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W . N . D O A K , Secretary

G R A C E A B B O T T , Chief


Bureau Publication No. 206


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- z - o te


For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, Washington, D. C.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Price 20 cents
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Letter of transmittal--------------------- -------------------------------------------------------------------Purpose and scope of the study------&
------------------------------------------- ------------------Summary of public provisions for care of children, and recommendationsState provisions-------------------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------County provisions---------------------------------------Recommendations_____________________________________________________ —
Provision for care of children in the six counties___________________________
Care of dependent children in their o.wn homes-------------------------------------Mothers’ aid__________________________________________________________
Poor relief and private relief______ ________________________________
Care of dependent children away from their own homes_________ ;-----Provisions for protection of children removed from their homes—
Agencies caring for the children--------------------------------- ---------------------Children under care of institutions and agencies------------ -------------Care of children presenting special problems----------------------------- .------------Children of illegitimate birth_______________________________________
Children handicapped physically or mentally---------------------------------Delinquent children under care away from their own homes-------The children and the courts--------------------- -----------------------------------------------Juvenile courts and their administration___________________________
Delinquency cases of children_____________________________ '-------- —
Dependency, neglect, and other cases_______________________________
Adult cases involving children_______________________________________
Social resources of the six counties___________________________________________
Adams County--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------General description___________________________________________________
Provision for the care of dependent children_______________________
Provision for the care of delinquent children---------------------------------Health program---------------------------- ---------------------------------------— ---------Recreation program---------------------------------------------------------------------------School program ________________
Grays Harbor County-------------------------------------------------------------------------------General description-----------------------------------------------------------------------------Provision for the care of dependent children_______________________
Provision for the care of delinquent children----------------- ----------------Health program_______________________________________________________
Recreation program----------------------School program ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------King County-------- --------General description________________— ------ ------------------------------------------Provision for the care of dependent children-----------------------------------Provision for the care of delinquent children------------k--------------------Health program_______________________________________________________
Recreation program------------------«,---------------------------------------- ---------------School program _______________________________________________________
Pacific County — --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------General description___________________________________________________
Provision for the care of dependent children-----------------------------------Provision for the care of delinquent children---------------------------------Health program-------------Recreation program---------------------------------------------------------------------------School program -------------------Spokane County----------------------General description------------------- ------------------------------------- -1-------------------Provision for the care of dependent children------------------------------------

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Social resources of the six counties— Continued.
Spokane County— Continued.
Provision for the care of delinquent children.
Health program------------------------------------------------Recreation program--------------------------------------- —
School program --------------------------------------------- —
W alla W alla County________________________________
General description---------------------------------------- —
Provision for the care of dependent children..
Provision for the care of delinquent children.
Health program________________________________
Recreation program-----------------------------------------School program -------------------------------------------------
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Letter of Transmittal

n it e d

S tates D

L abor,
C h il d r e n ’s B u r e a u ,

e p a r t m e n t oe

Washington, J vly 1 , 1931.

There is transmitted herewith a report on child dependency,
neglect, and delinquency in six counties in the State of Washington.
The investigation was made at the request of the Washington State
Conference on Social Work with a view to determining the social
resources in the counties visited and the part that State and local
public agencies are taking in meeting the wants of all children in
need of assistance. The investigation was made and the report writ­
ten by the social-service division of the Children’s Bureau under the
direction of Agnes K. Hanna, director of the division; Ruth Bloodgood was in charge of the field party. The Children’s Bureau is
indebted to the various public and private institutions and agencies
in the counties visited for their cooperation in making available the
information upon which the report is based.
Respectfully submitted.
Sir :

G race A


W . N. D




Secretary o f Labor.

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Purpose and Scope of the Study
A t the request o f the Washington State Conference o f Social
Work, the Children’s Bureau, in the spring of 1927, undertook a field
study of child dependency, neglect, and delinquency in certain rep­
resentative localities in the State of Washington. The object of this
study was to find out what were the varying social resources in the
districts selected, the number of children in whose behalf special
activities were being carried on, and the extent to which legislation
and State and local resources succeeded in providing adequately for
all children in need of assistance.
Six counties were selected as typical o f the varying social, eco­
nomic, and geographical conditions existing throughout the State.
Three of the counties were situated east of the mountain range which
divides Washington into two distinct sections. Spokane County con­
tains the most important city in the eastern section. Adams County
js a distinctly rural county with a small population in spite o f its
extensive area and had in 1920 no towns of 2,000 inhabitants. Walla
Walla County in type of population is midway between these two,
as it contains a very prosperous small city with a population o f about
16.000. A somewhat similar selection of counties was made in the
western section. King County contains Seattle, the largest city in
the State, and also has a rural and small-town population of nearly
100.000. Grays Harbor County has two cities nearly adjacent, the
combined populations of which are about 26,000. Pacific County is
distinctly rural; its largest city has only about 4,000 inhabitants.
The counties selected for study present a great variety o f socialservice undertakings. In some counties both public and private
agencies were operating, and at least part o f the work was being
carried on under the direction o f trained workers; in others, espe­
cially the smaller counties, few private agencies existed, and most
of the public officials had no case-work training. In the progress
o f the study information was obtained in each county in regard to
the agencies available for service throughout the county. In five
of the six counties this was supplemented by descriptive material as
to local facilities in three to five typical communities. Although the
time allowed for the survey made it impossible to make as complete
a study of the local community resources in King County as in the
other counties, information was obtained as to the work of the
county-wide organizations as well as the majority of those serving:
Seattle only.
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The data obtained in each of these counties were of two types:
(1) Descriptive material obtained through interviews and personal
observation showing the methods and standards o f work done by
agencies providing assistance to children or to families with children
and the special activities for children provided by such general
agencies as the schools and recreational and health organizations ;
(2) individual records o f all children or families under care o f insti­
tutions and agencies obtained from the records o f these agencies.
As records were obtained for all children given care at any time dur­
ing a 12-month period ended February 28, 1927, two groups o f chil­
dren were included—those remaining under care at the end of the
year and those under care during the year but discharged before the
end o f the year. Information was obtained also from the court rec­
ords o f all adult cases in which children were affected— offenses
committed by adults against children, cases of nonsupport and de­
sertion, cases o f adoption, and establishment of paternity in illegiti­
macy cases. No attempt was made through case studies to
investigate the care being given to individual children. Although
some light was thrown by the reading of case records on the quality
o f the agencies’ work, an evaluation of the activities o f agencies was
not always possible because of the meagerness of the recorded mate­
rial. In many cases no records were available ; in a few cases access
to records was refused.
The organizations from which detailed information was obtained
included :
1. Those providing for the care of children in their own homes by
mothers’ pensions and by poor-relief and private-relief agencies.
2. Those providing for dependent children away from their pa­
rental homes, either in institutions or in family homes.
3. Those providing for delinquent children, including public and
private institutions within the counties, and the two State institutions
located outside the counties.
4. Courts hearing children’s cases.
Records were obtained also for the children from the six counties
who had been in the State custodial school during the year. The
State school for the blind and the State school for the deaf were
visited, but no records were obtained, as they are educational insti­
tutions and not schools for dependents.
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Summary of Public Provisions for Care of
Children, and Recommendations
In most States the first method o f caring for children undertaken
by the State has been the provision of institutions for delinquent
and mentally and physically handicapped children. Institutions
providing custodial care or training for feeble-minded children and
schools for delinquent children have been provided in all but a few
States.1 State schools for the blind and for the deaf have also
been established in most States,2 and in a few States special hospi­
tals have been provided for treatment of crippled children. In
nearly half the States 8 institutional care for dependent children
has also been undertaken by the State. With the growing realiza­
tion of the importance o f family life in the development o f a child,
most of these institutions for dependent children are gradually
assuming the position o f receiving homes, children from the institu­
tions being placed in family homes.
in more than one-third of the States all or a part of the State
institutions are administered by governing boards of trustees ap­
pointed for each institution. In the larger number of States, ad­
ministration o f institutions is the responsibility of a central State
department ; in a number of these States the department is also
responsible for a general social-welfare program.
In Washington the department of business control administers
all State institutions. This State department was established by
legislation in 19214 as successor to the State board of control (cre­
ated in 1901). The director of this department is appointed by the
governor with the consent of the senate. The department has juris­
diction over the 12 State institutions and is given full authority to
manage and control these institutions and appoint or remove
all superintendents. It also serves as purchasing agent for the
State both for the institutions and for other State departments.
The institutions for children under the administration of the de­
partment are the two State schools for delinquent children (one for
boys and one for girls), the State custodial school for mentally
defective children, and the State schools for the deaf and for the
blind. The department has no other responsibilities for children.
1 Institutions caring for most of the delinquent children needing such care have been
provided in all States, and all but four States (Arkansas, Mississippi, Nevada, and West
Virginia) have institutions for feeble-minded children.
* Four States (Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Wyoming) do not have
schools for either the blind or the d ea f; New Mexico has a school for the blind o n ly ; and
four States (New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont) have schools for the
deaf only.
8Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mis­
souri^ Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South
Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin, Wyoming.
* Laws of 1921, ch. 7, sec. 2 ; Remington’s Comp. Stat. 1922, sec. 10760.

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That the State should assume greater responsibility for the care
and protection of children and other dependent classes than
the provision of State institutions has become generally accepted.
To meet this responsibility, State departments or boards have been
established in most States which have broad responsibilities and
duties to take the leadership in preventive work and to insure that
the care given to all handicapped persons is reasonably adequate.
In many States these additional State activities have been under­
taken by departments, boards, or commissions created for this pur­
pose ; in other States they have .been made the responsibility of
departments that are also administering State institutions.
In line with this idea of the State’s assuming responsibility for
the protection of children, but much more limited in vision, was
the provision in a few o f the Western and Southern States 5 of
bureaus of animal and child protection, sometimes called humane
bureaus. The development o f State humane bureaus was influenced
by the humane-society movement that spread throughout the coun­
try during the latter part of the nineteenth century. In three of
the States where such bureaus have been established, the protec­
tion o f animals has often appeared to be the primary activity of
the bureau, and the work for children was assumed by other public
or private agencies. Exceptions to this situation are found in
Montana, where the present State bureau of child protection is an
outgrowth of the earlier bureau of animal and child protection, and
in Wyoming, where the child-placing activities of the humane bu­
reau have only recently (1929) been delegated to the State board
o f charities and reform.
The State Humane Bureau o f Washington was created “ to pro­
mote and aid in the enforcement o f the laws for the prevention
o f wrongs to children, idiots, imbeciles and insane, feeble-minded
and defective persons, and persons who * * * are helpless or
unable to care for themselves.” This bureau was authorized also to
enforce laws for the prevention o f cruelty to. animals.6 A small
appropriation was made to this bureau in 1915, but no further ap­
propriations have been made. The bureau consisted o f the governor,
the superintendent o f public instruction, the attorney general, and
two members to be appointed by the governor. A small amount
o f work for animals was done but, none for children. No evidence
was found in any of the counties visited that children’s cases had
been referred to this bureau.
The following statement7 summarizes the recommendations of
the committee on State and local organizations of the White House
Conference on Child Health and Protection, as to the part that the
State should take in a child-welf are program:
There should be in every State, Territory, and possession of the
United States a welfare department with special responsibilities for
children, and there should be available in every jurisdicton, well co­
ordinated, the various services necessary for the protection and care of
handicapped children.
Every State should furnish leadership in work being done for de­
pendent, neglected, delinquent, physically and mentally handicapped
6 Colorado, Montana, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming.
•Laws of 1913, ch. 107 ; Remington^s Comp. Stat. 1922, secs. 10960—10964.
. 1 Unpublished preliminary report presented at the White House Conference on Child
Health and Protection, Nov. 19-22, 1930.
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children, and should set standards, promote social-work programs,
and stimulate protective work for children.
Every State should make provision for the care of delinquent and of
mentally handicapped children needing institutional treatment, and in­
sure adequate supervision of those children who remain in the
Every State should secure for physically handicapped children— the
blind, the deaf, and the crippled— the medical care, education, and
social service that their handicaps require, and should regulate the
standards oï their care.
Appropriations for the State’s child-welfare activities should be ade­
quate in order to make social legislation effective, since mere legislative
enactment is not sufficient.
A State department should maintain adequate standards in refer­
ence to qualifications and size of its staff, in relation to the work under­
taken and the quality of its service.
The State child-welfare program should be free from domination
by partisan politics.

The activities undertaken by State departments concerned with
the social welfare o f the State vary with the administrative organi­
zation of different States. Some departments have broad pow­
ers and responsibilities, whereas others are more limited in their
activities. Work for children is a major responsibility of such de­
partments, but in only a few States 8 have their activities been lim­
ited to child welfare. Exclusive o f the administration of State
institutions, which may or may not be the responsibility of a State
department of public- or social welfare, the following outline shows
the major activities that may be undertaken by such departments:
Educational and research activities.
Investigation and study o f the social needs of the
Collection, analysis, and publication of social sta­
General educational work to build up understanding
o f social problems and desirable methods o f dealing
with them.
Protection of socially, mentally, and physically handi­
capped persons.
Approval o f incorporation and control by licensing
o f private charitable and child-caring agencies.
1#Maintenance through educational supervision of de­
sirable standards of care in all public or private agen­
cies caring for such groups.
Safeguarding of the rights o f children lacking their
natural guardians or suffering from inadequate guard­
ianship : Children of illegitimate birth ; children placed
for adoption; children placed in family homes within
or outside the State; neglected or mistreated children.
Assistance to local communities.
Promotion o f the organization o f county agencies
competent to undertake programs of prevention and
treatment of dependency, neglect, and delinquency.
< Assistance through itinerant clinics, consultant serv­
ices, and demonstrations to local agencies.
■Alabama, Arizona, Kentucky, Montana, Oregon, South Dakota, West Virginia.
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Administration of case work or aid to children when such
care is undertaken by the State.
Placing in family homes children accepted as wards.
Case work for special groups of children for whom
the State may assume responsibility: Children o f ille­
gitimate birth, crippled children, etc.
A t the time o f this study Washington had made no provisions for
the State to assume any ox these activities, although the State board
o f health had a limited responsibility. On the recommendation
of the State board o f health, institutions caring for dependent chil­
dren or for delinquent girls and women and hospitals were to be
exempt from taxation when such institutions were supported in
whole or in part by the public or by private donations.9 But with its
many other activities the health department had not utilized this
authority to develop the standards of social work in these institutions.
The care o f dependent, delinquent, and mentally and physically
handicapped persons is a dual responsibility of the State and of the
county or other local administrative unit. The part that each o f
these units of government should take in sharing responsibility for
these groups received much attention in the deliberations ox the
committee on National, State, and local organizations for the handi­
capped, of the White House Conference on Child Health and Protec­
tion. It was- the opinion o f this committee that “ administratively,
responsibility should rest with the county for all services to any child
until, after substantial case-work treatment, such child, for good
cause, has been permanently removed from his family, or until a
determination has been made that for given reasons he requires the
specialized care that only the State can provide.” 10
It is evident that in many localities the local unit can not equip
itself to administer or to support certain types o f care, such as schools
for delinquents, training schools, custodial institutions, and hospitals
for the mentally deficient or disordered, mental-hygiene clinics, and
clinic and hospital provisions for the physically handicapped. Most
localities have only a few children needing these types of treatment
and must look to the State to furnish services that require specialists.
The extent to which it is necessary for the State to care for de­
pendent children must depend upon whether or not there are available
adequately equipped local agencies to which this responsibility can
be delegated. There has been a tendency in a number of States for
the assumption by some State agency o f a large part of the public
responsibility for. children, with consequent weakening in county
responsibility. This situation not only has resulted- in failure to
develop local preventive agencies but has placed upon the State an
unnecessary burden of complete support o f children who might have
remained in their own homes if good case-work methods had been
used for their problems earlier.
9 Remington’s Comp. Stat. 1922, sec. 11104 (4).
10 Unpublished preliminary report presented at the White House Conference on Child
Health and Protection, Nov. 19-22, 1930, p. 429.
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Just as there is need in every State for the creation o f a State
department responsible for the social welfare of the State, there is
need for the creation in every county of an agency responsible for
the social welfare of this smaller unit and for cooperation with the
State department in a program for the whole State. The develop­
ment of such county agencies, as has been indicated on page 5, should
be one of the major responsibilities of a State department of social
Within.the last few years county programs for caring for children
or other persons in need of care have been developed in several
States.11 Some of these have included county activities only, but
in most States the agency provided to do the county social work has
also been the agent of the State department in carrying out its respon­
sibility for children or persons in need of care. Most of these county
agencies have taken the form of a county welfare board having
administrative authority. These unpaid boards are composed of citi­
zens appointed because of their understanding of county needs and
their ability to enlist the interest and support of the people of the
county and are authorized to appoint trained personnel to do the
actual case work; funds for the work are appropriated by the county
commissioners or other local taxing agency.
The wide differences in the financial and social resources o f differ­
ent counties have been* a serious handicap in the development of a
complete State program of county welfare work in many States. In
Alabama this situation has been met by making State funds avail­
able to be used for all or part o f the salary o f a trained case worker
to be employed by the county.12 West Virginia also has recently
made legislative provision for such assistance.13 Such provisions are
in accord with a growing realization that in the field of social wel­
fare, as in education and health, the State must help in equalizing
the resources of the counties if they are to provide adequately for
persons in need. In New Mexico and North Dakota, both of which
have the population scattered over a large area, a plan has been
developed of having a group of counties employ one worker. In
New Mexico the State also contributes to the salary o f the trained
case worker, who is also responsible for serving the State in her
In addition to assisting in organizing such county agencies the
State department in a few States has been made responsible for
assisting the counties in obtaining properly qualified personnel and
in making provisions for special educational opportunities for county
workers serving in the State.
The scope of a county welfare board’s activities must depend some­
what upon the character and responsibilities o f the social-welfare
agencies that have been developed in the past. In most States county
welfare boards or departments have been made responsible for all
child-welfare activities not undertaken by existing county agencies
and have been given broad powers to assist other agencies in their
11 The County as a Unit for an Organized Program of Child-Caring and Protective Work,
by Emma O. Lundberg. U. S. Children’ s Bureau Publication No. 169. Washington, 1926.
12Alabama, Annual Report of the State Child Welfare Department, 1927—28, p. 12.
“ West Virginia, Laws of 1929, ch. 30, sec. 2.
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case-work activities. In general, the child-caring work of such an
agency includes the following types o f work :
To develop, in cooperation with the juvenile court, the
superintendent o f schools, and the county board of commis­
sioners or supervisors, a unified program for the care of
dependent and neglected or unfortunate children and chil­
dren exhibiting conduct difficulties, which will provide early
discovery of such children, prevent unnecessary breaking up
of families, provide adequate local resources for children
needing temporary care, and obtain for children who must
be permanently separated from their families the type of
care by an agency or institution suited to their needs.
To assist the juvenile court and other local courts in their
case-work responsibilities, such as investigations of cases
of delinquency, dependency, and neglect, investigation and
supervision o f mothers’ pension families, investigation of
adoptions, and supervision o f children placed on probation
in counties having no special probation staff.
To undertake, at the request o f the county commissioners
or supervisors, the administration o f relief funds.
To serve, when requested, as agent for the State within the
county in the investigation or aftercare supervision of chil­
dren who are the responsibility of the State.
In Washington, except for the State provision of institutional care
for delinquent and mentally and physically handicapped children
and parental schools for delinquent children maintained by municipal
boards of education, the county is responsible both administratively
and financially for all public care for children. This responsibility
is divided by law between the juvenile court and the county com­
missioners. The juvenile court administers mothers’ aid and under­
takes a broad program o f care of dependent and neglected children.
It is also authorized14 to appoint a county board of visitation o f four
persons who may visit and report on all institutions or agencies
receiving children from the court. No such board was functioning,
however, in any o f the counties visited. The county commissioners
are charged with the superintendence of the poor o f the county.
They may appoint agencies to perform such work, and they may
provide for and maintain almshouses and hospitals for the care of
the indigent, ill, and injured.15 Although the commissioners have
no special responsibilities for children, a number of families with
children were receiving poor relief, and in some of the smaller
counties dependent children were being cared for by the county
commissioners or their agent, the charity commissioner, without
reference to the court. An almshouse or poor farm had been provided
by the commissioners in four of the counties, but these were never
used for the care o f dependent children.
In the two largest counties (King and Spokane) many child-wel­
fare activities had been undertaken by the juvenile court, which was
14 Remington’s Comp. Stat. 1922, sec. 1987 (18).
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administering mothers’ aid, providing temporary care of children in
a detention home, and doing case work with delinquent and dependent
and neglected children in their own homes and in foster homes; the
Spokane court was also placing children for adoption. In both these
counties a county department with several staif members was adminis­
tering outdoor relief. In Spokane County the charity commissioner
in charge o f the county department was also the chief probation
officer o f the court, so that the two agencies were working closely
together. A similar cooperative situation existed in Walla Walla
County, the charity commissioner doing all the social-welfare work
for the juvenile court, and for the county commissioners exclusive of
administration of the poor farm. Grays Harbor County was
reorganizing its welfare activities at the time of the study; the court
had appointed several part-time probation officers to carry on the
work with delinquent children which' had previously been done by
the charity commissioner. In the two smallest counties, Pacific and
Adams, no person had been permanently appointed by the court or
the county commissioners to care for persons needing social service;
the county commissioners and the judge o f the superior court assumed
some responsibility for individual cases. Although all except the
smallest counties were employing one or more persons for full-time
work, very few of these appointees were trained case workers. This
lack of good case work was especially serious in those counties having
no well-equipped private agencies to which difficult social problems
could be referred.
The counties selected for study (Adams, Grays Harbor, King,
Pacific, Spokane, and Walla W alla), although representative of d if­
ferent conditions, do not present a cross section of the social resources
of the State. While Washington contains a number of counties with
prosperous cities, King, Pierce, and Spokane were the only counties
having a population of more than 100,000 in 1920. Twenty-three of
the thirty-nine counties of the State had a population of less than
20,000, and most of these were as small as Adams County or smaller.
Some of the smallest counties were also the poorest. Although the
number o f persons needing care in these smaller counties is prob­
ably not large, the need for skilled services for these few is as great
as though they lived in more populous counties.
Public responsibility for temporary support o f destitute children
has been recognized in Washington in statutes which provide that
the county is authorized to pay a sum’ not to exceed $50 for the
care of each child surrendered to a private agency for permanent
care or to pay for temporary care by an agency, institution, or indi­
vidual on order o f the juvenile court at a rate of not more than $12
a month for* a period not exceeding six months unless renewed.16
Funds for such care had been provided during the year of the study
in all the counties except the smallest (Adams County). Payments
were made for the care o f individual children to child-placing agen­
cies and institutions, for children placed in boarding homes under
the supervision of the courts, and for some children under supervi­
sion of the court in their own homes.
16 Remington’s Comp. Stat. 1922, secs. 1707, 1937 (8).
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Although they were not authorized by law, four of the counties
had granted lump-sum payments to a nuihber of institutions receiv­
ing dependent children.17 The amounts paid to these institutions
bore no relation to the number of children referred to the institu­
tions by the court. In many instances children considered as county
wards had been placed in the institutions by the county commis­
sioners or by their parents. Almost invariably when a lien has
been made on the services of an institution, through a grant of funds,
children are sent there for care without regard to the real needs
of each child. In addition to making institutional care the most
convenient method o f caring for children who are county wards,
this form of payment has the serious disadvantage o f providing no
safeguard against keeping a child indefinitely in the institution,
since no rehearing is necessary such as has been required in the stat­
ute providing for temporary care of children.
No recognition has been given in the State of Washington to public
responsibility for permanent or long-time care o f dependent children
other than those receiving assistance in their own homes. There
are many children separated from their parents who can not be placed
in family homes for adoption but yet need normal home life. Such
children may need, in addition to special study or treatment, long­
time care in boarding homes. Whether such care should be under­
taken by a State agency or whether it can be undertaken by the
counties with the assistance of the State and qualified private agencies
is a problem which needs thoughtful consideration. Emphasis has
been given by the White House Conference on Child Health and
Protection to the need of State grants in aid to the counties to help
equalize the great differences in the resources of the counties. State
funds to help meet the cost of county child-welfare programs have
been provided in more than one-third o f the States. In most of them
such funds have been provided for aid to children in their own homes,
and in a few States to assist the counties in obtaining trained case
workers for county welfare work.
The study of public provisions for the care o f children in Wash­
ington, and analysis of the findings as to child-welfare conditions in
six counties, indicate the need for increased public responsibility and
administrative provisions for the care o f dependent, delinquent, and
other handicapped children and for the strengthening of present
legal provisions for their care. In formulating the following recom­
mendations the experience of other States and the conclusions and
recommendations of the White House Conference on Child Health
and Protection have been carefully considered.
In order that State responsibility for the care of de­
pendent, neglected, delinquent, and handicapped persons
can be adequately discharged, a State agency with broad
provisions for the care of children should be created to un­
dertake the various supervisory and administrative functions
17 Financial reports of the counties for the year 1926 showed that the following amounts
had been spent in lump-sum payments to institutions during the year : King County,
$5,100 ; Spokane County, $4,800 ; Grays Harbor County, $500 ; Walla Walla County, $1,300.
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that are needed. The appropriations for the work of the
department should be adequate to provide a staff with the
traimng and experience that will enable it to hold a place
o f leadership m the social-welfare work of the State.
One o f the important duties of the State department con­
cerned with social welfare should be the development of
local resources for the care o f children. This should in­
clude assisting the counties in the creation o f a countv
board or department of welfare responsible for providing
service to any child needing care. In addition to under­
taking protective work and other services for children at
present not undertaken by the county, this agency might
be authorized to assist the juvenile court and the countv
commissioners in their activities which require social case
work, such as the administration o f mothers’ aid and poor
relief, and case work with dependent and problem children
i&Qluding school attendance. The need for having avail­
able to every county board or department the services o f
a trained case worker should be considered in any county
program. Because of the wide variation in the resources
and populations o f the counties of the State, this would
necessitate State funds to assist the counties and some plan
for providing one worker to a district consisting o f sev­
eral small counties.
Provision should be made for supervision by the State
of all institutions and agencies having the care o f children
whether dependent, neglected, delinquent, or physically or
mentally handicapped. Effective supervision requires the
setting up and enforcing through licensing or other form
o f direction or control, of at least minimum standards of
work m agencies caring for children and the provision of
services which will help to initiate and stimulate more ade­
quate care, training, and protection o f the children. The
requirement o f reports o f activities at least annually is
another aspect of such supervision. Approval of the State
department concerned with social welfare should be re­
quired before incorporation 's granted to private child­
caring and charitable organizations.
More adequate provision should be made for the protec° f , cT ldren separated from their natural guardians.
-¡Most o f the measures that should be adopted require the
provision o f administrative machinery. These activities
may be undertaken by the staff of a State department or
delegated by this department to local agencies which it
supervises and approves. The following provisions are
greatly needed:
A thorough investigation by a State department or
by the court of' all petitions for adoption should be
required, as well as a definite trial period in the adop­
tive home under supervision before the final decree
is granted.
54586°— 31----- 2
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Placements of children in family homes should be
made only by authorized agencies, and authority
should be given to the State department o f social
welfare to inspect all placements of children and to
remove a child from any home when such removal
is clearly in the interest of the child. These safe­
guards for children should be extended to include
those brought into the State or taken from the State
for placement in family homes.
State supervision of boarding homes for children
should be provided.
Provision should be made for legal regulation of
the transfer of parental guardianship through the re­
quirement of consent of the State department o f social
welfare or a court of proper jurisdiction.
Some public agency, probably a county agency, should be
made responsible for the protection o f children of illegiti­
mate birth. This would involve the reporting o f all such
births to the agency, which should be equipped to do case
work with the mother and to initiate whatever action is nec­
essary to obtain support from the father or other care
needed by the child. In order to prevent unsocial and often
unnecessary separation of the child of illegitimate birth
from his mother, hospitals and maternity homes should be
prohibited from placing children unless licensed as child­
placing agencies and conforming to the standards for such
agencies required by a State department of social welfare.
Aid to mothers with dependent children is one of the most
important child-welfare measures. Much variation existed
in the different counties in the character of the services
given to mothers’ aid families. The development of higher
standards o f administration through assistance and educa­
tional supervision might be made one of the responsibilities
o f a State department of social welfare. Whether the State
should undertake to reimburse the counties for part of the
mothers’ aid grant, as has been done in a number of States,
should be given consideration in deciding on the relative
responsibility of the State and the county for the care of
dependent children.
It would be desirable to strengthen the present provisions
for public financial support o f dependent children in their
own homes. In order to make aid to mothers achieve its
purpose of maintaining satisfactory home life, the present
limitation in the maximum amount that can be paid should
be changed so that grants could be made in accordance with
the needs o f families. The continuance of grants to chil­
dren remaining in school until 16 years of age would be
another desirable modification in the existing law.
More adequate support for children needing temporary
or long-time care in boarding homes should be provided.
The amount that could be paid for board should be liberal
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis


enough to provide for the special care needed by some chil­
dren. County funds should be available not only for the
care of children referred to the juvenile court but also for
the care of any child under the supervision of a county
board or department of public welfare.
Because of the wide variations in the quality o f probation
work in the counties, there is need for a State program,
preferably carried on by the proposed State department o f
social welfare, for the promotion of juvenile-court and pro­
bation work. Such a program should include formulating
minimum standards of juvenile-court and probation work,
assisting county officers responsible for such work, and devel­
oping uniform reporting o f juvenile-court and probation
statistics throughout the State.
Child-guidance clinics for the study o f problem children,
equipped to provide services throughout the State, should
be available for the juvenile courts and other agencies
caring for such children.
More adequate provision should be made by the State for
the care, education, and training o f mentally handicapped
children. This should include an extension of the pro­
gram for providing special classes in the public schools
as well as increased institutional provision for such children.
The present State institution provides primarily for custo­
dial cases. The enlarged program should include facilities
for training and thorough aftercare supervision o f all chil­
dren who can be returned successfully to their communities.
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Provision for Care of Children in the Six

The provision through State legislation of aid to mothers with
dependent children is one o f the most constructive child-welfare
measures. Such legislation has as its primary objective the conserva­
tion o f home life and the maintenance of suitable homes for the
rearing of children. There is much variation throughout the 44
States having mothers’ aid laws in the extent to which the laws defi­
nitely prescribe and define the persons who may be beneficiaries
under the law and the amount of aid that may be given. There is
also variation in the types of service provided to the families and
the standards o f case work maintained by the administrative

Mothers eligible.

The provisions of the law in Washington are so general that any
needy mother may be eligible for assistance. It is stated that “ it
shall be the duty of the county commissioners to provide out of the
moneys in the county treasury an amount sufficient to meet the pur­
poses of this law for the support of mothers who, by reason of desti­
tution, insufficient property or income, or lack of earning capacity
are unable to support their children under the age of 15 years.
Although this law applies throughout the State, some differences in
policies were found in the counties visited as to the type of mothers
who were given assistance. In Grays Harbor County the general
policy o f the court was not to grant aid to mothers who had been
deserted or who were divorced, though one divorced mother was re­
ceiving assistance, whereas in the adjoining county (Pacific) it was
stated that the policy of the judge in such cases was so liberal that
applications for mothers’ aid had been filed in some instances imme­
diately after the divorce had been granted.- A deserted mother was
given aid in King County only if she consented to having a warrant
served for the arrest o f the father.
n 1
During the year ended February 28,1927, 994 families received aid
in the six counties included in the study. The number receiving an
allowance on any one date was smaller than this. On February 28,
783 mothers were receiving assistance, the allowance to 211 families
having been discontinued during the year.
1 Remington’s Comp. Stat. 1922, sec. 9993,

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The number o f families and children who had received aid during
the year is shown for each county in Table 1. In proportion to
the population Pacific County granted ,aid to a larger number of
families than the other counties.
T able 1.— Number of families and children receiving aid during the year, num­
ber receiving aid at close of year, and number for whom aid was discontinued
in six specified counties during the year ended February 28, 1927
Receiving aid during

Receiving aid Feb. 28,



Aid discontinued
during year


Adams___ _______________
Grays Harbor..........................
Spokane ________________
Walla Walla.......................... .






i 2,103











1 Children reported in 952 families.
* Children reported in 756 families.
8 Children reported in 196 families.
4Children reported in 46 families.

* Children reported in 41 families.
• Children reported in 5 families.
i Children reported in 51 families.
•Children reported in 38 families.

It was found that in 503 families (51 per cent) the mothers were
widows. The divorce or separation o f parents (16 per cent) and
desertion by the father (15 per cent) were responsible for the
dependency o f 300 of the families. A id was given to 162 families
because of the incapacity of the father; 90 (9 per cent) of the fathers
remained in their homes, and 72 fathers (7 per cent) were in hos­
pitals for the insane or the tuberculous, or in general hospitals.
In 26 (3 per cent) of the families the fathers were confined in cor­
rectional institutions. These figures indicate that when no specific
limitation is placed upon the type o f family to be aided, the need
in a large proportion of the families is due to causes other than
death of the father.2 The granting o f mothers’ aid to such families
is most desirable. The number o f incapacitated fathers remaining
at home is large enough to raise the question whether all the agencies
were requiring that fathers with infectious diseases must be placed
in hospitals or so cared for as to eliminate all chance o f danger to
the family. A second question that might be raised is whether the
number of families receiving aid as a result of separation or deser­
tion is high. The number of such families receiving assistance is
influenced by the thoroughness of the effort made by the agencies
administering mothers’ aid to locate the absent fathers and obtain
support for the family from them. Answers to these questions could
be obtained only through case studies, which were not possible
within the limitations of this study.
Children for whom aid was given.

The law specifies that “ whenever any child shall reach the age
o f 15 years any allowance made to the mother o f such child for the
2 Unpublished figures for 10,884 mothers’ aid families, compiled in 1923 from material
from several States, including a number with specific limitations, illustrate the effect
of limitation on the types of families under care. The percentage distribution of reason
for need was as follow s: Father dead, 78 per cen t; mother divorced or deserted, 12 per
cen t; father incapacitated 8 per cen t; father in prison, 2 per cent.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



benefit of such child shall cease.” 3 This age limit for granting an
allowance is less liberal than that found in the majority of the
States. Twenty-eight of the forty-four States having mothers’ aid
laws permit aid up to 16 years or beyond.4
A ll but 24 of the 1,733 children receiving aid on February 28, 1927,
were under 15 years of age. Most of these older children were only
a few days or months beyond their fifteenth birthdays; and when
the records were examined later in the year, revocation o f the grant
for the child was often noted. In a small number of cases, presum­
ably when a special problem occurred, the grant had been given
throughout the child’s fifteenth year. It is, of course, probable that
in a number of cases aid was not consciously given beyond the child’s
fifteenth birthday, but because of the limited supervision the usual
monthly check was sent without consideration of changed condi­
tions. It is quite understandable that in many instances it would
be most desirable to grant aid to a child beyond the birthday date
specified in the law, in order to keep him in school throughout the
school year or to provide for some other need. In order that actual
practice might conform with the law, it would be most desirable
so to modify the law that aid might be given beyond the usual age
limit in exceptional cases.
In consideration of the fact that the school attendance law of
Washington has as its purpose the keeping o f children in school
until they are 16 years of age,5 it would seem most desirable to raise
the age limit for granting an allowance to 16 years at least. Although
grants for children starting to work on reaching 15 would be dis­
continued as at present, an opportunity would be given to keep a
much larger number o f children in school without sacrifice to the

Mothers’ aid administrators as a rule agree that it is desirable to
avoid definite limitations o f grants and to permit assistance to be
based on the needs of each individual family. Washington is one
of the many States having mothers’ aid laws that specify the maxi­
mum allowance that may be paid to a mother. It is also one of the
seven States having the least adequate grant.6 The law provides that
the allowance “ shall not exceed $15 per month when she (the
mother) has but one child under the age o f 15 years, and if she has
more than one child under the age of 15 years it shall not exceed the
sum o f $15 per month for the first child and $5 per month for each
o f the other children under the age of 15 years.” 7
I f a mothers’ aid law is to be more than a relief measure, if its
purpose is to provide for the well-being of the children through ade­
quate mother care and the maintenance o f an adequate standard of
living, it is essential that the allowance be liberal enough to accom­
plish this end. This does not mean necessarily that the grants to all
«Remington’s Comp. Stat. 1922, sec. 9996.
*A Tabular Summary of State Laws Relating to Public Aid to Children in Their Own
Homes, pp. 4-25. U. S. Children’ s Bureau Chart No. 3. Washington, 1929.
5 Remington’s Comp. Stat. 1922, sec. 5072.
6 Public Aid to Mothers with Dependent Children, by Emma O. Lundberg, p. 10 (U. S.
Children’s Bureau Publication No. 162, Revised) ; A Tabular Summary of State Laws
Relating to Public Aid to Children in Their Own Homes, pp. 4—25.
7 Remington’s Comp. Stat. 1922, sec. 9994.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



families must be large, but it does mean that funds sufficient to sup­
port the family should be available when the family has no other
resources and it is desirable to limit the wage earning of the mother,
in order that she may give more time to the care of young children.
Table 2 shows the amount of the monthly grant given to families
in the six counties and the number o f children under 15 years o f age
in these families. About one-third o f the families for whom the
number of children was reported had three or more children under 15
years of age. The majority o f the families (620) were receiving the
maximum grant allowed by the law according to the size o f the
family. Twenty-five families appeared to be receiving more than the
maximum; in each of these the extra allowance was being granted for
another child who was over 15 years of age. (See p. 16.) Grants
smaller than the maximum had been given to 109 families.
T able 2.— Amount o f final monthly grant and number of children under 15 years
of age in the homes of families receiving aid in the six counties, February 28,

1 Child of low mentality—16 years of age.
1Includes 1 family in which the child was separated from the mother.
*Includes 7 families in which children separated from their mothers were receiving a grant.
4Includes 2 families in which children separated from their mothers were receiving a grant.

In some o f the 109 cases in which the grant was less than the
maximum, the small allowances may have been due to the fact that
the family income from other sources was large enough to necessitate
only a small grant from mothers’ aid funds. In others the informa­
tion would suggest that little consideration was given to the fami­
lies’ needs or other resources, the aid being in the nature of a dole.
The largest proportion o f small grants was found in three counties
(Walla Walla, Grays Harbor, and Adams), as 50 o f the 82 families
in these counties for which the size o f the family and the amount
of grant were reported were granted less than the maximum per­
mitted by law.
In 10 families the children for whom aid was given were not with
their mothers. In most of these this was a temporary situation,
the grant being revoked when it became evident that the mother
could no longer care for her children. The willingness of the
administrative agencies to carry a family through a period of tempo­
rary break in home life shows that consideration is being given to the
real needs of the children. The number of such cases is usually
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



Because of the limited amount allowed by the mothers’ aid law,
it was necessary for all families to have some supplementary income.
The most important source o f supplementary income was earnings of
the members o f the families. Assistance from poor relief, private
relief agencies, and from relatives was also counted upon. A num­
ber of the families owned their homes, sometimes with a garden;
some had other resources, allowed by the administrative agency.8
The earnings of the family were primarily those of the mother;
in many families her earnings were supplemented by those of the
older children. Family earnings were reported in 784 o f the 994
families receiving aid during the year, the mother being unemployed
in only 91 of those families. O f the 693 working mothers, 405 were
employed for full time and 288 for part time. The mothers were
reported as employed in about four-fifths of the families in King
County and in about three-fourths o f the families in Spokane
County. In the counties containing no large city the proportion of
working mothers was much smaller, as very little work for women
was available; in Grays Harbor County no information as to the
employment o f the mothers was available. O f even greater signifi­
cance than the extent of employment is the fact that more than onefifth (150) o f the working mothers had children under 6 years o f
age. Eighty-four mothers with from one to three children under
6 years o f age were working full time. Although in some o f these
families with preschool children it may be possible to provide in
some way for supervision o f the younger children, it would seem
that the purpose o f the mothers’ aid law had been defeated in large
part by depriving these children of their mothers’ care during the
working day.
As far as could be ascertained, there were no definite policies in
the counties visited in regard to giving a family both mothers’ aid
and poor relief. In one o f the counties it was learned that a few
mothers who were eligible for mothers’ aid had not been given this
allowance but were receiving regular grants from the poor fund, as
it was possible in this way to make more adequate provision for the
Since it was not possible to obtain complete information as to the
families receiving poor relief or assistance from private agencies in
the four smaller counties, and the mothers’ aid records seldom con­
tained this information, no statement can be made as to the extent
of supplementary assistance that was being given by such agencies
in these counties to families receiving mothers’ aid. About onefifth (165) of the 804 families who had received mothers’ aid dur­
ing the year in King and Spokane Counties were receiving assist­
ance from public or private agencies in addition to mothers’ aid:
91 families had received both mothers’ aid and poor relief; 55
mothers’ aid and relief from private agencies; and 19 mothers’ Rid,
poor relief, and assistance from private agencies. In none of the
121 families in the two counties living outside the cities, had moth­
ers’ aid been supplemented by relief from private agencies, but 18
had received aid from poor-relief funds.
In King County a mother was permitted to retain an equity of $3,000 in a home and
savings to the amount of $300. In Spokane County the mother’s equity in her home waa
limited to $2,500 and her savings to $100.
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In some o f the 110 mothers’ aid families who had received poor
relief in King and Spokane Counties relief funds had been granted
as supplementary to mothers’ aid on application of the mothers’ aid
worker; in other families poor relief had been granted prior to the
application for mothers’ aid. The amounts o f poor relief granted
most o f the mothers’ aid families were quite small; 60 families
received less than $20 each during the year. A few families were
not given any relief except clothing, some especially needed article
o f furniture, or a few dollars in cash. Seventeen mothers’ aid
families, however, received as much as $100 each in poor relief dur­
ing the year.
For a number of years the public-welfare department o f King
County had been supplying certain necessities to mothers’ aid fami­
lies in cases of emergency. During 1926 a sum of $3,000 was appro­
priated by the county for this additional relief fund. Beginning
with January 1, 1927, this money was put at the disposal of the
mothers’ pension department. Special orders for food, fuel, or
clothing could be given from this f und.
Private relief was not used so extensively as poor relief to supple­
ment mothers’ aid; only 44 mothers’ aid families in King County
and 30 in Spokane received aid o f this type. Ten o f the King
County families were given $100 or more by private agencies, the
three largest amounts being $350, $413, and $1,143. Assistance
ranging from $110 to $140 was given to 3 families in Spokane
Nine o f the mothers’ aid families in King County and 10 in
Spokane County had received both poor relief and private assistance.
The amounts of poor relief in the King County cases were small—
from $3 to $25— during the year, the grants by a private agency
being somewhat larger. One family received $144. In Spokane
County, on the other hand, the poor-relief grants ranged from $5
to $361, but the amounts of private relief were correspondingly low—
from $4 to $46. In one family in which a mothers’ allowance o f $45
a month was being made for seven children, $361 in poor relief and
$24 in private relief had been given during the year.
Information was obtained also in King and Spokane Counties as
to the extent to which relatives were assisting the families and as
to whether the income of the families had been supplemented by
such resources as ownership o f the home, produce raised, savings
used, or some form of insurance. Nearly one-sixth (127) o f the
804 families in the two counties were receiving some assistance from
relatives, and 329 families had been able to supplement their income
from their resources.

The administration of the mothers’ aid law in Washington is one
of the duties o f the juvenile court. In King and Spokane Counties
special departments of the juvenile court had been organized for the
administration o f mothers’ aid. In the other four counties mothers’
aid was administered by the judge of the superior court. Applica­
tions for an allowance were made by the mothers to the court in
King and Spokane Counties, to the prosecuting attorney in Adams
Pacific, and Walla W^alia Counties, and to the charity commissioner
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



in Grays Harbor County. A ll mothers’ aid work in King and Spo­
kane Counties was done by the staff of the mothers’ aid department.
In the remaining counties the investigation of applications and the
supervision of families receiving aid were the responsibility of some
official who was serving the county in other capacities such as the
probation officer (Walla W alla), the charity commissioner (Grays
Harbor), the county nurse (Pacific), or any county commissioner
(Adams). Because of the other activities of these workers it was
possible for them to give but little time to this work.
To give financial assistance should be only one part of the work of
an agency which is undertaking to assist mothers to maintain homes
that will best develop the children. In order to assist in overcoming
adverse conditions which may exist and to obtain for the family the
benefit of all the resources o f the community, the services of a skilled
case worker should be available to the families. Many local admin­
istrative agencies fail to realize this need and do not provide suffi­
cient funds for these services to families. The necessity for good
local administration has been recognized in the mothers’ aid laws of
one State which specifies that State funds not exceeding 10 per cent
o f the amount appropriated for aid to mothers should be spent in
In none o f the six counties were enough thoroughly trained work­
ers employed to give the amount and type of services really needed
by the families. Even in the counties having special departments
responsible for this work the force was inadequate ; Spokane County
had oniy 1 field worker for about 140 active cases, and King County
only 3 field workers for about 500 cases. It is probable that a
trained worker employed on half time could render satisfactory serv­
ice to the small number of mothers’ aid families in Pacific and Walla
Walla Counties, but the full-time services of a trained worker would
be desirable in a county having as many mothers’ aid families as
Grays Harbor County.
The records of the administrative agencies showed that in some
of the counties the investigation of the case prior to granting aid was
limited to fulfilling the requirement of the law but was quite insuffi­
cient to provide for a constructive plan of treatment for the family.
The law specifies that the juvenile court, through thé probation offi­
cers, charity commissioners, or other persons, “ shall carefully inves­
tigate the merits of every application to the end that this act may
be fairly administered and no person granted relief hereunder except
those justly entitled thereto.” 10
The number of times the mothers were visited by the workers af­
fords some idea o f the extent of the supervision given. Because of
the limited records in the smaller counties it was impossible to ascer­
tain the exact number o f visits to individual families. In Adams
County it was definitely known that no regular visits to the homes
of the families were made, the county commissioners depending en­
tirely on their personal knowledge of the family in deciding upon
the eligibility of the mother for aid, the amount of the grant, and
the desirability o f renewing or withdrawing the grant at the end of
9 Pennsylvania, Laws of 1919, No. 354, sec. 5.
** Remington’s Comp. Stat. 1922, sec, $998,
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



the year. In Grays Harbor and Walla Walla Counties the families
were visited about once a year, usually when the renewal o f the grant
was being considered. Although the county nurse in Pacific County
was handicapped by having so little time to devote to this work, she
was visiting the mothers5 aid families as often as her other duties
permitted. ' Prior to her taking over the work six months before the
study was undertaken, no home visits had been made to the mothers’
aid families.
Information was obtained from the individual records in King
and Spokane Counties showing the number of visits to the families
during the year. Three-fourths of the families in King County were
visited once m two months or oftener. In Spokane County, on the
other hand, a large majority (88 per cent) of the families were
visited less frequently than once in two months, one-fourth of the
entire group of mothers having been seen in their homes only once
during the year. It was reported that five mothers in Spokane
County and two in King County were not visited during the year,
ih e number of visits made to the 462 families in the two counties that
had received aid during the entire year covered by the study is shown
m the following list:
Number of
Number of
N on e.







Number of
__________ __________

Number of
-------- 36
_______ !_______ -------- 50
-------- 59
-------- 47
or more_________ __________________ 172
Not reported_____ !_________________

and Spokane Counties were the only two of the six counties
visited that were carrying out a comprehensive plan for services other
than relief for the families under their supervision. The workers
m these counties had undertaken to provide various kinds of assistance
through cooperation with other agencies in the county. The special
activities included attention to the housing, health, and recreation
needs of the mothers and children.
In Spokane County the mothers’ aid department had enlisted the
cooperation o f the Kiwanis Club in a definite building program for
mothers aid families. In King County the mothers receiving aid
were required to live away from the crowded down-town district
beyond the railroad, cheap rooming house, factory, and water-front
section. Considerable effort had been expended in helping the
mothers build or buy their own cottages. None o f the other four
counties paid any particular attention to the types o f houses in which
the mothers lived. In fact in one county it was learned, in connection
With the rehearing of a case, that the family consisting of a mother
.ve children were living in a tent. The judge commented on
the situation but expressed no concern and made no inquiry as to
her reason for living in this way. No one seemed to feel any
responsibility for seeing that more adequate provision be made for
the family.
‘i Some city or county health workers were available in all the counties
visited except Adams. A ll the counties had some means of providing
medical examinations and care for county wards, but no medical
examinations were required by the court in any o f these counties at the
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



time o f application for aid unless there was obvious need for it or
unless there was a question as to the mother’s ability to work. Some <
attention to the health needs of the families was given by the
mothers’ aid staff in K ing and Spokane Counties and also in Pacific
County during the period that the county nurse had been supervising
mothers’ aid families. None of these counties required the mothers
to place their preschool children under the supervision o f health
centers, but in both K ing and Spokane Counties the mothers were
required to carry out any recommendations that were made by
physicians or by school or county nurses. It was sometimes neces­
sary to threaten to withdraw the grant in order to persuade the
mothers to have necessary treatment for themselves or the children.
Clinic facilities for psychological and psychiatric examinations
were available only in Seattle. Examinations for mental defect were
provided by the schools in the cities o f Seattle, Spokane, and Aber­
deen, where there were special classes for retarded children. Even
in the larger cities mental examinations of children in mothers’ aid
families were seldom requested.
In the two counties having large cities the workers did much to
assist the mothers and children in taking advantage of the recrea­
tional activities of their communities. In the smaller counties some
organized groups providing recreational facilities were found in the
cities and towns; but participation in such activities was left to the
initiative o f the individual families, as the persons administering
mothers’ aid assumed no responsibility for extending the interests
or opportunities for the families under their care.
It is apparent that there is great need in Washington for some
form o f State supervision of mothers’ aid administration. The edu­
cational activities of such an agency should do much toward bringing
the individual counties of the State to a realization that mothers’
aid means more than mere relief, and that services to the family such
as can be given by a trained case worker are an essential element of
adequate aid to mothers.

The boards o f county commissioners in the various counties of
Washington are “ vested with entire and exclusive superintendence
o f the poor in their respective counties.” 11 Adams County was typi­
cal of the smaller rural counties of the State in that the county com­
missioners administered the poor relief themselves. In the more
populous counties it was customary for the county commissioners
to appoint some one to do this work. In Pacific County the county
nurse had been asked to administer poor relief in addition to her
other duties, but the commissioners had not cooperated with her
fully and frequently granted relief without referring the case to
her. This work was delegated in Grays Harbor County td a charity
commissioner, in Spokane County to a charity commissioner and
an assistant, and in Walla Walla County to the juvenile-court proba11 Remington’s Comp. Stat. 1922, sec. 9981.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



tion officer. A department of public welfare in charge of a commis­
sioner and three assistants had been created in King County.
Six months’ residence in the county is required by the State law
before a person is eligible to receive poor relief. I f an applicant has
not fulfilled this requirement, the county may return him to the
place from which he came or through a constable serve a notice on
him ordering him to leave the county.12 As Washington has no
statutory provision prescribing how a settlement is lost, the county
commissioners of the different counties may interpret the settlement
law to mean that if an applicant for poor relief has been absent for
one day or more “ immediately preceding the day upon which such
application is made, he has lost his residence and is not entitled to
any relief.” It would seem desirable that the interpretation o f this
point be uniform throughout the State and that residence in a
county should be retained for at least.' the 6-month period required
to obtain residence in another county. One county (Walla Walla)
required a year’s residence and refused to grant relief to three
groups of families that were not considered strictly chargeable to
the county. These were the families of men in two institutions in
Walla Walla—the State penitentiary and the United States veter­
ans’ hospital—the families o f men sent to jail for bootlegging, and
transient families.
No detailed information could be obtained in the four smaller
counties in regard to the families with children that were receiving
poor relief, as no social records were kept, the stubs of relief orders,
which were issued to single persons as well as to families, being
the only available record. As in many counties o f similar size,
the county commissioners or their agents in making grants de­
pended largely upon their own personal knowledge o f the families
or upon the judgment o f acquaintances. No attempt was made to
investigate thoroughly the needs and problems of the families or
to make constructive plans for their care. In cases not well known,
inquiry was always made into the eligibility of the family for
receiving aid.
Records o f all families under care were available in the two larger
counties. About 30 per cent o f the families with children receiving
aid in King County were living outside Seattle, although less than
20 per cent o f the population o f the county were outside the city.
The large percentage o f rural poor-relief cases was due to an agree­
ment between the county commissioners and the large private relief
agency of the city that because of the inadequacy of the poor-relief
funds the commissioners would care for all relief work with fam­
ilies having children outside the city and that part of those apply­
ing to the department in the city would be referred to the private
Although 26 per cent of the population o f Spokane County live
outside the city of Spokane, only f per cent of the poor-relief fam­
ilies were from the rural sections or small towns of the county.
The supervision given to poor-relief families in Spokane was out­
standing among the counties. The need for family rehabilitation
was recognized, and close cooperation was maintained by the com12 Remington’s Comp. Stat. 1922, secs. 9987, 9989.
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missioner o f charities with local family-relief agencies, with the
confidential exchange in Spokane, and with the juvenile court. A
definite medical program was being carried out, and special atten­
tion was given in families where there was tuberculosis.
As is usual in granting poor relief, cash was seldom given in any
o f the counties, the immediate needs o f the persons applying for
aid being met by giving orders for food, clothing, or fuel or by
providing medical care. As far as could be judged, few families
with children had been receiving aid regularly from poor funds.
Whenever possible mothers needing assistance over a long period
were given mothers’ aid. In two cases in one of the counties this
policy had not been carried out, as the mothers preferred to re­
ceive poor relief because they could receive a larger amount than
was possible under the maximum allowed by the mothers’ aid law.
A number o f inothers’ aid families had been granted poor relief
for a short time before receiving a grant from mothers’ aid funds.
A few mothers’ aid families were receiving aid regularly from poorrelief funds.

In practically every community visited, needy persons were being
helped to a greater or less extent by private individuals, by churches
and fraternal societies, and by clubs or small social organizations.
Wherever such agencies as the Red Cross or the Salvation Army
existed, these also, among their other activities, were providing as­
sistance to families. It was obviously impossible to obtain any esti­
mate as to the number of individuals assisted in this way or of the
amount expended for relief.
Eight agencies in three of the smaller counties reported that they
had given relief to families, the number assisted varying from 3 to
nearly 50 families. While some o f the groups or agencies in these
counties were giving food, clothing, or other necessities with little or
no investigation, a few were giving systematic and thorough care to
a few families, rendering them services that would contribute to the
general welfare and rehabilitation of the family. The city of Walla
Walla was the only place in the four smaller counties where any at­
tempt had been made to coordinate the work of private agencies. At
the time of the study a community chest had been organized and a
social-service exchange had been started.
A number of private agencies were giving relief in each of the
large cities of the two larger counties. Information as to the exact
number of families under care during the year and the amount of
aid given could be obtained from the records of only three of the 10
agencies that reported giving relief. Four o f the agencies from
which data could not be obtained reported that they had aided a large
number of families. The agencies from whom records were obtained
were all family-welfare agencies providing whatever services were
needed for the families applying for aid. Material aid was the pri­
mary need in some families, whereas in others adjustment of family
problems, provision of medical care, assistance in providing suitable
work, and other problems were the immediate cause o f application
for assistance.
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Agencies giving aid.

Since detailed information as to the assistance given to families in
King and Spokane Counties was obtained from the county agency
providing relief and from three o f the principal family-relief
agencies, it was possible to get a comparative picture of the extent
of aid to families with children in these counties from the three
important sources: Mothers’ pension funds, poor relief, and private
agencies. As it was obviously impossible to obtain any data as to
the amount of relief given by private individuals and such organi­
zations as churches and lodges, and no complete information could
be obtained from a number o f agencies giving relief, the data from
private-relief agencies give only a minimum statement as to the num­
ber of families with children being aided by private funds, whereas
the record of families aided from public funds was complete. Fur­
thermore, the private agencies confined their activities to the cities
o f Seattle and Spokane, while the public aid was provided for
families through the counties.
The population of King County is nearly three times as large as
that o f Spokane County. Practically the same number of families,
however, were receiving poor relief during the year in the two
counties—204 and 201, respectively. On the other hand, 621 families
were receiving mothers’ aid and 787 assistance from private agencies
in King County as compared with 183 from mothers’ aid and 445
from private relief in Spokane County. The 405 families receiving
poor relief had 1,270 children under 18 years of age at the time of
the study, and the 1,232 families receiving private relief had 3,311
children under 18.
About one-tenth of the families given assistance in the two coun­
ties had received aid from more than one source during the year.
Table 3 shows that in proportion to the total number o f families
given assistance the number receiving aid from more than one source
was greater in Spokane County than in King County. The number
o f families in Spokane receiving both poor relief and private relief
is particularly large. It is probable that this difference in the two
counties is influenced both by the territorial agreement made between
the department o f public welfare and the large private agency in
King County and by the cooperative relationships that existed be­
tween the county commissioners and the private agencies in Spokane
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T able 3.— Number of families receiving aid and type of aid given in King a/nd
Spokane Counties during the year ended February 28, 1927
Families receiving aid
Type of aid


In King Spokane
County County










Unemployment was given in the largest number o f cases as the
reason for application for assistance, both for families receiving
poor relief and for those receiving aid from private agencies. In
many o f these cases other factors were present that made it neces­
sary to continue the aid even after the temporary unemployment
problem had been solved. Illness or incapacity o f the parents was
the next most important cause o f need. Broken families, insuffi­
cient income, losses, or other problems were the reasons for applica­
tions in the remaining families.
Extent of assistance.

Poor r e l i e f Although some families had applied for poor relief
only to tide them over a single emergency such as temporary un­
employment or illness, others were helped at irregular intervals
over extended periods by the commissioners or a representative
giving an order for food or some other necessity only when applica­
tion was made because o f special emergency. A few families had
received regular relief for many months and sometimes for years.
Table 4 shows that 211 families were receiving aid at the beginning
of the year o f the study and that nearly two-thirds o f these received
less than $50 in relief during the 12 months. The amount o f assist­
ance given to the 18 families who had received more than $200 dur­
ing the 12 months was equivalent to the amount that could be given
during a year from mothers’ aid funds to a mothers’ aid family
having one or more children. A number o f families who had been
under care less than 12 months had also received the equivalent o f
$15 a month or more. The majority of the families receiving the
larger amounts were living in Spokane County.
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T able 4.-—Amount of relief and period during which relief was given to families
receiving poor relief in King and Spokane Counties during the year ended
February 28, 1927

Amount of relief

Period during which relief was given
Less 1 month,
months, months, months,
months Not re­
relief 1month
than 3 than
6 than 9 than 12







Less than $10________
$10, less than $25_______
$25, less than $50_______
$50, less than $75....... .
$75, less than $100...............
$100, less than $200_____ _
$200 or more.......
Amount not reported_____










Private relief.—A large proportion o f the families receiving relief
from private agencies had been under care for more than 1 year
at the end of the period of this study or when the case was closed;
364 had been under care for 1 to 4 years, 116 from 5 to 9 years, and
32 for 10 years or more. The relief given to these families constituted
only part o f the assistance that had been given by the agencies.
During the 12 months of the study, 357 families had continuous
contact with the agencies. Table 5 shows that, as in the similar group
of poor-relief families (Table 4), nearly two-thirds had received less
than $50 during the year. A large number of families that had had
contact with the agencies during only part of the year had also
received small amounts o f relief. Although the proportion o f fami­
lies receiving more than $100 is smaller than the proportion receiv­
ing such amounts from poor relief, the actual amount given to some
o f these families was much larger than that given to any family
from poor funds.
T able 5 — Amount of relief and period during which relief was given to families
receiving aid from private relief agencies in King and Spokane Counties dur­
ing the year ended February 28, 1927

Period during which relief was given
Amount of relief

Less 1month,
months, months, months,
ing relief than 1
months, Not re­
month than 3
than 6 than 9 than 12 or more

Total.... ..........









Less than $10............
$10, less than $25.......
$25, less than $50____
$50, less than $75____
$75, less than $100___
$100, less than $200...
$200 or more..............
Amount not reported









54586°— 31------ 3
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The separation of a child from his own home may be far-reaching
in its consequences. It is essential, therefore, that such a separation
should be safeguarded by adequate legal protection and by good case
work on the part of all agencies concerned with the child s care.
That the State should be responsible for the well-being of children
who for some imperative reason are separated from their families
is generally accepted. The assumption of such responsibility does
not mean that the State need assume the actual care of children; it
does mean, however, that all agencies or persons caring for dependent
children should be responsible to some State agency tor the quality
o f the care given and that the State should provide such advice and
services as will help the agencies in maintaining adequate standards.

Institutions and child-placing agencies.

Some provision for supervision o f private child-caring agencies
and institutions by a State department has been made m the majority
of the States. In more than half the States having such provisions
all or practically all the work of such agencies and institutions within
the State is under control of the State department of charities or
welfare, which is authorized to license (usually annually), inspect,
prescribe minimum standards or rules and regulations, and usually to
require reports at stated intervals. Provisions m the remaining
States are limited either as to the types of agencies to be supervised
or as to the nature of the supervision given by the State department.
In the States that have undertaken an adequate program of super­
vision such work is looked upon as an educational rather than a
regulatory function. The character of the supervisory staff vitally
affects the nature of the services that can be given, and the contribu­
tion of the State department to the care given to children is greatly
increased if specialists of various types able to give help on specific
problems are available for consultation or demonstration. Some of
the types of specialists provided in different States are an experienced
case worker for consultation or demonstration of satisfactory intake
practices for institutions, a consultant on mental hygiene, an adviser
on health problems, and specialists in record keeping, m accounting,
and in institutional management. When a State department is
unable to maintain specialists on its own staff it should be possible
to provide for part-time services of such persons recruited from
either private or public agencies.
_. ,
, L
Two legal provisions have been made in Washington for the super­
vision of private institutions and child-placing agencies,^ -*-fe
appointment of county boards o f visitation which may visit and
report on all institutions and agencies receiving children from the
court have been authorized by law, although no such board had been
functioning in any o f the counties visited. The second provision
exempts orphanages and other institutions from taxation, provided
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the State board of health and the county and city authorities have
access to their books. Annual reports of vital statistics as well as
reports o f all receipts and expenditures must be made to the State
board o f healthMaternity homes and hospitals.

Because o f the dual function o f maternity homes as hospitals and
as homes for mothers and infants, these institutions are licensed in
some States by the State department o f health, in others by the
State department of public welfare, and in others by both. The
recognition and regulation of maternity homes as child-caring insti­
tutions is one of the essential steps in an adequate child-caring pro­
gram. Study of the child placing done by maternity homes and
hospitals in the Washington counties (see p. 37) showed that through
these agencies a not inconsiderable number o f children were being
separated from their mothers as soon as possible after birth and
placed in homes, with little regard to the physical needs o f the child
or proper safeguards for the future o f the child or his adoptive
parents. The requirement of adequate social records for all chil­
dren, the requirement that children should not be separated from
their mothers during a three to six month nursing period, and pro­
hibition of child placing by any maternity home or hospital unless
licensed as a child-placing agency, are provisions that have been
made in some States for overcoming the unsocial dispositions o f
children, which often occur in maternity homes.13
Boarding homes.

The supervision o f boarding, homes for children is another State
responsibility. Nearly two-thirds of the States by either special or
general legislation require the annual licensing or certification of
such homes. In most o f these States the State department of public
welfare is the licensing authority, although in a few States this
responsibility is placed upon the State department of health or upon
local health officers. Desirable though it may be to have health
authorities pass upon the sanitary requirements of boarding homes,
it is becoming generally recognized that health is only one of the
several factors that need to be considered in deciding upon the desir­
ability o f a boarding home. Some variations exist in the different
States as to the licensing of boarding homes receiving children of
different ages. The intent of the earlier legislation appeared to be
that only boarding homes receiving young children (under 2 or 3
years) should be subject to State inspection. The later tendency is
to make such legislation^ applicable to homes receiving any child.
In many o f the States in which the State department o f public
welfare has been given authority to license and supervise boarding
homes, the department has delegated supervision to qualified local
public or private child-caring agencies, granting a license upon their
recommendation but reserving the right to inspect homes and to
remove a child if necessary.
In the Washington counties included in this study, boarding
homes were being used by agencies and by parents and guardians
in both the large cities. In Seattle a municipal ordinance required
18 A Study o f Maternity Homes in Minnesota and Pennsylvania,
Bureau Publication No. 167. Washington, 1926.
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ü. S. Children’s



that all boarding homes be granted permits by the child-welfare
division of the city health department. About 70 homes had been
inspected and permits granted at the time of the study. Although
every effort was made to maintain good standards m the boarding
homes o f Seattle, the lack of county or State regulation of boarding
homes in the suburbs of the city made it possible for an undesirable
home to carry on its activities just beyond the city limits, in
Spokane no attempt had been made by either the city or the county
to license boarding homes, though a number of such homes were
advertised in the newspapers. The child-placing department ox
the juvenile court in Spokane was using a few carefully super­
vised boarding homes for its wards. The limitation of county re­
sponsibility for payment for temporary care of children to $12 a
m onth14 was a handicap to the court in obtaining satisf actory homes,
the rate of board paid by private agencies in Washington at the
time of the study being $18 to $25 a month.15 It is probable that
a few boarding homes may have existed in some of the smaller
cities of the six counties, but no agency had undertaken to regulate

A complete program for the care o f dependent children would
insure that every child placed in a foster home within the State and
every child taken from the State for placement would be adequately
supervised. Provision has been made in more than half the States
for some regulation of “ importation” of dependent children into
the State; in a few States provision has been made for regulation
of both “ importation” and “ exportation” of children.
statutory provisions are of two types: Those which have for their
object safeguarding the child, and those which are primarily con­
cerned with safeguarding the State against receiving children who
may become public charges.
. ,
Notification of a State department, usually the State department
of public welfare, o f all placements made is required by most States
having interstate-placement laws, and usually the deposit of a bond
or a written guaranty by the agency making the placement is also
required. When the intent of the legislation is to safeguard the
children, the placing agency must also make some provision for
supervising the child. Approval by the State department of the
home in which the child is placed and periodic reports from the
agency regarding conditions in the home are required by many
, , _
. ,
Washington, at the time o f this study, had no law governing inter­
state placement of children. During the progress of the study
records were found of a few children that had been placed in homes
in adjoining States. It was impossible to judge whether or not
children from other States had been placed in Washington. Oregon,
on the southern border of Washington, had made provision16 to
»'Even th is amountPis
especially for the care of preschool children or infants, as
cnmnarpil with the navinents made by child-placing agencies in other cities. See The
Work of Child-Placing Agencies, by Katharine P. He wins and L. Josephine Webster, p. 48
(U S Children’s Bureau Publication No. 171, Washington, 1927),
ie Oregon, Laws of 1920, Olson’s, sec. 9835.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



protect itself against receiving within the State children who might
become paupers or delinquents, and required that any person, agent,
agency, or institution of another State who placed a child in a home
in Oregon must furnish the child-welfare commission with a guar­
anty against the child’s becoming a public charge within five years
from the date of placement. It had no provision for insuring that
the placing agency properly supervise the child so placed. Neither
o f the other neighboring States, Idaho and Montana, had undertaken
any regulation of interstate placement of children.

The permanent separation of a child from his natural guardians
is serious and should be allowed only after careful consideration of
all the problems involved. According to the minimum standards of
child welfare adopted by the 1919 Washington and Regional Con­
ferences on Child Welfare, “ transfer o f the legal guardianship of a
child should not be permitted save with the consent of a properly
designated State department or a court o f proper jurisdiction.” 17
Only about one-fourth of the States have authorized such protective
The largest group of children needing the protection which such
legislation affords are children of illegitimate birth. Under the emo­
tional strain which the unmarried mother suffers, her natural affec­
tions are submerged by her immediate problems, and she often signs
a release from guardianship which she later regrets. A similar situa­
tion may occur in a normal family which without wise guidance sees
no other solution than the breaking up of the family in cases of
death, unfortunate domestic relations, or financial need. I f the
agency authorized to give consent to transfer of guardianship is also
equipped to assist the parent in caring for the child, much needless
separation may be prevented.
No safeguard o f the transfer o f custody o f dependent children was
found in Washington. Transfer o f the custody of a minor child to
any benevolent or charitable society incorporated under the laws of
the State could be effected by a written surrender by the parents or
other legal guardian.18 Wnen a minor was a county charge, the
board of county commissioners could surrender him to the care and
custody o f any benevolent society or corporation without the consent
o f his parents if after a written notice the parents, guardian, or next
o f kin did not provide for the child and relieve the county o f his

The original adoption laws of most States were intended merely to
provide a procedure by which the custody o f a child could be legally
transferred from the natural parent to the adopting parent, the
chief object in many States being to enable the adopting parent to
make the child his legal heir. It was assumed that the motive for
1TMinimum Standards for Child Welfare Adopted by the Washington and Regional
Conferences on Child Welfare, 1919, p. 12. U. S. Children’s Bureau Publication No. 62.
Washington, 1920.
18 Remington’s Comp. Stat. 1922, sec. 1700.
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adoption was the good o f the child. Experience has shown that this
is not always the case, and these laws are being gradually displaced by
laws that emphasize the protection and welfare of the child. Nearly
half the States have recognized this need o f legislation for the pro­
tection of children placed for adoption. In most of these States a
social investigation made by the court or by a State department is
required before entering the decree. A trial period of not less than
six months in the adoptive home, which is the practice of the better
child-placing agencies, is prescribed by law in some States. Another
form o f safeguard is the prohibition of advertisements offering to
adopt or dispose o f a child.
In Washington the superior court has been given jurisdiction in
adoption cases. During the year of this study 322 cases came before
the courts in the six counties. In 85 of these 322 cases the person
adopting the child was a step-parent or other relative, 3 o f the
children being adopted by their own parent or parents after re­
linquishment by adoptive parents. A large proportion of the
remaining cases £234) involved children of illegitimate birth, most
o f whom were infants.
Although the largest group of the children were infants when
the petition for adoption was filed, one-fourth being less than 6
months old and about the same proportion from 6 months to 2 years,
the records showed that a number of the children (37, or about
one-eighth of the entire group) were 12 years of age or over.
The status of the child’s parents as shown in the following list
indicates why some of the children were available for adoption:

Number of

Total— ________________________ — ------------------------------------- 322
Both parents in home-------------- ----------------------------------- --------------One parent and step-parent in home----------------------------------------Both parents dead— ------------------------------------- ---------------------------One parent dead (no step-parent)---------------------------------------------Parents divorced_________ :---------------------------.------------------------ —
Parents separated---------------------------------------------------------------------One parent deserting----------------- ----------------------------------------------Parents not married to each other------------------------------------------Status not reported----------------------------------------------------------------------



Only 87 o f the 322 children involved in adoption proceedings
were reported as having been under agency care before the filing
o f petitions for adoption. The reason for agency care was given for
62 children, 35 being o f illegitimate birth and 27 otherwise
The majority o f the 87 children under agency supervision had
been under such supervision long enough to enable the agency to
make a complete social investigation. Since none of the child­
placing agencies provided examination o f the child’s mental abilities
except in cases o f obvious defect, it is probable that this most sig­
nificant information was seldom available for children placed for
adoption. Investigations in the 235 cases not under agency super­
vision should, have been the responsibility of the court. It is the
usual practice in Washington to file a petition for adoption at the
time of the final hearing. As no records were made of previous
hearings, it was impossible to judge whether the court had author-
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ized an investigation if the case had been considered before. W ith
the exception of the Spokane court, where records were available
of some investigations that had been made by the staff o f the ju­
venile court on request of the judge o f the superior court, no records
were found in any of the courts showing that investigations had been
There was no generally accepted policy or legal provision in
Washington as to the length of time that a child must remain in a
prospective adoptive home before an application for adoption was
made. The Seattle Council o f Catholic Women had a requirement
that children must remain in supervised adoptive homes one year be­
fore a petition for adoption was filed. The Washington Children’s
Home Society required a 6-month trial period under supervision.
The child-placing department of the juvenile court of Spokane re­
quired a 3-month trial period. The policies of maternity homes
and various agencies and individuals placing children in adoptive
homes varied greatly. Some maternity homes had no policy, one
required a trial period of a week, and another required three months.
In one maternity home the prospective adoptive parent was re­
quired to file an application for adoption before the child was
placed in the home.

Types of institution available.

For many years institutional care was almost the only method
of providing for dependent children. With the development of
other types of assistance, the need for institutional care has greatly
decreased, until at the present time it has come to be somewhat
generally recognized that “ the purpose of an institution for de­
pendent children should be the care of children who can not be pro­
vided for properly in their own homes or with relatives and for
whose care a particular institution is better adapted than any other
available agency.” 20
Four types of institutions were available for the care o f dependent
children in the counties visited:
1. Institutions 'providing general care fo r dependent children.—
Although some o f the institutions of this type in Washington kept
children for a number of years, long-time care was the exception
rather than the rule, as most children were received because of some
emergency in the home and were returned to parents or other rela­
tives as soon as some adjustment could be made. The majority of
the children released during the year had been under care for less
than one year. Most of the institutions limited their intake on
the basis of age, sex, or some religious or group affiliation.
2. Institutions providing care fo r special groups o f dependent
children.— Three o f the institutions visited were serving special
functions. The activities of one centered in its school, the majority
of the children not remaining during the summer; another institu20
Handbook for the Use of Boards of Directors, Superintendents, and Staffs of Institu­
tions for Dependent Children, p. 3. U. S. Children’s Bureau Publication No. 170. Wash­
ington, 1927.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



tion cared only for infants; and the third was a home caring for
mothers and their children.
3. Receiving homes fo r emergency and short-time care.—In Washington the state-wide children’s home society was maintaining three
receiving homes, two of which were located in the counties selected
for special study. These institutions provided care only until children
could be placed in suitable foster homes.21
4. Detention homes and 'parental schools.-—Two o f the counties
(King and Spokane) had provided special detention homes in con­
nection with the juvenile courts where both dependent and delinquent
children were kept awaiting court hearing or pending return to
relatives or placement in an institution or in a foster home. The
periods o f detention were short, the majority o f them being less than
a month. A small number of dependent and neglected children had
been committed to the parental schools for boys and for girls that
were available in the cities o f Seattle and Spokane. Although there
was no law prohibiting the care of children in almshouses in Wash­
ington, it was apparent that it was not customary to use these institu­
tions for dependent children, as only one such case was found in
the four counties having a county farm or infirmary.
Excluding receiving homes, detention homes, and parental schools,
there were 12 institutions providing for the care of dependent chil­
dren in King, Spokane, and Walla Walla Counties. A ll but one of
these were visited by agents of the Children’s Bureau. Another
institution located outside the counties included in the study was also
visited because this institution was caring for a large number of
children from Grays Harbor County. No institutions were found in
Grays Harbor County, Pacific County, or Adams County.
Standards o f care in institutions.

The 12 institutions visited had facilities for the care of about 1,000
children. A congregate type of building was the most usual plan
for institutions caring for more than 50 children. The smaller insti­
tutions were usually housed in old residential buildings; two such
buildings had inadequate fire protection, and another was totally
inadequate in equipment for a children’s institution. In sanitary
equipment and housekeeping care, most of the institutions came up to
acceptable standards. Most of them had been established for several
years, having been organized to meet the apparent needs o f the local­
ities m which they were situated. They were quite generally used
by the social agencies, children being sent by these agencies for insti­
tutional care. The exceptions were three institutions whose money­
raising and publicity methods or methods of caring for children had
been much criticized. One had been criticized for serious overcrowd­
ing as a result of limited financial resources and failure to limit
intake. Another, although attempting to maintain better standards,
had become, through lack of wise guidance and poor administration,
a liability rather than an asset to the community. The third institu­
tion was so obviously below standard in all particulars that it should
have been abolished. These three institutions illustrate the need for
licensing and supervision by a State department of all institutions
caring for children.
Children needing temporary care away from their families were provided for occa­
sionally in these receiving homes,
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



In order to study the quality of the care given to children in insti­
tutions, an analysis was made of some of the practices and policies of
the nine institutions providing general care to dependent children
whose problems and activities were sufficiently similar to make com­
parisons possible. The points compared were investigation policies,
methods of health supervision, and the extent to which the institution
provided a homelike atmosphere and experiences that fitted the chil­
dren for life outside.
Many superintendents and board members of institutions fail to
realize the importance of a thorough study of every child before he
is accepted for care. None of the nine general institutions for chil­
dren had a social worker on the staff, and none of them undertook
to make a complete social investigation of every child that was
accepted. Investigations were probably made in the cases of children
placed in these institutions by the'courts and by social agencies, but
a large number of children were received directly from parents or
other individuals. Most o f the superintendents endeavored to obtain
as much information about the children as possible without making
visits to the homes or to relatives. Adequate investigations would
probably have shown that many of the children might have' been
kept in their own homes. Besponsibility for assisting in the rehabili­
tation o f the homes from which the children came was not assumed
by any of these institutions. That the records of some of the insti­
tutions were incomplete and provided little information about the
children was not difficult to understand.
The need for knowledge of the child’s physical condition at the
time he entered was recognized in all the institutions. Six of the
institutions provided for a medical examination for every child
on entrance, and one other accepted a health certificate from any
physician. Only two of the nine institutions kept special health
records for each child and required periodic physical examinations.
Four of the larger institutions had an infirmary for the care of sick
children, but only one required a period of isolation on entrance.
Three of the institutions had a trained nurse, and two had a prac­
tical nurse who was a member of the staff. The superintendent of
another institution was a practical nurse. Two institutions had no
nurse, and information on this point was not obtained from one
institution. General health supervision of the children in these
nine institutions was given by the nurse or by a visiting physician.
The general atmosphere of six of the nine institutions was home­
like, and the children showed spontaneity and freedom from re­
straint. The life in three institutions was characterized as insti­
tutional. In two of the nine institutions special attention was paid
to providing outside contacts for the children, and some provision
was made for children to earn money for themselves and to take
responsibility. O f the remaining seven institutions only one gave
children an opportunity to earn, another provided some opportunity
for the children to take responsibility, and all but one provided some
outside contacts for the children.

The placement o f dependent children in family homes was under­
taken in the counties visited by a few incorporated child-placing
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agencies, by the juvenile court in two counties, by county officers, by
family agencies, by maternity homes and hospitals, and by indi­
viduals. The majority of the children were placed for permanent
care; these were usually provided for in free homes. On the con­
trary, some children were received for temporary care and were
placed in boarding homes or occasionally in wage homes.
Child-placing agencies.

Washington had only a few agencies that were doing child placing
exclusively or as the major part of their work. The only agency
caring for a large number o f children was the Washington Chil­
dren’s Home Society. This society received children from all over
the State and maintained three receiving homes, one in the eastern, one
in the western, and one in the southern part o f the State. During
the month of January, 1927, the society had 115 children in the
receiving homes and 698 under supervision in family homes. A
large proportion of the wards of the society were received for per­
manent care, although temporary care was provided in some cases,
principally for children in Seattle. The child-placing staff of the
society consisted of seven full-time district superintendents and four
field workers engaged in home finding and supervising.
At the time o f the study, this agency was dissatisfied with its case­
work standards and changes were being planned. The smallness of
the supervising and investigating staff was a serious limitation to
the case work that could be done for the children and made impos­
sible any attempt to undertake rehabilitation of the families. The
necessity for providing an adequate staff of trained workers able
to do thorough case work had come to be recognized by the society,
and an effort was being made to raise the standards in this particu­
lar. Lack of records of the work that had been done in the past
prevented any analysis being made of the character of the supervi­
sion given to the* children. Only 85 o f the 809 records of children
from the six counties who were under care of the agency had any
information as to the visits made to the foster homes. It was evi­
dent that even in these cases the information was incomplete, as
records of children under care for a number of years who had been
m several foster homes might have only one visit to the child
The Seattle Council of Catholic Women was caring for a small
number of children (40), practically all of whom came from Seattle.
This agency placed children in adoptive homes and also provided
temporary care in boarding homes. Most of the children placed in
adoptive homes were infants received from two maternity hospitals.
The agency was endeavoring to maintain a high standard of place­
ment work by keeping close contact with the boarding homes and
adoptive homes and supervising each child according to his need.
Since most of the work of the council was done in the city of Seattle,
adequate supervision was not a difficult problem, as it was in the
state-wide child-placing agency.
The placement of dependent children in family homes was recog­
nized as a definite part of the work of the juvenile court in Spokane
County, and children were referred to the court by agencies and
persons desiring to have them placed in family homes. Children
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were placed in boarding homes for temporary care and for
Maternity homes and hospitals.

Since the mere signing of a surrender made it possible for the
mother o f a child of illegitimate birth to shift responsibility for her
baby, and no concerted effort had been made in any of the cities to
develop a general sentiment among the agencies caring for unmar­
ried mothers toward persuading these mothers to retain the custody
o f their babies, maternity homes and hospitals constituted another
group of agencies doing child placing.
Three o f the five maternity homes and six of the hospitals doing
maternity work that were visited said that some child placing had
been done at various times. In all but one o f these the responsibil­
ity for placing children had been taken by some member of the
staff; in one hospital the placements had been made by private
physicians. Since no records in regard to these placements wTere
available, the information obtained was a general statement from
the persons interviewed. Placements of approximately 35 infants
during the year were reported by these homes and hospitals. A
few maternity homes and hospitals had adopted a policy o f trans­
ferring to child-placing agencies the children for whom homes
were desired, most of them being children of illegitimate birth.
The usual procedure was for the hospital to obtain a written sur­
render of the child from the mother, whom the child-placing agency
in many cases never saw. As the protection of the unmarried
mother was often the primary concern o f the institution, it was not
surprising that the placing agency was unable to obtain adequate
social histories of such children.
Increasing recognition is being given to the importance, from a
health standpoint, o f keeping children born out of wedlock with
their mothers during the nursing period or at least during the first
few months of this period.23 Only one of the five maternity homes
visited had required the mothers to keep their babies as long as two
months. Another home had made a minimum requirement of one
month. Three homes had no definite policy on this point. During
the year of the study the three child-placing agencies had received
for placement 74 infants 1 to 30 days old, many of whom had been
received directly from hospitals or maternity homes.
Other agencies or persons placing children.

An agency specializing in protective work for children was visited,
but no records of placements o f children were obtained. The agent
o f the Children’s Bureau was told that 24 babies had been placed
for adoption by this agency during the year ended August 31, 1927.
Most o f these children were o f illegitimate birth.
In Seattle and Spokane four agencies doing work with families
had placed a few children in family homes during the year, usually
Records were not obtained for all children under supervision of the court. The rec­
ords obtained of children coming before the courts showed that during the year 32
children had been placed in family homes.
28 Standards of Legal Protection for Children Born Out of Wedlock (U. S. Children’s
Bureau Publication No. 77, Washington, 1921) ; The Welfare of Infants of Illegitimate
Birth in Baltimore, by A. Madorah Donahue (U. S. Children’s Bureau Publication No. 144,
Washington, 1925) ; Children of Illegitimate Birth and Measures for Their Protection, by
Emma 0. Lundberg (U. S. Children’s Bureau Publication No. 166, Washington, 1926).
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



for temporary care. Two of these agencies used boarding homes
only, one used boarding and free homes and placed for adoption,
and the fourth used free homes and wage homes. Only 1 of the
12 institutions caring for dependent children that were visited had
placed children in homes other than with relatives. This institu­
tion had placed a few children in wage homes.
The child placing done by family agencies, protective agencies^
and institutions showed great variation in standards. A few of
these agencies were carrying on all their work, including the
child placing, according to the accepted standards of social case
work. It was quite evident that the child placing of other agencies
was most unsatisfactory. Investigations of foster homes by these
agencies were inadequate; in some cases no investigation had been
made. Some agencies made no attempt at supervising the child
after placing him in the home. The need for thorough study of the
child’s physical and mental condition, especially of children placed
for adoption, was not realized by many agencies.
No official records were obtained in any of the counties of chil­
dren placed in family homes for either temporary or permanent
care by the charity commissioner or other county commissioner.
However, in three counties (Spokane, Grays Harbor, and Walla
Walla) the poor-relief officers said that occasionally such place­
ments had been made. For many years Washington had an inden­
ture law for the apprenticeship to . some respectable householder of
the county ” of any minor who was likely to become chargeable to the
county.24 This law was repealed at about the time that the study
began, in February, 1927.25 No evidence was found that placements
had been made under this law in any of the counties visited.
In King County some placement work had been done by the juve­
nile court for dependent or delinquent children coming before the
court who needed such care, this work being considered as one aspect
o f the probation service.

Who were these children needing the care of institutions and
child-placing agencies ? W hy were they separated from their fam­
ilies, and for how long a period were they cared for ? A study of
the records o f children under care by these two types o f agencies
gave some information on these points.
It was impossible to obtain complete information as to the num­
ber of children from the different counties who had been cared for
in institutions during the year. The records of some of the institu­
tions visited were so inadequate that data could not be obtained;
in a few instances access to the records was refused. Another situ­
ation making a complete census impossible was that some children
were under care o f institutions outside the counties studied, and with
one exception it was not feasible to visit these institutions.26 Record
material was obtained in regard to 494 children who had been under
24 Remington’s Comp. Stat. 1922, sec. 9985.
28 Laws of 1927. ch. 154.
28 One institution situated outside the counties studied received a number of children
from the county commissioners in two of the counties. No records were obtained from
this institution, however.
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care of six institutions during the year of the study. Two hundred
and eighty-three of these children were in the institutions on Febru­
ary 28,1927, and 211 had been released during the year of the study.
Similar record data were obtained for the 349 children of the six
counties who were under the care of the Washington Children’s
Home Society and the Seattle Council of Catholic Women.27 Two
hundred and sixty-three of this number were under care on Febru­
ary 28,1927, and 86 had been released during the year.
The number of children in institutions and under agency super­
vision for whom records were obtained is shown in Table 6 for each
of the counties.
T able 6.-^—Number of children in institutions for dependents and number under
care of child-placing agencies in six specified counties during the year ended
February 28, 1927



_______________ _________ ------- ----------


Children Children
in insti­ care
for de­ placing
pendents agencies








All but 4 of the 494 children in institutions during the year were
white, 2 were Indians, and 2 were Chinese. The 349 children under
agency supervision included 11 Negroes, 6 Indians, 1 Japanese, 1
Eskimo, and 45 whose race was not reported. Two hundred and
fifty-two boys and 242 girls were in institutions, and 218 boys and
131 girls were under agency care. The ages o f the children when
they were received are shown in Table 7.
T able 7.— Age of child when received by institutions and child-placing agencies
in the six counties during the year ended February 28, 1927

Age of child


in insti­

care of







27 Special records were not obtained of the children placed in family homes by the child­
placing division of the juvenile court of Spokane; 32 children were placed by this agency
during the year.
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Five of the six institutions from which records were obtained
had restrictions as to the age o f children they would care for. One
institution received infants o f any age, but no child was kept after
he became 3 years of age. The minimum age at which the other 4
received children varied somewhat; 1 received children at 2 years,
2 at 3, and 1 at 6. The low median age of 3 years for the children
under agency supervision was due very largely to the fact that 105
(about one-third) of the entire group were received before they
were 6 months old. These were for the most part children born
out of wedlock, surrendered for permanent placement. In both
groups it was found that the majority of the children born out of
wedlock were received before they were 1 year of age—7 of the 13
in institutions and 89 o f the 111 under agency supervision. Four
children of illegitimate birth in institutions were from 1 to 6 years
of age, and 2 were 6 when received. O f the agency wards, 18 were
from 1 to 6, 1 was 8, and 1 was 11 ; the ages of 2 were not reported.

Although a variety of causes other than the marital relations o f
the parents may be responsible for the removal of dependent chil­
dren from their own homes, it is interesting to note in Table 8 that
only 17 per cent of those in institutions and 9 per cent of those under
agency supervision came from homes in which the parents were
married and living together. Three hundred and twenty-three (73
per cent) of the children in institutions and 155 (49 per cent) of
those under agency care were from homes broken by the death,
divorce, and desertion or separation o f parents. These numbers
do not include 32 institutional and 21 agency children whose own
mother or father had remarried. One hundred and eleven (35 per
cent) o f the agency children were of illegitimate birth as compared
with 13 (3 per cent) of those in institutions. The number of
orphans was considerably higher in the agency group than in the
group being provided for by institutions—49 (16 per cent) as com­
pared with 11 (5 per cent).
T able 8.— Marital status of parents at time children were admitted to institu­
tions or received for care by child-placing agencies in the six counties during
the year ended February 28, 1927

in insti­

care of




Married and living together------------------------- ------ ---------------------------




Both in home or temporarily absent.............................. ............ ........
Mother in home, father in hospital or institution ------------------------Father in home, mother in hospital or institution_________________




Deserted or separated.................... ......... ...........------------ --------------------




Mother deserting__________________________ — ------- ---------------




Marital status of parents

Status of both not reported____________________________
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T able 8.— Marital status of parents at time children were admitted to institu­
tions or received for care by child-placing agencies in the six counties during
the year ended February 28, 1927— Continued

Marital status of parents


Children care
in insti­ child­
tutions placing




Father or mother remarried L --------------------------------------------------Father or mother not remarried 1-------------------------------------- J-------




One or both parents dead____________________ ____________________




Father dead, mother a widow--------------------------------------------------Father dead, mother remarried_________________ ____ ___________
Mother dead, father a widower-------- ----------------------------------------Mother dead, father remarried_______________ _________________






• ..

Parents not married to each other------------------------------------- ----------1Information relates to the parent who was responsible for the child.

The majority of the children for whom information was obtained
were received by the institutions directly from their parents or other
relatives— a total of 74 per cent. Only one of these children had been
surrendered by his parents for permanent care. The source of the
group under supervision of child-placing agencies was about evenly
divided between parents and court, 174 having been received from
parents or other relatives and 164 from the court. More than fourfifths (141) of the 170 children received from parents were surren­
dered, only 29 being received without surrender. The large number
of children surrendered by parents to the agencies may be partly
accounted for by the fact that many were children of unmarried
mothers. The sources from which the children were received are
shown in Table 9.
T able 9.— Source from which children were received who were in institutions
and under care of child-placing agencies in the six counties during the year
ended'February 28, 1927

Source from which received

Without surrender............ .......................... ............... ........................
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in insti­

care of















As so large a proportion of the children placed in institutions by
their parents were not surrendered, it is to be expected that a large
number o f children would be released during the year. Forty-three
per cent o f those under care at some time during the year were
released. The retention o f the child’s custody by his parents is
responsible also for the return of so many of the released children
(188, or 90 per cent) to parents or other relatives. Only 10 children
were transferred to other institutions or agencies, 2 were adopted,
1 died, 6 were provided for in other ways, and no information was
obtained as to the other 4. Only 25 per cent o f the children given
care by an agency, as compared with 43 per cent of those cared for
by an institution, were released during the year. The largest group
of the children released by an agency were those who were placed
for adoption— 38 o f the 80 for whom information was obtained.
Thirty-one were returned to parents or other relatives, and 11 were
transferred to institutions or other agencies.

Comparatively short periods of care were provided by both the
institutions and the agencies for the children released during the
year, as is shown by Table 10. In a few cases, however, the children
remained under supervision for extended periods o f time.
T able 10.— Length of time children who w ere released had been in institutions
or under care of child-placing agencies in the six counties during the year
ended February 28, 1927
Children released during year
Time in institution or under supervision

By insti­

By child­










Free foster homes were used much more extensively by the Wash­
ington Children’s Home Society than those of any other type, 80
per cent (229) of the children cared for by this agency being in such
homes at the time o f release or at the end o f the year, 9 per cent
being in boarding homes, and 10 per cent in receiving homes.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



Twenty-five o f the wards of the Seattle Council of Catholic Women
were in boarding homes and 15 were in free homes.
The number of placements was reported for 71 o f the 86 children
released from agency supervision during the year. Five o f these
children had never been placed, having remained in the receiving
home; 4 had been under care for less than three months and 1 for
at least a year. Forty-seven children had been placed in only one
home by the agency, 37 of whom had been wards of the agency for
less than one year; the remainder had been under foster-home care
for longer periods, one remaining in the same home for at least 12
years. Nineteen children had been placed from two to four times.
One child who had been in four homes had been a ward of the agency
for 10 years or more.
One hundred and fourteen of those remaining under supervision
on February 28, 1927, had been wards of the agency for less than two
years and 149 for periods o f 2 to 16 years or longer; 42 children had
been under care for 10 years or more. Two-thirds o f the children
under supervision had been placed but once, although they had been
wards o f the agency for periods varying from a few months to 16
years or more. In some cases repeated transfers from one home to
another were deemed advisable or necessary, seven being the largest
number reported (this child had been under supervision for seven
years). One child was placed six times in less than five years, and
another was placed four times within one year.

The birth-registration records o f the State health department
showed that 10,241 children had been born in the six counties during
the calendar year 1926, and that 209 of these children were o f illegiti­
mate birth. A ll but 23 o f the children of illegitimate birth were born
in the two large cities, Seattle and Spokane. Spokane serves as a
population center for most of eastern Washington, northern Idaho,
and northwestern Montana, and many girls from these sections go
for care to the Spokane maternity homes. This accounts probably
for the larger number of illegitimate births per 1,000 live births in
Spokane (47) as compared with Seattle (17).28
As has been shown in an earlier section of this report, any provi­
sion for safeguarding children away from their own homes vitally
affects children of illegitimate birth. This group of children con­
stituted only a small proportion of children in institutions but more
than one-third of those under care of child-placing agencies, and
the majority o f those placed in homes by individuals and other
agencies. Washington, in common with most States, has special
legislation for the protection of these children.29 Such legislation
-8 For illegitimacy rates in other cities see Children of Illegitimate Birth and Measures
for Their Protection, p. 6 (U. S. Children’s Bureau Publication No. 166, Washington.
^Analysis and Tabular Summary of State Laws Relating to Illegitimacy in the United
States in Effect Jan. 1, 1928, and the Text of Selected Laws. U. S. Children’ s Bureau
Chart No. 16. Washington, 1929.

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



prescribes the procedure for the establishment of the paternity of
the child and provides, when paternity has been established, for the
support of the child by his father and for his right to inherit from
the father. The amount of support to be provided by the father
is at the discretion o f the court. Obligation to support the child
continues until he is 16 years of age, and failure to support may be
penalized by forfeiture o f bond or imprisonment for contempt.
The extent to which unmarried mothers avail themselves o f the
legal provisions made for the protection o f their children depends
upon how well the community or the State is organized to assist
them in the difficult position in- which they find themselves. In the
counties visited in Washington no adequate program had been
undertaken by either private or public agencies for case work with
unmarried mothers. Records were obtained o f only 16 cases in which
complaint had been filed during the year to establish paternity and
to provide support for the child. Fourteen of these cases had been
brought before the court in King County and two in Spokane
County. In striking contrast to these figures are those reported by
one State department, which has been given the responsibility “ to
take care that the interests of the child are safeguarded, that ap­
propriate steps are taken to establish his paternity, and that there
is secured for him the nearest possible approximation to the care,
support, and education that he would be entitled to if born of lawful
marriage.” 30 The biennial reports of this department for the four
years ended June 30, 1928, show that complaints for establishment
o f paternity had been filed in about one-third of the cases of un­
married mothers that had been referred to the board during each of
the 2-year periods.31
The experience of social workers, physicians, and others in con­
tact with unmarried mothers is that care of the baby by his mother
during the early months of infancy usually results in the assump­
tion of responsibility for his permanent care by his mother or other
relatives. With willingness on the part of the mother to assume
care of her child usually comes willingness to obtain, if possible,
some support for him from his father.32 Although only a few
States have specific legislation requiring mothers to keep their
children for a definite time,33 the number of agencies, both public
and private, that have adopted such a policy in assisting these
mothers is steadily increasing.
There is need in Washington for the development of public senti­
ment in regard to the adequate care of children of illegitimate birth
as well as for legislation placing responsibility for their care on
some public agency.
80 Minnesota, Mason’s Stat. 1927, sec. 4455.
81 Report of the director of the [Minnesota] Children’s Bureau to the State hoard of
control for the biennial period ending June 30, 1926, and for the biennial period ending
J™ eSee ’ Children of Illegitimate Birth Whose Mothers Have Kept Their Custody, by
A. Madorah Donahue, p. 8 (U. S. Children’s Bureau Publication No. 190, Washington,
1928) ; report of the director of the [Minnesota] Children’s Bureau to the State board of
control for the biennial period ending June 30, 1926, and for the biennial period ending
June 30, 1928.
88 Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina.
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Under the State department of business control the State of
Washington has made special provisions for the education of blind
and deaf children and has established an institution for custodial
care and training of feeble-minded children. State care of handi­
capped children began in Washington in 1886, with the creation
of the Washington School for Defective Youth in Vancouver, an
institution which housed blind, deaf, and feeble-minded children.34
Within a short time the feeble-minded children were separated from
the blind and the deaf in another institution, and in 1913 two sep­
arate schools one for, blind and one for deaf children—were
The State school for the blind and the State school for the deaf
are residential schools open for the usual school year. These insti­
tutions are free to residents o f the State between the ages of 6 and
21 years. County school superintendents are required to send a
record to the county commissioners and a duplicate record to the
State department of business control o f any blind or deaf child
needing the training provided by these schools. Parents able to do
so are required to pay the transportation of the children to and from
school. The cost o f transportation and maintenance during the
summer vacation, if needed, is provided by the county commissioners
for dependent children.36
The State custodial school at Medical Lake, created in 1905 87 as
the State institution for the feeble-minded, receives residents o f the
State under 21 who are feeble-minded, idiotic, or epileptic. Adults
under 50 years of age may also be received if proper subjects for such
an institution. Applications for admission to the institution of
persons under 21, other than those committed by the juvenile court
must be approved by the county superintendent o f schools. In order
that both the county superintendent o f schools and the superinten­
dent o f the State institution may know of the existing need for insti­
tutional care o f mentally defective children, the law requires that the
names and addresses o f such children be obtained in the school census
and reported to these officials.38
At the time o f the study an effort was made to obtain from the
superintendent of schools in each of the counties and in each of the
cities visited a statement as to the approximate number o f children
found m their homes at the time of the last annual school census
who were not attending school because of some physical or mental
handicap. No information as to such children was available in Walla
Walla County or in Adams County. In the city of Seattle the state­
ment was made that children with an intelligence quotient of less
than 50 were debarred from public schools, but the actual number of
such children was not available. Information from Grays Harbor
County, Pacific County, Spokane County, including the city of
84 Laws of 1886, p. 136; Remington’s Comp. Stat. 1922, sec. 4644
»Rem ington’s Comp. Stat. 1922, sec. 4645.
88 Ibid., secs. 4650, 4651, 4653.
a Laws of 1905, sec. 1, p. 133.
»Rem ington’s Comp. Stat. 1922, sec. 4663.
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Spokane, and King County, exclusive o f Seattle, showed that about
250 feeble-minded children between the ages of 6 and 21 years not
attending school had been found in these localities and that approxi­
mately 55 children were not attending school because of physical
defects. How many of these children with physical defects were
crippled children was not ascertained.
; **
A ll the State schools were crowded to their fullest capacity at the
time they were visited in connection with this study 5 and more applications had been received than could be accepted.39 During the year
of the study 27 children from the six counties had been in the school
for the blind, and 36 children had been in the school for the deaf. As
the State schools for the deaf and the blind are primarily educational
institutions, no records were obtained of the children. At the State
custodial school 230 children under 18 yearé of age had been under
care from the counties included ill the study.
As the number o f feeble-minded children under 21 reported as
being in their own homes and not provided for by local school facili­
ties is apparently larger than the number under care of the State
school, it is evident that there is need for an increase in the resources
o f the State for the care of feeble-minded children unless the present
local provisions for their care are greatly extended. I f institutional
provision is made, it is probable that a training school would be
better than a custodial institution, since special training in the public
schools is provided only in a few large cities. As the majority of the
population of Washington is situated west of the mountain range, it
would seem desirable to provide for an institution in this part of the
State. The experience o f other States has demonstrated the value of
extending the institutional program of the State to include the estab­
lishment of intensive parole supervision of persons who have com­
pleted a period of training in the institution. In a few States an in­
termediate stage of community readjustment of paroled persons has
been provided through the establishment of colonies where persons
still under the control of the institution may undertake employment
in the community.
Individual records were obtained from the selected counties of
the 230 children under 18 years of age under the care of the State cus­
todial school. Most of the children were from 6 to 13 years of age
when admitted, 59 were younger than 6, and 28 were 14 years or
older. Some of the children had been in the institution for so short
a time that no mental classification had been made, and in a few
cases this information was not recorded. O f the 193 children for
whom the mental classification was reported. 56 were classified as
idiots (intelligence quotient 0-24), 78 as^imbeciles (intelligence quo­
tient 25-49), 54 as morons (intelligence quotient 50-75), and 5 in
higher grades. It was impossible to tell from the records how many
of these children would be considered as cases requiring permanent
custodial care and how many might be returned to their own com­
munities after a period of training. O f the entire institution popu­
lation of 845, there were 344 children receiving training in the school
. department in June, 1926. During the year 8 children from the
selected counties were released by the school to their parents. Only
88 The new building at the State custodial school occupied since January, 1928, has
relieved the immediate congestion in this school.
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2 o f these had been in the institution long enough for a period
of training— a 16-year-old g ir l40 classified as “ moron-low ” who
had been in the institution for nearly four years, and a 13-year-old
boy classified as “ border line ” who had been in the institution nearly
six years. Four of the others had been in the institution less than
a year, and two, less than two years.
The State has assumed no responsibility financially or adminis­
tratively for the medical treatment o f crippled children nor for
their care or education. In most of the counties visited, hospital
care, either medical or surgical, had been provided for by public or
private funds for any children needing such assistance. Hospital
treatment constitutes only part, however, of the care that must be
given to a seriously crippled child. He may need a long period
of reconstructive treatment and training, special equipment in the
way of braces and other appliances, and specially equipped class­
rooms or home instruction.41 It was impossible to judge in this
general survey the extent of need for special resources for the care
o f such children. Unquestionably some children in the counties vis­
ited were not attending school because they were crippled, and some
children were enduring physical handicap's that might have been
removed through expert medical care.
In a number o f States, usually those in which recurrent epidemics
of poliomyelitis have left many handicapped children, some plan
has been made for a State agency to take the responsibility of seeing
that crippled children throughout the State are receiving the care
that they need. Such plans have included provision of diagnostic
and treatment clinics at different points throughout the State, and
State funds for specially equipped day schools in the larger cities
or towns with arrangements for boarding-home care during the
school year for children attending such schools from other localities,
and some form o f home instruction for children unable to attend

Understanding o f the needs of children who are handicapped
by physical or mental defects is steadily growing, and with this
has come realization o f the necessity o f local programs for their
care. Both public and private agencies have undertaken to provide
medical care, specialized training, and vocational adjustment for the
physically handicapped. Especially in the care of crippled children,
private initiative has done much toward stimulating more adequate
public provisions. In many localities a large proportion of the
physically handicapped children are being cared for in their own
communities. Although the necessity for public provisions for the
care of mentally deficient children is generally accepted, the need for
local provisions for the training, supervision, and vocational adjust­
ment of these children is not always recognized.
Which mentally deficient children can be cared for by the county
and which must be sent to institutions provided by the State can
not be decided wholly on the basis of intelligence level. Even a
*° This girl had been sterilized before release.
“ Digest of Legislation for Education of Crippled Children, by Ward W. Keesecker.
U. S. Bureau of Education Bulletin, 1929, No. 5. Washington, 1929.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



child with a low mental age may be cared for successfully in his
own home if he is socially adaptable and is given the proper train­
ing and supervision. The schools must take an important place in
such a program. In fact some authorities go so far as to hold
When the public schools shall have fully recognized that they have no right to
deprive a child of educational advantages suited to his needs just because he
appears on one of the lower levels of the intelligence curve, and when they
shall have provided an adequate number of special classes supplemented by
competent psychological, psychiatric, and visiting teacher service, then a large
part of the “ problem of mental deficiency ” will have been solved.42

In addition to the training and supervision given by the schools,
an adequate program should be provided through some agency in
cooperation with the State for guidance and oversight of all mentally
deficient persons in the community, especially those children having
too limited intelligence to attend school.

In Washington the legislature has authorized the board of directors
o f any school district of the first class to establish schools for the
education of any class or classes of defective youth.48 Five o f the
cities in the six counties are in the first-class school districts, but
only three (Seattle, Spokane, and Aberdeen) had established special
public-school classes or schools. Seattle had as a department o f its
public-school work a child-study laboratory with a staff of five
trained workers. The laboratory had supervision over the special
classes and speech classes, gave intelligence tests (both group and
individual) in the grade schools and high schools, diagnosed the
difficulties of problem children, and made surveys. Seattle and
Spokane have classes for children with physical defects. The city
of Seattle has done pioneer work in providing in the public-school
system a school for the deaf and a number of sight restoration and
conservation classes. The school board also maintained a school for
crippled children in the privately conducted orthopedic hospital that
received children from all over the State. Spokane had in connection
with its special school for mentally defective children (the Horace
Mann School) a special department for deaf children. Classes for
mentally retarded children were available in Seattle, Spokane, and
It is evident that there is need for better public provision for the
care o f handicapped children in their own community.

Three types o f institutions for juvenile delinquents were visited
during the study: State institutions—the State training school for
boys, and the State training school for girls; parental schools main42 Davies, Stanley P .: Social Control of the Mentally Deficient, p, 323.
Crowell Co., New York, 1930.
48 Code of Public Instruction, 1923, sec,
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Thomas V.



tained by the city under the administration of the board o f education
in Seattle and Spokane; and private institutions caring for
delinquent girls. A ll these institutions, with the exception of the
State training schools, were located in Seattle and Spokane. In
addition the State reformatory received delinquent boys, and the
State penitentiary was used for both boys and girls under 18 who
had committed serious offenses.44
The State schools receive delinquent children over 8 years and
under 18 years o f age committed to them by the juvenile courts. In
Seattle, parental schools are maintained for girls between the ages
of 8 and 16 and for boys between 6 and 16 years of age. Children
are received at the schools only on commitment by the juvenile court.
The parental school for boys in Spokane received children over 6
and under 16 years of age from either the juvenile court or the
attendance department o f the schools. Girls were received from the
juvenile court or from parents or other guardians in three private
institutions, which were all under church auspices.
Although delinquency was the reason for commitment of children
in the State schools and the majority of those in the private schools,
dependency or neglect was frequently responsible to some extent for
their commitment. The local facilities available for the care of
dependent children, as well as the attitude of the judges toward
various types of delinquency, influenced the number of commitments
to institutions for delinquents from the different counties.
A ll three types of institutions for delinquent children undertook
to place children in family homes under parole supervision. This
plan was followed to a much greater extent by the State schools and
the parental schools than by the private institutions.
During the biennium ended September 30, 1926, the reformatory
had cared for 92 boys who were 15 to 17 years o f age at the time
of conviction, and the penitentiary cared for 16 boys and girls who
were 16 and 17 years of age at the time of conviction.45
The State training schools.

The two State training schools for delinquent children are situated
within a short distance of each other in the western part of the State.
Both the institutions have large farms. The residence buildings of
the girls’ school are more modern and adequate than those in the
boys’ school. Individual rooms for 27 to 51 girls are provided in
the four cottages at the girls’ school, but at the time of the visit
of the agent of the Children’s Bureau some of them were being used
as double rooms. The boys were housed in dormitories in three
buildings called cottages, each caring for from 70 to more than 100
boys. In the girls’ school each cottage was a complete living unit
with its own kitchen and dining room, whereas the boys’ school, had
a common kitchen and dining hall housed in a beautifully equipped
new building.
The recent building program of the bays’ school has included the
erection of a gymnasium which supplements for indoor recreation
the playroom provided in* each residence building. The boys’ school
44 The Industrial Home and Clinic established in 1920 for the care of delinquent girls
and women 16 years of age and over had been discontinued at the time of the study.
45 Third Biennial Report of the Department of Business Control, State of Washington,
1927, pp. 153, 131.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



was provided with an infirmary where sick boys might be adequately
cared for. No provision had been made at the girls’ school for a
gymnasium and no proper provision had been made for hospital care,
the only treatment facilities being those in the receiving cottage.
The State schools furnished the juvenile courts of the State with
history sheets upon which to supply a complete history of all chil­
dren committed to the schools. The courts in King and Spokane
Counties were the only ones that had furnished the schools with
adequate information of this kind. The only social data fqr chil­
dren from other counties which the schools had were gotten from
the boys and girls themselves after admission to the institutions.
A ll girls were given a medical examination and were isolated for
10 days or 2 weeks on admission. The boys were weighed, meas­
ured, and vaccinated when admitted to the school, but no physical
examination was given. Both institutions provided for special ex­
aminations and treatments when needed. Neither institution had
facilities for individualized study of the children through mental
examinations or personality studies. Most of the boys and girls
received from the King County court had had mental examinations.
Reports of these examinations were obtained from the court by the
girls’ school with the history of the case. The boys’ school did not
request this information on the report required from the court.
The girls’ school made a practice o f receiving as few venerealdisease cases as possible. They refused to accept such cases from
Seattle, Spokane, and Tacoma, where local facilities for care were
available. Only partial segregation of infected girls was main­
tained. One section o f the receiving cottage was used for this pur­
pose ; and although all the girls in the cottage ate together, all dishes
used in the cottage were sterilized. Special treatment rooms and
a separate bath were provided for the eight venereal cases in the
school. More adequate provision for care o f these cases was needed.
No special provision was made in the girls’ school for the care of
maternity cases. Girls needing such care were furloughed to a
maternity hospital for confinement.
Regular school work was provided in both institutions. In the
girls’ school one group of girls attended classes in the morning and
the second group attended in the afternoon. In addition to grade
teachers, two vocational teachers— a sewing teacher and a music
teacher—were employed. Piano instruction was given a number
o f girls as well as individual vocal instruction and chorus work in
connection with the school glee club. Scholarships for further mu­
sical education were provided for girls showing special talent. A
few girls were given training in commercial subjects. Each girl
had a regular 3-month assignment to the various types of main­
tenance work in connection with the institution, the half day they
were not in school— sewing, cooking, laundry work, and farm work.
No special provision was made for organized instruction in these
activities, although the girls were carefully taught how to do their
For academic work the boys were divided into two groups, each
group attending school all day on alternate weeks. Instructors were
provided to teach commercial subjects and instrumental music.
Music lessons were given daily in connection with the school band
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and orchestra. Much of the work done in the shops and on the farm
during alternate weeks was maintenance work and was not organ­
ized so as actually to fit the boys for a trade, although some instruc­
tion was given in carpentering, tailoring, shoemaking, printing, and
farm work.
Both institutions had a credit or merit system, and a girl or a boy
was required to earn a certain number o f credits before he was
eligible for parole. Misconduct on the part of the boys was penal­
ized by giving demerits and also special work assignments as dis­
ciplinary measures. The girls were given demerits and sometimes
denied certain privileges, or locked in their rooms for disobedience
o f rules. On good behavior girls were promoted to honor rooms or
to the honor cottage, which afforded them such advantages as private
rooms, unbarred windows, and an opportunity for additional decora­
tions in their rooms. The boys’ school had some military organi­
zation and a certain amount of self-government. A guard was on
duty all night in each of the boys’ dormitories ; the girls were locked
in their rooms.
The recreation program at the girls’ school was greatly hampered
by the lack of a central auditorium or recreation hall. The only
room available for this purpose was quite inadequate, being located
in the basement of the administrative building (used also as the
honor cottage). No special indoor play rooms were provided, al­
though each cottage had an attractive living room and reading room.
A large indoor gymnasium as well as living rooms and rooms for
rough play had been provided at the boys’ school. Girls and boys
in each institution had the advantage of organized outdoor sports
under trained leadership.
A child may be paroled from either institution as soon as he has a
certain number of merits to his credit. The average length o f stay
in the institutions prior to parole is approximately one year. Tech­
nically both boys and girls are on parole until they become 21 years
o f age, although the period o f active parole supervision continues
for only one year. During this year one who is on parole may be
returned to the institution without recommitment by the court.
With only one parole officer for each school, it was obviously im­
possible to carry on any constructive aftercare supervision, as there
were about 300 on parole in various parts o f the State from each
Regular written reports are required twice a month on forms sup­
plied by the schools. In many cases this is the only contact the
officers have with those on parole. The parole officers seldom visited
the boy s or girl’s home before the parole, nor was it possible for
them to do much visiting except in connection with calling for
children committed to the institution and accompanying them to
the homes to which they were paroled. Some assistance was given
both boys and girls in finding work. A number of girls who could
not be returned to their own homes were placed under supervision
in wage homes, many of them in cities and towns near the State
school. The officer was able to give more supervision in these cases.
Whenever the parole officer went into a locality he made it a point
to visit as many as possible of the boys and girls on parole who
lived near by. No effort had been made by either school to gaip
the cooperation of local agencies in this aftercare work,
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Local institutions.



Parental schools.—The two parental schools in Seattle, adminis­
tered by the board o f education, were providing institutional cure
for a majority of the delinquent children from King County. The
parental school in Spokane, on the other hand, had accommodations
for only 26 boys, and a large majority of the delinquent children
from the county were in State or private institutions. The boys
parental schools were located in the country outside the cities, the
«•iris’ school in an outlying residential section. A ll these schools
provided care on a 12-month basis. (For description of schools see
P P . 90, 103.)
In Seattle all admissions to the parental schools were through
court commitment, the responsibility for investigations being with
the court, although a representative from the school-attendance
department was present at court hearings and in many cases had
filed the complaint. Aftercare supervision of all boys’ cases became the responsibility of the school-attendance department^
this department gave some assistance in aftercare supervision for
the girls’ school. The superintendent of the girls’ school, however,
did most of the supervision of those on parole.
In Spokane the court made the investigations for commitment
and did the aftercare supervision of all children except a few placed
in the institution directly by the school department. In these few
cases the visiting teacher made the precommitment investigations,
and the superintendent o f the institution supervised the boys when
Various methods have been developed in different parts of the
country for dealing with children of school age who are truant or
present other conduct difficulties. These methods may be classified
into two groups: Provision for care away from the child’s home,
represented by the parental school, and provision of supervision
and services to the child while he remains in his own home. The
establishment of special classes or day schools providing a program
that will meet the needs and stimulate the interests of these mal­
adjusted children, and the provision of attendance officers with case­
work experience, and of visiting teachers, represent methods that
have been designed for care of difficult children in their own homes.
The visiting teacher, equipped to study the needs o f the child, to
help him with his difficulties, and to work with his family in adjust­
ing his problems, is of the greatest value in this preventive program.
The only such worker found in the schools of the six counties was in
the city o f Spokane.
More adequate preventive work might reduce the burden placed
upon the parental schools, which would make it possible for these
schools to do intensive work with a small number of boys and girls
whose habits of misconduct are thoroughly established. At the time
of the study no such intensive work was possible. The Seattle
schools had extended their original plan of providing short-time
care for truants and were undertaking to care for some children
who had committed more serious delinquencies, as well as for a
number who were primarily dependent or neglected. (See p. 103.)
P r i v a t e institutions.— One of the three private institutions for
delinquent girls (The House of the Good Shepherd) was located in
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Spokane and two (The House of the Good Shepherd and the Ruth
School for Girls) in Seattle. These three institutions were pro­
viding for nearly 300 girls. The two larger institutions did not
restrict their work to girls from the city in which they were located
but accepted almost any girl for whom application was made, re­
gardless o f place o f residence. Only one o f the three took girls
with venereal disease, and none accepted maternity cases. Although
many o f the girls were committed by the court, some were received
directly from their parents. Most o f the girls were 16 years of age
or over, although sometimes younger girls were accepted. The
House of the Good Shepherd in Seattle had a department for
junior delinquents under 14. These girls were separated from the
older girls during school houçs and at night. At the time o f the
study the youngest girl in this department was 10 years old.
The Ruth School for Girls, the smallest o f the three private insti­
tutions, was organized to provide a home and training for girls who
are in danger o f becoming delinquent. It had not adhered strictly
to this purpose, however, as a number o f delinquent girls were being
received from the court. The girls all occupied small rooms, and
the general atmosphere of the school was quite homelike. The girls
had an opportunity for outdoor recreation, and those on the honor
roll were allowed special privileges such as attendance at lectures,
movies, and concerts outside the institution.
In the larger institutions the girls occupied dormitories accommo­
dating 40 to 60 girls each. They were required to spend a part of
each day on work that was a source of revenue to the institutions.
One institution was overcrowded, with limited space in the dormi­
tories and recreation rooms and little provision for organized out­
door recreation; a very cheerful atmosphere was found to exist
throughout the institution, however. Quite the reverse was true in
the other institution. While there was ample dormitory space, the
facilities for both indoor and outdoor recreation were limited, and
the work program of girls over 14 left little time for recreation.
It is probable that the changes in policies o f administration con­
templated by the superintendent and installed about the time o f the
close o f the study will result in a general improvement of the at­
mosphere o f this institution.

Number of children.

Records were obtained o f 900 children (506 boys and 394 girls)
from the six counties who had been under care of institutions for
delinquent children during the year of the study. Less than half
of these children (444) were in the institutions on February 28,
1927. Two hundred and forty-nine were under supervision or on
parole, 199 had been released from the institution or from parole
during the year, and 8 had escaped. The number in each group,
according to the type of institution, is shown in Table 11.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



T able 1 1 — Number of children in specified type of institutions for delinquent
children and number on parole at the close of the year, and number released
in the six counties during the year ended February 28, 1927
Children under supervision during year
Type of institution

Total-................................................................ - ............

In insti­
parole Released
tution at On
close during
close of at









1Including 8 who had escaped.

Table 12 shows the counties from which these children came and
the type of institution that had cared for them. In proportion to
the total population of the counties, the number of commitments to
the State training schools from Spokane and Grays Harbor Counties
was much larger than from other counties.46
T able 12.__ Number of children under supervision of each type of institution
for delinquent children in six specified counties during the year ended Feb­
ruary 28, 1927
Children under supervision during year
Type of institution

Walla Walla County------------------------- ----------- ------- ----------

training Parental










l No records were obtained of the boys in the parental school in Spokane County. This institution pro
vided for about 25 boys.

A ll the children under the care o f the two State training schools
and two of the parental schools were committed to these institutions
by the courts, but about two-fifths of the girls in private institu­
tions had been placed there by parents, relatives, or other persons.
Most of the children had never been committed to an institution
before, but 32 had had one previous commitment, and 2 had had
two previous commitments.
40 Information was obtained in regard to 11 boys under 18 yearS of age from the six
counties who had been committed to the State reformatory for men during the year.
Five of these were from Spokane County, 4 from King County, and 1 each from Grays
Harbor and Walla Walla County.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



Age and parental status at commitment.

Although children between 8 and 18 years of age might be com­
mitted to the State training schools, very few children under 14
years of age (only one-fifth of those under care during the year)
were in these schools. (Table 13.) The private institutions caring
for delinquent girls were primarily caring for children over 14
years of age. On the contrary, nearly two-thirds of the children
in the parental schools were under 14. The large number o f younger
children in the parental schools is explained by the fact that these
institutions were established primarily for children who were
T able 13.— Number of children of specified age groups when committed to each
type of institution for delinquent children in the six counties during the year
ended February 28, 1927
Children under supervision during year
Type of institution

Age when committed



7 years, under 8 . . .
8 years, under 10.
10 years, under 12.
12 years, under 14.
14 years, under 16.
16 years, under 18.
Age not reported..


training Parental








Information in regard to the marital status o f parents of the
children when they were received by the institutions showed that
only 337 (42 per cent) of the 809 for whom information on this
point was obtained had both their own parents living together and
maintaining a home. Family discord, as shown by desertion, sepa­
ration, or divorce, was responsible for breaking up the home life
of 222 children (27 per cent). One or both parents of 244 children
(30 per cent) had died, and the parents of 6 had not married. As
is shown in the following list, a number of parents had remarried.
Marital status of parents
at time of commitment


Nümber of

Living together___ _______________________________ I _________
Deserted or separated________________ ____ ;____ _________ 91
Divorced_____________________ ______________ _______________ ~
Head of family remarried____ _________________ _______
Head of family not remarried__,_____________________


One parent dead____________________________________
Head of family remarried___________________________
Head of family notremarried__________________________


Both parents dead_______________________________________


Parents not married to each other__________________________
Status not reported__________________________________ " __ 9 1
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis





A somewhat smaller proportion of the children under care of the
parental schools than of those in other types of institutions were
from homes maintained by both their own parents. This is probably
due to the fact that children were committed to the two parental
schools for dependency or neglect alone or in combination with
some specific offense.
The records show that at the time of their commitment to the
institution 666 (81 per cent) of the 820 children for whom informa­
tion was obtained were living in their own homes with one or both
parents, or with one of their own parents and a step-parent. Fiftysix were in relatives’ homes; 32 were under the care of another
institution or under the supervision of an agency; and 66 were
in other types of homes.
Reason for commitment.

A number of children referred to the court primarily because o f
dependency, although they may have exhibited conduct difficulties
also, had been sent to the parental school and three private insti­
tutions. Dependency probably was a factor in the commitment
o f many other children to all the institutions, even to the State
schools. However, the majority of the children sent to institutions
for delinquents had been charged with some specific offense.
Table 14 shows the number of children committed to each type
o f institution and the charge on which they were committed. Steal­
ing was the most usual charge (70 per cent) among boys sent to the
State training school, whereas truancy (42 per cent) and its close
second, stealing (39 per cent), were the most frequent charges for
boys under care of the parental school. Owing probably to the
smaller number of older boys committed to the parental school, the
proportion of sex offenses in this institution (3 per cent) was much
smaller than in the State school (10 per cent). An equal proportion
(9 per cent) o f the boys in each institution were charged with being
T able 14.— Per cent distribution of charges reported on which hoys and girls
were committed to each type of institution in the six counties during the year
ended February 28, 1927
Type of institution

State training Parental school Private





Per cent Per cent Per cent Per cent Per cent
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis


• 42





Distinct differences were found also in the types of offenses for
which girls were committed. The greatest contrast was between
the charges of girls committed to the State training school and of
those committed to the parental school, the percentage distribution
of the charges o f girls sent to the private institution being about
midway between these two. Sex offenses as the cause varied from
80 per cent in the State school to 24 per cent in the parental school.
Stealing was a much less common offense than among the boys, the
proportion of girls charged with stealing varying from 8 per cent
in the State school to 13 per cent in the parental school. The num­
ber o f girls charged with truancy was somewhat similar to the
number charged with stealing— 5 per cent in the State school and
12 per cent in the parental school. A larger proportion of the
girls in the parental school were called “ ungovernable ”— 19 - per
cent, as compared with 12 per cent in the State school. Dependent
girls comprised 17 per cent of those sent to the parental schools and
14 per cent o f those sent to private institutions.
Length of time in the institution.

Table 15 shows the length of time the children had been in insti­
tutions at the end of the year or at the time of parole or release
from the institution. These periods of care represent the total
actual time the children were in the institutions, as all periods of
parole or absence from the institutions were excluded. Since a
large number of boys and girls who were in the institutions at the
end o f the year had been under care only for a short time, it is the
group placed on parole or discharged during the year that gives a
better picture of the length of time that children actually remained
in the institutions.
T able 15.— Duration of time in institutions for delinquent children and number
of children in institution or on parole or released from institutions of each
type in the six counties during the year ended February 28, 1927

Children under supervision
11ype of institutio a

State training

Time in institution

Parental school

Private insti­

pa­ In the On pa­ In the On pa­
In the On pa­ In the On
insti­ role or insti­ or
insti­ or
insti­ or
re­ tution
tution released tution leased 1 tution leased
Total......... ...............................









Less than 6 months______________
6 months, less than 1 year_______ .. .
1 year, less than 2________________
2 years, less than 3.............................
3 years, less than 4....... ........... .........









i Includes 6 who escaped,
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis


1Includes I who escaped,




More than half the 456 paroled or released children had been in
the institutions for less than a year. Most of the remainder had
been given care less than 2 years, but a few had been under
care for 2 to 5 years or longer. Only a small number of the
children paroled or discharged from the State schools had been in
these institutions for 2 but less than 3 years, whereas about onefifth of the children from the parental schools and one-eighth of
the children from private institutions had remained in the institu­
tion for 2 years or more.

In four of the counties (Adams, Grays Harbor, Pacific, and Walla
Walla) children’s cases were heard at special sessions of the superior
court. In King and Spokane Counties a juvenile court had been
organized as a separate branch of the superior court.
The court hearing juvenile cases in Washington has exclusive
original jurisdiction over all dependent and delinquent children
under 18 years of age.47 This court also has charge of the adminis­
tration of the mothers’ aid law and has jurisdiction over parents,
guardians, or other persons who by act or omission contribute to
the dependency or delinquency o f a child. It does not have juris­
diction over cases of nonsupport or desertion or over cases of determi­
nation of paternity and support o f children born out of wedlock.
Although the juvenile court has jurisdiction over all children under
18 years of age, a number of boys of 16 and 17 years of age had been
transferred during the year of the study from the juvenile court to
other courts. This practice was more common in the Spokane court
than in any other, as a policy had been adopted in Spokane of having
all delinquent children referred to the court, but of transferring back
to the police court all cases of boys oyer 16 years of age charged with
violating city traffic regulations. It is evident that in all the remain­
ing counties the police had handled, without referring them to the
juvenile courts, many cases of children under 18 years of age who
had violated traffic ordinances. No records of transfer of jurisdiction
were obtained from other than the Spokane courts; but it was
reported that a few children slightly under 18 years, who had com­
mitted serious offenses and who, the judge felt, would not profit from
the care given by the juvenile court, had been remanded to the
superior court in King and Walla Walla Counties. No reports were
obtained of such transfers in the remaining counties.
A total of 2,403 cases (1,871 delinquency and 532 dependency
cases) had come before the juvenile courts during the year m five of
the counties included in the study.48 O f the delinquency cases, 1,512
« See Analysis and Tabular Summary of State Laws Relating to Jurisdiction in Chil­
dren’s Cases and Cases of Domestic Relations in the United States, by Freda Ring Lyman
(U. S. Children’ s Bureau Chart No. 17, Washington, 1930).
. ,
48 The probation work of the juvenile court of Grays Harbor County had been organized
just a short time before it was visited by the agent of the Children’ s Bureau. Since
access to the legal court records of delinquency cases for the part of the year before the
appointment of the -probation staff was refused, information was not obtained in regard
to all children who had come before the court during the year of the study.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



were boys’ cases and 359 were girls’ cases, and of the dependency
cases 256 were boys’ and 276 were girls’ cases. There was much
variation in the different counties as to the relative number of delin­
quency and dependency cases that had been heard. The dependency
cases constituted one-fifth of the cases before the court in King
County, more than one-fourth o f those in Spokane County, about onesixth of those in Walla Walla County, and nearly two-thirds of
those in Pacific County. Only four delinquency cases and no
dependency cases had come before the court in Adams County. Table
16 shows the number of cases dealt with in each of the counties.
T able 16.— N u m ber o f delinquency and dependency cases disposed o f b y ju ven ile
courts in five specified counties during th e y e a r ended F eb ru a ry 28, 1927


King County.............. .........................
Spokane County- ____________
Walla Walla County_______ _
Pacific County_________________
Adams County_________________ _____










Method of dealing' with cases.

Only about one-third o f the entire group o f delinquency cases were
official cases, an official case being one in which a formal petition is
filed for adjudication by the court. Dealing with cases unofficially
was much more common for boys than for girls. O f the 1,512 boys’
cases 1,078 were unofficial, whereas of the 359 girls’ cases only 1*57
were unofficial. The decision whether a petition should be filed was
the responsibility of the chief probation officers in the King County,
Grays Harbor County, and Spokane County courts; in the three
smaller counties the prosecuting attorney or the judge received the
complaints and filed petitions. The policies as to whether cases were
dealt with officially or unofficially varied greatly in the different coun­
ties. In two of the counties (Adams and Pacific) all the 18 delin­
quency cases were official and were heard by the judge. There was
no paid probation officer in either of these counties, although in Pacific
County investigation and supervision of a few cases had been under­
taken by the county nurse appointed by the judge, as a volunteer pro­
bation officer. In King County three-fourths of the delinquency
cases (1,049) were unofficial, as compared with slightly more than
one-third (167) in Spokane. Nineteen of the 30 delinquency cases in
Walla Walla County were unofficial. Most of the dependency cases
in the counties had been handled officially, although 73 cases in King
County and 28 cases in Spokane County had been adjusted without
court hearing. A ll unofficial cases were heard by the chief proba­
tion officers in King and Spokane Counties and by either the district
attorney or the probation officer in Walla Walla County.
54586°— 31------ 5
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



Source of complaints.

Police, probation officers, school officials, or other agencies were
responsible for entering the complaint in more than three-fourths of
the delinquency cases, the rest of this group being brought into court
by relatives or other individuals. In about half of the dependency
cases the children were referred to the court by a relative or some
other individual; in the other half they were referred by the police,
probation officers, or other officials. Since all but 48 of the delin­
quency cases and 30 of the dependency and neglect cases Were from
the Bang County and Spokane County courts, it is primarily the
situation in these two counties that is shown by Table i f.
T able 17.— Source o f complaint in delinquency and dependency cases dealt
w ith b y ju ven ile courts in five counties during
28, 1927

Source of complaint

the yea r ended F eb ru a ry










The sources of complaint were the same in practically the sapie
proportion of cases in the two counties. In both the counties close
cooperation existed between the police department and the juvenile
court. In King County the woman’s division and the juvenile di­
vision o f the police department had undertaken to adjust a large
number of the juvenile cases without referring them to the court,
but at the time o f the study a large proportion of the cases were
being referred. In Spokane County all juvenile cases were referred
immediately to the court.
Study of the child.

The thoroughness with which the social background o f the chil­
dren was investigated and the children themselves were studied va­
ried in different counties. In each of the four larger counties one or
more probation officers had been appointed,49 but in practically every
county these officers were carrying too heavy a case load to make
possible intensive study of all cases. Investigations were made by
the probation officers in all official cases, and in two counties (Grays
Harbor and Spokane) in all unofficial cases.50
Physical examinations were always made in these counties when
some definite need was seen. The King County court was the only
coui;t which had available the services o f a child-guidance clinic for
special study of individual children, although mental examinations
were occasionally given by private specialists in particular cases in
the other counties.
49 In Walla Walla County the probation officer was giving only part time to this work.
5ft Investigations were not made in cases of traffic violators in Spokane County, as
these were transferred to the police courts.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



In the two smaller counties (Adams and Pacific) no definite pro­
cedure had been established to ascertain facts relating to the cases.
Investigations had been made by the judge or by some volunteer,
and their source o f information was largely personal knowledge of
the child and his family. Although it was possible to provide for
physical examinations of children, no resources were available for
psychiatric or psychological study in these counties.
Psychiatric and psychological study of the child should be made
in at least all cases in which the social investigation raises a question
o f special need for study and should be made before decision for
treatment, but only by a clinic or an examiner properly qualified for
such work. Provision for state-wide service or traveling clinics
providing for psychological, psychiatric, and social study of prob­
lem children would be a most valuable contribution to the work of
the court, especially in those counties having no large city in which
such clinics are available. The appointment of probation officers
with special training in psychiatric social work- would be of great
assistance to the courts in dealing with difficult conduct problems.

A ll the judges in the different counties who were hearing chil­
dren’s cases at the time of the study were much interested in chil­
dren’s problems and were carrying out in their work the spirit of the
juvenile court law. The hearings were private and very informal,
being more in the nature of conferences. The general public was
excluded from all hearings, only the court officials, relatives, and
the necessary witnesses being present. In King County juvenile
cases were heard in a special juvenile-court room in the juvenilecourt and detention-home building. In Spokane County the cases
were heard in the living room of the detention home, and in the
other four counties practically all cases were heard in the judge’s

Provisions for detention in the six counties.

In accordance with the provisions of the State juvenile court law
for counties with more than 20,000 inhabitants, detention homes had
been established in King and Spokane Counties, and a detention
ward for juveniles had been provided in the courthouse in Walla
Walla County. This ward was under the supervision o f the wife
o f the janitor of the courthouse. Grays Harbor County, which
also has a population of more than 20,000, had made no special
provision for the detention of children. Children detained for
the Grays Harbor County juvenile court were held in the women’s
quarters of the Aberdeen city jail. Such provisions for detention
are contrary to the law, which provides that the place of detention
used for children under 16 shall be “ outside the inclosure of any
jail or police station.” 51 The only provision for detention of chil­
dren in Pacific County (population less than 20,000) was in a county
jail, the children being cared for in the matron’s quarters. How­
ever, only two boys under 16 had been detained in these quarters
during the year. In Adams County it was reported that the jail
was never used for detention of juveniles. No detention had been
61 Remington’s Comp. Stat. 1922, sec. 1987—11.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



found necessary during the year for the few children coming before
the court.
Although complete information could not be obtained as to the
number of children who had been detained in Grays Harbor and
Walla Walla Counties during the year, the reports of the persons
in charge o f the places of detention indicated that in proportion to
the number of children coming before the court the number detained
was large. With skillful probation service it should be possible to
reduce greatly the need for detention of children in these counties.
The place of detention, pending hearing or disposition of the
case, used for children who came before the courts in five o f the
counties is shown in Table 18. In 987 cases the children were not
detained; either they were left in their own homes or no detention
was necessary, as disposition was made on the day they were brought
into court. Since both the counties having large cities had provided
juvenile detention homes, it is not surprising to find that detention
homes either alone or in combination with other places of care were
used for most o f the children needing detention. In a total of 59
delinquency cases boys were detained in jail or police station for a
part or the entire time they were held. No girls were held by the
juvenile court in jails or police stations pending hearing or disposi­
tion o f the case. (Three girls had been held in jail by the police
but had been released and were not in jail at time of court hearing.)
T able 18.— Place o f detention o f children pending hearing or disposition o f
delinquency and dependency cases in five counties during the yea r ended
F eb ru a ry 28, 1921

Place of detention of children











The percentage of cases coming before the courts in the five coun­
ties in which some detention care away from their own homes was
deemed necessary for the children was large as compared with simi­
lar data obtained from 62 courts reporting statistics to the Children’s
Bureau.52 In 58 per cent of the delinquency cases in Washington
children were detained away from their homes overnight or longer,
and in only 42 per cent of the cases reported by the group of courts
were they so detained. In 48 per cent o f the dependency cases in
Washington children were detained away from their homes, as com­
pared with those in 39 per cent of the cases reported by 53 courts
reporting to the Children’s Bureau.
MJuvenile-Court Statistics, 1928, pp. 14, 27.
200. Washington, 1930.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

U. S. Children’s Bureau Publication No.



Children detained in detention homes in King and Spokane Counties.

The detention homes under the direction of the juvenile courts of
King and Spokane Counties served not only as places o f detention
for children awaiting hearing or disposition of their cases by the
court but also as a temporary shelter or home for children placed
by the police department, social agencies, or other persons. Most
of the children placed in detention homes for such care were de­
pendent or neglected children or runaways. A few problem chil­
dren had been received from parents or agencies for study or for
Because of these circumstances, the number of admissions to the
detention homes was considerably larger than the actual number of
children detained for the court in such institutions as shown by the
court records. In a total of 1,149 court cases the children were de­
tained in detention homes. There were, however,. 1,632 admissions
reported by the detention homes during this period (exclusive of
those cases disposed of the same day and not held in the detention
home overnight).
In very few cases were the children detained for more than a few
days, although some detention periods extended to a month, two
months, or even three months. Excluding those cases in which the
child was not detained overnight, two-thirds of the periods of de­
tention were less than a week, the largest number in any one group
being for only one day. More than one-fourth were from one week
to one month, and the remainder (less than one-tenth) were from
one to three months. The following list shows the length o f the
periods of detention for children held in detention homes in King
and Spokane Counties:
Length of

Cases of
children held in
detention homes
______ _ 2,0 93

Less than 1 day----- „ — ---------1 day__________ ; 1 -------- J i i » —
2 days------------ -----------------------i —
3 d a ys-_____ --------------------—4 days------------ -------------- ______1 —
5 days___________ ||-----------------------


Length of
6 days— ---------------1 week----------------- 2 weeks__________
3 weeks------— A —
1 month------------ -—
2 months---------------3 months and more.
Time not reported.

Cases of
children held in
detention homes
_______________ 75
_______________ 269
_______________ 96
___ ■ ' 57
l i . _____
_______________ 7
_______________ 87

Thirteen per cent (229) o f the children detained were detained
more than once; 178, twice; 31, three times; 16, four times; and
4, more than four times. In a number of the cases in which the
child was detained more than once, all the periods of detention
were short. Five admissions were reported for a 14-year-old Chinese
boy who came to the detention home of his own accord, usually be­
cause he had either missed his ferry or had no money to pay his
fare. A. delinquent boy o f 15 was in the detention home seven
times and in jail once during the year. The periods of detention
for this boy ranged from a few hours to two weeks. He was first
brought to the detention home by the school-attendance officer be­
cause of truancy and was sent home the same day. Later he was
arrested by the police at different times for stealing an automobile,
for larceny, for disorderly conduct, and for injury to a person.
He was put on probation a few months before his final court ap­
pearance. On the earlier occasions the case had been dismissed
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



or closed after adjustment. The court finally committed him to the
State training school. Following this he was detained in jail four
days awaiting transfer to the institution. The police brought a
7-year-old runaway ward of the Washington Children’s Home
Society to the detention home 15 times. On nine of these occasions
he was not detained overnight, and only once was he kept more than
one night.
Children detained in jail.

Jails were used for the detention of some older boys and girls
during 1927. ^A total of 103 juveniles, all but 3 o f whom were boys,
were held in jail awaiting court hearing or disposition or transfer to
a State institution. Eleven o f the boys were detained in jail twice,
making 114 cases o f jail detention. With the exception o f a 14-yearold boy held in jail one night for court hearing on a charge of steal­
ing an automobile, those detained in jail were 15 years o f age (10),
16 years (32), or 17 years (57). The ages of 3 were not reported.
Table 18 shows that children had been held in jail pending hearing
or disposition by the court in only 59 cases. A number o f the boys
and girls held in jail had been committed to a State institution and
were awaiting commitment or return to the institution from escape.
A third group were those being detained for hearings in courts other
than the juvenile court. The number of cases of jail detention in
Spokane County was proportionately larger than the number in
King County, probably owing to the larger number of commitments
to State institutions, and to the number o f boys transferred to other
In the majority o f cases the boys or girls had been placed in jail
by the police— 85 of the 114 cases; 27 were placed by the court (11 by
the judge and 16 by a probation officer) and 1 by the school depart­
ment. In one case no information as to the person or agency respon­
sible was obtained. In only 10 of the 114 cases of jail detention was
the boy or girl held less than 1 day ; 62 others were detained for less
than 1 week, 26 from 1 week to 1 month, 5 for 1 month, and 1 for 2
months. The length o f time was not reported in 10 cases.

It was customary in all the counties visited to place on probation
or under supervision all classes o f children who came to the attention
o f the courts, delinquent, dependent, and neglected. Probation was
seldom used for children whose cases were heard unofficially; as a
rule they were released by the courts to parents or relatives after a
warning or some other adjustment, no supervision being maintained
over them.
Although a much larger number o f delinquent than o f dependent
or neglected children came into the courts during the year, compara­
tively few delinquent children were placed on probation. O f 495
children under supervision o f probation officers in King and Spokane
Counties during the year covered by the study, 93 were delinquent
(19 per cent) and 398 were dependent or neglected (81 per cent),
the reason for supervision o f 4 children not being recorded. In both
these counties the probation officers were placing both delinquent
and dependent children in family homes under supervision as well
as supervising children in their own homes.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



Great as is the need for adequate protection and supervision of
dependent and neglected children who must be removed from their
homes or who are allowed to remain in homes that lack the essen­
tials of adequate home life, it is desirable that agencies other than
the juvenile court should be provided for this purpose. The super­
vision of delinquent children is the immediate responsibility of a
juvenile court, whereas the supervision of dependent children might
properly be made one of the responsibilities of an adequately
equipped county public-welfare agency. v
The importance of helping children whose conduct^ is undesirable
to readjust their activities and habits without removing them from
their own homes is evident for the sake of both the children and the
county. Probation work for delinquent children should receive ade­
quate support from the community, and enough thoroughly equipped
officers should be appointed to give every child needing thorough,
painstaking supervision in his own home a chance to make good
under such conditions.

Race and age.

A number of the children committing offenses had been before the
court more than once during the year; therefore only 1,633 children
had been involved in the 1,871 delinquency cases. A ll but 43 o f the
1,633 children dealt with by five courts for whom race was reported
were white, 28 being Negro, and 15 Chinese, Indian, or Eskimo.
Table 19 shows the age distribution of these children. As has been
found in most studies o f delinquent children, a larger proportion of
the girls than of the boys were in the upper age group. Forty-eight
per cent o f the girls as compared with 39 per cent of the boys were
16 years of age or over. Washington is one o f the 19 States in which
the juvenile court has jurisdiction over children up to 18 years o f
age, and it is evident that this enables the court to be of greater
benefit to children, since a large proportion of delinquent children
are 16 or 17 years o f age.
T able 19.— A g e s o f boys and girls w h en r eferred to the courts in delinquency
cases in five counties during the yea r ended F eb ru a ry 28, 192 7

Children dealt with
Age of child when referred to court









The 65 children under 10 years o f age, who ranged in age from
4 years to 9 years, constitute an interesting group. Being ungovern­
able, truant, runaways, and committing acts o f carelessness and
mischief were the charges preferred against many o f these children,
but 28 were charged with some form of stealing. One of these
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



children was brought before the court twice during the year. The
school department first brought him to court on a charge of truancy.
The case was closed after adjustment, and the boy was returned
home. About a month later his parents brought him to court, com­
plaining that he was a truant, beyond parental control, and had been
stealing. The court then committed him to the parental school.
Twenty of the sixty-six cases were official and 46 were unofficial.
Most o f the cases o f younger children were closed after some adjust­
ment was made, but in 13,cases the child was committed to one of
the parental schools; in 2 he was placed on parole, and one child
was committed to an agency.
W here living.

That the home environment of a child is a significant factor in
influencing his delinquency is generally accepted. Children in homes
that are broken by family discord or through the death of one or
both parents often do not receive the parental care given in the nor­
mal family home. The extent to which this factor enters into the
situation in the cases of the delinquent children in Washington is
shown in Table 20. A rather striking contrast is shown between
the family situation in the homes of the boys and of the girls. O f
the cases in which this information was reported, 63 per cent of
the boys as compared with 38 per cent of the girls were living with
both their own parents. Thirty-one per cent o f the boys as compared
with 43 per cent of the girls were living with one of their own
parents, some of whom had remarried, and 6 per cent of the boys
and 18 per cent o f the girls were separated from both parents and
living in foster homes or institutions. A somewhat smaller propor­
tion of the children before the Washington courts were living with
both their own parents than o f the children reported to the Chil­
dren’s Bureau by 62 courts.53
T able 20 .— P lace child w as living w h en referred to court in the first case dis­
posed o f during the yea r fo r boys and girls dealt w ith in delinquency cases in
five counties during the y e a r ended F eb ru a ry 28, 1921

Children dealt with
Place child was living















Previous appearances in court.

About one-fifth o f the children who were dealt with in delinquency
cases during the year had been in court one or more times previous
88 Juvenile-Court Statistics, 1928, p. 11.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



to the year o f the study. Previous appearances were reported to a
greater extent for the boys than for the girls, 23 per cent as compared
with 14 per cent; the number of times the boys had appeared pre^hmsiy ranged from 1 to 9 and of the girls from 1 to 3. The number
* “““
)Urt previously is shown in the
following list:
Number of previous
court appearances
T o ta l

Number of

Number of previous
court appearances
3 ___________
4 ____________
5 ________________
6 or more________
Not reported___

N on e _______ ____
1 ___
2 _____________

Number of



The charges most frequently reported in boys’ cases disposed o f
officially were stealing and acts o f carelessness or mischief, and in
girls’ cases sex offenses, ungovernable or beyond parental control, or
truancy. No girls were charged with automobile stealing, robbery,
or injury or attempted injury to the person, although these offenses
were quite common in boys’ cases. The types of offenses most com­
mon in boys’ cases in the Washington counties were the same as
those found in the study of cases reported by 62 juvenile courts in
the United States Children s Bureau.54 In a much larger percentage
of the girls’ cases in Washington than in the 59 courts reporting
complaint was made because o f sex offenses and truancy, and the
proportion of cases in which the girls were described as ungovernable
or beyond parental control was practically the same.
Table 21 shows what was the reason for complaint in boys’ and
girls’ delinquency cases and whether they were officially or unoffi­
cially handled.
T a ble 21.— R ea son fo r com plaint in b oys’ and girls’ delinquency cases disposed


officially and unofficially in five counties during the yea r ended F eb ru a ry

28 ^ 1921

Cases disposed of—
Total cases
Reason for complaint

Total Boys


Girls Total Boys











Automobile stealing______
Burglary or unlawful entry.
Other_______ ; __________
Not otherwise specified____






Truancy_________________ _______
Running away__________
Ungovernable or beyond parental
control............................ ................
Sex offense____________ _______
Injury or attempted injury to person]
Act of carelessness or mischief__ ___
Violating liquor or drug law, or intoxi­




Stealing or attempted stealing.

other____ _____________

Not reported_____________ - —

“ Juvenile-Court Statistics, 1928, p. 15.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Girls Total Boys
202 1,235


















































That many of the offenses committed by the children were not
considered serious is indicated by the large number of cases that
were disposed o f unofficially. The three types o f offenses that were
usually dealt with as official cases were ungovernable or beyond par­
ental control, sex offenses, and injury or attempted injury to per­
sons. More than four-fifths o f the cases of carelessness and mis­
chief and more than two-thirds o f the cases of stealing or attempted
stealing were disposed of unofficially.
Table 22 shows that almost three-fifths of the delinquency cases
dealt with by the court in the five counties were dismissed or closed
after some adjustment had been made. A ll but a few of these
cases were treated as unofficial, the probation officer to whom the
case was referred making whatever investigation and plan were
needed to adjust the difficulty.
T able 22.— D isp osition o f b o ys’ and girls’ delinquency cases dealt until officially
and unofficially by the cou rts in five counties during the y ea r ended F eb ru a ry

28, 1927
Cases disposed of—
Total cases


Total Boys

Girls Total Boys

Girls Total Boys







202 1,235



Dismissed or closed after adjustment.. 1,077
Jurisdiction maintained but no super­
vision given______________ ______
Restitution or reparation ordered.......
Transferred to other court---------------





12 1,027

































Child placed under supervision of
probation officer------------------------Child placed under supervision of
individual or agency.——................
Child committed to institution for
delinquent children---------------------







State training schools---------------Parental schools-----------------------







Child committed to other institution
or institution not specified-----------Child returned home--------------------Other disposition----------------- --------Not reported_____________________







The cases dealt with officially were the more serious offenses, as
the disposition of the cases in Table 22 shows. Only 50 such cases
were dismissed or closed after adjustment, and 60 were continued
indefinitely on good behavior, these two groups constituting about
17 per cent of the official cases. In a large proportion of official cases
the children were committed to institutions for delinquents (44 per
cent) and in a small proportion they were placed on probation (21
per cent). These dispositions are in marked contrast to the dis-
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



positions in official cases reported by 61 juvenile courts, which showed
that 16 per cent were committed to institutions and 43 per cent were
placed on probation.55
As the majority o f the delinquency cases in the five counties were
dealt with by the courts in the two large cities, it is probable that
the public provisions made in these cities for the care of delinquent
children as well as the attitude o f the court influenced the disposi­
tions made. The probation staff o f the courts in both cities was
small, and in addition to investigating most or all of the cases re­
ferred to the court, the officers were supervising a large number of
children referred for dependency and neglect. Both these cities had
parental schools for the care of delinquent children, and institutional
commitment seemed the easiest method o f treatment. In Spokane,
where the parental school was small, a large number of commitments
were made to the State school.

Race and age.

A ll but 25 of the children before the court for reasons other than
delinquency were white; 11 were Negro, and 14 Chinese, Indian,
or Eskimo. As some o f the children had been in court more than
once during the year, the 532 cases dealt with because of dependency,
neglect, or other reasons represented 521 children (249 boys and
272 girls). These children were not limited to those of any par­
ticular age. Almost as many cases o f children 12 years of age and
over as of children under 6 came to the court. The ages of the
children when referred to court are shown in the following list:
Age o f child when
referred to court

Number of

Age of child when
referred to court

Number of



8 years, under 1 0 _______________
10 years, under 1 2 ____


Under 2 years,___________________
2 years, under 4_________________
4 years, under 6 _____ ___________
6 years, under 8 _________________


12 years, under 14____
14 years, under 16_:_________
16 years, and over_______________
Not reported_____________________


Where living.

The majority of the dependent or neglected children were living
with one or both parents in their own homes when brought before
the courts. One hundred and one (20 per cent) of the children for
whom information was obtained were with both parents; 22 (4 per
cent) lived with own parent and a step-parent; and 218 (44 per
cent) lived with mother or father only, the other parent being dead
or absent because of separation, desertion, or divorce, or the par­
ents were unmarried. More than twice as many of the children
from broken homes were living with their mothers as with their
fathers when referred to court in the first case disposed of during the
year, as is shown by the following list. Nearly one-third of the
children were living in institutions or family homes other than
those of their parents when referred to the court.
^Juvenile-Court Statistics, 1928, p. 18.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis


of child

Number of

Total______________________________1 ____ :i!— — — — ----------- 521
W ith both parents_____________ a— ------- ----------------------- — --------W ith mother and stepfather_______________ ---------------- ----------— ------ 16
W ith father and stepmother------ ------------------------------ -------------------6
W ith mother only____ _____ ___—
----------- --------------- —.Iw'lL— 157
W ith father only__________‘1 ----------------------- -1----------W-------------------- 61
In adoptive home— --------------- -------<.!— - — ------------------------ — --------5
In other family home____ — ---------- &------------------- — — ■ 4 4 - - 1 0 9
In institution___________________________ ,— --------------------- --------- — 69
Other________________________________ ------------------ -i--------------------------Not reported------------- 1— ------- — — — — ----------------- — _ 25

Previous appearances in court.

Only 42 of the 521 children brought into court in dependency, neg­
lect, and other cases were known to have been dealt with by the
court for similar reasons previous to the. year of the study; 32 had
been in court once, 7 twice, 2 three times, and 1 four times.

Dependency and neglect of children are problems that usually
affect all the children in a family. The 532 cases which included 47
children referred for commitment to the State custodial school came
from 337 families. Each family was counted once for each time it
was referred to the court on a new charge that might involve one or
more children. Although financial need may have been a factor in
causing the dependency or neglect of the children in many of the
families, it was considered the primary reason in only 16 families.
Improper or insufficient care by parents was given as the charge in
the largest group of cases. Table 23 shows the reason for the child’s
being brought to the courts, as given in the records.
T able 23.— R eason fo r referrin g individual cases and fam ilies to the courts fo r
dependency and neglect in the five counties during the yea r ended F eb ru a ry
28, 1921

Reason referred







i including 47 children referred for commitment to an institution for the feeble-minded or epileptic.

Table 24 shows that only about one-fifth of these cases were heard
unofficially as compared with one-third of the delinquency cases.
Although the reasons for bringing the children to the court was
common to all the children in the family, the type o f care provided
for each child might have been different from that of the others.
Placement under court supervision was the most usual disposition
made by the court, especially in official cases. Included in the 157
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dependent and neglected children under supervision of the court
were 65 children placed in adoptive or other family homes under
supervision of the courts. Only a small number o f children were
committed to institutions for dependents ; most of the children com­
mitted to institutions for delinquents were sent to the parental schools
maintained by the school departments in Seattle and Spokane. Com­
mitment to private agencies for family-home placement was used
to a considerable extent. Comparatively few cases were dismissed
or closed without any adjustment or action being taken. Most of the
unofficial cases were closed after adjustment or the children were
returned home.
T able 24.— D isp osition m ade in

dependency and neglect cases dealt w ith
officially or unofficially b y the courts in five counties during the yea r ended

February 28, 1927



Official Unofficial

Total________________________________ __________ - ________




Jurisdiction retained, but no supervision
______________________ .
Child placed by court under court supervision____________________ .. .
Child placed under supervision of individual______________________
Child committed or referred to agency_____________________ . _______




For dependent children____________________________________ _ _
For delinquent children______
. . . _ _____ ________________ .
For feeble-minded or epileptic children________________________ .






Not reported_____________________ ______ __________ ____________



Provision has been made in Washington under an act popularly
known as the “ lazy husband’s act ” for the employment on public
roads or highways o f men sentenced to imprisonment in the county
jail for failure to support their families. It is provided also that a
payment of $1.50 a day shall be made to the families from county
funds.56 This law had been put into effect in only two of the
counties visited (King and Spokane). Jail sentences were used more
frequently in Spokane County than in King County. In Grays
Harbor County and in Walla Walla County, where a few cases
had come before the courts during the year of the study, no appro­
priation had been made by the county commissioners for support
of families, and no men had been sentenced to jail. No cases had
come before the courts in Adams and Pacific Counties.
Cases of nonsupport and desertion were heard in the justice’s
courts in King and Spokane Counties, in the superior court in
Walla Walla County, and in both the superior and justices’ courts
in Grays Harbor County. During the year 259 cases of nonsupport
and desertion, involving 546 children under 16 years of age. had
come before the courts in these four counties. These cases were
59 Remington’s Comp. Stat. 1922, sec. 6909, as amended by Laws of 1927, p. 725.
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distributed as follows: King County, 184; Spokane County, 56;
Grays Harbor County, 12; and Walla Walla County, 7.
Only 177 o f the 259 fathers were apprehended; these included
only 108 in King County, all o f the 56 in Spokane County, 10 in
Grays Harbor County, and 3 in Walla Walla County. The de­
cision of the court in regard to the fathers who were apprehended
is shown in the following list:
of case

Number of

T o ta l__________ _______


Father apprehended___________________
Committed to stockade or ja il_____ _________________________ 41
Sentence suspended________________ >1'.______________________ ;__28
Court order to pay or agreement to contribute to family__67
Dismissed_______________ ________ ¿¡Ci__________ K S ^ . vj ________ 21
Other disposition______________________________________________
Father not apprehended__________________________________________ 77
Father’s apprehension not reported______________________________

The records of the court showed that, although some men failed to
make the full payments ordered by the court or agreed upon, most
of them, including those whose sentences were suspended, made
their payments regularly.
In addition to the cases brought before the justice’s courts or
superior courts on charges o f nonsupport or desertion, orders for
support of children placed in institutions or foster homes were made
by the juvenile courts. In King County, where separate records of
such orders had been made, it was found that during the year
o f the study 52 orders to pay had been filed. The amounts stated in
the orders varied from $5 to $30 a month. Only 22 of these 52
fathers ever made any payments on the basis o f these orders. The
child or children in 31 of these families were sent to the parental
school, 8 children were sent to other institutions, 7 were placed in
family homes, and 6 were committed to the Washington Children’s
Home Society for placement.

The juvenile court in Washington has been given jurisdiction over
parents, guardians, or other persons who by act or omission have
contributed to the dependency or delinquency of a child, such persons
being guilty of a misdemeanor.57 This jurisdiction was seldom, if
ever, exercised in the courts visited. A person charged with an
offense that constituted a felony could be heard only in the superior
court. Practically all the cases of offenses of adults against children,
even those in which the charge was “ contributing to the delinquency
of a minor,” were heard in the justice’s court or in the superior court.
Records were obtained of 130 cases of offenses against children
that had come before the courts in five of the counties, 107 of these
being in King County, 11 in Spokane County, 7 in Grays Harbor
County, 3 in Pacific County, and 2 in Walla Walla County. No
such cases had come before the court in Adams County. Fortythree cases had been heard in the superior courts (20 cases of con67 Remington’s Comp. Stat. 1922, sec. 1987 (17).
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tributing to delinquency, 21 of miscellaneous statutory offenses, and
2 of vagrancy), 85 in justice’s courts (63 cases of contributing to
delinquency and 22 of miscellaneous statutory offenses), and 2 in
the juvenile court (both cases of contributing to delinquency). With
a few exceptions these cases were concerned with sex offenses. Con­
sidering that girls under 18 years of age were involved in practically
all the cases in which the charge was “ contributing to delinquency,”
it is surprising that in only 2 of these had action been brought in the
juvenile courts, since the juvenile court has the same jurisdiction as
the justice’s court.
Some action was taken in 74 of the 130 cases of offenses against
children, 36 cases were dismissed, 8 were pending, and the disposi­
tions of 12 were not reported. Sentences to the State penitentiary
or reformatory for periods varying from six months to life were
given to 11 men. Sixty men were sentenced to jail, the sentence
being suspended in 27 cases. Payment o f costs or costs and fines
were imposed on three men not otherwise sentenced, as well as on
many of the men whose sentences to jail had been suspended.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Social Resources of the Six Counties
Adams County, located in the eastern part of the State, had, in 1920, a
population of 9,62s.1 Ritzville, the county seat and the largest town, had a
population of 1,900.
W heat is practically the only farm product raised in the county. Many
of the ranches are large, ranging from 12,000 to 15,000 acres in size.
the western section of the county the soil is very light, and some years it has
been blown away over large areas, leaving the fields unproductive. However,
special effort has been made through improved methods to cultivate this lighter
soil, and a few large ranches have been improved successfully.
Nearly one-fourth of the acreage in the county was unimproved, some of
the eastern section being too rocky and the extreme western part too dry for
cultivation. The use of irrigation had been started, and the only real dairy
farm in the county was on irrigated land.
Many of the farmers had no
gardens because it was impossible to raise garden stuff on their land.
There were no industries in the county. The only employment available,
aside from farming and the usual business pursuits of the small village, was
in small flour mills in two villages! and at the division points of the trans­
continental railroads, where there were shops and yards. Practically all the
harvesting was done by cooperation among the farmers, and large gangs were
not needed.

The greater part of the family-relief work in the county was being done by
the three county commissioners, each of whom was responsible for public
relief in the district which he represented. The commissioners met three
days each month to transact business and were paid only for the time they
were in session. One of the commissioners impressed upon the agent of the
Children’s Bureau the fact that Adams County was particularly lucky in
regard to the indigent poor, in that there were very few families in need of
assistance. The commissioners were allowed to collect the expenses incurred
in visiting families, but as a matter of fact they seldom did so. It was im­
possible to obtain information in regard to families receiving poor relief, as no
records were kept other than stubs of the orders. The county auditor re­
ported that only four families in which there were children had received aid
during the year covered by this study. The auditor’s list of the people being
aided was brought up to date monthly and was pasted in front of the order
book. The county had no poor fa r m ; old people in need of care were boarded
in family homes. In one of the localities visited it was found that a member
of the women’s club was assisting the county commissioner for that district
in his poor-relief work and made it a practice to keep track of the families
receiving assistance.
Applications for mothers’ aid were made to the prosecuting attorney or the
county commissioners, and regular application forms were filled out. The
county commissioners made an investigation and brought in a report, which
was entered on the application form. Although the forms were comprehen­
sive, it was found that the entries that had been made were rather meager.
The warrants were mailed to the mothers every month, and no data were
obtained regarding the family after the initial investigation, except that once
1 Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920, vol. 3, Population, p. 1087. Wash­
ington, 1922. No estimate was made by the Bureau of the Census for 1926, the year of
the study, because the population decreased between 1910 and 1920. In 1930 the
population of the county was 7,719.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



a year the judge went over the list and usually cited the mothers into court
to check up on the situation. In approving or disapproving the allowance the
judge usually acted upon the decision of the county commissioners who made
the investigation. During the year of the study seven mothers had received
aid and one new application had been filed, but upon investigation it was
found that the mother in this case was not eligible.
The county commissioners did not make a practice of supplementing mothers'
pensions from poor-relief funds.
Practically all the private relief work done in the county was handled
through the county chapter of the American Red Cross. This organization
also helped some transient ex-service men. The secretary reported that prac­
tically all the relief work was done during the winter months. An average
of $50 a year was given to each family receiving relief. The county had only
one woman’s club, and this organization did not undertake any child-welfare
work. It did, however, give some relief to needy families, as did the churches
in the various communities.
The county had no local organization providing for children. Only four
children from the county were under the supervision of the state-wide child­
placing agency, and, as far as the agent was able to ascertain, no children
from the county were in institutions for dependents.

Adams County had no special juvenile-court organization because of the
small number of cases of juvenile delinquency.
Very few girls had been brought into court on delinquency charges, and the
judge interviewed, who had been on the bench for Id years, said he did not
remember having sent more than one girl to the State training school since he
had been in office. The prosecuting attorney settled a number of delinquency
cases informally, without filing a complaint before the judge. As it was his
business to sign all complaints in juvenile cases, the decision as to whether
the cases should be taken to court rested with him. The court had no pro­
bation officer, and the judge placed the child on probation to himself, to the
prosecuting attorney, or to some one especially designated in individual cases.
The county superintendent of schools, a woman, sometimes served as probation
officer, especially in girls’ cases. The county had no detention home, and
children were not held in the county jail. In practically all cases the child was
trusted to come to court when notified to appear. Three boys from the county
were in the State training school during the year of the study. Very few
cases of dependent children had come before the court, and the judge almost
without exception committed such children to the Washington Children’s
Home Society.

The tuberculosis league had paid the salary of a nurse for two months during
the year preceding the study. A petition had been sent to the county com­
missioners by the tuberculosis league, and indorsed by the county school
directors, asking them to employ a county nurse. Their decision was dependent
upon the crops, and it was the general opinion at the time of the agent’s visit
that everything was favorable to a “ bumper ” crop and that the request would
be granted.
During the two months that the nurse was at work in the county she visited
the schools in a number of districts, examining the pupils and sending notices
to parents. She gave health talks at many of the schools, gave a talk on
personal hygiene to the Camp Fire Girls, and held a preschool clinic and a baby
clinic. She talked before the county school directors and asked their coopera­
tion in getting the appointment of a county nurse. In the year prior to the
study only seven children in the county were not enrolled in school because of
physical or mental handicap.

There was one public library in the county, located in the county seat and
maintained in part by the Carnegie endowment. The county seat had also a
city park with an excellent outdoor swimming pool.
54586°— 31------ 6
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The only troop of Boy Scouts was in the county seat and had a membership
of 18 boys. It was affiliated with the Spokane council, although not an offi­
cially organized troop, as the council refused to charter a troop without a
trained executive. The troop was very active, and the leader considered that
they were doing very good work.
Nowhere in the county was there any supervision of public commercial
dances. In one of the communities visited a member of the woman’s club
expressed great concern over the recreation problem, particularly in regard to
the dances given at the auditorium. During the winter these dances were
held once a week, and the member of the woman’s club interviewed did not
consider them suitable functions for girls to attend.
The schools held spring community athletic meets, with both educational
and athletic contests. The county was divided into 14 community groups, and
the winners in each group were later entered in a county contest. During the
year before the study 170 children were enrolled in the 4-H clubs located in
five towns and one rural district. The county farm agent had charge of all
the work in connection with both the boys and the girls for these clubs. He
had found considerable difficulty in getting leaders to help in this work.

A t the time of the study the county had 10 consolidated school districts.
Provision had been made for the transportation of pupils to accredited high
schools in the county. In one locality it was reported that some children
traveled 22 miles each way to school. Some of the districts provided homes
for the teachers; others fitted up living quarters in the school buildings for
their use. The county had one parent-teacher association.
Because of the need of the children’s help during seeding time, it had been
customary to grant temporary permits or excuses for children to work at home.
A regular permit form was supplied by the State board of education for this
purpose. The length of such absences usually amounted to from 5 to 10 days.
The teachers had cooperated in helping the children to make up their work
by giving them extra time after school hours. The county seat had a large
Russian-German population. The parents in many of these families continued
to maintain old-world standards and had not cooperated with the school au­
thorities in regard to school attendance. The superintendent reported that
with the exception of the children from this group they had very little trouble
with nonattendance in Adams County.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Grays Harbor County is particularly rich in natural resources. The pro­
duction of lumber is its chief industry, and with practical reforestation and
adequate Are prevention the supply is said to be inexhaustible. Grays Harbor,
the chief port between Puget Sound and the Columbia River, has a steadily
increasing business and its lumber shipments are extremely important. In
addition to the lumber industries there are iron and steel foundries; salmon,
crab, and clam fisheries; and vegetable and berry canneries. In the rural
sections farming, dairying, fru ;t growing, potfltry raising, and bee culture are
carried on extensively. Dairying predominates because of the mild climate,
winter and summer, the long pasture season, heavy silage, and root and hay
crops. Mineral and oil deposits are known to exist but await development.
Grays Harbor County has expended large sums in docks, warehouses, cargo­
handling equipment, and the dredging of its channels. ' The Federal Govern­
ment also has expended a great deal on the development of the harbor. Be­
cause of these improvements Grays Harbor is. rapidly taking its place as one
of .the principal ports of the Northwest. It is the port of call of seven steam­
ship lines operating in intercoastal trade and as many in the trans-Pacific
trade. The growth within recent years has been quite remarkable, the ton­
nage of water-borne commerce having trebled during the period 1917-1923,
and many new industries have been developed. The total population at the
time of the study was 50,900, as estimated for 1926. Aberdeen and Hoquiam,
the largest cities, had populations of 21,600 and 15,000, respectively. Although
these cities are located but a few miles apart, there was considerable rivalry
between them, and each community had its own activities. There was no
other town in the county with a population of more than 5,000 inhabitants.

Public relief in the county, both poor relief and mothers’ aid, was under
the supervision of a charity commissioner appointed by the county commis­
sioners. A t the time of the study this official had held the position for 20
years. It was apparent that incomplete investigations were m ad e; but as there
were no records, it was difficult to form an accurate opinion as to the commis­
sioner’s actual knowledge of the families receiving assistance.
Very little supervision or follow-up work was undertaken, and no services
other than relief and some medical care were given to the families in either
poor-relief or mothers’ aid cases. The charity commissioner followed the usual
practice in the State in granting aid, giving either groceries or fuel, but never
cash. In case of illness in the families receiving or applying for assistance,
the services of the county doctor were given, or, if necessary, hospital care
was provided at county expense. Upon recommendation of the county nurse,
special rates or free care was obtained by the charity commissioner for chil­
dren needing correction of defects. The charity commissioner was not pro­
vided with an automobile and had to depend upon the railroad or bus service
for transportation in the rural districts. He seldom visited a family living
outside Aberdeen or Hoquiam except when he could accompany the sheriff on
trips into rural sections. No records were kept of the visits.
The administration of the mothers’ aid law was under the juvenile division
of the superior court, but the investigation and supervision were done by the
charity commissioner rather than by the probation officers. The investigation
seemed to be concerned more with determining the mothers’ eligibility for
aid than with obtaining information that would be of assistance in formu­
lating a plan for the family. In this county the mothers’ aid law had been
interpreted as being applicable only for the assistance of children whose

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



fathers were dead, totally incapacitated, or confined in a prison or hospital
for the insane. Children whose fathers had deserted or whose parents were
divorced were not considered eligible for aid.
Mothers’ aid was granted for six months or a year at a time, at the end
of which time the mother was required to make a new application and appear
for a hearing before the judge. The charity commissioner stated that he
visited once a year the mothers receiving a id ; these visits were probably made
at the time of reapplication. All checks were mailed, but the mothers were
not required to make any report of their expenditures, and there was no
check-up on the attendance or progress in school of the children or on their
health and general welfare. It is possible that in many cases there was no
contact with the families from the time a grant was made until it was neces­
sary to make a new application.
The only records were the formal court records filed in the office of the
clerk of the court. These consisted o f the application and in some cases the
report of the investigation and the court order allowing the grant. I f the
grant was reconsidered subsequent to the original grant, similar papers appli­
cable to the time of reapplication were included in the record. During the
year of the study 87 mothers with dependent children had received this type
of assistance.
Court records were obtained for 22 dependent children who had been re­
ferred to the court during the year; 10 of them were committed to the
Washington Children’s Home Society, 3 to institutions (including 1 feeble­
minded child), 1 was placed under supervision of an individual, and for the
other 8 no action was taken or the type of action was not reported.
Before the appointments of the special probation officers, which were made
during the year of the study, the charity commissioner served also as proba­
tion officer and handled all cases of dependent and delinquent children. The
county commissioners refused to give up their work with dependent children,
and at the time of the study the charity commissioner was still caring for a
large proportion of the dependent children without referring them to the
juvenile court. Because of the lack of records, it was impossible to determine
the entire number and the type of cases that had been cared for by him dur­
ing the year.
Grays Harbor County had no institutions for dependent children; for some
time before the study it had been the policy of the charity commissioner to
send dependent children to a private institution in an adjoining county. From
information obtained at this institution it was found that 89 children from
Grays Harbor County had been cared for during the year of the study. A
report made by the institution to the charity commissioner in April, 1927, stated
that 36 children from Grays Harbor County were in the institution at that
time. A s the county commissioners had made a lump-sum appropriation to
this institution, payable at the beginning of the year, they apparently felt
justified in sending as many children as possible to the institution, regardless
of the actual needs of the children and the possibility of keeping them in
their own homes. The general opinion seemed to be that any parents could
be relieved, temporarily at least, of the responsibility of their children by
making application to the charity commissioner. In addition to these children
four others from Grays Harbor County were in institutions in the other
counties visited.
During the year of the study 14 children were under the supervision of child­
placing agencies. Nineteen children were given for adoption in the county
during the year, 6 being adopted by relatives; 4 of these 6 were adopted by
step-parents, 1 by his own parents, and 1 by other relatives. Only 1 of the
19 had been under the supervision of an agency before the filing of the petition.
Six children from Grays Harbor County were in the State institution for the
feeble-minded on February 28, 1927, and 1 had been released during the year.
The private relief work in the county was carried on by the Red Cross, the
Salvation Army, and several fraternal organizations. Although none o f the
communities had a social-service exchange, the various organizations were co­
operating in their effort to avoid duplication of work. The Red Cross chapter
in Aberdeen was the only private agency in the county with a trained so­
cial worker. The chapter limited its relief work to the city, but visits were
made to families in outlying districts at the request of social agencies in other
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



Some attempt had been made to specialize the court work in connection with
juvenile cases, although a separate department of the superior court had not
been established.
The juvenile probation work of the court, which had been organized only a
few months before the study, was divided among four part-time officers who
were receiving a total of $225 a month for their services. The chief probation
officer (receiving $85 a month) and a woman assistant (receiving $60 a month)
were doing the bulk of the work and were devoting as much time as was neces­
sary, regardless o f their small salaries. The two other officers received $40 a
piece and were doing only a small amount o f work in special localities. The
chief probation officer had had previous juvenile-court experience, and one of
the assistants had been engaged in boys’ work for a number of years. Their
plan was to settle as many cases as possible out of court. A special time had
been set for hearing juvenile cases, and the court procedure was very informal.
The only special provision in the county for the detention of juveniles was in
the women’s quarters of the city jail in Aberdeen, under the supervision of the
police matron. Both dependent and delinquent children were detained; the
former were held for the charity commissioner and not for the probation offi­
cers. No segregation of girls from women, and very little segregation of boys
was possible. Records were not available for a whole year; the matron re­
ported that 137 children under 18 (72 girls and 65 boys) had been detained
during a little more than 10 months. This number included children who were
detained for only a few hours awaiting disposition by the probation officers.
Dependent children were sometimes held for several weeks.
Occasionally boys over 16 and “ girls under 18 ” were held in the county jail.
The girls as a rule were those involved in cases of adults charged with sex
Thirty children from Grays Harbor County were in State schools for delin­
quent children on February 28, 1927, and 3 were in private institutions for
delinquents; 14 were on parole from State institutions. In addition to these
13 were released during the year (10 from the State institutions and 3 from
private institutions). Thirty-two children were before the juvenile court
because of delinquency during January and February, 1927.a All but 5 of
these cases were adjusted informally by the probation officers.
Regular criminal procedure was followed in the prosecution of adults
charged with offenses against children. The probation officers were trying
to get the sheriff and the prosecuting attorney to report to them immediately
upon arrest or filing of complaint all cases in which girls under 18 were
involved. The plan was for the probation officers to make the investigations
on behalf of the girls in these cases and for the woman probation officer to
be present when the girls were given preliminary hearing or brought into
the attorney’s office for questioning.

A fairly adequate health program was being carried out in the county
through the cooperation of various local organizations. The county health
officer and the local health officers in six of the largest towns were employed
on a part-time basis.
Their chief concern was sanitation and control of
contagious disease. They were paid for each visit made to county charges in
case of sickness but gave little time to this work. There was no special coor­
dination of the work o f the county health officer and that of the local health
officers. This county also supported a public-health nurse.
It was felt that one of the urgent health needs was a more adequate nursing
staff for the school health work. The county had no school doctor, and only
the two cities, Aberdeen and Hoquiam, had school nurses.
For four months of the school year a nurse was employed by the county
tuberculosis league to examine children in the rural schools. Monthly county­
wide child-welfare clinics had been held by the Aberdeen chapter of the
American Red Cross, in cooperation with the child-hygiene division of the
State board of health. Occasionally the services of a specialist from Seattle
* These were the only months for which complete record data were available.
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were secured for these clinics through the State board. Preschool clinics
had been held in some of the rural sections of the county, sponsored by the
parent-teacher association, with the assistance of the county nurse.
The county nurse who worked throughout the county took some part in the
maternity and infancy work and in work for preschool children, although she
put special emphasis on antituberculosis work. The county home demonstra­
tion agent, in cooperation with the county nurse and the school nurses, con­
ducted the nutrition program in the clinics and in the cities throughout the
county. A dental survey was made in 1926 under the auspices of the tuber­
culosis league. School children in typical sections of the county were exam­
ined but, though many were found to be badly in need of dental work, no
follow-up work was done.
The county tuberculosis sanitarium, during the year prior to the study, had
cared for 29 children from 6 to 14 years of age. Monthly chest clinics were
held that reached children in all parts of the county. The superintendent of
the tuberculosis sanitarium made the examination at these clinics. Three
general hospitals took children in need of hospital treatment; some of these
children were cared for free and others were paid for by the county.
Crippled children were sent to the orthopedic hospital in Seattle, four beds
being maintained there for Grays Harbor children by various organizations.

The county abounds in natural resources for outdoor sports, and the mild
climate makes it possible to enjoy these sports almost every day in the year.
In addition to having a number of beach resorts, the county affords ample
opportunity for hunting, fishing, and camping.
A number of the schools outside the two cities were used as community
centers, and there were four other community centers, two of which were
used also as school gymnasiums. No organized recreation program and no
community playgrounds were found in any community outside the two princi­
pal cities. About 150 Grays Harbor County boys and girls were enrolled in
the 4-H clubs organized by the home demonstration agent and the county
agricultural agent. There were 21 Boy Scout troops, between 15 and 20 Girl
Scout troops, and 10 groups of Camp Fire Girls. The Boy Scouts had a paid
county executive, but the girls’ organizations were trying to keep their work
up to standard with only volunteer leadership.
One of the outstanding recreational projects in Aberdeen was the natatorium-gymnasium, completed only a short time before this study was made.
This was available for school children as well as for the community as a
Most of the communities visited had halls where public dances were given
from time to time. Licensing of dance halls by the county commissioner
and supervision by the sheriff were required. The dance-hall problem appeared
to be well handled in both Aberdeen and Hoquiam. A license was required
for each dance, and a police matron was on duty during the entire evening.
There was no special police supervision of pool halls and card rooms, but the
regular police tried to keep the young boys from frequenting them. Aberdeen
drew a large number of 16 to 20 year old boys from the near-by logging
camps, and the chief of police considered it better to allow them in the pool
rooms than to leave them to their own devices on the streets.
During the summer months a daily average-of 300 to 400 children used the
one equipped playground in the city of Aberdeen. The supervisor was on
full-time duty during the summer and on part-time duty during the school
year. Efforts were being made to obtain more playgrounds and more play
supervision. One of the men’s clubs, under the auspices of its child-welfare
committee, was giving some assistance in carrying out the recreational program
of the community. Hoquiam had a public playground which had been donated
to the city for the purpose shortly before the study was made. No supervisor
had been provided, but the grounds were in charge of a resident caretaker.
This plan had not proved satisfactory, and the park board had been advised to
close the playground if a supervisor could not be obtained for duty during
play hours. Some play supervision was provided at two of the school play­
grounds in Hoquiam during a part of the summer before the study.
The schools o f the county held an annual county play day, the program
consisting almost entirely of athletic contests. Neither the Aberdeen nor the
Hoquiam schools had physical-education programs in the grade schools, but in
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Hoquiam the Young Men’s Christian Association secretary had given some time
to supervising this work during the year before the study. The high schools
in both cities had gymnasiums, and athletic directors were provided. In
Hoquiam the Young Men’s Christian Association was particularly active and
was providing recreational activities for a large number of boys. Aberdeen
had no Young Men’s Christian Association. Aberdeen, Hoquiam, and at least
one other town had public libraries.

Aberdeen had a full-time attendance officer and Hoquiam a part-time officer
(who was also Young Men’s Christian Association secretary). The county
superintendent of schools acted as attendance officer for the other school
A total of 45 physically or mentally defective children ■çrere reported through­
out the county who were neither enrolled in schools nor being provided for in
Twenty-two of these children were feeble-minded, 9 were
physically defective, and the type of defect of 14 was not reported.^ Aberdeen
had one special class for mentally defective children in which 24 children were
enrolled in charge of two teachers. Children whose intelligence quotients were
less than 70 were assigned to this class.
Aberdeen was one of the three cities in the State that had a part-time
school. The city was maintaining a night school also. The 18 schools in the
city included an industrial training school, a junior high school, and a senior
high school. Free transportation in school busses was provided for children
from the outlying sections of the city. Aberdeen and Hoquiam each had two
deans or advisors for the boys and two for the girls.
Parent-teacher associations had been organized in the two cities and in a
number of localities outside the cities. The chief activities of these groups
were furnishing hot lunches in the schools, sponsoring preschool clinics, and
assisting the 4-H clubs. No definite child-study program had been under­
taken by any of the groups.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

King County, containing Seattle, the largest city in the State, had, according
to the 1920 census,8 a population of 389,273, more than three-fourths of
which was in the city of Seattle. Although the county outside Seattle had
a population of about 100 ,000 , much of it is rural and some communities
were very inaccessible by either train or automobile. Most of the towns are
near Seattle; the largest, with a population of less than 5,000, was within 30
miles of the city. Several of the towns are in reality suburban communities
under local administration.
The county borders on Puget Sound on the west and extends eastward to
the Cascade Mountains.
Some sections of the eastern part of the county
are rugged and in places heavily timbered.
Seattle is reported to be growing rapidly. The city is delightfully located,
built on the hills overlooking the sound, and has within its limits Lake W ash­
ington, which affords many miles of wooded shoreline, and ample beach
facilities within easy access of almost any part of the city.
W ith its deep-sea harbor Seattle has become one of the important ports of
the Pacific Northwest, both in shipping and in passenger service. Practically
all oriental passenger lines put in at Seattle harbor, and freight is carried
to all parts of the world. The city is the freight and passenger terminus for
a number of transcontinental railroad lines.
The seasonal nature of much of the employment both in the city of Seattle
and in the surrounding country affects the dependency problem in King County.
Seattle is the center to which the unemployed from the lumber camps and from
the fishing ports drift during the slack seasons. According to the 1920 census
about one-fourth of the. population of Seattle was foreign born. Scandinavians,
Canadians, Japanese, and English were the largest groups.
Pine truck farms have been developed extensively, mostly by the Japanese,
in the vicinity of Seattle, and the public markets of the city are exceptionally
well stocked with fresh vegetables.
Seattle has excellent educational facilities in both its public and its private
institutions. The State university is located in the city. The Cornish School
of Art includes music and drama in its curriculum and furnishes much cul­
tural entertainment through its student concerts and plays. The people of
Seattle are very proud of the city’s symphony orchestra.
Several islands in Puget Sound belong to the county. Vashon, the largest
of the islands, although extensively used for truck farms and poultry raising,
still has much wooded area. Two large camps are located on the island— the
Seattle Young Men’s Christian Association camp and the camp of the Camp
Fire Girls. Excellent ferry service to both Seattle and Tacoma makes the
island practical both for residence and for farming.

Aid to mothers with dependent children was administered in King County
by the juvenile court through a specially organized department, with offices
in the juvenile-court and detention building. The staff consisted of a super­
visor, an investigator, three visitors, and an office secretary.
The mothers were required to make application in person if they were physi­
cally able to do so. The supervisor considered all applications. In most cases
11No estimate was made by the U. S. Bureau of the Census for 1926, the year of the
study. In 1930 the population of the county was 463,517.

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it,™ \0 d« v f fou5 to six weeks elapsed between the time of application and the
rormal filing of the petition. During this period a careful investigation was
made as to the mother’s eligibility. I f the parents had been divorced, the
fa th ers lawyer was consulted; if a mother had been deserted, a pension was
not granted unless she had sworn out a warrant for her husband’s arrest.
A s the three visitors were responsible for the supervision of more than 500
^ “ hving in 7 arious Parts of the county each worker had too heavy a
case load to permit good supervisory work. The visitors tried to visit the
families at least every six weeks, but this was not always possible. No reguWa! fixed f.or. the mothers to call at the office, but the supervisor met
r , o ^ i hf r^ bL+a^ ? 0 intii.ent lf any difficulty arose that the visitors considered
needed authoritative attention or if a revocation was considered. The mothers were free to go to the office to see the workers whenever they wanted to.
offiro nn
were required to call for their checks at the auditor’s
.o a * fe first of the month in person, but checks were mailed to mothers
i vei
some distance from Seattle. The visitors took the checks to
had hsmal7 children

th° Se m the laSt months of Pregnancy, and those who

the limi-ted grant Permitted by law, most of the mothers found it
necessary to engage in some gainful occupation either at home or away from
m nH W o w d? r t0 maintain a proper standard of living. No objection to a
s having^ several boarders or roomers— either men or women— was made
bUt 0ne of, the requirements of the department was that she should
^ i n i,° ne man boarder. I f a mother failed to comply with this restricWaS b<rld Up temPorarily as a w arning; and if she continued to
disregard it, her pension was revoked.
The mothers’ pension department was-somewhat more liberal in regard to
e m others savings and home ownership than are administrative agencies in
Tbe mothers were encouraged to own their own homes and
were allowed to own or to have equity in property to the value of $3,000.4 When
money was left from the father’s insurance, the mothers were urged to invest it
in a home. They were allowed also to have savings of as much as $300 in cash.
I f they had even larger amounts invested, that for some reason they could not
dispose of to advantage, the pension was not refused for this reason. Although
®te-jBOTthem were not encouraged to take out insurance for themselves or the
children, they were not required to give up any they already had unless the
amount was excessively large.
school attendance of children in mothers’ pension families, as well as
their behavior and progress in school, was checked by means of a form sent
semiannually to the various school principals by the mothers’ pension department- The mothers aid workers visited the schools in their districts and conlerred with the teachers of children in the families under their supervision.
As the pension stopped automatically when a child became 15, it was not
possible to continue aid in order to allow a child to remain in school. Children
who wished to continue their education were encouraged to do so, and in a few
cases scholarships or other kinds of assistance were obtained for them. Fifteenyear-old boys were helped in finding part-time work, and some of the 15-year-old
girls were placed out in family homes where they received their room and board
and possibly a small sum of money in return for their services after school
A few mothers had been granted assistance so that they could attend special
vocational courses that would enable them to be self-supporting. Aid was
sometimes granted a mother who was not able physically or mentally to care
for her children, provided the family was living with a relative or some other
person who was responsible for the care of the children. In some cases, how­
ever, this plan had not worked out satisfactorily because of the incompetence
of the relatives supervising the children.
The mothers’ pension department paid considerable attention to the health
needs of the families under its supervision. The mothers were required to
have all remediable defects corrected if a pension was to be granted or con­
tinued. Close cooperation was maintained with the public-health nurses and
the clinics. The visitors made arrangements for mental tests of the mothers
and the children whenever they considered such tests desirable.
* In a few cases found in tbe records this amount was exceeded.
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In the opinion of the supervisors, the homes in which the pensioned mothers
lived compared favorably with those of the average wage earner. The amount
of rent paid varied greatly, depending upon whether or not relatives were
helping the family. As a general rule the mothers’ aid families were paying
higher rents than were the families receiving relief from the county or from
the Social W elfare League. Pensions were not granted to mothers who lived in
undesirable neighborhoods. Living in the down-town section was prohibited,
because it had no playgrounds for children and it was too near the motionpicture theaters and questionable rooming houses. In one case the department
went so far as to revoke a mother’s pension because she refused to move out of
a dark, damp basement.
The mothers and children were encouraged to take a certain amount of
recreation. Mothers were advised to buy books for the children, and maga­
zines were furnished either by the department or by interested friends. Sev­
eral summer camps were available for members of mothers’ aid families
through the cooperation of local organizations. Children were encouraged to
join clubs and other recreational groups. I f they were interested in music and
the mother was willing to take the responsibility of buying an instrument, even
a piano, the supervisor usually approved.
Several years before this study was made the mothers’ aid visitors started
a fund to be used in providing families under their supervision with some of
the things they needed but could not afford to buy from their allowance. This
fund was known as “ the juvenile-court spirit fund ” and was made up of
money solicited by the workers from private individuals and organizations.
A t one time approximately $100 a month was spent from it, but_ since the
establishment of the community chest it has not been possible to solicit money
for this fund, and a somewhat smaller amount has been available.
In addition to the money appropriated specifically for mothers’ aid families
by the county, county funds were available for such families from two other
sources. Thè first of these funds was known as the juvenile-court allowance
and was established by a former judge of the juvenile court to provide assist­
ance for mothers who were not eligible for a grant from the regular appropria­
tion because they failed to fulfill the residence requirement but who were other­
wise qualified and desirable beneficiaries and for whom the period of waiting
would entail unusual hardship. The cases of the few mothers who received
money from this fund were investigated by the mothers’ aid workers and super­
vised in the same way as those of other mothers receiving aid until they were
eligible for the regular grant. The second fund was a special appropriation
made by the county department of public welfare to supplement the mothers’
aid funds. For several years it had been customary for the department to
grant supplementary aid to individual families, but on account of the delay
involved in the department’s making its investigations, on January 1, 1927, a
lump-sum appropriation of $3,000 was made to the mothers’ pension department.
The visitors could give orders for food, fuel, and clothing from this fund.
The mothers’ pension department had a very complete set of record forms.
The records were considered confidential, and all except the supervision sheets
were filed for safe keeping in another part of the building. The supervision
sheets did not give a complete picture of the happenings in the families, as the
visitors did not dictate reports of their visits but attached brief notes regarding
them to the records. These notes covered only such general statements as
“ family arrangements same,” “ fam ily well— conditions the same.” Little or
no information was given about the individual children.
The department of public welfare, created by the county commissioners,
administered poor relief in King County. The staff consisted of a commissioner,
an assistant, two visitors, and a stenographer. Practically all members of the
staff were political appointees without previous social-service training or
experience. During the year of the study 204 families with children had
received aid from this department. Because the appropriation for public relief
was inadequate and the department had been obliged to curtail its relief work
considerably, it was the department’s policy not to extend public aid to a number
of Seattle families with children but to refer them to the Social W elfare
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It was impossible to study any private agencies in the county except those in
Seattle. Several agencies in the city were engaged in family-relief work but
there was no federation of social agencies. A community fund had been in
operation, however, for six years. More than $600,000 was raised during 1928
for the work of 25 institutions and agencies. The organizations receiving
support from the fund^ included family-relief agencies, child-placing agencies,
maternity homes, institutions for dependents, institutions for delinquents
missions, a day nursery, and a humane society. A brief description of some
ot the most important agencies follows.

The Social Welfare League.
The largest of the private agencies in Seattle engaged in family-relief work
was the Social W elfare League. The staff of this organization consisted of a
secretary, an assistant secretary, 6 district supervisors, a psychiatrist 11
visitors, 10 visitors-in-training, and 9 clerical workers.
The Social W elfare League made a careful investigation of all its cases and
cleared all cases with the social-service exchange. The case load of the visitors,
except during the winter months, was not heavy, and frequent visits to the
family could be made. The agencies’ records were very complete and were kept
up to date.
The bulk of the financial support of this organization came from communitychest funds. The only other contribution was from “ trust fu n d s”— money
from individuals and organizations interested in particular families or in
special projects, all of which was spent for designated purposes. The total
budget for the fiscal year 1926-27 was approximately $120,000. The league was
doing some placement work of children in need of temporary care, but this
branch of work was to be discontinued as soon as provision was made for some
other agency to do it.

The Hebrew Benevolent Society.
The Hebrew Benevolent Society was a small organization with a staff of
two workers, a secretary who was an experienced family case worker and
an office assistant. Volunteer service had been well organized under a group
of friendly visitors who assisted in the supervision of families under care.
Considerable attention was given to meeting the health and recreational needs
of the families as well as providing many other services in addition to giving
material aid. Children were placed in the Seattle Children’s Home or in board­
ing homes if temporary care away from their own homes was needed. Children
coming to the attention of this agency needing permanent placement were
referred to the juvenile court.

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
The relief work of the Catholic churches had been organized under the St.
Vincent de Paul Conference in 10 of the 23 parishes in Seattle. These local
conferences were affiliated in a central council which functioned as a distribut­
ing agent of the community-chest allotment and had charge of the special
activities undertaken. A committee of two was appointed to investigate each
case, weekly visits were made to the families under supervision, and reports
of work done were made at weekly conference meetings. The work was car­
ried on by volunteer service of the members of the organization, all of whom
were men. The society was responsible for two special pieces of work for
children. It sponsored a representative in the juvenile court who gave volun­
teer service as a probation officer assisting in cases o f Catholic boys, and it
maintained a medical and dental clinic for children attending the parochial

The Salvation Army.
A central office and six district corps carried on the work of the Salvation
Army in Seattle. The staff consisted of three, workers in the central office and
one in each of the six districts, who handled the relief work in connection with
Micir general duties. None of the staff was experienced in social-work methods.
This organization undertook relief work for families over long periods in addition to a great deal of emergency work. Necessary medical care in connection
with the relief work was furnished by a volunteer medical staff of eight
physicians and surgeons. Assistance was given in finding employment when
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necessary for members of the families applying for aid. A recreational pro­
gram through the boys’ and girls’ clubs had been undertaken, and during the
summer of 1927 a camp was available for boys and girls and one for mothers.

The Fruit and Flower Mission.
The original purpose of the Fruit and Flower Mission had been changed from
that of carrying fruit and flowers to the sick to supplying special food for
families in which there was illness or a special problem of malnutrition among
the children. The work of the mission also included the distribution of a large
amount of clothing. The majority of the families aided were referred by other
agencies whose help was supplemented by the mission.
The organization
was entirely voluntary in its membership, and the women were divided
into eight circles, each of which specialized in one particular form of service.
The relief work was done by a committee of 33 investigators under the direction
of a chairman of the committee. The mission had not joined the community
chest but raised all its funds through entertainments or donations. During
1926 nearly $ 10,000 was spent in relief work, about two-thirds of which was for
milk, eggs, fruit, and vegetables.

The Seattle Good Will Industries.
The Seattle Good W ill Industries was an interdenominational organization
which helped needy families by providing employment in its industrial plant.
Its social-service department had a staff of five visitors, who visited the homes
of persons employed. In addition to the industrial plant the Good W ill Indus­
tries maintained a club house for stranded men and boys, a working girls’ and
women’s home, and a farm. Branches of this organization had been established
in four communities of King County outside of Seattle and in neighboring coun­
ties. The organization received a small allotment from the community chest,
but was almost self-supporting from the sale o f products.
Nonsupport and desertion cases were heard and disposed of in the justice
courts. This work had been delegated to one justice, and his court was desig­
nated as the domestic-relations court.
Many of these cases were handled
informally without any hearing and adjustments were made, the father often
agreeing to pay support money. Payments were made through the office of
the clerk, and a record was kept of all money paid. No provision was made for
enforcing payment through a probation officer or other worker. Records were
kept of all nonsupport and desertion cases, both those heard in court and those
settled informally, but these records contained little social information about
the family. One hundred and eighty-four cases of nonsupport and desertion,
involving 361 children, came before the courts during the year ended February
28, 1927. Fifty of the men were ordered to pay, 18 men were committed to
stockade or jail, in 19 cases the sentence was suspended, and 8 cases were
continued; 12 cases were dismissed, in 1 case the defendant was not in court,
and in 76 cases no action was taken as the men were not apprehended. Com­
paratively few men were sentenced to jail for nonsupport.
Provision was
made, however, for the payment of $1.50 a day to the families of men sentenced
to the stockade.
During the year covered by the study, 239 children from King County were
under the supervision of child-placing agencies. The general headquarters of
the Washington Children’s Home Society was in Seattle, and this organiza­
tion was actively engaged in child placing throughout the county. This society
had made a ruling that all children received from King County had to be
committed by the court. The only other agency in King County organized
especially for child-placing work was the Seattle Council of Catholic Women.
The majority of the children accepted by this agency were those who had been
released for adoption by their parents. Two Catholic hospitals turned over to
this agency all children coming to their attention who were eligible for adop­
tion. Some children in need of temporary care were accepted provided their
parents were able to pay their board in family homes. Boarding-home care
was provided at the rate of $20 a month for children over 1 year of age
and $25 for those under 1 year.
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The court placed both delinquent and dependent children in family homes.
The orders for such placements were usually made for a period of three months
at a time. The court frequently paid board on general county orders for
the care of dependent children in their own homes, and it paid also for the
care of children committed to the Washington Children’s Home Society on
temporary commitments. During 1927 about $2,000 from county funds was
expended for these purposes.
In addition to the two child-placing agencies children were placed for adop­
tion by the city hospital, a maternity home, and a protective agency. During
the year ended February 28, 1927, 217 adoptions were granted in the county.
O f these children 58 had been under the care of an agency previously and 159
had not. Sixty-three of the 217 children were adopted by relatives, 53 by step­
parents, 3 by their own parents, and 7 by other relatives.
The division of child welfare of the Seattle Department of Health and Sani­
tation was responsible for inspecting and licensing boarding homes in the city.
One of the difficulties with which this division had to contend was that there
was no supervision or inspection of boarding homes in the countv outside
Seattle. The need for some State legislation regulating boarding homes has
recognized, as this is the only way in which existing evils may be rem­
edied. During the 10 months ended November 1 , 1927, applications were re­
ceived for licenses from 96 boarding homes in Seattle; 80 licenses were granted
including 48 renewals.
Eight private institutions, all but two of which were located in Seattle were
caring for dependent children. The Seattle Children’s Home which was under
the auspices of a private organization (the Ladies’ Relief Society) accepted
girls 3 years of age or over. It had facilities for caring for
about 70 children. Each of the other institutions had some special feature or
gave a specialized type of care.
The Sacred Heart Orphanage, a Catholic institution and the largest of the
local institutions, had accommodations for 300 children and cared only for girls
7 years of age or over in its main department. The year before this study an
infants department had been added, and both boys and girls from infancy to 7
years were cared for. The building for this department was separate from the
girls section and was ultra modern in its equipment.
The Briscoe School at Kent (also under Catholic auspices), with a capacity
of 150, cared for boys between 7 and 14 years. Although caring for dependent
boys, it was conducted much more as a boarding school than as an institution
Many of those under care were from other counties.
The Theodora Home was* unique in its services, providing a temporary home
for working mothers and their children who had been left without support bv
the death or the desertion of their husbands. This institution was conducted
by a private agency in order to provide care for mothers until they could become
self-supporting or be reestablished in their homes. Employment was obtained
by the home for the mothers who were unemployed at the time of admission
and frequently scholarships were obtained for special training in business Thè
average numbers under care were 20 mothers and 48 children. Children were
mtys^ e^ 1Vel Wi th t^ ir mothers- an<i there was no age limit for admission.
The Mother Ryther Home, the enterprise of a private individual, cared for
both boys and girls over 3 years of age and conducted a day nursery in addition
Boys were released from the institution at 14 years, but there was no age limit
for girls. The capacity of the home was 100, but this was often exceeded
The Medina Baby Home served both as a receiving home for children ac­
cepted for permanent placement by the Pacific Protective Society and as an
institution providing temporary boarding care. It had facilities for caring
for 35 children under 3 years of age. The following classes of children were
given shelter : Babies of unmarried mothers ; those whose mothers or fathers
had deserted; those whose mothers were ill and temporarily unable to care
for th em , and those whose mothers were mentally incompetent or otherwise
unfit. Although the agency did no work toward rehabilitating the home it
encouraged mothers to keep their babies.
In addition to providing a kindergarten for day pupils, the Japanese Kin­
dergarten under Catholic auspices was giving boarding care to a few “ needy”
Chinese and Japanese children, usually not more than 10 or 12. A t the time
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



of the study the quarters were not suited to institutional care of children, but
an old house was being remodeled for this purpose.
One institution located outside Seattle and conducted by a private individual
was far below the accepted standards of institutions in physical equipment,
care given, and methods of raising funds. Children were not placed in this
institution by local social agencies, although a few were received from their
parents or relatives.
Four of the eight institutions in Seattle received financial assistance from
the community chest. Annual appropriations, paid monthly, were made by the
county to the same number of institutions. These allowances were in addi­
tion to the board paid on a per capita basis for children placed by the juvenile
court. These lump-sum subsidies were not made on a per capita basis for the
care of county wards in the institutions and were applied by the institutions
toward the care of any children for whom no support was received from other

The juvenile court in King County was ,a specially organized department of
the superior court and as such was presided over by one of the superior-court
judges assigned particularly to this work. The juvenile-court and detentionhome building was a well-equipped modern brick building erected for the
purpose for which it was being used.
The probation staff consisted of the chief probation officer, three other
probation officers, an investigator, and clerical workers. The St. Vincent de
Paul Society was sponsoring the services of a priest as a volunteer probation
officer for work with Catholic children. Occasionally the court used students
from the University of Washington as volunteer probation officers under the
supervision of the paid probation officers. One man and two women physi­
cians were employed for part tim e ; girls were always examined by the women
During the year 1,743 children’s cases were disposed of by the court. Children were brought into court by the city or county police, school-attendance
officers, social-agency workers, parents, or other individuals. The complaints
were received by the chief probation officer, with whom rested the decision
in regard to filing a petition and serving notice on the parents. The parents
were given oral notice to appear in court; if they failed to come, they were
summoned by a written notice.
A ll cases in which a petition was filed were investigated, and some of the
informal cases were investigated, though no definite policy was followed
regarding such cases. The school-attendance department in Seattle cooper­
ated very closely with the juvenile court. Its investigations were frequently
accepted for children referred by them to the court. One of the attendance
officers attended most of the court hearings. Visits were made to the child’s
home and school, information was obtained also in Seattle from social agen­
cies, and in some cases the confidential exchange was used.
Physical examinations were not given to all children coming to the attention
of the court, but only to children whom the judge or probation officer con­
sidered in need of such examination and to girl sex offenders. Mental exami­
nations were given to the majority of the children by the Seattle public-school
child-study laboratory. The court also had some assistance from the con­
sulting psychologist of the Bailey Gatzert Foundation Clinic at the University
of Washington.
The judge discussed the case with the probation officer or investigator
before the court hearing. The judge had a very kindly interest in the chil­
dren, and the hearings were strictly private and quite informal, in the nature
of conferences. The child was always interviewed by the judge privately
before parents or relatives were called in. Police never attended the hearings,
and attorneys seldom attended. Witnesses were seen in the course of the
investigation, and a report of the interview made to the judge by the probaI ,lu ll

U lllU C i .





The chief probation officer, or sometimes the judge, assigned the cases of
children placed on probation. The general plan was to assign boys’ cases
to the man officer and girls’ cases to the two women officers. An effort was
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



made to assign an equal amount of work to each of the officers. One of the
women officers had a car, and so far as possible she did most of the work in
the county outside Seattle; the other woman, who was a Catholic, handled
much of the work with the Catholic children. The staff was quite inadequate
for the amount of work to be done. Plans had been made for the appoint­
ment of two additional full-time officers to the staff.
During the year covered by the study 380 children were on probation tc
the court. The court used probation less often in delinquency cases than iD
cases of dependency and neglect; only 77 of the children on probation came
before the court on delinquency charges. The court apparently had no fixed
rule in regard to visiting delinquent children on probation in their homes.
An effort was made to visit dependent and neglected children under court
supervision once a month, and some were visited as often as once a week.
Practically none of the children were required to report to the probation
officer, though office visits could be made by the children.
Children were usually brought into court in order to be released from pro­
bation by the judge, though the probation officer had authority to release them
without having them come back to court.
i• v " r e p o r t was made to the judge, and an annual report was pub­
lished. A card file was kept which, in addition to certain facts such as name
age, sex, and status of parents, gave a chronological history of the case and its
disposition, and a statement as to whether or not there was a court order.
Case records also were kept containing an outline of the investigation,’ a
description of home conditions, school reports and recommendations or sugges­
tions of probation officer, and a copy of the formal petition and formal court
order. Supervision sheets, which were brief write-ups of the probation offi­
cer s visits, were kept by the individual probation officers. A ll the records
were kept in a fireproof vault and were considered confidential. The super­
vision sheets were not even open to other social workers; all other record«
were accessible to them with the approval of the chief probation officer. An
appearance docket was kept by the clerk, which gave dates of petition, hear­
ing, and disposition.
The detention home had separate living rooms and dining rooms for boys
and girls, and single rooms and dormitories were provided for both boys and
girls. The detention home was used extensively as a shelter, particularly for
overnight care for girls brought in by the women’s division of the police de­
partment^ and for longer-time care for children of women being held in jails
i°^iK0r cbddren
of medical care or mental observation. There were
arv 528a? 4 7
i*“ ^
detoenti01i llome during the year ended FebruO ^ J 8’ 492 7’
than 2 weeks, and 138 for 2 weeks or m ore; in
3 cases the length of detention was not reported.
f ° r the detention of boys under 16, and
rarely for girls 16 or 17, though separate quarters were reserved for boys
or girls 161or 17 years of age whose conduct was such that it was considered
unwise to keep them in the detention home. The juvenile court was notified
of all cases of boys under 18 who were arrested, and if they we™ deta 1 nld
h i In 6
Wltb the approval of the court. During the year covered
b^ tbe study there were 62 cases of jail detention of juveniles
In 26 case«
the detention was for less than 2 days and in 36 cases for 2 days or more5
Qril n ^be city of Seattle two divisions of the police department— the juvenile
and humane division and the women’s protective division— cooperated with
$ 3
codrt in children’s cases; the juvenile division d e S t with boys
and the women s protective division with girls and women.6 The women’s
division consisted of a chief and eight women officers.
The juvenile and
humane division had a staff of three workers and handled no adult cases except
o d men found on the streets. Most of the boys referred to
hifdehlro0USht ,1° by the men in tbis division. A ll juvenile cases in which arrests
had t W i i J S f r 6 fWere 5 eP?rted to one or the other of these divisions, which
had the power to make investigations and to adjust cases informally or to
w ifi
t0 the 3u„VeniIe court- F ot the
ended M e m b e r 31,
1926, 1,100 children were referred to the juvenile court by these divisions
This group represented only about half the juvenile cases coming to the !h,tte&-

Bureau Publication No. 141, Washington, 1925).
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

g’ PP* 4<5, 48 (U- 8. Children’s



tion of the police department during the year. Seattle is one of the few cities
having a juvenile court in which juvenile cases are dealt with by the police
Four local institutions were providing care for delinquent children and
were an important factor in keeping the number of commitments to the State
schools at a minimum. The two parental schools, one for boys and one for
girls, were a part of the Seattle school system, but children from the entire
county were eligible for admission. The county paid for the care of children
who resided outside the city at the rate of $10 a month for each of the first
20 children and $5 for each child in excess of 20. Although the schools were
primarily for truants, children were committed because of other delinquencies,
and some dependent children were sent to these institutions. Admission was
through commitment by the juvenile court in the majority of cases, but a few
children were accepted directly from the school-attendance department or
from parents. The schools required that all children committed should be
given a mental examination, and none was accepted whose intelligence quo­
tient was less than 70. The Boys’ Parental School was located on a 180-acre
tract on Mercer Island in Lake Washington. The school had accommodations
for 150 boys in dormitories of 25 beds each. There were three 2-story resi­
dence cottages, a hospital, two portable 1-room school buildings, an auditorium,
and a laundry. The buildings were all of frame construction, but had ample
fire protection.
The school for girls was much smaller than that for boys, having accommo­
dations for only 50 girls. The Girls’ Parental School was housed in one large
building situated on a 10-acre tract in a good residential section on the out­
skirts of the city. More than half the girls had private rooms; the others
were provided for in three small dormitories. The institution was somewhat
handicapped by lack of space for its school work. A t the time of the study
it was necessary to use the dining room and two small basement rooms for this
The boys paroled from the parental school were placed under the supervision
of the school-attendance department, which was already overburdened with
its regular duties and was unable to give time to adequate supervision of these
boys. Girls paroled from the girls’ school were supervised by the superin­
tendent, who because of the comparatively small number was able to give close
The Ruth School for Girls, a small private institution under the auspices of
the Protestant Evangelical Church, cared for about 30 girls. This institution
was occupying the property used formerly by the Girls’ Parental School. The
main building, which was of frame construction, had undergone extensive
repairs and at the time of the study was in fairly good condition. A 1-story
addition to the building had been erected for use as an assembly room. The
other buildings were a 1-room portable school and a laundry building. The
atmosphere of this institution was homelike. The girls had regular school
work and some household duties but ample time and opportunity for other
activities. The work of the school was preventive rather than corrective, and
the majority of the girls committed might be classed as predelinquent. Only
girls from King County were eligible for admission. Girls between 14 and 18
years old were received, although most of those in the institution were 16
or 17 years old. This was the only institution studied (for either dependents
or delinquents) which had a field worker attached to the staff. The duties
of this worker included the necessary work with the girls’ families to make
suitable readjustments for their return and the supervision of the girls after
their release.
Girls from all over the State might be admitted to the House of the Good
Shepherd either through court commitment or from individuals or agencies.
The junior department cared for girls from 10 to 13, the senior department
for those 14 years of age and over. A large number of girls were received
directly from parents; these girls were required to remain in the institution
a year. The institution, which was equipped to care for 175 girls, was used
extensively by the court for local care for the more serious cases of delin­
quency. It was housed in a large 3-story brick building. The girls slept in
three dormitories, the largest of which had 63 beds. . No space was available
for isolation, although a small infirmary and a quarantine room were pro­
vided. No maternity cases were received. The only outdoor recreation space
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



was a walled-in yard.
Girls in the senior department had little time for
recreation, as girls under 16 were required to work in the tea-packing room
or at the household duties during the half day they were not in school, and
the older girls worked in the laundry. Girls who had completed high school
worked all day. A new superintendent o f the institution had been appointed
shortly before the visit by the Children’s Bureau agent. Plans were being
made to provide more adequate recreational facilities and some training in
household economics.
The Catholic worker attached to the juvenile court
cooperated closely with the institution and kept in touch with all the girls
committed by the court.
The Ruth School for Girls and the House of the Good Shepherd both re
ceived contributions from the community chest. The former received also a
lump-sum appropriation from the county in addition to board paid on a per
capita basis by the juvenile court for its wards.
The Everett Smith Cottage, one of the projects carried on by the Young
Women’s Christian Association, was another resource available to the court
for the care of predelinquent girls. This was considered a club for girls rather
than an institution. Girls were received only through the court.
Of the 570 children from King County under supervision of institutions for
delinquents during the year of the study, 89 were in State institutions, 362
in the parental schools, and 119 in private institutions. Two hundred and
seventy-seven children were in institutions on February 28, 1927; 170 were on
parole, 119 were released during the year, and 4 escaped.
Two maternity homes, 2 institutions providing care for mothers and chil­
dren, 4 hospitals, and 1 protective agency in Seattle were providing care for
unmarried mothers. Most of these organizations received girls from all- parts
of the county as well as some from outside the county.
Since Seattle is the largest city in the State, it might be expected that a
large number of unmarried mothers, especially from the western part of the
State, would come to Seattle for confinement. This was not the case to any
appreciable extent, however, as in 1926 only 84 children were born out of
wedlock in Seattle (and six others in the remainder of King County) the
illegitimacy rate per 1,000 total live births in' the county being only slightly
higher than in the State as a whole. In Spokane County quite a different
situation existed; the illegitimacy birth rate there was more than three times
as high as for the entire State. Only 14 cases of action for the establishment
of paternity were reported in King County.

Up to the spring of 1927 the staff of the county health department consisted
of a doctor and six nurses. Their work was limited to the county outside
Seattle. Although this staff had not been considered adequate, the county
commissioners dismissed the entire staff and appointed in their places a health
officer, an assistant physician, and only two nurses. This reduction in the
number of nurses was deplored by local workers, particularly in connection
with the health inspection in the public schools.
The State law provided that first-class school districts might have their
own health departments At the time of the study Seattle had a medical
director and an assistant (a woman physician) and 21 school nurses. From
1914 to 1920 the Seattle School Medical Department maintained a medical clinic
and a dental clinic. Because of opposition to the expenditure of school funds
for medical and dental work, a law was passed prohibiting the schools to oper•ate clinics. The Junior Red Cross took over the clinic and at the time of the
study was operating it primarily for school children. No child was cared for at
this clinic who did not have a card from a school nurse. The antituberculosis
league was carrying out the nutrition program in the schools. The work of
the school nurses was restricted to the prevention of communicable diseases.
They were permitted to make preliminary diagnoses and to exclude children
from school. They gave an annual physical inspection to all children in the
grades, the report of this inspection forming part of the child’s permanent
school record. Not all the high-school pupils were given routine inspections
but only those children reported by teachers as needing care. Under a strict
interpretation of the law, no follow-up home visits were allowed in connection
with the correction of defects.
54586°— 31------7
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The medical department cooperated with the physical-training department
of the schools, and no child was permitted to take part in school games
without a physical inspection. There was close cooperation between the
medical department and the attendance department, the attendance officers
reporting all absences due to illness.
The two parental schools were under the supervision of the school medical
department; the man physician visited the boys’ school once a week and
the woman physician the girls’ school. The dental work for the boys’ school
was done by a dentist who went to the school one day a w eek; the girls were
taken to a dentist in the city.
Every school had a milk station, and children who could not afford to
pay were given milk free of charge. The doctors and nurses were stressing
preventive work in their health talks, putting especial emphasis on the care
of the teeth.
Preschool clinics conducted by the school medical department were held
usually during May and June, and an effort was made to have all defects
corrected before the child entered school in the fall. The parent-teacher asso­
ciation groups were responsible for getting the children to the clinics, and
the nurses helped with the follow-up work.
The Seattle Department of Health and Sanitation had eight main divisions,
one of which was the child-welfare division. The department staff consisted
of a commissioner of health, a deputy commissioner, 3 part-time consultants,
20 part-time paid physicians, and 23 volunteer physicians. Three of the divi­
sions had nurses working in the field or supervising the work. Five field
nurses and one supervisor were connected with the child-welfare division.
The child-welfare division rendered five distinct types of service: (1)
Clinics for the examination of infants and preschool children; (2) medical
and surgical care to children whose parents were unable to pay for such
service; (3) follow-up nursing service in the homes for the education of
mothers in the feeding and general care of children; (4) free milk or milk
at reduced rates for needy children (a special fund for this purpose was pro­
vided by the city council) ; (5) inspection and licensing o f boarding homes
for children.
The city hospital and dispensary was another division of the health-depart­
ment work. This hospital had 16 beds for children, and most of the children
were provided for free of charge. Special clinics were held for children—
ear, eye, nose, and throat, tuberculosis, and dental clinics. A weekly prenatal
clinic also was held. Two nurses with public-health training visited the homes
of patients applying for free care at either the hospital or the clinics. The
follow-up work was done by the Red Cross visiting nurses.
Fifty of the one hundred and seventy beds in the city tuberculosis sani­
tarium were for children. Admission to the sanitarium was through the
tuberculosis division of the city board of health. Although adults with pul­
monary tuberculosis only were admitted, children with tubercular trouble of
any kind were cared for. Three nurses were employed by the city for the
purpose of discovering new cases of tuberculosis and Carrying out measures
for its prevention and control.
The only organized nutrition work in the county was being done by the
antituberculosis league. During the year prior to the study, eight nutrition
classes were started by this organization in the county schools outside Seattle.
These classes were carried on by the local parent-teacher association groups.
Seattle had nine nutrition classes that reached 384 children. The antituber­
culosis league held a nutrition camp each summer for children who were 7
per cent or more underweight.
The American Red Cross Visiting Nurse Service employed six full-time
nurses doing field work, two part-time nurses, and a supervisor.
The Orthopedic Hospital in Seattle, one of the few children’s hospitals in
the State, accepted any child in the State under 14. A t the time of the study
this hospital had 118 beds, but improvements were under way that would
increase the number to 180. Although intended primarily for orthopedic
cases, provision was made for general medical or surgical cases with the
exception of tonsil and adenoid operations, which were not undertaken be­
cause of limited space. The hospital maintained an out-patient clinic with a
trained social worker. During the year ended February 1, 1927, the total
number of children treated was 802. More than two-fifths of the patients
were given care free of charge, only about one-fourth paid full price, and
the others made some partial payment. The hospital was supported largely
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



by private contributions, though a number of individuals and organizations
throughout the State had endowed beds. During a recent year Alaska appro­
priated $6,000 for a 2iyear period for the care of its children in this hospital,
and the various counties in the State made some payment for their children
who received treatment. The public-school system provided three full-time
grade teachers, a substitute high-school teacher, and a manual-training teacher
for the children in the hospital.

Although the Children’s Bureau agents did not obtain complete information
as to the recreational facilities of King County, it was evident that in such
facilities the county was not unlike other counties comprising a large city
(the estimated population of Seattle was 362,183 in 1926), several smaller
cities, and a number of more or less rural communities. The natural re­
sources of the county provided ample opportunity for a variety of outdoor
recreational activities.
A large number of boys and girls were members of national organizations.
Some of these were interested primarily in recreation, and others were en­
gaged in some phase of recreational activities in addition to their other work.
Several of these organizations had provided excellent camp facilities for their
members. About 2,500 boys in Seattle were members of Boy Scout troops,
2,000 girls, were Camp Fire Girls, approximately 3,200 boys were members of
the Young Men’s Christian Association, and 776 girls were members of the
Young Women’s Christian Association (Girl Reserves). The Boy Scout troops
included 4 made up entirely of Japanese boys, 1 of Chinese, and 1 of Negroes.
Approximately 300 boys were enrolled in 38 Boy Scout troops outside Seattle
and 500 girls were enrolled in Camp-Fire groups. The Young Men’s Christian
Association work for boys in the county outside Seattle had been started only
about a year before the study. During that time vocational-guidance groups
of boys 17 and 18 years of age had been organized in five small towns. The
chief recreational activity had been teaching boys to swim. Interest had been
aroused among the business men in the smaller towns, and it seemed prob­
able that through their, cooperation additional work for boys would be under­
taken. Several private organizations in Seattle were sponsoring boys’ and
girls’ club work in connection with their other activities.
The police department was authorized to license and supervise dance halls.
The matrons employed to supervise the dance halls were under the direction
of one policeman who was technically attached to the boys’ juvenile division
of the police department. Two members of the staff of the women’s protective
division also cooperated in supervising dances. During 1926, 71 dance-hall
licenses were, granted and 2 were refused. The number of dance permits
issued was 787, and the number of visits to dance halls was 1,777. Twelve
dances were stopped because no permit had been obtained.6

King County had only one first-class school district— Seattle. All the other
cities or large towns were in second-class districts, and the rural sections were
third-class districts. A yearly school census was taken in Seattle by special
census enumerators and in the rest of the county by the clerks of the school
It was reported that there were 141 feeble-minded and 25 physically handi­
capped children in the county outside Seattle who were not, in school and not
in institutions. No information was obtained as to the number of children
of these two classes in the city of Seattle, but it was reported that all children
with intelligence quotients below 50 were debarred from the public schools.
The functions of the child-study laboratory in Seattle were : ( 1 ) Giving
intelligence tests, both group and individual, in grade schools and high schools ;
(2) diagnosing the difficulties of problem children; (3) making surveys. In
addition the laboratory had supervision over the special classes for the correc­
tion of speech defects and the classes for mentally retarded children.
6 For State laws and city ordinances regulating public dances and the administration
of these regulations in Seattle, see Public Dance Halls : Their Regulation and Place in
the Recreation of Adolescents, by Ella Gardner (U. S, Children’s Bureau Publication No.
189, Washington, 1929),
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The staff consisted of a director, four assistants, a secretary, and a clerk.
Most of the children examined were Seattle children; those from outside the
city were taken to the Gatzert Foundation, a psychological clinic at the
University of Washington. A ll elementary-school children in Seattle were
given four group tests in the following grades: First, fourth, sixth, and eighth.
Individual tests were given at the laboratory at the request of teachers, parents,
physicians, and social workers. These examinations were not limited to publicschool children. Although the laboratory was equipped to diagnose the child’s
difficulties, it had no one to see whether its recommendations were carried out.
The special classes over which the laboratory had supervision were for
mentally retarded pupils, including children with intelligence quotients from
50 to 75. Seventeen special classes had been organized— 12 primary classes
in the elementary schools and 5 special-class centers that served children
up to the seventh grade. The work in the class centers was departmentalized
and in charge of 22 full-time and 2 part-time teachers. None of the schools
outside Seattle had special classes for retarded children.
Each of the nine high schools in Seattle had a dean or advisor for girls, and
some of them had similar officers for boys. The Seattle schools had 4
full-time attendance officers (1 of whom was a woman) and 1 part-time
officer, a woman. The workers were all so overloaded with cases that they
were unable to handle their work satisfactorily. One of the officers of the
attendance department was assigned to the 44 parochial and private schools in
the city not under the public-school system. Attendance reports were received
from these schools, but very little follow-up work was done With their
children. Boys paroled from the parental school were under the supervision
o f the attendance department for one year. A preparatory visit was usually
made to the home; but follow-up visits were seldom made unless the boy
got into further trouble.
The police were allowed to interview children in the office of the attendance
department, one of the attendance officers always being present ; but the
attendance department had ruled that the police should not take a child
from a school nor talk to a child at the school, and that no child should be
turned over to the police by the school department without the consent of the
Employment certificates were issued by a special worker of the
school-attendance department who did placing in connection with the vocational
work and the part-time school.
The county schools outside Seattle had only one full-time attendance officer.
No figures were available as to the number of cases of truancy in the county.
Investigations in most cases were made by local school superintendents and
teachers, but it was reported that the attendance officer investigated 48 cases
of truancy throughout the county during the year before the study. In addi1
tion to these cases, the officer referred 21 families to the welfare department,
89 children to the university child-welfare clinic, 5 to the Seattle' Child Study
Clinic, and 32 to the county medical department. During the year ended
June 30, 1927, the county attendance officer filed 57 petitions in the juvenile
court; in 32 of these cases the children were committed to institutions for
delinquents or feeble-minded, and in 25 they were sent home under the super­
vision either of their parents or of the court.
Parent-teacher association groups were active in various communities, one
of their main projects being the supplying of milk for underweight children.
The schools throughout the county were used quite extensively* as community
centers. All the larger schools had auditoriums, and some of the smaller ones
had gymnasiums.
In addition to the elementary schools and the high schools, Seattle had in
its public-school system vocational schools, part-time schools, night schools
for adults as well as for children, special classes for mental defectives, sight­
saving classes, and* classes for deaf children.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Pacific County was the smallest in area of the six counties visited, but it
had at the time of the study in 1926 an estimated population of 16,500. The
county had excellent transportation facilities— railroads, busses, and ferries.
Not only does this county have for its southern boundary the Columbia River,
but also its two principal cities (South Bend and Raymond) have excellent
harbors on W illapa Harbor. These towns, with a combined population of
about 8,000, located only 4 miles apart, are the population centers for nearly
the entire county. Ocean Beach Highway, connecting Portland and Seattle,
crosses practically the central part of Pacific County. This is a State high­
way and furnishes good road facilities for a large part of the county, as prac­
tically all the towns of any size are on it. A small section of the county is a
peninsula about 25 miles long, varying from 3 to 5 miles in width, stretching
between the ocean and W illapa Bay.
Lumber is the largest resource of the county; fishing and dairying are also
important industries. Along the coast extensive cranberry bogs are found;
this section is one of the few in the United States in which cranberries are
raised successfully. In the coast towns considerable employment is available
for women and older children in the canneries, and a number of children in one
of the larger towns are employed during the cranberry-picking season. The
county has a fairly large foreign population. One of the important farming
sections of the county is populated almost entirely by Finns. In other sec­
tions Swiss, Scandinavians, Italians, and Greeks make up the foreign

Mothers’ aid was administered by the superior court through the prosecuting
attorney’s office. For six months before the. time of the study all investiga­
tions and supervision of mothers’ aid families had been done by the county
nurse. A s the nurse, who was not a trained social investigator, had been
drafted to serve as case worker for poor-relief, mothers’ aid, and court (juve­
nile) cases, in addition to carrying on her own health work, it was obviously
impossible for her to devote very much time to the individual families. Be­
fore the nurse took over this work no investigation had been made in connec­
ting with the applications for mothers’ aid, nor had there been any super­
vision of the families after the allowances were granted. The usual procedure
had been for the mother to fill out an application blank; this was concerned
more with her eligibility for aid than with social facts regarding the family.
The judge seemed to think that any mother who was a widow or had been
deserted by or divorced from her husband had a right to a pension if she. had
children under 15 years of age dependent upon her for support. Fifty-two
mothers received aid during the year, 39 of whom were receiving aid on
February 28, 1927.
Poor relief was administered by the three county commissioners, each being
responsible for his own district. The county nurse had been asked by the
commissioners to assist in making investigations, but they were still doing much
of the work themselves. The only case work done in connection with the dis­
tribution of poor relief had been that undertaken by the nurse in the cases re­
ferred to her during the six months she had been assisting. No records were
kept, but from the brief information available it was apparent that when aid
was given to a family it was fairly adequate to meet the need— not a mere
dole. The usual method was to allow the families credit to a certain amount
at near-by grocery stores. These bills were sent to the commissioners and
approved for payment by the county auditor. In some sections of the county
seasonal employment in connection with the fishing and cranberry bogs was
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



responsible for a large floating population and a certain amount of dependency
during tbe winter months. The commissioners did not undertake to provide
for dependent children; all such cases were referred to the court.
During the. year covered by the study it was found that only 23 children
in the county had been in court because of dependency. Ten of them had been
sent to institutions, and four had been committed to child-placing agencies.
The judge had been sending dependent children whom it was necessary to re­
move from their homes to an institution in a near-by county for temporary
care. The county nurse after visiting this institution gave an unfavorable re­
port and endeavored to persuade the judge to discontinue this practice. The
county had no local child-caring organization, but in some localities men’s
clubs were taking an active interest in child-welfare work. No children from
Pacific County were being cared for in any of the institutions in the counties
visited, although 9 children were under the supervision of child-placing agencies
outside the county, 2 were in institutions for the feeble-minded, and 9 in insti­
tutions for delinquents.
Five children in the county had been adopted during the year. In three of
these cases the adoption was granted the same day the petition was made, and
in two only two days elapsed between petition and grant. The records gave no
social data, and it was impossible to determine how long the children had been
in the adoptive homes. Three cases (involving two children) were found of
adults who were before the court during the year charged with having com­
mitted offenses against children.

Pacific County had no specially organized juvenile court. The judge of the
superior court, who was also judge for an adjoining county, heard the juvenile
cases as they, arose. He seemed particularly interested in the juvenile cases
and was undertaking to carry on this work in accordance with the most
approved juvenile-court practice. The judge frequently'. placed children on
probation to himself, requiring them to report to him at his chambers, and for
several months prior to the study the county nurse had been acting as probation
officer. She had also been present at the hearings in juvenile cases. Although
her services had been enlisted more frequently in dependency than in delin­
quency cases, she had attended the hearings in all cases of delinquency in which
girls were involved.
Practically all of the 14 cases of juvenile delinquency that came before the
court during the year were reported directly to the court by the police. In
some localities it was said that little effort was made to enforce the laws,
especially those in regard to minors in pool rooms, drunkenness, and the curfew.
Six boys and three girls had been in the State training schools during the year,
three of whom were released prior to the end of the year.
C hildren a w a itin g cou rt h ea rin g or d isp osition b y th e c o u rt w ere usu ally
perm itted to rem ain in th eir ow n hom es. T w o ch ild ren w ere detain ed elsew h ere
du ring the yea r o f the study, and the p la ce o f care o f tw o w a s n ot reported.
O ne o f these, a 16-year-old boy, w as h eld in ja il on ly overn igh t ch a rged w ith
tru an cy and bein g b eyon d p a ren ta l con trol.

The county had only one part-time health officer who received $25 a month
for his services. Three of the towns had local city health officers, also on a
part-time basis. The county nurse, paid by the county commissioners, did the
school health work, conducted child-welfare clinics, and assisted in the tuber­
culosis clinic. The Red Cross maintained a car for her use and with the
cooperation of the tuberculosis league paid the salary of an assistant to ex­
amine school children for four months during the year before the study.
The Red Cross also provided supplies for the nurse’s office and clinics and
furnished milk for a few needy children.
The county nurse cooperated with the child-hygiene division of the State
board of health distributing pamphlets and literature prepared by that divi­
sion. She cooperated also with the State tuberculosis league in securing the
services of specialists to conduct chest clinics. A ll the grade-school children
in the two largest towns and most of the children in the county outside these
towns were examined by the nurse. I f the parents of children having de-
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fects were unable to pay for tbe necessary treatment, arrangements were made
for payment by the county. The county had no special hospital for children,
but the two general, hospitals took children in cases of emergency. Consider­
able constructive work had been dpne by the nurse in securing care for
crippled children at the Orthopedic Hospital in Seattle. Part of the expenses
for such treatment had been paid by the county. One of the men’s clubs
(in Raymond) had maintained a bed at the hospital for two years for Pacific
County children. The county tuberculosis league also maintained a bed at the
Orthopedic Hospital.

The peninsula section of Pacific County is called “ Pacific County Playland,”
and the beaches are advertised as “ The queen of northwest beaches.” People
in many parts of the county appreciate the opportunity for outdoor life and
avail themselves of the near-by woods and beaches. The county has practically
none of the urban problem of congestion; even in the towns the problem of
available play space is not serious. However, none of the towns had any
supervised playgrounds, and only a few of the school yards were equipped,
with play apparatus. Several of the schools, in addition to those in South
Bend and Raymond, had gymnasiums, usually in buildings detached from the
school building. In a number of localities the school buildings were used as
community centers. The county athletic assQciation was organized a year
before the study and included grade-school children as well as those from
the high schools. County athletic meets had been held, and the school children
had exhibits at the various local community fairs. A number of communities
had Boy Scout, Girl Scout, or Camp Fire Girl organizations, and a few 4-H
clubs had been organized under the supervision of the county agent.
t There was no supervision of commercial dance halls in the county. A
license from the county commissioners was required to operate a dance hall
or to give a public dance, and the sheriff was supposed to supervise those out­
side the towns. The only dance hall in the county that might have been
considered a commercial enterprise was open one night a week (in Raymond).
In South Bend and Raymond dances were frequently given by local organiza­
tions or clubs and were open to the public at popular admission prices.
During the summer commercial dances were held at Long Beach. There were
numerous road houses, many of which were open for dancing twice a w eek;
some of them were in the vicinity of logging camps and were reported to be
very “ wild.” Practically every little town had its pool rooms. South Bend
had three, and also two card room s; Raymond had “ lots of them,” according
to a local official.

Considerable progress had been made in school consolidation in the county,
12 of the 18 districts having consolidated schools. Transportation was provided for children living at a distance. Only a few districts provided homes
for the teachers, known as teacherages. In Raymond one of the teachers
acted as dean of the girls and another as dean of the boys. One of the teach­
ers was designated as attendance officer and gave whatever time was neces­
sary to that work. Difficult cases were referred to the court. A number of
parent-teacher associations were found in connection with the schools in dif­
ferent parts of the county. Their principal activities were in connection with
health and nutrition work. Some of the schools were quite isolated— in lum­
ber camps accessible only by a branch railroad into the camp. One district
school (Brooklyn) was accessible from the county seat only by going into the
adjoining county (Grays Harbor) and back into Pacific. This district, al­
though entirely rural, had splendid community spirit, and community pro­
grams were held in the school building.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Spokane County, in the eastern part of the State, had in 1926 an estimated
population of 142,600.
The county abounds in natural resources, including
timber and minerals, and many of its varied manufacturing industries center
around these. Many lakes add to the natural beauty o f some sections of the
county. The soil is fertile, and the crops are both abundant and varied, espe­
cially in the river valleys. The Spokane River and numerous large lakes afford
ample water for both power and irrigation purposes. Five transcontinental
highways pass through the city of Spokane and 6 transcontinental railways
and 12 branch lines furnish ampié transportation facilities. Spokane is an
important railroad, manufacturing, and distributing center not only for eastern
Washington but for northern Idaho and northwestern Montana. An equable
climate in a large part of the county and a long growing season favor the pro­
duction of abundant crops of grain, fruit., and vegetables.
The Spokane Valley, extending eastward across the State from Spokane into
Idaho, is an exceptionally rich and fertile area. W heat was its principal crop
until irrigation was introduced about 20 years ago. Since that time numerous
orchards have been planted, and truck farming has been introduced on a large

M O T H E R S ’ A ID

Aid to mothers with dependent children was administered by the juvenile
court through two special workers. The supervisor made all the investigations
and did all the visiting. She was carrying a case load of nearly 200 families.
Her assistant served as office secretary. A mother was required to make appli­
cation in person and to give as references four persons, ¡other than relatives,
who had known her for at least two years. Whenever possible, statements were
verified from records, but it was not customary to see all the persons given as
references. No budget plan was in use, but the mothers were required to keep
an expense account. They were required to bring their accounts to the office,
unless they lived outside the city, were sick, or had young babies. The worker
was not able to visit the mothers in their homes regularly.
I f the mother’s resources, including the aid granted under the mothers’ pen­
sion law, were insufficient and the mother had young children or was physically
unable to work, either the county commissioners or a private agency was asked
to help. In some cases the mothers’ aid worker obtained the cooperation of
neighbors in caring for the children of mothers who went out to work, and a
few mothers found work they could do at home. Mothers were not allowed to
keep one man boarder, but no objection was made to their boarding several men
or men and women. Working children living at home were asked to give their
mothers half their earnings, and some of the older children contributed more
than that.
Mothers were encouraged to own their own homes, and if the father left any
insurance they were advised to invest it in a home. A mother having an equity
of more than $2,500 in her home or savings amounting to more than $100 was
not eligible for aid. The mothers’ pension department in the city of Spokane
had not limited its service to mothers to the granting of allowances. Through
the cooperation of a number of local organizations a variety of services had been
rendered. The outstanding piece of work was the organization of the Mothers’
Home Association. The county commissioners set aside $5,000 as a rotating
fund from which cottages could be constructed and sold to the mothers at
cost. The Kiwanis Club had sponsored this project, and with the cooperation
of individuals and organizations nine houses had been completed at the time
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



of the study. Services of all kinds, as well as material to aid in the con­
struction of the houses, had been donated. Each mother occupying one of
these houses was required to pay $15 a month from her pension money into
the revolving fund until the house was paid for. After the final payment
covering the actual cost of the house was made, the mother was to be allowed
to occupy the house as her own until her death, when it was to revert to the
association. It was planned to erect these houses throughout the county accord­
ing to the needs of the mothers. The ultimate goal was 25 homes, with the
plan that eventually a scholarship fund should be provided from the income
from the houses to enable promising children in mothers’ aid families to continue
their education beyond high school.
A number of the members of the Kiwanis Club were serving as “ big broth­
ers to boys in mothers’ pension families. The Catholic Daughters of America
were cooperating in carrying on activities of one of the 4-H club groups made
up entirely of boys and girls from the mothers’ aid families.
A private agency was helping to finance a mothers’ sewing club, and some
of the mothers had been attending Americanization classes, business courses,
or night-school classes. The mothers were encouraged to take vacations, and
local organizations were helping to provide recreational activities of various
kinds for the mothers and children.
The mothers’ pension workers received reports on forms prepared by the
department from the teachers of children for whom assistance was being
granted. One school principal had cooperated with the workers by obtaining
scholarships for a few boys to enable them to continue in school.
The mothers’ pension workers urged the mothers to carry out the recom­
mendations of the school nurse in regard to the health of the children, and in
a few cases the pensions had been withdrawn because of the mother’s failure
to cooperate with the school nurse. Provision was made for the removal of
tonsils, for dental work, and for glasses, either free of charge or at a low rate.
Poor relief was administered by a county commissioner of charity (a man)
appointed by the county commissioners and a woman assistant. The commis­
sioner had been engaged in this work for a number of years, and the assistant
had had some experience as case worker with the Social Service Bureau, the
local family-welfare agency in Spokane. The commissioner and the Social
Service Bureau cooperated in providing for needy families, and special effort
was made to rehabilitate the families coming to their attention.
attention was paid to the health needs of the families, and special diet was
provided, particularly in families in which there was tuberculosis. Requisi­
tions for supplies for the families were issued to the stores, and if the father
of the family was physically able he was required to split and pile wood in
payment for food and fuel. The city park board furnished employment for
men referred by the county commissioners or the Social Service Bureau, allow­
ing them $2.50 a day in supplies. A brief record of each family was kept,
giving certain social data as well as a record of the relief given.
The justice court, which in Spokane County handled practically all nonsup­
port and desertion cases, had not made provision for collecting payments
ordered in such cases. In case of complaint of failure to pay, a bench warrant
was served and the man was returned to court for another trial. Unless the
justice had a very definite assurance in nonsupport cases that the man would
make a monthly payment to his family if ordered to do so, the policy had
been to commit him to the county jail for six months, during which time he
had to be put to work. In Spokane County men who were sentenced to the
county jail might be put to work on the public roads and their families paid
$1.50 a day. These sentences were suspended in only a few cases.
Nineteen private agenciesi and institutions were affiliated in the Spokane
Community W elfare Federation and received support from the community
chest, which was coordinate with the federation. These included the various
agencies for recreation, health, and the so-called character-building organiza-
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



tions as well as the agencies doing relief work with dependent families, the
child-placing agencies, and institutions * caring for adults and children.
addition to the financial and educational program in connection with the com­
munity chest, the federation was continually working toward better standards
in the general-welfare program in the county. The work was carried on by a
full-time executive secretary and two office assistants.
Five private agencies were doing family-relief work in Spokane, but little
private-agency work was done outside the city. The Social Service Bureau, the
principal family-welfare agency, was rendering many services to the families
under its care, in addition to giving material assistance. Every effort was
made to assist the family to become self-supporting. The health program was
emphasized and much medical care provided. This organization administered
some public relief for the city, $500 a year being appropriated for this purpose
and office space being provided in the city hall. During the year covered by
this study, 445 families with dependent children had received assistance m
some form from the Social Service Bureau. The staff numbered 7 and included
a superintendent, 4 case workers, and 2 office assistants, all of whom were
trained and experienced workers.
The American Legion administered the
soldiers’ and sailors’ indigent fund for the benefit of men who served during
the period of the W orld W ar and their dependents. Continuous residence .of
six months in the county and one year in the State was required to make a
person eligible for this assistance. The average number of families aided
varied from 20 a week during the summer to 45 a week during the winter.
The work for families done by the Salvation Army and the Volunteers ot
America was largely in emergency cases. Both these organizations provided
assistance to transient single men, but referred transient families to the Social
Service Bureau. The fifth agency was the Catholic Social Betterment League,
a small church organization with one paid worker. This organization had
been hampered in its work because of lack of adequate funds.
The only
report available was for the year July, 1925, to July, 1926, during which time
127 families came to the attention of the league. This organization had also
undertaken some child placing.

The child-placing department of the juvenile court had become the recog­
nized child-placing agency of the county. One of the maternity homes referred
gjl placement cases to the court", the other made its own placements but called
upon the court to make the investigation of the prospective foster homes.
The public and private family agencies referred to this department all cases
for permanent placement and most of the cases for temporary placement.
Both these agencies, however, placed some children in boarding homes for
temporary care.
, „
Children were placed by the court for adoption and for temporary care m
boarding and free hom es.' Both dependent and delinquent children were placed
for temporary care. Very careful investigations were made prior to all place­
ments In adoption cases a trial period of three months was required. Appli­
cations were received, investigated, and approved before the prospective foster
parent was allowed to see the child. Adoptions of older children were not
favored by the placing department. A few children were placed out in homes
in Idaho
Although the homes were not very far from Spokane, the disad­
vantages of placing children outside the State were recognized, and an effort
was made to keep such placements at a minimum.
Good standards were maintained by the court in the investigation and super­
vision of boarding homes'. No licensing of such homes was required either
by State or by local regulations, but the juvenile court kept on file a list of
approved homes.
, . ,
~ • .l
District headquarters of the Washington Children’s Home Society for the
northeast section of the State were in Spokane, and some placement work was
done by. this organization in the county. The work of this organization in this
district had not met with approval in past years, and at the time of the study
it was not functioning in close relationship to the dependency problems of
Spokane County. A trained worker had recently been placed in the district
but had not had time to develop the work in the county.
Some child placing was being done through a worker affiliated with one of
the hospitals. It was carried on independently of any of the other agencies
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



and entirely according to the standards of the individual. The Catholic Bet­
terment League (primarily an agency for family relief) was also incorporated
as a home-finding society, but its work with children was not extensive. The
placement work was largely in finding working homes for children so that they
might continue in school.
The superior court, which has jurisdiction in adoption cases, sometimes re­
quested the juvenile court to make an investigation of an adoptive home before
the granting of the adoption. This policy was not carried out consistently,
however, as reports of investigations were found for only 25 of the 70 adoptions
granted during the year of this study. This number, no doubt, included some
made at the request of the maternity home. The superior court had no policy
requiring a period of trial placement as the juvenile court had. Seventeen
of these children had been adopted by step-parents and six by other relatives.
Fifteen children had been placed for adoption by agencies.' In these cases
the investigations and periods of trial placement had been in accordance with
the standards of the agencies.
Three private institutions— the Hutton Settlement, the St. Joseph’s Orphan­
age, and the Spokane Children’s Home— were caring exclusively for dependent
children in Spokane County. Each had accommodations for about 100 children.
The Hutton Settlement was under the personal direction of its founder and
financial benefactor, and admission to the home was restricted to full orphans.
The children became the personal wards of the director and remained at the
institution until they had completed their education. Children might be re­
ceived from any part of the country. The requirements for admission, other
than that of full orphanage, were rigid, and the children in this institution
represented a carefully selected group. No records were obtained of children
in this institution.
St. Joseph’s Orphanage is under Catholic auspices and the Spokane Children’s
Home under an organization incorporated as the Ladies’ Benevolent Society.
The majority of children cared for by these institutions were from Spokane
County, although St. Joseph’s Orphanage might receive children from any part
of the State. Children were accepted directly from parents or relatives as
well as from the juvenile court and other agencies. The investigations made
by these institutions prior to admission were inadequate, and little was known
of the history of the children except those received from the court or agencies
that made their own investigation. Even in cases received from the court,
the institutions did not require or ask the court to send any social data except
a few identifying facts such as age and parents’ names. No work with the
child’s family was carried on by the institutions, and no investigations were
made before release. The children at St. Joseph’s Orphanage were permitted
to visit relatives occasionally but had few other outside contacts, as the school
was conducted at the institution. Children from the other home attended
public school and a neighboring church and were permitted to go home to visit.
Little effort was made by either institution to collect payment for care
from parents or relatives who might be able to pay. A ll children committed
by the court were considered county charges, and, if any support was received
from parents, the court was responsible for its collection. Payment to the insti­
tutions for county charges was made under a lump-sum grant of $150 a month.
This amount was paid regardless o f the number of county charges in the
institution each month.
The Salvation Army home, in addition to its maternity hospital, was equipped
to provide temporary care for a few dependent children. No children were
accepted unless placed there through the juvenile court or by the Social Service
Bureau. The institution was most frequently used for the care of transient
or other dependent families, both children and mothers, or for children alone
during the illness of the mother.
The House of the Good Shepherd also accepted dependent girls, although
primarily an institution for delinquents. One of the receiving homes of the
Washington Children’s Home Society, with a population of about 25 children
who were awaiting placement in family homes, was located in Spokane. This
home was being used for children from all over the eastern part of the State.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis





For a number of years it had been customary for the judge of the superior
court who was presiding judge for the year to be assigned to the juvenile-court
work. The judge who was presiding over the juvenile court at the time of
the study, however, had been doing this work for several years with the con­
sent of the other judges. During his first year as juvenile judge he became
very much interested in the work and, realizing the disadvantages of the
annual change of judges, asked that he be allowed to continue. It was stated
that he had done much to build up the standards of juvenile-court work.
The probation staff consisted of a chief probation officer (who was also
charity commissioner) and 3 assistants, 1 man and 2 women. None of the staff
had had any special training in juvenile work before becoming probation offi­
cers, but all of them had had a number of years’ experience in this court.
Children were brought to court by the police, the probation officers, parents,
or school authorities (especially attendance officers). Formal written notices
were served on parents, but warrants were seldom issued for the child. The
police cooperated in bringing boys and girls under 18 to the juvenile court,
but boys from 16 to 18 who had committed serious offenses, or were repeaters,
or had had considerable institutional experience, were usually turned cWer to
the police or justice courts. The juvenile court did not handle any cases of
traffic violators over 16 years of age, but remanded them to the police court
or the justice court. Such offenders were usually fined; very few were com­
mitted to jail.
, H
A ll cases were investigated before being brought to court, the child s home
and school were visited, and any available information in regard to the fam ily
was obtained from social agencies. Children with obvious physical defects Were
examined by the county physician. A ll children charged with sex offenses were
examined by the board of health. I f a child showed signs of mental defect, he
was examined by a private specialist.
| A
A ll hearings were conducted informally in the living room of the detention
The witnesses were not sworn except in particularly difficult cases,
and the child was seldom required to take oath. Dependency and delinquency
cases were heard in practically the same way. The judge conferred in a
friendly way with the child, his parent, and others concerned with the case.
Probation cases were assigned to the probation officers on a geographic
basis to some extent, though a man handled all cases of delinquent boys.
The officers stated that they made as many visits to the homes of children on
probation as the cases required. Children were required to report to the
probation officers every two weeks or oftener, if the circumstances seemed to
warrant it. No definite term of probation was specified, but the child was
formally notified when his probation had terminated, and notice was also sent
to the judge. A large proportion of the cases were adjusted unofficially by the
probation officer. Occasionally a probation officer settled the case in the
child’s home when he went to make the investigation. Girls were seldom
put on probation; and unless the probation officer thought some commitment
was advisable, their cases were adjusted without being brought to. court.
Legal records of juvenile cases were kept in the county clerk’s office—
formal petitions, commitment papers, etc. A “ long history ” was kept in the
probation office for all official cases, and a “ short history” for all unofficial
cases, except such as were adjusted without any special investigation. The
investigations were written up briefly. Practically no entries were made to show
subsequent work on cases in which the children were under court supervision.
T h e ju ven ile-d eten tion hom e, a 3-story b rick bu ild in g m uch in the style o f a
la rg e residence, w a s loca ted im m edia tely b a ck o f the cou rth ou se and n ex t to
the cou n ty ja il. T h e ju d g e held cou rt in th is bu ildin g, an d th e p rob a tion
officer h ad h is office there. A lth ou gh all the w in d ow s ex cep t th ose o f th e
proba tion office w ere covered w ith a coarse-m esh w irin g, th e h ouse w a s quite
attra ctive and h a d a hom elike atm osphere. Sep arate d orm itories w ere p rovid ed
f o r dependent an d f o r delinquent children , and every effo rt w a s m ade to keep
them apart, bu t it w a s difficult ow in g to th e arran gem en t o f th e b u ildin g.
A h osp ita l room w a s loca ted in th e basem ent o f the detention hom e. T h e
Spokane sch ool b oa rd p rovid ed teacher's, and the you n ger ch ild ren o f sch ool
age w ere requ ired to atten d sch ool m orn in g and a ftern oon , th e old er ch ildren
fo r on ly h a lf a day. C hildren being detain ed becau se o f depen den cy w ere
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis




allowed to play out of doors after school. The staff was composed of a
S S l f S ’ aa asf lstant matron, a cook, and a night man. The detention home was
temS0rary cayelof dePendent children awaiting placement as well
as of those awaiting court hearing. Attendance officers sent children to the
m 0Jd e r . t0 discipline them, and parents sometimes placed
children there for a few days to give them a scare.” Boys 16 and 17 years
Were detained ^ the ja il i f th eir offenses w ere serious
tn T h I r
g i , i e ir Presence in the d etention hom e w ou ld be d etrim ental
f o r ^ i n ^ d a yb o o k 11^ 1611' T h e d etentlon ‘ hom e record s w ere k ept in d ock et
fnT i L P1 fent^ Sch00l aad th.e House of the Good Shepherd were available
couri , f °r institutional care of delinquent children. The
Parental School was entirely under the supervision of the city school author­
ities and supported by school funds, only boys of school age from the city of
Spokane being accepted. W ith capacity for only 26 boys, the school was
|Ccfnhg if° r m?re i h„an that number under crowded conditions. The
w a slo cated on a tract of 80 acres about 5 miles from the
center of the city. The main building was of brick, with dining room kitchen
and recreation and reading rooms on the first floor. One large dormitory
on the second floor provided sleeping quarters for all the boys. There was a
f ^ arate frame school building, and each boy was required to attend school
i L i ? ach b° y WaS
also certain work assignments on the
farm. Most of the boys were committed to the school by the court, the period
commitment being for six months, at the end of which time he might be
^_|:iu™ ed h.°me or placed in a family home under parole supervision. The
court considered this institution primarily for dependents, but a study of
the court records showed that it was problem children, mostly habitual
truants, w ho w ere com m itted th ere b y the court.
The House of the Good Shepherd accepted girls from anywhere but
preference was given to accommodating those from Spokane County and the
State of Washington. Girls were frequently received upon application of
their parents or relatives and were sometimes placed there only for a brief
time to be disciplined.” It was not the policy to accept girls under 12 years
f A g6A ,and glrls^ were generally released at 18, although they could be held
K u r t 'w a T d s 6

The C° Unty Paid $5° a m° nth t0 thiS ins«tutton for S

This institution was occupying an old-fashioned 3-story and basement con­
gregate building, erected to house 75, but with a population of about 100 at
the time of the study. There were a few small rooms for the youngergirls
but most of them slept in dormitories accommodating about 40 girls
maternity cases or girls with venereal diseases were accepted.
Three maternity homes and the maternity wards of one general hospital
were providing for unmarried mothers in Spokane County. All these insti­
tutions received girls and women regardless of their place of residence. The
large number of illegitimate births in the county (107 during the year of the
study) may be attributed to the fact that many girls from Idaho and Mon­
tana, as well as from neighboring counties in Washington, come to Spokane
insti^ i o n reported that very few of the girls came from

The local health departments, the clinics, and the health associations
worked independently of each other. The local well-baby, sick-baby t u b S
culosis and dental clinics cooperated with the child-hygieie division of the
State department of health and the local tuberculosis league. On the other
hand, the city health department (Spokane) and the county health depart­
ment were entirely separate. The city health department was doing the
venereal-disease work for the county.
T h e cou n ty health departm en t em p loyed a n urse an d tw o fu ll-tim e phvsicm ns, one o f w hom look ed a fte r con trol o f con tagiou s disease alm ost en tirely
T h ree in corp ora ted tow n s h a d pa rt-tim e deputy h ealth officers p a id fr o m loca i
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



town fu n d s; these officers were not under the supervision of the county health
department. Children in need of surgical treatment whose families could not
afford to meet the full expense were cared for in a city hospital which made
a very small charge, paid by the fam ilies; the county physician performed
the operations.
The county nurse had been conducting preschool health conferences, with
the assistance of the parent-teacher association. She had been trying also
to include some tuberculosis-prevention work in her education program. She
also did the health work in the schools.
Suspected tuberculosis cases in both city and county were referred by the
teachers to the city tuberculosis nurse (employed by the tuberculosis league),
who had the children examined at a clinic. The superintendent of the county
sanitarium gave his services free for these clinical examinations. The total
number of children under 18 examined at the clinic during 1926 was 126.
Fifteen children from the county were sent to the State tuberculosis sanitarium
during the year.
The Spokane Board of Health had a staff of four full-time physicians and
five public-health nurses. The school health work was being done by a physician,
five nurses, a dental hygienist, and an office assistant, who were assisted by a
surgeon, a dentist, and a nurse employed by the Junior Red Cross. Physical
inspections were given in all the grade schools twice a year by the school
nurse. In the high schools the nurses examined only those boys and girls
who had been referred to them by the high-school teachers and who showed
signs of having defects that needed remedying. An effort was being made by
one of the nurses to show the need for thorough medical inspection in the high
schools. The health education in the schools was handled by the teachers, and
in the schools where there was a physical-education teacher she had charge
of the health )and habit work.
The Shriners’ Hospital for Crippled Children (having 20 beds for children
under 14) and three general hospitals received Children. One of them had a
special children’s ward, and another had 10 beds for crippled children.
In addition to these health agencies two private organizations in Spokane were
carrying on some health work— a family-relief agency that conducted prenatal
and infant-welfare health centers with two full-time paid nurses and the
volunteer assistance of three doctors, and a health agency organized to educate
mothers in the care of infants and young children.
Two organizations of men were providing funds for surgical and hospital
care for crippled and disabled children unable to meet the expense of private
treatment, one of these organizations, as has been stated, confining itself to
the support of orthopedic work for children under 14. The other provided
for children of all ages needing ear, eye, nose, throat, and special dental work
as well. Physicians and surgeons, members of the clubs, gave their services
free of charge. A third organization of men was interested in raising funds
for an infirmary for the Spokane Children’s Home.

The county outside Spokane had no public playgrounds other than school
grounds, and few of these were equipped with play apparatus. Several schools
had gymnasiums and a number had tennis courts. The schools throughout
the county were used as community centers, and there were seven other such
centers and a number of Grange halls. Fourteen Boy Scout groups, with 200
members, and 18 groups of Camp Fire Girls, with 380 members, had been
organized outside Spokane.
The public dance halls outside the city of Spokane were investigated by the
sheriff and licensed by the county commissioners. The pool rooms were investi­
gated by the sheriff and supervised by local town officials or the constables.
Regular attendance by an officer was not provided, but frequent visits were
made by the sheriff or his deputy. It was impossible to obtain information as
to the number of dance halls, but the aggregate number of licenses, including
some issued for only one evening, was 225. A number of the dance halls oper­
ated only during the summer months, and licenses for some were issued quar­
terly or semiannually.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



The 4r-H clubs had come to be an important factor in the community life
throughout the county. The clubs had been organized in 20 communities, each
club being sponsored by some local group or committee. The purpose of the
committee was to keep up the interest of the community in the work, to find
leaders, and to work up projects. The age limit for club members was 10 to 20
years. In the year before the study was made 12 community fairs were held in
the county by the 4 -H clubs. In one community four-fifths of the children
available were enrolled in the clubs.
One of the policies of the city of Spokane park board was to have a park or
a playground accessible to every neighborhood. The city had 43 parks and
playgrounds comprising 2,200 acres (including 8 supervised playgrounds, 4
swimming pools, 38 public tennis courts, baseball and football grounds, golf
courses, and skating ponds). During the summer months a full-time playground
supervisor was employed with 15 full-time assistants. During the summer the
grounds were open and supervised from 9 a. m. to 9 p. m., seven days in the
week. It was estimated that the annual attendance at the various playgrounds
was about 1,000,000. The three swimming pools were open to both children
and a du lts; two of them had life guards in attendance at all times. No instruc­
tion in ’swimming was provided, however.
. The license inspector in Spokane had charge of issuing all kinds of licenses
including dance-hall permits. Fifteen dance halls and five dancing schools had
been licensed by him during the year before the study. The dancing schools
were required to have health permits also, and individual permits were required of all organizations giving a dance. A city ordinance prohibited the
attendance at public dance halls of girls under 18 and of boys under 21 alone.
Most of the city dance halls were closed during the summer months when those
at the near-by resorts were open. The public dance halls were under the super­
vision of a policewoman, but it was obviously impossible for one woman to
supervise such a large number. She sometimes visited three or four in an
evening. This was the only supervision provided. The only supervision of the
pool rooms and bowling alleys was that furnished by the police in their regular
i1*1? f duty- In the year before the study the city had 39 licensed pool rooms
and two bowling alleys. Minors under 21 were not permitted in pool rooms.
* Facilities for indoor sports were provided by the 19 school gymnasiums (4
for high-school boys and girls and 15 for grade-school children) and 3 others
under the auspices of the Young Men’s Christian Association, the Young
Women s Christian Association, and the Salvation Army.
Physical education in the city schools was being carried on by a staff of 20
instructors—-12 in the high schools and 8 in the grade schools. A ll the high
schools had athletic directors.
The 56 Boy Scout troops had a total membership of approximately 1100
boys. One thousand four hundred girls were enrolled in the 72 Camp Fire Girl
groups. Approximately 650 boys and 500 girls were members of the Young
ri?-n iS T?hnStiai1 Association and the Young Women’s Christian Association
(Girl Reserves), respectively.
Six summer camps were available for boys and five for girls of the citv of
One of these camps (operated by the American Association of Uni­
versity Women) accepted families referred by the Social Service Bureau arid
the mothers pension department.
The Salvation Army had a boys’ club
organized especially for the underprivileged and for those unable to pay the
dues or supply the equipment necessary in some other recreational groups.

county was divided into 155 school districts. There were 16 consoli­
dated districts and 5 joint districts; that is, a union of a district in Spokane
County with an adjoining district in another county.
The county outside
bpokane had 22 high schools, 3 of which were union high schools.
Spokane employed a full-time attendance officer. The county superintendent
was responsible for this work in the rest of the county. During the year of
the^study not more than five cases of truancy had come to his attention.
No special work was being undertaken for children with conduct problems
except in the city of Spokane, where one visiting teacher was employed. In
the_ city high schools and in six o f the county high schools, teachers were
acting as deans or advisors to the girls. No similar service was being pro­
vided for the boys.
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It was reported that nearly 100 physically or mentally handicapped boys
and girls were neither in an institution nor enrolled in school.
A special school (the Horace Mann School) with a principal and four
teachers was provided by the public-school board in Spokane for mentally
defective children. The enrollment was 75 in the year of the study, but
because of limited space the school w as not providing for all children who
should have been enrolled in a special school. The principal of this school
did whatever mental testing was done in the public schools. Two of the
regular grade schools had special classes for defective children. Special work
with deaf children was being carried on as a part of the work of the Horace
Mann School; 14 deaf children were receiving special instruction. In Spokane
glasses were provided sometimes by the school board for children unable to
pay for them. No other relief was given.
*> > «
1 '
About 50 parent-teacher groups had been organized in the county, A5 of
them being in the city of Spokane. The Spokane groups had adopted the
Horace Mann School as their special work. They had also parent-training
classes and preschool circles and lectures. The city parent-teacher association
council had equipped clinics in two of the girls’ junior high schools. Several
of the groups out in the county were serving hot lunches in the schools, and
one had fitted up a clinic room for the county nurse.
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W alla W alla County, located in the southeastern part of the State, is one of
the most productive agricultural areas in the United States. The total popula­
tion in 1920 was 27,539,T o f whom approximately three-fourths were living in
the city of W alla W alla. The western part of the county, known as the
flats, is very sparsely settled. The fertility of the soil and the long growing
season (218 days a year) assure an abundance and diversity of crops that are
handled to advantage through well-organized marketing organizations. W heat
is the principal crop, but large quantities of all kinds of fruit and vegetables
are raised. Considerable manufacturing is carried on, much of which is related
to the agricultural products and natural resources of the county. The ranches;
are large, and many of the owners and tenants live in the towns and go out
to their ranches daily during the busy season. The tenants as a rule stay only
one or two seasons and then move on. Most of the men who come in for farm
labor during the busy season are single, and the majority of the married men
who come do not bring their families.
The city of W alla W alla, in the southern part of the county, is the social and
economic center of an area 50 by 100 miles, extending into Oregon and Idaho
Ninety per cent of this area is drained by the W alla W alla and tributary
rivers forming the great W alla W alla Valley. Ample railroad and bus trans­
portation facilities make the educational, health, and economic opportunities of
the city available to a large part of the county.
A large settlement of Russians in one section of the city of W alla W alla
was responsible for one of the outstanding welfare problems of the citv.
Although these people were as a rule industrious, law-abiding citizens"
many of whom owned their own homes, they had not adapted themselves to
American ways to any great extent, and many problems were arising partic­
ularly in connection with the children. A large majority of the mothers
went out to work and made no provision for the supervision of the children
during their absence. It was hoped that the kindergarten in the public
school of the district, obtaihed through the efforts of the parent-teacher
association council, would help this situation.

Most of the work in connection with provisions for the care of dependent
children m W alla W alla County was being undertaken by the juvenile-court
probation oflicer. He was administering poor relief under the countv com­
missioners and investigating and supervising families receiving mothers’ aid
tor the superior court. As no records of poor relief were kept except the
stubs of the orders, it was impossible to determ ne the extent of this type of
assistance to families in which there were children. One person familiar
with the situation said that the relief work amounted to small doles because
of the inadequacy of the appropriation for this work and the limited vision
of the county commissioners. An effort had been made to get the countv
commissioners to register poor-relief cases with the confidential exchange that
had recently been started in the city, but they refused on the ground that
it was too public.”
As in the other counties in the State, very little cash was given the families; the relief was usually grocery orders or fuel, and occasionally rent was
paid. One year’s residence in the county was required in order to make a
family eligible for relief. The commissioners had definitely excluded three

made by the U. S. Bureau of the Census for 1926, the year of the
In 1930 the population of the county was 28,441.
54586°— 31------ 8
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types of families from those eligible for assistance: (1) Tourists or transients,
(2 ) families of men sent to jail for bootlegging, (3 ) families coming to W alla
W alla so as to be near the fathers who were in either the State penitentiary
or in the United States Veterans’ Hospital.
A ll applications for mothers’ aid were made to the prosecuting attorney.
I t was the duty of the probation officer to make the investigation and to
-•supervise the families, but he depended very largely on the prosecuting attor­
ney’s or his own knowledge of the family. After the pension was p a n ted , it
w as customary to visit the mothers in their homes only once or twice a year.
Mothers living in the city of W alla W alla were required to call at the audi­
tor’s office for their checks, but mothers living outside the city received their
checks by mail. No particular effort was made to do any constructive work
With the mothers’ aid families.
The county provided free of charge any
special treatment that the school nurse reported as necessary for families
receiving aid, but no effort was made to learn anything of the children’s
special needs.
The mothers’ pension records were quite incomplete; the only social records
were on small cards and gave the address, number of children under 15 in
the family and their whereabouts, and the family income.
The official
mothers’ aid records in the county clerk’s office contained copies o f the appli­
cation, the petition, and the court order. Sometimes these records included
forief, informal notes on facts obtained in the investigation of the family.
Practically all cases of nonsupport and desertion were settled in the prose­
cuting attorney’s office, and it was very unusual for one of these cases to
come to court. It was found that the mothers usually withdrew the com­
plaint, or the fathers went across the State line, and there was considerable
sentiment against furnishing funds for extradition. The prosecuting attorney
had been trying to get the county to comply with the law in regard to paying
prisoners for their work on the county roads. He claimed that until this
was done and the money became available for the families, there was little
point in sending men to jail for nonsupport.
The community chest was organized in November, 1926, and the greater
part of the $32,580 raised was allotted to organizations interested primarily in
recreation and health activities. The community chest was not backed by any
federation of social agencies, as is the case in most cities, but the money had
been raised by a group of business men who wanted to be relieved of the
frequent solicitations of various organizations in the city. Three private
organizations in the county were doing a limited amount of family-relief work,
and a number of churches and fraternal organizations were assisting needy
families, but no method of cooperation or o f avoiding duplication had been
worked out.
. , _ t- ,
The county commissioners, through the juvenile court, provided either tem­
porary or permanent care for dependent children in institutions or family
homes or placed them with the Washington Children’s Home Society.
The Stubblefield Home, located just outside the city of W alla W alla, was a
private institution for dependent children. It was equipped to care for about
25 children. It was restricted under the provisions of its establishment to
the care of full orphans from either W alla W alla County or Umatilla County
in Oregon. However, during the last few years, children with one or both
parents had been given care. Also, some children from other counties in
Washington had been received, but the majority of the children in the home
came from W alla W alla County. No children under school age were accepted.
The majority of the children were received from parents or relatives; only
a few were committed by the juvenile court. Occasionally the official adminis­
tering poor relief placed a child in the institution without court commitment.
The year before this study an appropriation of $1,000 had been made to the
home by the county. This amount exceeded the cost of care of children com­
mitted by the court and was applied toward care of any children in the in­
stitution for whom no support was received from other sources.
The Odd Fellows Home, the other institution in the county caring for de­
pendent children, was maintained entirely by the fraternal organization and
received no financial support from the county. Only children of members
of the lodge were eligible for admission, but the institution served the entire
State. A t the time of the visit to the home 52 children were being cared for.
This institution did not bear a close relationship to the problem of dependency
in the county.
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Only six dependent children were before the court during the year o f the
study; one of them was committed to an institution and five cases were dis­
missed or otherwise disposed of.
Cases of adoption were heard in the superior court. There were 10 such
cases during the year. The city police matron or protective officer in W a lla
W alla had been asked to make the investigation in a few adoption cases, but
no definite policy had been established in regard to such investigations.

The judge of the superior court, who was also the judge of the juvenile
sessions, had been in office only a few months at the time of the study. The
court hearings were quite informal, being in the nature of conferences, and
were usually held in the judge’s chambers; only occasionally was a case
heard in the official court room. Children were brought into court by the pro­
bation officer, and all complaints and petitions were signed by the prosecuting
The probation officer had been engaged in poor-relief work for
17 years and had done the mothers’ aid and the probation work for several
years. Because of the number of his duties, he found it impossible to make
investigations in all cases brought to this court, but he usually investigated
all cases given formal hearing. Children on probation were required to report
to his office in the courthouse once a month, but he apparently did not visit
them in their homes. Children were placed on probation for an indefinite
period; although they were notified when the probation period terminated,
they were not brought back to court for formal release, and no report in
regard to children on probation was made to the judge.
Very few children who came to the attention of the court were given either
physical or mental examinations.
Boys who showed outstanding physical
defects were examined by the county doctor and girls by a local woman phy­
sician. The only mental examinations were made by a local physician in the
city of W alla W alla, who was not a specialist in this line.
Eleven of the thirty cases of juvenile delinquency brought before the court
during the year were referred to the judge for formal hearing, and 19 were
adjusted informally. The policy of the juvenile court was to waive jurisdiction
in cases of boys 16 and 17 years o f age who were brought in on serious charges
and for whom commitment to the State reformatory was thought advisable.
Only 2 o f the 30 children before the court during the year because of delinquency
were placed on probation, 6 were sent to institutions, and the others were
returned to their homes following adjustment or their cases were disposed of in
some other way. The majority of the juvenile delinquents that came to the
attention of the court or were known to the probation officer were from the city
of W alla W alla, as in the small townsi conduct problems were usually handled
by the local school authorities.
The juvenile detention quarters were in the basement of the courthouse, and
the wife of the janitor acted as matron. The matron at the time of the study
had been in charge for only a few months, and her predecessor had left no
records as to the number of children detained. The probation officer stated
that there was no definite policy as to detention. On the basis of the amount
expended for detention care and the number of days of detention during the
year 1926, it seems quite probable that practically all children who came before
the court must have been held in the detention home, many of them for
extended periods. The matron allowed the girls to spend their time in her
home during the day ; the small boys were given the freedom of the halls and
were seldom locked in their rooms. Apparently no provision was made for
No cases of truancy in the city o f W alla W alla were brought into court
during the year preceding the study. The truant officer was also the super­
visor of school buildings and grounds and had had no particular training for
juvenile work. It was reported that during the year before the study he made
206 calls in connection with absences and picked up 27 children and took them
to school.
The “ protection officer ” in the city of W alla W alla, better known as the
‘ police matron,” was particularly interested in giving protection to girls in
need of help and in doing what she could to prevent delinquency. During 1926
she made 230 calls in the homes of girls who came to her attention. She had
urged the need for a more constructive recreational program and for more work
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in the Russian quarter of the city, from which many of the problems among
girls arose.
The one public dance hall in the city of W alla W alla was under the super­
vision of the protection, officer, and she visited dances given by private organ­
izations at which an admission fee was charged. The dance, halls outside the
city of W alla W alla were not under any supervision. As her jurisdiction
did not extend outside the city, it was impossible for her to respond to the
numerous calls from outside that came to her for assistance. Pool rooms in
the city were licensed and supervised by the regular police as a part of their

The health work had been much better organized than any othesr welfare
work in the county. A ll ’the health work for the county (including the city
of W alla W alla) was under the direction of a full-time paid health officer.
This arrangement had been in effect for only a few months at the time of the
study. The city paid 40 per cent of the expense of carrying on the work.
Besides the health officer, the staff consisted of a sanitary inspector, a dairy
inspector, a county physician (on a part-time basis), a county nurse, and a
statistician who did all the clerical work and was also registrar of vital
statistics. Only one town besides W alla W alla had a local health officer.
The county nurse worked in cooperation with the child-hygiene division of the
State board of health.
The school district of the city of W alla W alla employed a full-time school
nurse and a school physician. A ll children in the grades were examined once
a year and a permanent record entered on their health cards. A system of
notifying parents of physical defects and of following up cases had been
adopted. Parents had cooperated very well in seeing that the children received
the necessary treatment. Milk was sold to underweight children at cost and
was furnished free of charge to children who were unable to pay. Health
lectures had been given, and preschool and infant clinics and nutrition classes
had been established in a number of the smaller towns of the State. A num­
ber of families in need of constructive case work were found by the health
A health center had been organized in the city of W alla W alla only a few
months before the time of the study and had received financial assistance
from the community chest. The center had cooperated with the county nurse
in establishing a confidential exchange in which all county families were regis­
tered. The director of this health center was particularly interested in estab­
lishing a social-service department in connection with the health work and of
extending the work to include the health activities of the entire county.
The families of prisoners in the State penitentiary and of men in the United
States Veterans’ Hospital (for tuberculosis)— both of which institutions were
located in W alla W alla— presented difficult problems to the health workers as
well as to other social workers. In addition to the general problems of de­
pendency, much preventive work was necessary, especially in the families of
men in the veterans’ hospital. This was particularly necessary, as the men
were permitted to visit their families frequently, and there was some risk
o f exposing the children to tuberculosis.

The recreational activities of the city of W alla W alla were more extensive
than those found in most cities of the same size. They included two city
parks, two supervised playgrounds, two swimming pools, a gymnasium, 10
Boy Scout troops with 225 members, 24 groups of Camp Fire Girls with 281
members, a Young Men’s Christian Association with 450 paid memberships of
boys under 18, and the Young Women’s Christian Association (Girl Reserves)
with 120 members. Two near-by summer camps were available, one for boys
and one for girls. The Carnegie Public Library had a special children’s depart­
ment. The curfew regulation in W alla W alla required that children under
16 be off the streets at 9 o’clock unless accompanied by adults or en route to
their homes from the “ movies,” or other places. There was no special enforce­
ment of the law except that officers sent children home when found. The
Young Men’s Christian Association director supervised the physical education
in the grade schools. The high school had an athletic director who had charge
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



of the junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps of 300 cadets in addition to his
other activities.
Ths county agricultural agent had charge of the boys’ and girls’ club work
throughout the county. In the year before the study 175 boys and girls were
enrolled in the 4-H clubs. The farm bureaus or granges were active in some
communities, as were also a number of parent-teacher association groups. A
number of the towns outside W alla W alla had Boy Scout, Girl Scout, or Camp
I! ire Girl troops. The lodges and the churches were responsible for much of
the social life in the smaller towns and were cooperating with the various
boys and girls’ clubs. Some of the smaller communities had made unusually
good provision for both indoor and outdoor recreation— parks, equipped play­
grounds, and gymnasiums. Dance halls, motion-picture theaters, and other
forms of commercial recreation were found in a number of communities.

The city of W alla W alla has come to be looked upon as an educational center.
In addition to the public schools, it had 3 schools under church auspices, 2
colleges, 3 music schools, and a business college. It was stated that at least
one-fifth of the 1,209 children enrolled in the high school in W alla W alla were
nonresidents. The schools were not undertaking special work for problem
children, and no data were available as to the number o f physically and men­
tally handicapped children in the county not enrolled in the school. Fourteen
of the schools in the county were organized as community centers. The city of
W alla W alla had seven parent-teacher association groups, and three others
were at work outside the city.

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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis