o f the largest coal fields in
the country. The river system o f Alabama makes it one of the lead­
ing States in the amount o f potential water power, and some large
hydroelectric power plants have been built. A large section o f the
State lies within the Tennessee Valley development. Alabama also
produces large quantities o f lumber.2
With its large Negro population, for whom educational opportuni­
ties have come slowly, it is not strange that the rate of illiteracy has
been high in Alabama. The percentage o f illiterates in the popula­
tion 10 years o f age and over, in 1930 was 13, about 5 percent o f the
white population and 26 percent of the Negro population being illit­
erate. Excellent progress has been made in recent years in reducing
the amount o f illiteracy.
1 Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1933, p. 601. U. S. Bureau of Foreign and
Domestic Commerce, W ashington, 1933.
PP* 7—11. Report of the Alabama Industrial Development Board (Division
of State Department of Agriculture and Industries), Birmingham, 1929.

1


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2

STATE SERVICES FOR CHILDREN

The Governor o f the State is elected for a term o f 4 years. Elec­
tions for Governor and State legislators are held at the same time, the
legislature meeting every 4 years at the beginning o f the _Governor’s
term. The State government was administered at the time o f this
study by 90 separate departments, boards, commissions, or officials in
addition to the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor.8 Many of
these State agencies had limited and minor functions; others had
broad control over State activities. The secretary o f State, the
attorney general, the State auditor, the State treasurer, the State
superintendent of education, the commissioner o f agriculture and in­
dustries, the commissioner o f games and fisheries, and the publicservice commissioner were elected by popular vote.4 Alabama has
made rather extensive use o f ex officio membership on State boards
and commissions, some o f which were composed entirely o f ex officio
members, although others also included members appointed by the
Governor. The large number of elective offices and the fairly limited
appointive power of the Governor have resulted in divided adminis­
trative control in the State. •
.
In 1931 the legislature authorized a survey of State and local
administration.® This survey was made by the Institute for Govern­
ment Research o f the Brookings Institution, which submitted a re­
port 0 to the Governor in 1932. The report recommended complete
reorganization of State and county government, including the cen­
tralization of State administration under the Governor, the reorgani­
zation o f State services under IT major departments supplemented
by a small number o f independent commissions or boards, and re­
organization o f the structure o f county administration with closer
relation between State and county administration.7 No action had
been taken on these recommendations up to the time o f this study,
because there had been no regular session o f the legislature since the
authorization of the survey.8
The county is the major local governmental unit in Alabama. The
governing body o f a county is a court o f county commissioners, a
board o f revenue, a county commission, or a board o f commissioners.
The general law established a court- o f county commissioners9 for
each county as the governing body, but through special local laws
it is possible for any county to adopt the type o f governing body
that it desires. A t the time this study was made the administrative
authority in about two-thirds o f the counties was a court o f county
commissioners, which was composed o f the judge o f the probate court


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*

I

ALABAMA

3

and four elected commissioners.10 The court o f county commissioners
was in the main an administrative and quasilegislative body; but it
was constituted by law a court o f record with inferior, special,, and
limited jurisdiction.
The governing body o f the county was given general control of
county finances, with the exception o f funds for education. In ad­
dition to other general administrative duties, it was responsible for
most o f the county welfare activities. These included power to “ make
such rules and regulations for the support o f the poor in the county as
are not inconsistent with any law ox the State, 11 and general au­
thority over the poorhouse, the county jail, and other county institu­
tions. The governing body was also responsible for deciding on the
need for and the establishment of a county tuberculosis hospital. «A.
district plan for administration o f poorhouses was authorised in
Alabama, and two or more counties within a district could establish
and operate a district home for the poor, a representative from each
county constituting a board o f supervisors o f the district institution.12
The relation o f the judge o f the probate court to the governing
hody is one o f the most significant features o f county organization
in Alabama.18 In about two-thirds o f the counties the judge serves
as chairman o f the governing body and in some counties he may be
judge o f the county court as well as judge o f the probate court.14
The probate court serves as the juvenile court except in the counties
that have established separate juvenile courts or have transferred
jurisdiction over juvenile cases by local laws to other courts.15 A t
the time o f the study the judge o f the juvenile court appointed the
county board o f child welfare, of which he was chairman, or, in
counties in which the provisions for such a board had not been
adopted, he had authority to appoint a special advisory board for the
juvenile court o f not less than 5 nor more than 10 citizens o f the
county who were interested in the welfare o f children.16 The result
o f this overlapping o f activities o f the judges o f the probate courts
was close integration o f services for children, but some question has
been raised in regard to the desirability o f coordinating such judicial
and administrative services except in very small counties.17
10 Report on a Survey of the Organization and
Adm inistration o f the State and Countv
Governments o f
Alabama, vol.
5, pt. 4 (County
Government), pp. 4 7 , 5 3 .Institute of
Government Research of the Brookings Institution, W ashington, 1932.
u Code of 1923, secs. 212, 2787, 2788, 6755.
No*3 6 0 4 749) 8, No ^ l l ’ N° 4 4 6 ’ P‘ 5 2 1 (SGC' 3 1 amended by General Acts of 1931,
“ Other States that had a somewhat sim ilar county program are Texas, Arkansas,
Kentucky, M issouri, Oregon, and W est Virginia.
“ Report on a Survey of the Organization and Administration of the State and
County Governments of Alabama, vol. 5, pt. 4 (County Governm ent), p. 53. Institute
fo* Government Research of the Brookings Institution, W ashington, 1932.
sec- 3 5 2 9 ; General
A cts o f 1931, No. 530, p. 637, as amended by
Generai Acts (extra session) of 1932, No. 275, p. 2 7 6 ; Local Acts oi 1931, No. 457,
“ Code of 1923, secs. 143 and 3550.

17 Report on a Survey of the Organization and Administration of the State and County
Governments of Alabama, vol. 5, pt. 4 (County Government), p. 157.
ernment Research of the Brookings Institution, W ashington, 1932.

68320— 38--------2


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Institute for Gov­

D EVELO PM EN T OF STA TE W E L F A R E AD M IN ISTR ATIO N
Centralized State services for dependent, delinquent, and handi­
capped persons developed slowly in Alabama. The State institu­
tions, established by tne legislature as need for them arose, were
administered by boards o f directors or trustees. State funds for
these institutions were provided on the basis o f the number o f in­
mates rather than as a general appropriation for each institution.
This plan was first adopted in 187118 for the hospital for the insane,
which had been established in 1852 and opened in 1860. Gradually
it was adopted for most o f the other institutions. Under the gen­
eral laws, county governing bodies established county poorhouses
and jails, but until 1907 no State agency had authority to inspect
these institutions and require improvement in the deplorable condi­
tions that existed in many o f them. State services began in 1907
with the creation o f the office of inspector o f jails and almshouses19
(this inspector was also authorized to investigate child-labor condi­
tions in cotton mills) but the year 1919 marked the beginning o f a
real State welfare program. It has been suggested that the success­
ful organization o f social forces during the W orld War was the
stimulus that awakened the citizens o f Alabama to the realization
o f their need for concerted action to attain an adequate social pro­
gram for the State.20 In 1919 a State department for services for
children was established, and business administration o f State insti­
tutions was taken over by a central office.
STATE CHILD-WELFARE DEPARTMENT

The creation o f this department was largely the result o f the work
o f the State child-labor committee, which was organized about 1900
to improve child-labor conditions. In 1918 this committee planned
a program o f social legislation and State administration. Realizing
the need for building up public sentiment in favor o f such measures,
the committee enlisted »the cooperation o f the State university and
the National Child Labor Committee in a study o f child welfare in
the State. The study was planned for two purposes: To present to
the public (1) a portrayal o f conditions as they actually existed and
(2) definite recommendations for legislation. A short time later,
at the invitation o f the Governor, Hastings H. Hart o f the Russell
Sage Foundation made a study o f the social institutions and agen­
cies o f the State as they were related to the State’s wartime activities.
Both studies brought out the great need for centralization in the
administration of social welfare throughout the State and recom­
mended the creation of a State board o f social or public welfare, of
which one division should be a department of child welfare. Dr.
18 General A cts of 1870—71, No. 183, p. 219.
is General Acts of 1907, No. 278, p. 335.

_

»A labam a Childhood, the official bulletin of the State Child-W elfare Department of
Alabama, Vol. 1, No. 1 (April-May-June 1 9 2 1 ), p. 38.


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ALABAMA

5

H arts report outlined the scope o f the service o f such an agency as
including supervisory responsibility for all work for dependent, delinquent, and defective persons, with special administrative responsi­
bility for the care o f dependent and neglected children and for the
provisions o f the child-labor law. The only supervisory work being
done in the State at this time was that o f the State prison inspector
and it is interesting to note that the proposed State board o f public
welfare was thought o f as an expansion o f this office.21 The report
o f the National Child Labor Committee contained material on various
aspects o f child welfare, including health and education. Its recommendations as to State welfare services were confined to an outline
o f the duties o f a division o f child welfare o f a proposed State board
o f social welfare.*2
The State administration at this time was interested in the need for
central business administration o f State institutions rather than in
a general welfare program. A bill creating a State board o f control
a e c onomy was introduced and enacted early in the 1919 session
v •i
^?&1Siature. When it became evident that there was no possi­
bility o f extending the powers o f this board to include a broader wel­
fare program the group particularly interested in children proposed
and accomplished the creation o f a second State agency—the State
child-welfare department.**
This department was given broad powers for the protection and
care o f children and for the development o f services o f all public and
private agencies caring for them, including the juvenile courts. It
was also given administration o f the improved child-labor law enacted
*n the „same. year. The original act gave the department responsibility for visiting State institutions as well as for supervising all
public and private institutions caring for dependent, neglected, or
delinquent minor children.2* In 1923 this last provision was amended
so as to omit from the department’s supervision the State insane hospitalSj the State school for mental deficients, the State training school
for girls, and the State industrial school for boys.25 In 1931 the
exception was removed so that apparently these institutions were
ag r Placed under the general supervision of the department,
although all administrative powers remained with the boards o f trus­
tees set up for this purpose.26
. The child-welfare department developed and expanded the services
for children. It furthered more adequate social legislation and
worked for an administrative organization that would make such
legislation an effective instrument for the welfare o f children
STATE BOARD OF CONTROL AND ECONOMY

•
5SCal S °liroL o f Sitate institutions was the major purpose
m the creation o f the State board o f control and economy. The act
F o u S a tìo n fN ? w Y o r 5 ’ Ì91S8 Clal Problems o f Alabama,

19 18 ? ^ ^

elfare in

Alabam a, p. 237.

National

A l z i m i Voi ClhlNoh04 d( j Ì 5 l l t o v V f l * * *
84 Code of 1923, sec. 103.
p‘
88 Code of 1923, sec. 104.
88 General A cts of 1931, No. 3 1 0 , p. 300


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PP-

Child

60

Labor

and

67.

Russell

Sage

Committee, New York,

° f th® State Child-Welfare Department o f

STATE SERVICES FOR CHILDREN

6

provided that the board should consist o f three members to be ap­
pointed by the Governor— a chairman and two associate members, one
o f whom was to be designated as secretary. Members were to hold
office at the will o f the Governor, but, if not terminated by the Gov­
ernor, the term o f the chairman was set at 4 years and that o f the
associate members at 2 years. The annual salary o f the chairman was
$6,000 and o f the associate members $4,000.2T
The board was given authority over all appropriations for elee­
mosynary institutions o f the State. It was also given a large share
o f the actual administration of the institutions, including the fixing
o f salaries and the adoption of rules and regulations for the guidance
o f officers and employees o f the institutions. The boards o f trustees
o f the various institutions were to retain authority to appoint the
superintendents and other employees, but these appointees might be
removed from office by the State board o f control and economy. A,
member o f the State board was required to visit at least once a month
each o f the institutions under its control.
, .
All responsibility for the penal system o f the State was vested in
the State board o f control and economy. The State board o f in­
spectors o f convicts, established in 1885 to supervise the care given
to convicts under the lease system o f the State, was abolished, and its
functions and duties, including administration of penal institutions,
was transferred to tne new board.28 The office o f the State prison
inspector was also placed under the new board.29
.
Another important duty of the board was to serve as pimchasing
agent for all supplies for all departments and activities o f the State,
including all educational and eleemosynary institutions and all State
and county offices.
.
, .
This board was abolished after 4 years o f service. Some o f its
duties were transferred to the newly created State board o f admin­
istration, but administrative and fiscal control o f eleemosynary in­
stitutions was returned to the boards o f trustees o f these institutions.
STATE BOARD OP ADMINISTRATION

The State board o f administration created in 1923 was primarily
concerned with administration o f the penal affairs o f the State. In
the beginning it consisted of two members designated as president
and associate member. In 1931 the board plan was abolished,
although the name was retained, the work being placed under a
director appointed by the Governor to hold office during his pleasure
at a maximum salary o f $7,500. This salary was reduced to $6,000
in 1932, and to $5,000 in 1933.80
*
In addition to complete control and administration o f the State
penal system the board carried on certain activities originally vested
28 T h e ^ s e ^ f ^inspectors *to supervise the care given to convicts began shortly after the
establishment o f a State prison in 1839 (General A cts of 1839, No. 39, p. 8 3 ). The first
Inspectors were elected by the legislature. In 1882 the duties of t^ese inspectors were
broadened to include supervision of convicts employed or hired outside the penitentiary
XGeneral A cts of 1 8 8 2 -8 3 , No. 65, p. 1 3 4 ), and appointment by the
election by the legislature. A revised statute enacted in 1885 placed the board of in­
spectors o f convicts in coiriplete charge of the penal s p t e m t b e p r e s i d e n t 2 *Lth® Vark
serving as warden of the State penitentiary (General A cts of 1884r-85, No. 112, p. 1 8 7 ).
28 General A cts of 1919, No. 5 5 2 , p. 809 ; No. 758, p. 1117.
. ,
i
0f
*» General A cts of 1931, No. 9, p. 6 , as amended by General A cts < £ * * *
1932 No. 37, p. 35 (sec. 7 ) ; No. 296, p. 3 0 1 ; General A cts (extra session) o f 1933, No.
138 , p. 125.


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ALABAMA

7

in the State board o f control and economy. It was the central
purchasing agency o f the State, although the statute specifically
excluded tne State educational and eleemosynary institutions from
the requirement o f making purchases through this board. It was
also responsible for administration o f the State insurance fund.81
Since the administration o f penal affairs was taken over by the
State board o f administration, important changes have occurred in
the penal system o f the State. The legislature o f 1927 prohibited
the leasing o f convicts to private corporations and provided for the
State’s acceptance from the counties o f county prisoners sentenced
to hard labor, thus using the resources o f the State for the employ­
ment o f prisoners, a need that the counties could not meet.82
STATE PRISON INSPECTOR

The State prison inspector, whose office was created in 1911, super­
seded the inspector o f jails and almshouses, who had been carrying
on similar functions since 1907. The prison inspector was respon­
sible for the inspection at least twice each year of every county jail
and almshouse and every municipal jail or prison in any incorpo­
rated town or city having 10,000 or more population and for the estab­
lishment o f rules and regulations for their conduct that would assure
sanitary and healthful conditions. Power to remove prisoners when
conditions were undesirable and authority to require changes in
jail construction were also given to the State prison inspector.38 In
connection with the enforcement o f the child-labor law he was also
made responsible for inspection o f all establishments employing
children, but in 1919 this duty was transferred to the State childwelfare department. Another duty authorized by the law was the
inspection o f the insane asylums of the State, but the biennial reports
o f the inspector gave no evidence that such inspection was made.
This official was required to be a legally qualified physician in
good standing and learned in the science o f sanitation, hygiene, and
ventilation. The term o f office was 6 years. After the first appoint­
ment by the Governor, this office was placed in 1911 under the gen­
eral supervision o f the State board o f health. In 1919 the work of
the prison inspector was affiliated with the newly created State board
o f control ana economy, and his activities were extended to include
inspection o f the institutions under the management o f this board.84
W ith the creation o f the State board o f administration in 1923 the
work o f the inspector, which was continued under this board, was
again changed to supervision o f local institutions. A t the time of
this study the office o f State prison inspector was practically
independent.
The State prison inspector was largely responsible for improve­
ments in the health conditions o f jails. His work to obtain better
food for prisoners culminated in the granting o f State appropria­
tions for feeding prisoners on a per capita basis. The transfer to
the State penal system of county prisoners sentenced to hard labor
was another instance o f awakened interest in the problems o f local
offenders.
a General Acta of 1923, No. 85, p. 07 ; No. 475, p. 629 ; No. 593, p. 767.

82 General A cts of 1927, No. 70, p. 51 ; No. 72, p. 52.
88 General A cts of 1911, No. 303, p. 356 ; No. 530, p. 031.
a General A cts of 1919, No. 552, p. 809 ; No. 758, p. 1117.


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STATE SERVICES FOR CHILDREN

8

Improvement in the almshouses also supervised by the inspector
was not so evident,88 but the plan approved by the legislature in 1927
for the development o f district almshouses to replace inadequate and
undesirable almshouses was advocated by this official.88
STATE HOSPITAL SYSTEM

Some centralization o f State care o f the insane and the,mentally
deficient was attained in Alabama through placing all State institu­
tions caring for such persons under a single self-perpetuating board
designated as the board o f trustees of the Alabama insane hospitals.
The board was composed of seven persons in addition to the Gov­
ernor, who was chairman ex officio. Members served for a term o f
7 years, and vacancies were filled through election by the remaining
members o f the board, subject to the approval o f the senate. Three
additional members, two o f whom must be women, were designated
to serve with the board as trustees for the Partlow State School for
Mental Deficients, which was created by statute in 1919.”
The board appointed a superintendent o f the hospital system
whose term o f office and salary were fixed by the board. W ith the
approval o f the board the superintendent appointed for each institu­
tion an assistant superintendent who was responsible for the conduct
o f the institution under his direction. This plan made possible uni­
form standards o f service in the institutions and centralized medical
service and business management.
The authority of the board o f trustees o f the Alabama insane
hospitals was limited to hospital administration, and at the time
o f this study no program has Deen developed for State-wide mentalhygiene services.
PROPOSED REORGANIZATION OF STATE WELFARE SERVICES

•

In the study o f State government in Alabama made in 1931 by
the Institute for Government Research o f the Brookings Institution,
recommendations were made for complete reorganization o f the wel­
fare services o f the State.88 The plan proposed that a State depart­
ment o f public welfare be created— as 1 o f 17 major departments—
that would be responsible for the entire welfare program o f the State.
It was suggested that this department be administered by a com­
missioner o f public welfare appointed by and responsible to an un­
paid board o f seven persons designated as the State board o f public
welfare.
The work o f the department was to be organized in two bureaus, a
bureau o f social service and a bureau o f institutional administration.
The child-welfare department was to serve as the nucleus o f the
bureau of social service, its services to be extended to provide a com­
prehensive social-welfare program for the State. A division o f
85 Report on a Survey of the Organization and Administration o f the State and County
Governments of Alabama, vol. 2, pt. 1 (State Governm ent), p. 167. Institute for Govern­
ment Research of the Brookings Institution, W ashington, 1932.
88 Report of the State Prison Inspector of Alabama for the period o f 2 years ending
September 30, 1926, p. 17 ». Birmingham.
« Code of 1923, secs. 1 4 2 3 -1 4 3 0 ; 1465.
** Report on a Survey o f the Organization and Administration of the State and County
Governments of Alabama, vol. 2, pt. 1 (State Government), pp. 1 7 0 -1 7 2 .
Institute for
Government Research of the Brookings Institution, W ashington, 1932.


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ALABAMA

9

mental hygiene was to be set up in the bureau for the purpose o f
“
W
a State-wide mental-hygiene program in cooperation with
the social workers to be added to the staff o f the institutions for the
insane and the mentally deficient.
The proposed bureau o f institutional administration was to ad­
minister all State institutions except the'home for Confederate vet­
erans, a small institution with a steadily decreasing population A ll
boards o f trustees o f the institutions were to be abolished and com­
plete control o f the institutions placed in the bureau.89
act paMedr i n ° ™ ^ nd( ^ n e r a T eA c ts°o fWÍ 9 35 lyN o a 33 ^ )
nt °£ publlc welfare
welfare with subordinate bureaus and divisions w f
a | í at% department of public
bers, of whom two were women
^
The Governor and six memcommissioner was appointed by ’ t h e ^ o a r ^ o r f th *«6 jSon fr^<>0 ^ i C0n?itltutev1,tJlie board- The
encf in the administration of public welfare andGw b h m i a b i l i t y , and experidepartmeñt a ^ u Í M u ^ ^ L m i l y ^ S r e S p u b llc ïs s is t e *1 Wereh describid0® WithiíÍ^the
” o f m eo tB hytfene, « a .„e h other

î S


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THE STA TE CH ILD-W ELFARE D E PA R TM E N T
DEVELOPMENT OF SERVICES

There was a steady growth in the work o f the State child-welfare
department throughout its existence. The act creating the depart­
ment gave it broad powers for serving the children o f the State and
the agencies caring for children. The department was required (1)
to supervise, license, and receive reports from all agencies and insti­
tutions caring for children, (2) to accept guardianship and to pro­
vide for children needing care dway from their own homes, and (3)
to administer the child-labor law. In addition, the department
was charged with the duties o f seeking out the children in need o f
care, o f studying the social conditions affecting children through­
out the State, and o f furthering local public provisions for their
care.40
The active work o f the department in the study o f conditions
affecting the welfare o f children, in furthering legislative and admin­
istrative provisions for their care, and in establishing standards o f
service in public and private agencies was an important factor in the
development of the services o f the department and in obtaining the
prominent position that it held in the welfare program o f the State.
The service o f the department in the development o f the county wel­
fare program o f the State was especially notable. The law creating
county boards o f child welfare, enacted in 1923,41 and a cooperative
arrangement made in 1927 with the State department o f education
whereby State funds were made available for the employment o l
county superintendents o f child welfare,42 resulted in the employment
o f qualified social workers in nearly every county o f the State.
Although county child-welfare boards were organized for service
to children, members o f the boards, the county superintendents, and
the State department early realized that family welfare is an integral
part o f a child-welfare program. With the steadily increasing des­
titution due to unemployment, the relief of families in distress became an^important^part o f the work o f county social workers during
1931 and 1932. At the request o f the association of probate judges
aJd o f th® county commissioners, the State department made a study
needs*ni ™30nr?*s o f
State during the summer o f
iv?32i
i
* ^esult .o f lts, active leadership and its close relation to
the local social services, the child-welfare department was given an
important part m the development o f the relief program under the
State relief administration created in 1933.
" G I S ! A rt* o f l192139;N o ° ‘ 3097 ’pa 389mended by 1&WS ° f 1 9 2 3 > N o- 2 7 5 ’ P- 27°gomeryDUal Report( of the State Child-W elfare Department, 1 9 2 7 -2 8 , pp. 1 1 -2 4 .
Alab“ n l'

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During 1933 the transfer of members o f the staff of the State childwelfare department to the relief work and the designation o f county
superintendents o f child welfare as the official relief agents seriously
handicapped the child-welfare services o f the State.44 In order to
give a clearer picture o f the work o f the State child-welfare depart­
ment the description o f its activities and organization is therefore
given as o f 1932.
STATE CHILD-WELFARE COMMISSION

The State child-welfare department was directed by the State
child-welfare commission, which was a board o f nine persons con­
sisting o f the Governor, the State superintendent o f education, the
State health officer, and six additional members appointed by the
Governor for overlapping terms o f 6 years. Members o f the com­
mission served without salaries.
There had been little change in the appointed personnel of the
commission, four o f the six members having been on the board since
its organization in 1919. Three members came from Birmingham,
one from Montgomery, one from the State university, and one from
a town in the northern part o f the State. Since the three ex officio
members lived in Montgomery, this meant a dominance o f member­
ship for the central section and little representation from the south­
ern part o f the State. Two members o f the commission were women.
An executive committee composed o f the Governor and two other
members served in the absence o f the entire committee. Only one
regular meeting o f the commission each year was required by the
law. During the fiscal year 1931-32 the commission as a whole met
only once, but the executive committee held seven meetings.
A close relation between the director o f the State child-welfare
department and the State child-welfare commission was always main­
tained, and this to some degree extended to the staff o f the depart­
ment. A ll meetings o f the State child-welfare commission were held
in the Governor’s office. After the business o f the meeting had
been transacted, the commission invariably visited the child-welfare
department, had lunch with the staff, and then devoted the whole
afternoon to discussion o f the work o f the department. Heads of
divisions were called on to make their own reports. Other staff
members took part in the general discussion. Frequently a dinner
was given for the commission the night before the meeting in order
that the department staff might become acquainted with the members
o f the commission. Field workers visiting communities in which
members o f the commission lived were instructed to call on them.
The commission was empowered to elect the director of the State
child-welfare department and to provide for the selection or appoint­
ment o f assistants and fix their salaries; to have general control o f
the performance o f every duty and the administration o f the powers
given to the department; to control and direct the expenditure of all
appropriations to the department; and to do such other things as
were necessary to carry out the true intent and purpose o f the law.
The commission itself never gave any supervisory or inspection
services.
^B eginning in 1934 services for children were reestablished, and special workers for
children were once more provided in a number o f counties.

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12

STATE SERVICES FOR CHILDREN

ORGANIZATION OF 'HIE DEPARTMENT
DIRECTOR OF THE DEPARTMENT

The director of the child-welfare department held office at the pleas­
ure o f the commission. The original act specified an annual salary
o f $3,000. This limitation was removed from the law in 1923, and
the salary was set at $4,000 by the legislature. No qualifications for
the director were given in the law. Except for a period o f about
2 years (1924r-26) tne first director had held office from the time the
department was established up to the time o f this study. She was an
Alabama resident and had worked actively with the National Child
Labor Committee for the passage o f the law creating the department.
DIVISIONAL ORGANIZATION

From the time of its establishment the department was organized
in divisions. The early reports o f the department show a division o f
child labor, a division o f institutions, and a division o f extension.
The division o f children’s aid, organized to carry out the child-caring
program o f the State, was not created until the State began giving
direct-care service in 1922. No significant changes were made in the
organization o f the department until 1931, when the services o f the
division o f extension and the division of children’s aid were coordi­
nated and reallocated into a division o f county organization and a
division o f child care.
.
This change in organization was furthered by the recommendations
made in a study conducted by the Child Welfare League o f America
in 1930.45 The new program was the direct result o f the State-wide
employment o f qualified county superintendents o f child ^welfare,
which made possible more adequate services to children within the
counties and changed the character o f the services that were needed
from the State department.
ACTIVITIES OF THE DIVISIONS
DIVISION OF COUNTY ORGANIZATION

As originally organized this division, then known as the extension
division, was concerned primarily with the promotion ^o f county
organization and the establishment o f county boards o f child welfare.
Before 1930 its staff consisted o f only two workers. W ith the estab­
lishment throughout the State46 o f county boards o f child welfare
and the employment o f county social workers, it was realized that the
emphasis in the work of the division needed to be changed from
stimulation o f local interest in children’s problems to active super­
vision and assistance in the services being given in the counties. In
order to carry out this program the division was reorganized and
its functions were enlarged.
The professional staff o f the division in 1932 consisted o f a super­
visor (who also served as assistant to the director o f the State childwelfare department), four district supervisors, and a special worker
« A n n u a l Report of the State

Child-W elfare Department, 1 9 3 0 -3 1 , pp. 27 and 28.

October 1932, of the 07 counties 63 were organized w ith county boards of childwelfare, 3 counties had retained the alternative plan of an advisory board associated with
the juvenile court, and only 1 county had no organized program for children.


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ALABAMA

13

for adoption cases. As part of the reorganization program the State
was divided into four districts, each supervisor being responsible for
iving service and advice to the counties within her district. The
tate department recognized that responsibility for case-work serv­
ices for the large majority of children should rest primarily on the
county, but that the State must furnish stimulation, supervision,
education, guidance, and general assistance to the counties in the de­
velopment o f county welfare programs. The counties’ demands on
the State department increased so much that the staff in the division
was scarcely able to cope with the many problems arising throughout
the State. In the study made by the Child Welfare League o f
America in 1930 it was recommended that six district supervisors be
employed in this division.
In addition to its supervisory and advisory services to the counties
the division was responsible for the certification o f persons to be
employed as countv superintendents o f child welfare or as probation
officers. Another duty allocated to this division was the investigation
o f petitions for adoption, a responsibility given to the State depart­
ment in a law enacted in 1931.47

§

DIVISION OF CHILD CARE

This division was created in 1922 when the State department took
over the child-caring services previously given by the Alabama Chil­
dren’s A id Society. At that time it was called the children’s aid divi­
sion. Before county social services were developed the children’s aid
division was asked for many types o f service in addition to those of
providing foster homes and supervising the children accepted for care
by the department. Members o f the staff were called on to consult
with the juvenile courts or other agencies on difficult cases and to un­
dertake protective and case-work services for children and families
whose need was brought to their attention when in the field. The
work o f the division was carried on under a district plan. From 1927
to 1931 the professional staff o f the children’s aid division consisted o f
a general supervisor and six or, for some years, seven case workers.
In the realinement o f services accomplished in 1930 and 1931 the
work o f the newly created division o f child care was limited to the
reception and care o f children committed to the guardianship o f the
State child-welfare department. This included finding foster homes
and supervising the children placed in them. In addition to clerical
assistants, the staff in 1932 consisted of a supervisor, four case workers,
an agent responsible for the purchase o f clothing for the children, and
a physician who gave part-time service. The case workers worked
from the central office rather than on a district plan.
The supervisor o f the division o f county organization had general
supervision o f the division o f child care, and, therefore, the activities
o f the two divisions were closely integrated. This arrangement was
essential to the plan o f making each county responsible for all chil­
dren in it who needed temporary care. County superintendents o f
child welfare made investigations before children were accepted as
wards by the State department and supervised wards who were placed
4/1 General

Acts

o f 1931, No. 405, p. 504.


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STATE SERVICES FOR CHILDREN

14

in their counties. The district supervisors in the division of county
organization were, therefore, constantly consulted in regard to the
children who became wards o f the division o f child care.
DIVISION OF INSTITUTIONS

The division o f institutions had been maintained since the organiza­
tion of the department. It consisted in 1932 o f the supervisor and a
secretary, who was shared with the division o f child labor. The di­
vision o f institutions was responsible for licensing and supervising all
child-caring and child-placing organizations in the State. For several
years the supervisory responsibility o f the division was limited to
private organizations that were concerned primarily with the care o f
dependent children, although according to the law both public and
private institutions were to be supervised, except that no power or
authority was given the department with respect to the State nospitals
for the insane and the State institutions for delinquent children.48 In
1931 the authority of the State department to inspect public institu­
tions for children was reaffirmed in the statute, and the statement
excepting the State institutions was omitted.4® This gave the division
increased responsibility for care given to delinquent children, because
most o f them were under the care of public institutions.
Beginning in 1931, the division licensed all boarding homes for
children, established minimum standards for such homes, and pre­
scribed rules for their regulation. The collection and analysis o f sta­
tistics o f population o f child-caring organizations was another activity
o f this division.
DIVISION OF CHILD LABOR

The division of child labor, organized from the beginning o f the
department, consisted o f a chief child-labor inspector and a deputy
inspector. They spent a large part of their time in field work,
making inspections o f plants where children were or might be em­
ployed; visiting officers who issued employment certificates, health
officers responsible for medical examinations o f applicants for work
permits, and other interested persons in a community; and making
investigations in connection with accidents to employed children.,
The child-labor law in Alabama was administered by the childwelfare department from the time the department was established.60
Much o f the time o f the inspectors was spent in trying to interpret
the social factors involved in the protection of children from child
labor. Although the division supplemented its work by using county
superintendents o f child welfare as provided by the statute, it needed
additional staff in order to administer the child-labor law effectively.
The division collected and analyzed statistics on employment cer­
tificates issued for children.
EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITIES AND PUBLICATIONS

In the early years o f its existence the State child-welfare depart­
ment met general lack o f understanding o f the problems and needs of
<* Code of 1923, sec. 104.
" General A cts of 1931, No. 316, p. 366.
80 In 1935 a State department of labor was created and the responsibilities of the division
of child labor were transferred to this department.


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ALABAMA

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the children o f the State with whose welfare it was concerned. In
addition to the educational work needed for the development of
juvenile courts and organizations caring for children, which became
part o f the regular services o f the department, it was also necessary
to explain child-welfare problems to the public and to organized
groups.
One o f the first persons appointed on the staff was an educational
secretary, who carried on the general educational and publicity work
for the department. The publication o f a quarterly bulletin was
authorized by the State child-welfare commission, and during 1921
and 1922 four numbers o f this bulletin, known as “Alabama Child­
hood,” were issued. Because o f the steadily increasing pressure on
the resources o f the department for other services, this organized
educational program was discontinued, and general educational work
was carried on through talks given to groups by members o f the staff
and the issuance o f news releases and bulletins prepared by the staff
o f the various divisions.
The law creating the department specified that a biennial report
should be prepared and presented to the Governor. However, an
annual report to the State child-welfare commission, o f which the
Governor was chairman, was prepared by the department. This re­
port included a description o f the work o f the divisions and statistics
relating to their services, a financial statement, discussions o f childwelfare problems, and recommendations as to legislation and services
needed for the protection o f the children o f the State. Printed
reports were issued at irregular intervals, the last being for the year
ended September 30, 1934.51 Some o f the earlier reports were pub­
lished in the bulletin Alabama Childhood, but reports for 1923 and
1928 and for the period 1924 to 1927 were issued as separate
publications.
In order to obtain basic information as to the legislative and ad­
ministrative needs o f the State in its program for children, the de­
partment has sponsored several State-wide studies o f welfare condi­
tions. In 1921 a study o f child-welfare legislation was made under
the auspices o f the National Child Labor Committee.82 The report
presented to the child-welfare commission in May 1922 included rec­
ommendations as to needed child-welfare legislation. In 1930 the
Child Welfare League o f America was requested to make a study of
the work o f the department.818 As a result o f this study a compre­
hensive reorganization o f the services o f two o f the divisions o f the
department was made. A study o f relief needs o f the State was made
in 1932 by the staff of the department in cooperation with county
boards o f child welfare and with consultation from the American
Public Welfare Association.84
The department maintained active and close cooperation with all
organized groups in the State concerned with children’s problems,
including the Federation o f Women’s Clubs, the American Legion,
81A printed report was issued for the year ended September 30, 1934. This was the last
report before the department became a division of the department of public welfare.
82 Alabama Childhood, Vol. 1, No. 4 (June 1 9 2 2 ), pp. 4 -1 0 0 .
68 Survey of Child-Welfare w ork in Alabama, 1931. Unpublished report of the ChildW elfare League of America.
84 Summary of Survey of Relief Needs and Resources of Alabama. State Child-W elfare
Department, Montgomery, 1932. 9 pp.
(Mimeographed.)


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STATE SERVICES FOR CHILDREN

the League o f Women Voters, and all private associations providing
welfare services for children. The department also played an im­
portant part in the State conference o f social work.
In 1931 and 1933 district conferences were arranged from time to
time by the supervisor o f the division of county organization. These
conferences were regarded as one of the most important and valuable
phases of the educational work done by the department. Board mem­
bers, social workers, officials, and citizens took part in the program.
An opportunity was provided for the discussion of common prob­
lems and for other discussions that might give the workers a broader
vision, so that all would recognize that child-welfare service was a
State-wide as well as a community program. During the fiscal year
1931-32 five such conferences were held. Each conference had its
own organization, with officers elected from the counties in the
district.
In connection with its duty o f certifying qualified persons to be
employed as county superintendents o f cnild welfare, the department
provided opportunities for such persons to obtain the special training
required. Summer training courses, made necessary by the require­
ment that county social workers holding provisional certificates at­
tend some school o f social work for two summers out of three, were
established first at the Alabama College for Women and later at the
University o f Alabama, where graduate credit was allowed. In 1932,
38 students were in attendance, 12 for a session o f 12 weeks and 26
county social workers holding provisional certificates for a session
o f 6 weeks. Six additional county social workerq attended other
schools o f social work. The need for training had been so firmly im­
pressed on the county officials that salaries were continued for 6 weeks
while the workers were attending training courses.
The department also sponsored institutes for county social workers
at which the work of the State departments o f child welf are, health,
and education and o f other groups working in the counties was dis­
cussed in relation to the services o f the county child-welfare boards.
PERSONNEL OF THE DEPARTMENT

Alabama had no provision for civil service. The staff of the childwelfare department was selected by its director, appointments being
approved by the State child-welfare commission. The members o f the
staff were on the whole well qualified for their work. The depart­
ment was not limited to residents o f the State in making appoint­
ments and so recruited its staff through schools of social work and
social agencies. O f the 12 social workers on the staff in 1931, 8
were college graduates and 3 others had attended college or normal
school. Three o f them had completed a graduate course in a school
o f social work, 1 had done graduate work in labor and industry,
and 5 others had had some work at a school o f social work.
With the change in organization o f the services o f the department
in 1930 and 1931, a number o f changes in personnel were made. How­
ever, three o f the social workers on the staff in 1932 had been with the
department for a long period, one for 10 years and two for 5 years.
The child-welfare commission was given authority to fix the com­
pensation o f all employees except the director. It never adopted


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definite rules and regulations regarding entrance salaries, advance­
ment, or promotion, but based each salary and promotion on the
qualifications and accomplishments o f the employee. In 1932 the as­
sistant to the director, who was also supervisor o f the division o f
county organization, received $3,000 a year, and all other supervisors
o f divisions received approximately $2,400. The salaries ranged
from $1,860 to $2,400 for the four district supervisors and from
$1,680 to $1,800 for inspectors and case workers. As a result o f the
drastic measures for reduction in the expenditures of the State in
1933, the salaries o f all State officers and employees were fixed by
statute.8®
<* Under the laws of 1935 the board of the State department of public welfare Is author­
ized to fix minimum standards of services and personnel and to set salary schedules based
upon the education, training, previous experience, and general efficiency which must have
been attained by persons selected for positions in the State department.


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STA TE SERVICES FOR CHILDREN
In the development o f State services for children there was very
close cooperation between the State departments o f child welfare,
health, and education. This relation was furthered by the participa­
tion o i the superintendent of education and o f the State health officer
in the State child-welfare commission, which kept these departments
in close touch with the child-welfare problems o f the State. The
State prison inspector also cooperated by referring to the attention of
the child-welfare department the children found in almshouses. In
1931 the child-welfare department was given authority to visit and
inspect specified State institutions receiving children, and after that
time the institutions caring for delinquent children were more closely
coordinated with other State and county services for these children.
State services for Negro children aid not develop as rapidly as
those for white children, although more than a third o f the State’s
population was Negro, and 32 counties each had more than 10,000
Negroes. State institutional provision for delinquent Negro children
was limited, and there was no institution for those that were mentally
defective. There were three small private institutions for dependent
Negro children under supervision of the child-welfare department.
The department was conscious o f its duty toward the Negro popula­
tion o f the State and accepted a few Negro children for care. The
department hoped to expand its activities so that the Negro could
have his rightful share in the State’s welfare program. County super­
intendents o f child welfare were encouraged to make provisions for
the care o f dependent and delinquent Negro children and in a number
o f counties had done much work for them. In the study made by the
Child Welfare League o f America it was recommended that every
county with a large Negro population should have a Negro social
worker on the staff.06
DEVELOPMENT OF LOCAL PUBLIC-WELFARE SERVICES FOR
CHILDREN
COUNTY BOARDS OF CHILD W ELFAR E “ •

The law o f 1919 creating the child-welfare department stated
that one o f #ie department’s duties was to confer with the judges
and probation officers of the juvenile courts and to perfect the
work o f such courts. The juvenile-court law enacted in 1915 had
made possible the appointment o f advisory boards to assist the
coùrt in its work for children and had authorized the judge to ap­
point probation officers.07 Little use had been made o f these pro66 Under the Social Security A ct, Federal funds are made available to assist the States in
the development of child-welfare services, and Alabama is participating in this program.
Beginning M ay 1, 1936, two Negro social workers were employed under the plan for childwelfare service in the State. One of these was a consultant available to the whole State.
The second was assigned to a single county.
......................
. _ .
6oa i n 1 9 3 5 the powers and duties of the county hoards of child welfare were transferred
to county departments of public welfare (General Acts of 1935, No. 332, secs. 10—1 6 ).
57 General A cts of 1915, No. 506, p. 577.

18


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visions until, through the work o f the division o f extension and
the division o f children’s aid o f the State child-welfare department,
the need for local services was recognized. By 1924 some organized
work for children had been started in six counties under an advi­
sory board o f the juvenile court. The need for a broader childwelfare program for the counties, including provisions for compul­
sory school attendance that had been authorized by the school code
in 1915,88 was soon realized, and the department furthered the enact­
ment in 1923 o f a law providing for county child-welfare boards.
This law authorized the employment o f county superintendents of
child welfare and made possible the coordination o f all county wel­
fare services. It was the duty of the county superintendent to ad­
minister general social services for the children o f the county, to
act as attendance officer, to serve as county probation officer when
appointed by the judge o f the juvenile court, to cooperate with the
State child-labor inspector, to act as parole officer for children from
the State training schools who were placed in the county, and to
assist the State department in its services for children in the
county.
The law establishing county boards o f child welfare was permis­
sive, and by the end o f 1926 only 14 counties had an organized
program for children under a county board o f child welfare or an
advisory board o f the juvenile court. Although given no specific
authority by the law, the State department through its field staff
did much to stimulate the interest o f officials and citizens and to as­
sist in working out the practical problems o f organization.
The action o f the State department of education greatly stimulated
this organization in 1927. The legislature o f 1927 appropriated
$850,000 to the State department o f education to be known as the
attendance fund and to be distributed among the counties on the
basis o f the aggregate daily attendance in schools during the pre­
ceding year. A t a meeting of the State board o f education it was
observed that counties having county boards o f child welfare had
better school attendance than other counties, and therefore the
county board o f child welfare was approved as the agency through
which compulsory school-attendance provisions were to be admin­
istered. It was made mandatory that both county and city boards
o f education cooperate in the employment o f a county superintendent
o f child welfare when such joint service could be established with
the county board o f education paying not more than 60 percent
o f the cost and the court o f county commissioners or board of
revenue at least 40 percent. It was further provided that counties
failing to provide tne joint attendance and welfare service would
not be eligible to receive $2,000 o f the attendance fund allocated
to that county. •,
<
^
* •
As a resuilt o f this action 40 additional counties had organized
programs for child welfare by January 1929, and by October 1931
63 o f the 67 counties in the State had authorized the appointment o f
county child-welfare boards and 3 additional counties (Jefferson,
Mobile, and Montgomery) had advisory boards serving the juvenile
court. The financial depression made it necessary for 12 counties
*> Ibid., No. 470, p. 63 4 .


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STATE SERVICES FOR CHILDREN

to discontinue the employment o f their county superintendents of
child welfare during 1932, but in spite of this there were 48 counties
on January 1, 1933, that had retained their social workers. Four
o f these employed a county superintendent and one assistant, and
another a superintendent and two assistants. In addition, three
large counties provided services through probation officers o f the
juvenile court.
Qualifications of county social workers.

Appointments o f county superintendents o f child welfare, although
left to the county board o f child welfare, were safeguarded by a
requirement that the State board o f education and the State
child-welfare commission certify the social worker as eligible for
appointment. The qualifications set by the two departments were:
(1) Graduation from a standard college.
(2) One year of training in social work, school attendance, and related
courses.
(3) Three years’ successful teaching experience or 3 years’ successful ex­
perience in social work under supervision. (Assistant county superintendents
o f child welfare did not have to meet this requirement.)

College graduates having the required experience but not having
the required training in social service (item 2) could receive pro­
visional certificates upon completion o f a 12 weeks’ course in social
work in which particular emphasis was given to rural case work,
family welfare, community organization, and social legislation. In
order to keep a provisional certificate active, however, the social
worker was required to attend some school o f social work for at least
6 weeks a year in 2 years out o f 3. Permanent certificates were to be
issued only on completion o f a year’s training at a school o f social
service. During the year ended September 1932 the provisional cer­
tificates o f 35 workers were renewed, and 37 new workers were cer­
tified as eligible for positions.
Salaries.

Although the salaries for county superintendents o f child welfare
and their assistants were not high—$1,500 to $2,100 a year—they prob­
ably equaled the average for such positions throughout the country.
A superintendent usually received $1,800 a year plus $600 for main­
tenance o f a car.
Supervision of county services.

District supervisors of the division o f county organization in the
State department o f child welfare supervised the work o f county
superintendents. As each supervisor had 13 to 19 counties in her
district there were limitations on the time that could be spent in each
county during the year. The number of visits and their length de­
pended on the experience and ability of the superintendent and the
number and types of problems that arose in the county. Since the
purpose o f supervision was to improve the standards o f service given,
to assist in interpreting child-welfare problems to various groups, and
to help on case problems, much'time was needed in a county in which
the superintendent was new to the county or was inexperienced in deal­
ing with the many types of problems that each county superintendent
met.


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In these visits to the counties the supervisors worked primarily
with the county superintendents and their assistants, helping them
, to study and understand their problems and to see their work in rela­
tion to the work still to be done in the county, as well as assisting
them on case problems. Supervisors also attended meetings o f the
county boards o f child welfare in order to become acquainted with
their policies and procedures and to interpret to them the develop­
ments in the State.
The State child-welfare department required monthly reports o f
the work o f county superintendents on forms that were adopted in
1932. These were worked out in consultation with the county superin­
tendents and before they were finally adopted were used for a trial
period. They included information on each application and case
disposed o f during the month, the type o f service given to each person
accepted, and the expenditures made for his care. With the transfer
o f county superintendents from child-welfare work to relief admin­
istration these detailed reports to the State child-welfare department
were practically discontinued by the end o f 1933.
As school-attendance work constituted one o f the major activities
o f county superintendents, the State department o f education also had
some supervision over the county superintendents, and special reports
on school-attendance problems were submitted monthly to this
department.
LOCAL PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR CHILDREN

Provisions for local public support for dependent persons who were
not inmates o f almshouses had not been made in Alabama up to the
tim e' o f this study. The legislature o f 1927 enacted a statute pro­
hibiting the use o f county funds for care o f a pauper outside an
almshouse except in an emergency.69 As this law also prohibited
the care o f children in almshouses, the counties were confronted
with a difficult problem in providing for their dependent children.
Fortunately the law forbidding outdoor relief was liberally inter­
preted by the State attorney general in a ruling o f December 3, 1930,
in which he said that county funds could be used for aid to children
inasmuch as it was illegal to admit children from 1 to 18 years of
age to the almshouses.
A statute enacted in 193160 gave the county court o f commissioners
or the county board o f revenue in any county power to appropriate
money to the county board o f child welfare for the relief o i children
under 18 years o f age. This confirmed the legality o f outdoor relief
so far as aid to children was concerned. There was also a provision
in a juvenile-court act o f the same year that children committed by
the court to the home o f their parents or guardian or boarded in a
suitable family home should be a valid charge on the county.61
Under these two provisions it was possible to give family relief
according to the needs o f the children.
The responsibility for calling attention to the necessity o f public
support o f children and for furthering the enactment o f the law
rested largely with the child-welfare department. In a few counties
f general Acts of 1927 No. 476, p. 529 (sec. 81 amended by General Acts of 1931, p. 7 4 9 ).

90 General A cts o f 1931, No. 339, p. 897.


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STATE SERVICES FOR CHILDREN

funds were appropriated by the county authorities for care o f chil­
dren in boarding homes, and occasionally provision was made for afamily o f dependent children in their own homes, but there was greatneed for extension o f this program throughout the State and for
more adequate appropriations. Alabama had no mothers’ aid law,„
although this had been advocated by the State department for many
years. County workers worked diligently to obtain funds from pri­
vate sources to provide the care urgently needed fo r children in thecounties.62
In the survey o f relief needs and resources o f Alabama made by
the department in 1932 it was found that $12,472 had been spent
during the year by the counties throughout the State for boardinghome care o f children, and that an additional $4,629 had been spent
during 8 months o f this period for the aid o f children in their own
homes.68 These amounts were small as compared with local publicexpenditures for children in other States, but they represented a~
beginning in the use o f local public funds for the care o f children.
CARE OF DEPENDENT CHILDREN
CHILDREN UNDER CARE OF TH E STATE CH ILD -W ELFAR E DEPARTMENT

The law creating the child-welfare department authorized it “toreceive minor children committed to its care and to place such chil­
dren either in family homes or in institutions caring for children
and to supervise such children when placed.” 64 The need for State
guardianship was not immediately evident, as the Alabama Chil­
dren’s Aid Society, a private agency organized in 1917, was serving children throughout the State. For about 3 years the State depart­
ment cooperated closely with this society; the field agent of the State
department assisted in raising funds for the care o f children, gathered
information throughout the State as to needs o f children, and de­
veloped resources for their care. The work o f the society was
eventually combined with that of the department, and in November
1922 the society was dissolved, the State took over its 200 wards, and
a children’s aid division was organized to care for these children and
to aid other children throughout the State.65 The departmertt was
then the only agency in Alabama doing child placing on a State-wide
basis.
Extent of the child-care service.

During its first 5 or 6 years the children’s aid division found it
necessary to give much general service for dependent or neglected
children throughout the State in addition to caring for State wards.
The report o f the State child-welfare department for the 4 years
1924-27 showed that during this time applications were received for
assistance o f 3,334 children. It was possible to find agencies or per­
sons able to care for about two-thirds o f these children, but the
State department assumed responsibility for 1,121 dependent or neg88 A statute passed in 1935 (General Acts of 1935. No. 496, p. 10 6 1 ) provided for aid to
dependent children in accordance with the provisions of the Social Security A c t. and'
Alabama is participating in this program.
*
83 Summary of Survey of Relief Needs and Resources o f Alabama. State C hild-W elfareDepartment, Montgomery, 1932. 9 pp.
(Mimeographed.)
81 General Law s of 1919, No. 457 , p. 695.
88 Annual Report of the State Child-W elfare Department, 1922-23, p. 15. Montgomery.


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lected children, o f whom 524 were committed to the department for
foster-home care and 597 were accepted informally for supervision
in their own homes or in the homes o i relatives.
With the development o f organized county work for children and
the appointment o f social workers in the counties, the need for the
•State child-welfare department to serve children needing temporary
care steadily decreased. During 1930 it was decided that the de­
partment would care only for children needing permanent care who
were committed to its guardianship by the courts. A t this time the
name o f the children’s aid division was changed to the division of
•child care.
Practically all applications for the acceptance of children as State
wards came from the county superintendents of child welfare or from
the courts and social agencies of urban centers. A social case record
was filed with the supervisor o f the division o f child care by the ap­
propriate district supervisor in the division o f county organization
and then these two officials conferred regarding acceptance. The
cases that could be taken care o f by the district supervisors never
reached the attention o f the division of child care, and there were
only 221 applications to the division during the fiscal year 1930-31.66
The number o f children under care o f the State child-welfare depart­
ment steadily decreased, as is shown by the following figures:
Fiscal year

Children under care
at the close of the year

1927-28_________________________
633
1930- 31_________________________________544
1931- 32_________________________________569
1933-34__________________________________ 451

For children who were accepted, the department arranged for care
m free foster homes, in boarding homes, in boarding schools, in wage
homes, or with relatives. Boarding homes were generally used by
the department for temporary care and, in some instances, for long­
time care. On September 30, 1934, there were 200 children in free
foster homes, 154 in boarding homes, 5 in wage homes, 16 in insti­
tutions and boarding schools, and 76 in their own homes or those of
relatives. Most o f the children in free foster homes weçe infants or
preschool children who had previously been placed in boarding
homes for a few weeks pending their permanent placement in free
foster homes. The report o f the department showed that the aver­
age amount paid per child for board and tuition was $13.19 a month,
and the total average cost per child, including medical care, clothing,
school supplies, and other incidentals, was $16.70 a month. The
entire cost was paid by the State, which spent $32,275.04 for the
care o f dependent children during the fiscal year ended September
30,1934, exclusive o f salaries o f the staff.
Standards of care.

Children accepted for care were usually brought to Montgomery
for study and care before they were permanently placed. A large
proportion o f the boarding homes used by the department were in
Montgomery County. Medical care for wards o f the State child66 Annual Rpoort of the State Child-W elfare Department, 1 9 3 0 -3 1 , p. 49.


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STATE SERVICES FOR CHILDREN

welfare department was provided through the part-time services o f
a staff physician, who made initial and follow-up examinations and
gave necessary treatments. A pediatrician cared for infants, and
different specialists gave treatment to children with remediable defects.
Dental treatment was provided when necessary. The department
was handicapped in making plans for some o f its children by lack
o f mental-hygiene services.
The case work o f the division o f child care for the most part com­
pared favorably with that of private children’s agencies. For a few
years a special agent for home finding was employed, but this plan
was discontinued, and home finding was made part o f the work o f
staff members o f the division. Some assistance in finding homes in
their counties was given by county superintendents o f child welfare.
Prospective homes were always visitea, and both the applying foster
parents were seen. Persons given as reference were also inter­
viewed. The department emphasized the importance o f good home
finding. Whenever feasible, brothers and sisters were kept together.
Usually not more than two children were placed in the same boarding
home, and ordinarily these were children o f the same sex. Super­
vision o f children in foster homes was carried on by the social work­
ers of the division o f child care, but, when children were placed in
counties at some distance from Montgomery, supervision was often
delegated to county superintendents o f child welfare, although the
division was directly responsible for the children.
The division o f child care realized that the foster parents caring
for the wards o f the State child-welfare department served as a
supplement to the official staff o f the division. Therefore an effort
was made to educate this group so that their service would con­
form with the ideals o f the department. Meetings o f both the foster
mothers and foster fathers were held occasionally. The division
also sent out at frequent intervals, usually monthly, mimeographed
material on such subjects as standards of care, health, and needs and
activities o f children during different seasons o f the year.
The division kept detailed case records o f the children and
registers o f foster homes from which analyses could be made o f the
number o f applications for the care of dependent and neglected
children, admissions and discharges, complaints, applications from
foster homes, and o f children who were committed by the county
juvenile courts as wards o f the State child-welfare department, the
age groups represented, and parental status o f children.
STATE SUPERVISORY SERVICES

Supervision o f institutions and agencies.

The State child-welfare department had no power over the in­
corporation o f organizations caring for children; in fact, it was
not necessary for institutions to incorporate before operating. A n­
nual licenses were required, however, for all societies, agencies, and
institutions receiving or caring for dependent, neglected, or delin­
quent minor children. Before granting a license the department re­
quired that it be reasonably and satisfactorily assured that: (1)
There was a present need tor the proposed agency or institution;
(2) the character and intentions o f the applicants were satisfactory;


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(3) the organization would be adequately financed; (4) capable,
trained, or experienced workers would be employed; (5) the meth­
ods to be used and disposition to be made o f the children served
would be altruistic, judicious, and in accord with the welfare o f
society; (6) there was a probability o f permanence in the proposed
child-welfare agency or institution.87
During 1932, licenses were granted to 22 institutions or receiving
homes caring for children and 2 child-placing agencies. The one
agent in the division o f institutions tried to visit these organizations
quarterly in order to help them to work out a modern program o f
child care. Any institution receiving children for care was required
to accord this agent the privilege o f inspection and access to its ac­
counts and its records o f children, in order that she might learn the
kind and quality o f work done and have a basis for recommenda­
tions to the State child-welfare department. The department was
expected to inform board and staff members o f the agencies and
institutions o f approved methods o f child care, best types of hous­
ing, institutional equipment, and methods o f keeping adequate rec­
ords. According to the Alabama law the principal purpose of
visitation was not to present official demands for adherence to the pro­
visions o f the law, but rather to offer friendly counsel on child-wel­
fare problems and information about progressive methods and ways
to improve the service rendered.68 In several States this is the policy
o f the State welfare department, but Alabama is one of the few
States in which the policy is written in the law.
It was not customary in Alabama for the State to give subsidies
to private institutions. However, beginning in 1919 the State gave
aid to the vocational school for girls in Birmingham, a small, wellmanaged private school for dependent or neglected girls, which was
conducted by a board o f trustees. An annual State appropriation 6*
was made toward the support o f this school, which provided for a
class o f girls that were not proper subjects for the State training
school and yet needed special training.
In the visits to institutions and agencies the supervisor o f the divi­
sion o f institutions inspected the equipment and facilities for caring
for children, studied case records, discussed intake problems, and con­
ferred with the superintendent and the board o f the institution on
practical problems affecting the program and policies o f the organi­
zation. The reports of the division showed concrete results o f the
service given, through the improvement of standards of care in most
o f the institutions o f the State.
A cordial relation had been built up between the State department
o f child welfare and the institutions. Institutions welcomed the type
o f supervision that the State department provided and invited further
assistance and cooperation. A t their request several different institu­
tions were made the subject o f a special study by the supervisor o f the
division o f institutions. Discussion o f common problems and of the
place o f the institution in the State program was made possible
through the organization of the Alabama Conference o f Child-Caring
Institutions, which held its first meeting in July 1932.
" General A cts of 1923, No. 272, pp. 270, 275.
« Code of 1923, sec. 111.
“ The appropriation o f $6,320 annually from 1920 to 1931 was reduced to $5,000 in
1932 but was restored in 1935.


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STATE SERVICES FOR CHILDREN

The greatest weakness in the institutional program o f the State
was the lack o f social services. Many o f the institutions were small
and unable to employ a person to do case work. From time to time the
child-welfare department gave some case-work service. It was sug­
gested that a special social case worker be added to the division of
institutions whose services would be available to institutions at cost.70
This was not done, doubtless because o f the financial depression in the
State since the recommendation was made. Institutions were grad­
ually realizing the value o f such services and calling on county super­
intendents o f child welfare or on social agencies to investigate appli­
cations for admission and to supervise children who had been returned
to or left in their own homes or placed in foster homes. Because o f
the lack o f a mother’s aid law, the State child-welfare department
encouraged the institutions to assist children in their own homes. The
two child-placing agencies operating on a county basis in Jefferson
and Mobile Counties gave intake as well as placement service to a
number o f institutions in their counties.
The division o f institutions placed much emphasis on the improve­
ment o f case records and financial records o f the institutions. The
State child-welfare department provided blank forms on which insti­
tutions submitted two types o f reports: (1) A monthly report o f the
number o f children under care on the first and the last day o f the
month, and the number admitted and discharged during the month ;
(2) an individual report for each child under care, sent at the time
o f admission, which gave detailed social information about the child
and his parents. A t the time the child was discharged from care
a supplementary report was sent and the data were entered on the
child’s record. The division summarized the information obtained
and presented statistics on children under the care o f institutions and
agencies in its annual report.
There was no specific provision in Alabama for the supervision o f
day nurseries, but one day nursery was licensed in 1931. Informal
day nurseries were in operation all over the State wherever women
were employed in mills and other industries, and in the cities day
nurseries were operating under private boards.
Supervision of maternity homes.

Alabama had only three maternity homes which cared primarily
fo r unmarried mothers and their children, two in Mobile and one in
Birmingham. These were licensed as agencies and institutions caring
for children, and their supervision was therefore delegated to the
supervisor o f the division of institutions. Individual reports o f un­
married mothers received and children born were sent to the State
department. The maternity homes also sent a monthly report o f the
movement o f population similar to that furnished by institutions for
child care. In connection with the general supervision of these
hospitals, a social worker from the State department gave special
case-work services to the unmarried mothers in the Salvation Army
Home in Birmingham for 6 months in 1932.
A special study was made o f the Florence Crittenton Home, at the
request o f the president o f its board o f managers, in order that she
Surv° y o£ Child-W elfare W ork in Alabama, 1931.
W elfare League of America.


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ALABAM A

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might be better prepared to inform the public regarding its work,
especially as to the type o f girl received, her home conditions, her
mentality, and the methods used in adjusting her case.
Supervision of boarding homes.

Not until 1931 was provision made for supervising boarding homes
for children. A law enacted at that time defined a boarding home
as any home in which a child under 16 years o f age, unrelated to the
family, was kept and provided with food, shelter, and care in return
for compensation.71 It required such homes to have an annual license
issued by the child-welfare department, which was authorized to
establish minimum standards for boarding homes and to prescribe
rules for their regulation. The duty of issuing licenses to boarding
homes was placed in the division o f institutions.
A t the time the State department assumed responsibility over
boarding homes it had already formulated definite standards and
policies because o f the wide use o f boarding homes for placement o f
children under care o f the division o f child care, which in 1932 had
nearly 100 boarding homes under supervision. Rules and standards
for boarding homes had been prepared for the foster mothers in
such homes, and the extension o f these rules to all boarding homes
was relatively simple, as they had already been tried and found to be
practicable.
Applications for licenses for boarding homes used by social agencies
were made by the agencies, and licenses were granted on the recom­
mendation o f the agency, without an investigation by the State de­
partment. A large majority o f such boarding homes were used by
the division o f child care o f the State department; and a small
number o f boarding homes were used by juvenile courts, county
child-welfare boards, the children’s aid society o f Jefferson County,
and a few other private agencies. Independent boarding homes ap­
plied directly to the State department, which through its own staff
or an authorized agent investigated their qualifications for a license
and passed judgment upon them.
Forms for application and for reporting the results o f the investiga­
tion o f the home were provided by the department, and, when the ap­
plication was approved, a license which specified the number, ages,
and sex o f the children who might be cared for was mailed to the
home. A mimeographed manual on boarding children in private
homes, giving minimum standards for boarding homes, which had
been prepared by the department, was sent to all agencies and topersons reported as conducting independent homes.
SERVICES FOR SPECIAL GROUPS OF DEPENDENT.CH ILDREN

Adoptions.

A new adoption law enacted in 1931 made the child-welfare de­
partment responsible for safeguarding children for whom adoption
was requested.72 This law provided that the probate court must send
a copy o f each petition to the department, whose duty it was to
verify the allegations o f the petition, make a thorough investiga­
tion, and report its findings to the court. The department was
n General A cts of 1 9 31, No. 81 7 , p. 368.
71 General A cts of 1931, No. 40 5 , p. 504.


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STATE SERVICES FOR CHILDREN

authorized to use designated agents, and so the county superintend­
ents o f child welfare, as well as the staff o f the State department,
were utilized for making investigations. I f satisfied with the find­
ings, the court had authority to issue an interlocutory order. Final
order o f adoption could not be granted until the child had lived for
1 year in the home o f the petitioner, during which time he must be
visited quarterly by an agent o f the State child-welfare department.
"One member o f the staff was directly responsible for handling the
clerical work connected with adoption petitions. Forms were
'printed for the petition, the consent o f parents, the report o f the
State child-welfare department to the probate court, the interlocutory
order o f the court, the reports o f the quarterly visits o f the depart­
ment’s agents, the final recommendations o f the department, the final
decree, and the notice o f the final decree.
After the petition received by the State department was cleared in
the filesj acknowledged, and recorded in the office, a request for in­
vestigation was sent to the county superintendent o f child welfare,
who then made a report to the State department, with a recommenda­
tion as to the desirability o f adoption. The department sent its
recommendations to the probate court, and when a report o f the
court’s action was received this was filed with the case. Reports of
.supervisory visits following the granting o f the interlocutory decree
were also filed. A final recommendation was made by the department
at the end o f the interlocutory period, and with the notice o f the final
■court decree the case in the State child-welfare department was
closed.
During the fiscal year ended September 30, 1934, 220 petitions for
adoption were received, o f which 134 were approved, 11 were dis­
approved, 21 were withdrawn, and 54 were pending on October 1,
1934.
Children born out of wedlock.

The law did not give the State department any specific duties for
the care or protection of children born out o f wedlock. No substan­
tial changes had been made in the illegitimacy law for years, and the
smallness of the amount that this law required the father to pay for
the support of his child tended to discourage efforts to establish
paternity as a means o f obtaining support.78 During 1932, 5,598
illegitimate births were reported in Alabama, of which about 700
were white, but onlv a very small proportion of these children came
to the attention of social agencies. O f the children admitted to
private institutions during the fiscal year 1931, 21 children, or 7 per­
cent, were bom out of wedlock. A t the end o f the same fiscal year
128 children, or 23 percent o f the total number under care by the
division o f child care o f the State department, were born out o f
wedlock.
Through its work with maternity homes and in its investigations
o f adoption petitions by county superintendents o f child welfare the
department encouraged more adequate provisions for the care o f
children born out o f wedlock. However, the county superintendent
rather than the State department was held responsible for most of
n In 1935 the maximum amount of support that could be required o f a man adjudged
to be the father o f a child born out of wedlock was raised from $50 to $ 100 per year for
a 10-year period.
(General Acts o f 1935, No. 186, p. 237.)


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the case work for all special classes, including physically handi­
capped and feeble-minded children and unmarried mothers.
CARE OF MENTALLY HANDICAPPED AND PROBLEM CHILDREN

A t the time this study was made Alabama had made no provision
tor mental-hygiene service as a function of the State, and private
facilities for such service were limited. There was no child-guidance
clinic in the State, and no psychiatric service was available to the
State child-welfare department for the study o f problem children
who were its wards nor to most o f the institutions or agencies car­
ing for children. The plan o f governmental reorganization proposed
by the Brookings Institution included a division o f mental hygiene in
the State welfare department, which would be equipped to provide
such service.74 State institutional care for mentally ill or mentally
deficient persons was inadequate, as the hospitals for the insane and
the school for the mentally deficient were crowded to capacity and
additional patients were refused for lack o f room. No out-patient
service was maintained by any o f these institutions.
The Partlow State School for Mental Deficients was established in
1919. This institution cared for approximately 500 white persons.
There was no similar institution for Negroes. As compared with
other States, Alabama’s institutional provision was limited. The
number o f mental defectives and epileptics in the State institution
per 100,000 o f the general population on December 31, 1932, was 19.8
in Alabama as compared with an average o f 65.2 for the whole United
States, 147.7 in Massachusetts, 105.2 in Ohio, and 107.6 in Minnesota.75
A large proportion o f those admitted to the institution in its early
years were in need o f custodial care, but in later years there was an
increase in the proportion o f those of a higher grade.76 A report made
in 1931 showed that o f a total of 535 inmates o f all ages, 92 were
attending kindergarten or elementary school classes.77 Alabama had
a sterilization law, and a few persons had been sterilized before being
paroled to their homes.
In 1927 an act was passed making it mandatory to establish special
classes in towns o f over 6,000 population in which more than 10 chil­
dren were 3 years or more retarded in mental development.78 Since
no State funds were provided to assist in establishing such classes,
no attempt was made to carry out the provisions of the law, except
in Birmingham, where special classes were established.78
The State child-welfare department found a number o f definitely
subnormal children in the institutions caring for dependent children
and assisted in obtaining psychological examination and admission
o f such children to the State school.
74Report on a Survey of the Organization and Adm inistration of the State and County
Governments of Alabama, vol. 2 pt. 1 (State Government), p. 172. Institute for Gov­
ernment Research o f the Brookings Institution, W ashington, 1932. General A cts of
1 9 35, No. 332, sec. 7, p. 764, provided for a bureau of mental hygiene, but no funds
were available to establish this bureau.
78 M ental Defectives and Epileptics in State Institutions, 1929—32, p. 10. U. S. Bureau
o f the Census. Washington, 1934.
74Feeble-minded and Epileptics in State Institutions, 1928, p. 2 6 ; 1 9 2 9 -3 2 , p. 11.
U . S. Bureau of the Census. W ashington, 1932, 1934.
77Public and Private Residential Schools for Mentally Deficient and Epileptics, 1 9 3 0 -3 1 ,
p. 8. U. S. Office o f Education. W ashington, 1933.
(Mimeographed.)
78General Acts of 1927, No. 498, p. 598.
79The Education of Exceptional Children, pp. 4 3 -5 2 . Being chapter V I of the
Biennial Survey of Education in the United States, 1 9 3 0 -1 9 3 2 . U. S. Office of Education
B ulletin No. 2, 1933. W ashington, 1933.

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CARE OF DELINQUENT CHILDREN
INSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS

Boys' industrial school.

This school was established in 1899 to care for delinquent white boys
committed to it by juvenile courts or accepted from parents or guard­
ians. It is situated attractively on the outskirts o f the city o f Birming­
ham. The school is controlled by a board o f directors consisting o f
the Governor, the commissioner o f agriculture and industries, the
State superintendent o f education, the attorney general, and seven
additional members, all o f whom must be women, elected for terms o f
6 years.80 The entire board meets only once a year, although members
o f the board visit the school frequently. The management o f the insti­
tution is controlled for the most part by the superintendent.
The law provided that boys between the ages o f 6 and 18 years might
be accepted and kept under care until they were 21 years old. The
average length o f stay was a little more than 2 years. The population
o f the school on September 30,1932, was 414, although the dormitory
space was adequate for only about 300 boys. The school had a staff
o f 10 full-time teachers and one part-time teacher, and all boys at­
tended school for a half day. Limitation o f funds hampered the
development o f the program, but the vocational and recreational training given was constructive and stimulating, and the spirit of the
school was excellent. Per capita appropriations for maintenance were
fixed at $270 per year in 1931, but in 1932 this was reduced to a max­
imum per capita o f $243, with the total appropriation not to exceed
$101,822.81 An annual appropriation o f $100,000 was made in 1935.81a
Reform school for juvenile Negro lawbreakers.

The reform school for juvenile Negro lawbreakers, founded in 190T
as a reformatory for Negro boys by the State federation of colored
women’s clubs, was taken over by the State in 1911. Only boys were
accepted until the legislature in 1931 provided that Negro girls under
18 might be admitted for care provided the capacity o f the school was
not exceeded.82 For a girls’ dormitory a small building with grounds
adjacent to the boys’ school was donated by the group that established
the school. The institution is controlled Dy a board o f trustees con­
sisting o f the Governor, the State superintendent o f education, and
seven other trustees appointed by the Governor. Five o f these trustees
may be Negro women who are interested in the education and train­
ing o f delinquent colored children.
Negro boys under 16 committed by the courts must be accepted by
the institution. The population o f the boys’ department on December
31, 1932, was approximately 400, although the child-welfare depart­
ment recommended that because o f the limitations o f the equipment
o f the school only about 300 bovs should be in residence. The intake
o f girls was definitely limited \)y the size o f the building available,
only 26 girls being under care on this date. Both boys and girls were
under commitment until they reached 18 years o f age.
The school was handicapped by the limitations o f the funds. Only
$10 per capita per month was allowed for its support. In 1932 this
80Code of 1923, sec. 56.
81General A cts of 1932 (extra session), No.
818General Acts of 1935, No. 373, subsec. X

328, p. 328.
( 5 ) , p. 797.
** General A cts o f 1911, No. 336, p. 6 7 7 ; 1919, No. 44 2 , p. 6 7 0 ; 1931, No. 583, p. 670.


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■was reduced to $2 a week, with the total yearly expenditures not to
exceed $38,426.83 In 1935 an annual appropriation of $40,000 was
made.83® Academic education through the junior high school was
provided for all boys and girls, 10 teachers being employed. Little
vocational training was given other than farm work for thé boys and
housework for the girls.
State training school for girls.

The State training school for girls was established in 1911 under a
board o f managers composed o f the Governor, the attorney general,
and 12 women. Dissatisfaction with the administration o f this in­
stitution resulted in a study by a legislative committee and the enact­
ment in 1931 o f a law to “ re-create the State training school for
girls.” 84 This act placed the institution under the control o f a board
o f trustees consisting o f the Governor as chairman and 12 members
appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the senate (one member
from each congressional district o f the State and 3 from Jefferson
County, in which the institution was situated). An executive com­
mittee transacted business during the interim between meetings o f
the board. Under the provisions o f the 1931 law the superintendent
was required to be a college graduate, or to have equivalent education,
and to have had training ana experience in social work and in institu­
tion management.
Girls between 12 and 18 years o f age committed as delinquent by
the juvenile courts were admitted to the institution, and unless they
were discharged, paroled, or transferred, were kept under care until
they reached the age o f 21 years. In 1932 the school had a capacity
o f about 120 girls. The new administration brought about great
progress in the service given by the school. The plant was improved,
and greater variety in vocational training was provided.
The 1931 law changed the financing o f the school from $330 per
capita previously allowed to a general appropriation for maintenance
o f $50,000. In 1934 an appropriation o f $40,000 was made. This was
the same as that made for the reform school for juvenile Negro law­
breakers, which had more than three times the number o f children
under care.
OTHER SERVICES FOR DELINQUENT CHILDREN

Social service to the State schools.

Each o f the two schools for delinquent white children (the boys’
industrial school and the training school for girls) had a field worker
who cooperated closely with county superintendents o f child welfare
in supervising children paroled from these schools. Much time was
also spent by these officers in getting adequate records and informa­
tion about the girls and boys admitted to the institutions and in
working out plans for parole. The school for Negro boys and girls
had no similar service.
In 1931 the State child-welfare department was given the respon­
sibility o f inspecting the institutions and consulting with the super­
intendents and managing boards as to methods o f fitting the insti­
tution program into a more adequate State service. The relation
88General A cts (extra Session) of 1932, No. 328, p. 328.
®*a General Acts of 1935, No. 373, subsec. X ( 3 ) , p. 797.
84General A cts of 1931, No. 22 7 : p. 272.


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STATE SERVICES FOR CHILDREN

32

o f the department to the State training school for girls had been
especially close, as the department served the school during the period
o f reorganization before the new administration took charge and wasan important factor in the development o f a more satisfactory pro­
gram. The department was also active in building up local re­
sources for the care o f children who came into conflict with the law,
so that commitments to the schools for delinquents might be reduced
to a minimum.
Supervision of local services for delinquent children.

The work o f the State child-welfare department was closely related
to probation work throughout the State. In 1931 the Juvenile Court
Act was amended to read, “In order to unify and standardize proba­
tion work in the juvenile courts o f the State, the State child-welfare
c o m m ission is hereby empowered to prescribe reasonable standardso f education, training, and experience” for probation officers. In
addition, one o f the duties o f the State child-welfare department wasto consult with the judge and probation officers o f the juvenile courtso f the several counties o f the State and to aid in perfecting the
organization and work o f such courts.85 The general supervision o f
the local units in the State by the child-welfare department neces­
sarily brought the department into close contact with the probation
work because one o f the principal duties o f the county superintendent
o f child welfare was to serve as probation officer for the juvenilecourt o f the county.
The State department was also responsible fo r the inspection o f thework o f four local public institutions (three in Mobile County and
one in Jefferson County) that were caring for delinquent children.
The use o f detention homes for the care o f dependent children and
for long-time care o f children with conduct difficulties was a prac­
tice that the department was trying to discourage.
CARE OP PHYSICALLY HANDICAPPED CHILDREN
BLIND AND DEAF CHILDREN

Education for blind and deaf children was provided in three State;
residential schools located about one-half mile apart. The threeschools were under the direction o f one superintendent. One school
cared for blind white children, another for deaf white children, and.
the third for Negro children who were either blind or deaf. These
three institutions, originally under separate administrations, were
incorporated under the school code into one unit, the Alabama Insti­
tute for Deaf and Blind.88 The institute was managed and controlled
by a board o f trustees consisting o f the Governor, who was chairman
ex officio, the State superintendent o f education, and 12 other persons
appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the senate.
During the school year 1930-31, 158 blind white children, 351 deaf
white children, 41 blind Negro children, and 68 deaf Negro children
were attending these schools.87 The schools gave academic training
88General A cts of 1931, No. 316, p. 360.
88School Code, 1927, sec. 577.
87State and Private Schools for the Deaf,

. " <1 9 3 0 -3 1 , p. 14. Circular No. 75. U. S ..
Office of Education. W ashington, 1933.
(Mimeographed.)
State and Private Schools’
for the Blind, 1 9 3 0 -3 1 . p. 8. Circular No. 70. U. S. Office of Education.. W ashihgton,.
1933.
(Mimeographed.)


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ALABAMA

33

through 11 grades, as well as prevocational training and some voca­
tional work. Per capita payments o f $296 a year were allowed fo r
the maintenance o f these schools in 1932.88
State services for blind persons, similar to those provided! in other
States by State commissions for the blind or by divisions; for the
blind o f the State departments o f welfare, were given by the civilianrehabilitation service o f the department o f education. This service
authorized in 1927,80 included the maintenance o f a register o f blind
persons in the State, home training for blind persons and assistance
m marketing the products o f their work, and a program, o f sight
conservation. A survey was made throughout the State to locate all
blind persons, and in 1931 the register included 955 totally blind
persons and 1,025 persons whose vision was so seriously impaired
that they were greatly handicapped.00
As part o f the conservation work o f the civilian rehabilitation
service the official in charge o f services for the blind organized eyeclinics. A t his suggestion the county health officer presented the
project to the county medical society, which selected an eye specialist
who would donate his service to the proposed clinic. Nineteen leadspecialists o f the South gave free services, and several hos­
pitals gave free treatment to those unable to pay. Before a clinicwas held in a community, school records were examined for children
with eye defects. Visits were then made by the State agent to the
homes o f children with defective vision to explain to their parents,
the purpose o f the clinic. After the clinic the agent again visited
the parents to interpret to them the doctor’s diagnosis. Lions clubs
and other civic organizations contributed funds to supplement the
small State fund available and gave service in transporting patients;
to clinics and hospitals. Follow-up work was done through county
health units and county superintendents o f child welfare.
In addition to clinics, the service for blind children inciuded in­
struction given to teachers and pupils on the care o f the eyes, talks
given to parent-teacher associations, and literature distributed to
the public. The State health law requires doctors, nurses, and mid­
wives to use silver nitrate or other prophylactics in the eyes o f new­
born babies. Prophylactics were furnished free bv the State
department o f health.
J
CRIPPLED CHILDREN n

In the spring o f 1926 the State superintendent o f education, the
fetate healAk^officer, and the director o f the State child-welfare departme
out a plan for State aid for crippled children. It
was
£ three departments would act as sponsor for the
establis^^H
P riv a te organization, the Alabama Society for
Crippled
ich was to obtain funds for services through
private con
w develop public interest in crippled children.
88General A cts ( < 9
y>32, No. 328, p. 328.
89General A cts o f '
712> as amended by General A cts of 1931, N o..
678, p. 814.
80Annual Report f o r ' _
f in d in g June 30, 1931.
State of Alabama,
Department of Education/*
1). 189. Montgomery,
“ Under the Social S e c u i ._
in the development of service!
program.


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ware made available to assist the States.
Bn. and Alabama is participating in th is .

34

STATE SERVICES FOR CHILDREN

The need for participation and sponsorship by State officials was
recognized in the constitution o f the society, which provided that
the supervisor o f civilian rehabilitation o f the State department o f
education should serve as executive secretary o f the society and that
the State health officer should be its medical adviser ex officio.
During the first year, work for crippled children was financed
entirely from membership dues o f the society or from gifts, but in
1927, $15,000 o f State civilian rehabilitation funds was made avail­
able for care o f crippled persons, which included crippled children.
The annual State appropriation for this purpose was reduced to
$5,000 in 1932, but in 1935 it was increased to $40,000.92 The work
financed by these joint funds included the holding o f diagnostic
clinics throughout the State and treatment and hospitalization of as
many children as possible who needed such care.
In 1926 the State health officer solicited the help o f all orthopedic
surgeons o f Alabama in holding diagnostic clinics at various centers
in the State and in providing treatment for the crippled children
brought to them. The State was divided into districts with three
to five counties in each district. Arrangements were made to hold
a clinic at some logical center in each district on the invitation of
the medical society of that county. It took more than a year to
cover the State the first time because much time was consumed in
organization. The assistant to the supervisor o f civilian rehabilita­
tion, in charge o f the physical restoration work, organized these
clinics; In 1931, 26 clinics were held at which diagnoses were made
in new cases and progress was observed in cases under treatment.
No treatment was given in the clinics. A report submitted in 1931
noted that operations were needed in 600 cases and suggested that
funds raised by the Alabama Society for Crippled Children should
be used for this purpose.98
Crippled children seen in the clinics were followed up by county
and city public-health nurses and by county superintendents o f child
welfare. In some counties superintendents o f child welfare provided
social services for these children.
®* General Acts of 1927, No. 382, p. 454 (sec. 25 ) ; (extra session) 1932, No. 292, p. 291
(sec. 9 ) ; 1935, No. '309, p. 742 (sec. 1).' .
®* Annual- Repori for the Scholastic Year Ending June 30, 1931. State of Alabama
Department* of Education, Bulletta, 1932, No. 11, p. 188. Montgomery.

o


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