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U. S. Department of Labor
Children’s Bureau

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Publication 301



Foreword--------------------------------------------------------------------------Introduction---------------------------------------------------— ---------- - Part I: Goals for community action------------------------------------Strengthening of resources needed by all children-----------Home life_________________________________________
Schooling. __---------------------------------------------------------Church influences—
------------------- --------------------Recreational and group activities---------------------------Protection of groups of children especially vulnerable to
delinquency---- ---------------------- — -----------------------------Children of employed mothers. ------------------------------Boys and girls in employment. _____________________
Children living in crowded quarters or congested
Mentally and-physically handicapped children--------Children in families with economic need------------------Control of harmful influences in the community-------------Legal authority for controlling or eliminating harm­
ful influences____________________________ ____ - - Effective enforcement of legal measures for control of
harmful influences_______________________________
Protection of youth in public places-----------------------Voluntary cooperation of commercial establishments. _
Services for the delinquent child and the child with be. havior problems-------------------------------------------------------Social services--------- ---------------------------------------------The police and the juvenile court-----------------------—
Adequate detention care----------------------- --------------Provision for institutional and foster-family care----Child-guidance services---------------------------------- ------Part II: Procedures for action----------- '---------------------- ----------Organization--------------- .-------------------------- — ------- -------Putting the program into action. ----------------------------------UNITED STATES DEPARTM ENT OF LABOR
Frances Perkins, Secretary
C hildren ’ s B ureau — Katharine F. Lenroot, Chief

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis





This publication, Controlling Juvenile Delinquency: A Community
Program, was issued in mimeographed form under the title, “A Com­
munity Program for Prevention and Control of Juvenile Delinquency
in Wartime.” It completes the series o f three publications recom­
mended by the Children’s Bureau Commission on Children in Whrtime
at a meeting held at the White House on February 4,1943. Pursuant
to the recommendations made at this meeting, the purpose o f which was
to explore the problems o f children in wartime with special reference
to juvenile delinquency and the community’s responsibility for pro­
viding services for meeting these problems, the following publications
have already been issued by the Children’s Bureau:
Community Action for Children in Wartime.
To Mothers and Fathers of the Nation’s Wartime Children—
A letter from the Chief o f the Children’s Bureau.
An earlier publication, also prepared at the suggestion o f the Com­
mission, is A Program of State Action for Our Children in Wartime.
In the Federal Government the Office of Community W ar Services
o f the Federal Security Agency is coordinating the work o f the Fed­
eral agencies concerned with the prevention and control of juvenile
delinquency. Similar coordinating service is provided in many States
through committees on children in wartime affiliated with State
defense councils.
The present publication has been prepared by the staff o f the Chil­
dren’s Bureau. Helpful suggestions have been received from the fol­
lowing agencies:
Office o f Community War Services, Federal Security Agency, including the
Recreation Division and the Social Protection Division.
Office of Civilian Defense.
Offie of Education, Federal Security Agency.
Bureau of Prisons, United States Department of Justice.
United States Probation System, Administrative Office of the United States
Bureau o f Public Assistance, Social Security Board, Federal Security Agency.

The approach to the prevention and treatment of juvenile delin­
quency emphasized in this publication is through provision for serviii
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

ices that are necessary to children and their families at all times and
provision for new or extended services to meet special needs created
by the wartime situation. In this emphasis it supplements the other
programs adopted by the Children’s Bureau Commission on Children
in Wartime, relating to State and community action.
This publication is primarily for persons or groups leading in the
development o f programs for children and youth. It is addressed
particularly to committees of State and local defense councils and
councils o f social agencies; to other community groups assuming
active responsibility in promoting basic services for children and
youth; to private national agencies and associations with programs
bearing upon some aspect o f delinquency prevention and treatment;
and to Federal agencies with responsibilities relating to juvenile
Organizations and committees interested in developing compre­
hensive programs in their communities will find here a general guide.
Supplementary information can be obtained from Federal agencies
and Nation-wide private agencies and from State or local organizations
concerned with these services.
K ath ar in e F. L enroot,
Chief o f the Children's Bureau.

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

C o n tr o llin g J u v e n ile D e lin q u e n c y
A Community P rogram
Juvenile delinquency is an old problem, a problem that today has
been intensified, aggravated, and given new emphasis under the pres­
sure of war. It has come to have high priority rating among the
social problems requiring special consideration and prompt action.
In wartime, as in peacetime, juvenile delinquency results from our
failure to satisfy the basic needs of children and youth—the need for
security and for opportunity for growth and achievement. The home
and community, through which these fundamental needs are met, find
their task made more difficult by the dislocations they are undergoing
in wartime.
Young people as a whole are meeting the emergency with clarity
and courage. We can rely on them to think straight and act straight.
The group involved in the juvenile-delinquency problem is relatively
small. Nevertheless, the problems o f the boys and girls who develop
behavior disorders or fall into delinquency are important, not only for
the welfare o f the individuals involved and o f the community as a
whole but also for the light the experience o f these boys and girls
throws on the difficulties other young people are facing.
Among the wartime conditions contributing to juvenile delinquency
are the follow ing:
Fathers are separated from their families because they are serving in the
armed forces or working in distant war industries.
Mothers in large numbers are engaged in full-time employment and are there­
fore away from home most o f the day.
Lack of consistent guidance and supervision from their parents gives children
opportunity for activities that may lead to unacceptable behavior.
An increasing number of children are now employed, in many instances under
unwholesome conditions that impede their growth, limit their educational
progress, or expose them to moral hazards.
The widespread migration o f families to crowded centers o f war industry has
uprooted children from familiar surroundings and subjected them to life in
communities where resources are overtaxed by the increased population.

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



Dance halls, beer parlors, and other “attractions” that flourish in industrial
centers and near military establishments, unless kept under community control,
frequently exert a harmful influence on youth.
The general spirit o f excitement and adventure aroused by war and the tension,
anxiety, and apprehension felt by parents or other adults are reflected in rest­
lessness, defiance, emotional disturbance, and other negative forms o f behavior
on the part of children and young people.

As a result o f these wartime conditions, many communities have
already experienced an upward trend in delinquency. Other com­
munities apparently find no marked change in the delinquency situa­
tion since the war began. Although Nation-wide statistics on juvenile
delinquency are not available, statistics reported to the Children’s
Bureau by 82 courts serving areas of 100,000 or more population throw
light on recent changes in the volume of juvenile delinquency. The
total number of cases of delinquency brought before these courts has
increased from about 64,000 in 1940 to 74,000 in 1942, an increase
o f almost 16 percent. The rise in the number o f delinquency cases
was greater for girls than for boys: 38 percent compared with 11
percent. That conditions prevalent in the growing war production
"centers were attended by an increase in juvenile-delinquency cases
was evident in the fact that in the 40 courts located in areas of increas­
ing population the increase in juvenile delinquency was 18 percent,
whereas in the 42 courts in areas of stable or declining population
the increase was 9 percent. Increases in juvenile-delinquency cases
were far greater, proportionately, than increases in child population.
The great majority o f children and youth are adjusting successfully
to wartime demands and stresses, but even those who are responding
in the fullest degree to the demands of the adult world may be suf­
fering from emotional strains and deprivations which may seriously
affect their future development. The problems of delinquent children
highlight the need for doing the best job we can for all children and
youth. It is important, therefore, at this time, for every community
to give attention to the extent to which it is meeting the special needs
of children, especially of young people 14 to 18 years o f age. Each
community should determine the extent of its own delinquency prob­
lem and the factors contributing to it, examine the ways in which the
problem has been accentuated or changed by the war, and then decide
what action is required.
The primary responsibility for protection o f children and youth
rests, of course, upon their parents. W ar conditions place special
strains on home life and the ability o f parents to give their children
protection and guidance. Hence, the community, now more than ever
before, has responsibility to assist parents in fulfilling their obliga-
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



tions toward their own children and providing the services outside
the home that are necessary for the rounded development and protec­
tion o f children and youth. Community measures for prevention and
control o f juvenile delinquency in wartime, as at all times, must begin
with strengthening, expanding, and developing community services
that are needed for the protection, growth, and development of every
These services cannot and should not be developed merely as part
o f a program of delinquency prevention. Instead they should be
directed toward promoting the objectives of the community for
the positive well-being of all its children. Nevertheless, as its first step
any group concerned with control of delinquency must assess the pro­
visions for the home life, health, schooling, and welfare o f children
and take steps to stimulate and support all groups seeking to strengthen
these measures and fill in any gaps that may exist.
Many States and communities have developed committees on
children in wartime associated with State defense councils. These
committees form a natural base for the development of special delin­
quency programs. Other community-wide groups, such as councils
of social agencies, also afford such a framework. A clear line must
be drawn between those parts o f a community program for the pre­
vention and control of juvenile delinquency which should be the spe­
cial responsibility of a group concerned with this subject, and those
aspects o f the program which should be carried on by a group with
more general interests relating to the health and welfare of children.
A ll aspects of planning for the prevention and control of juvenile
delinquency should be coordinated in the local community, the State,
and the Federal Government. Many communities and some States
have already taken steps in this direction. The Federal agencies with
responsibilities related to juvenile delinquency are planning jointly
in this field.
A community planning a program to combat juvenile delinquency
will need to draw on all available, resources within its borders and
outside. Through the participation o f Federal, State, and local
agencies and citizen groups the community services that affect children
and youth can be strengthened, expanded, and developed. This must
be done if we are to safeguard our children, who are the strength and
future of the Nation.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Since juvenile delinquency is inextricably bound up with all the
factors in our social and economic life, community programs o f pre­
vention and control must necessarily be comprehensive and varied.
Fundamental points o f attack are set forth in the proposals that fo l­
low. Communities planning a comprehensive program for prevention
and control o f juvenile delinquency in wartime should make sure
that none o f these points o f attack is ignored. But because conditions
and resources vary from community to community, concentration of
effort on one point or on another should be determined by the needs
existing in the particular community and by their relative urgency.
A complete program of community action would include the
follow ing:
1. Strengthening o f resources needed by all children.
2. Protection o f groups of children especially vulnerable
to delinquency.
3. Control o f harmful influences in the community.
4. Services for the delinquent child and the child with
behavior problems.

A ll these activities depend for their effectiveness on sound organiza­
tion and procedures.

A ll Americans want this country to be a place where children
can live in safety and grow in understanding o f the part they
must play in the Nation?s future.
I f anywhere in the country any child lochs opportunity for
home life fo r health protection fo r education fo r moral or
spiritual development the strength o f the Nation and its abil­
ity to cherish and advance the principles o f democracy are
thereby weakened.





— F r a n k l in D . R oosevelt.

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Strengthening of Resources Needed by A ll Children

All children have needs above and beyond those that
can be met by their families. These must be met by
the resources of the community. The availability of
these necessary resources for all children has a special
significance in this war period when family life is sub­
jected to strains and dislocations. Strengthening of
community resources is of substantial importance in
prevention of juvenile delinquency. If these resources
are based on a broad concept of public responsibility,
many children not only may be saved from falling
into unacceptable behavior but also may be prepared
for rich, purposeful, and creative living.

What are the resources that a community should
provide for all children ?
What is needed to make these resources effective ?
Answers to these questions call for discussion of
church, and recreational and group-work activities,
of the community in helping parents to fulfill their

be expected to

the school, the
and of the role

Borne L ife.

Parents^ are the most vital influence in the lives o f their children.
' Since the task of mothers and fathers is more difficult under wartime
conditions the community has special responsibility in helping them
fulfill, to the best o f their ability, their obligations to their children.
The community is responsible, too, for making parents aware that
their children, because o f wartime conditions, have an increased need
for their direction and guidance. Wise and understanding fathers
and mothers, by assuming their full responsibility as parents, will
help to bring their children safely through these crucial times.
555003° — 43—— 2
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



A community program that will assist parents in fulfilling their
responsibilities to their children includes :
Full use of publicity to stimulate parents to awareness o f the special
needs of their children in wartime, and educational campaigns to help
them achieve better understanding of these needs and greater knowledge
o f ways to meet them.

These purposes can be achieved through continuation and expansion of
existing programs of parent education; through child-study and familylife courses developed by parent-teacher associations and other organiza­
tions ; through motion-picture shorts and radio programs setting forth in
dramatic form constructive ways of meeting children’s needs ; and through
posters illustrating effective methods of dealing with children. Federal
and State agencies and private National agencies specializing in work
with children can furnish material for these programs.
All suitable community facilities should be used. Motion pictures might
be shown in department stores, for example, in churches, at clubs, at
labor meetings, and in industrial plants at the noon hour. Posters might
be widely distributed in stores, public libraries, streetcars, churches, and
meeting halls.
Counseling and information service for parents who wish advice with
regard to special problems of their children.

This service should be given by' persons qualified by training and experi­
ence to deal with behavior problems of children as well as special family
problems. It might be provided through social agencies, schools, churches,
or child-guidance clinics.
Strengthening of relationships and promotion o f understanding between
teachers and parents through joint meetings and activities in parentteacher groups.
Promotion o f unified action by small groups of parents in setting standards
and establishing policies governing the social activities'of their children;
for example, joint agreement by parents as to how late their children
should be permitted to stay out at night.
Development o f programs to promote recreational and leisure-time activi­
ties in the home— such as workshops, hobbies, games, and music— and
participation of family groups in community activities planned in the
school, church, or community center.


Since most juvenile delinquents are of school age, the school occu­
pies a strategic position in the prevention and control o f juvenile
In their day-by-day contacts with children, school teachers and prin­
cipals often are able to discover attitudes and behavior that may be
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



the forerunners o f delinquency, in addition to serving the funda­
mental needs o f all children by providing them an opportunity for
intellectual growth and a sense o f achievement. Unhappiness or poor
adjustment in school may contribute to delinquency in childhood or
may sow the seeds of difficulties that will appear in adolescence or
maturity. The school makes a contribution to the prevention o f de­
linquency when it places emphasis on the child himself rather than
on the things taught him, and when it looks on the child’s school expe­
rience as a part of life itself as well as a preparation for life.
I f schools are to serve as bulwarks against delinquency there must
be in every community:
Enough school buildings adequately equipped and enough teachers ade­
quately compensated to maintain full school opportunity throughout the
school year for all the children, with full-day school sessions.
School programs that stimulate the child’s interest, promote his intellectual
growth, give him a sense o f achievement, and prepare him for useful

Special courses should be provided for those children whose individual
differences—physical, mental, or emotional—make it impossible for them
to benefit by the regular course of study.
Adequate enforcement o f school-attendance laws to promote the attend­
ance o f all children o f school age and to give recognition to the social
and emotional factors that are at the root o f much nonattendance.
Social services available to the school to assist in the discovery and under­
standing o f children with social and emotional problems and in the
utilization o f the resources of the community for meeting these

These services may be given through school social workers or through childwelfare workers on the staffs of public or private agencies. Of special
importance is the establishment of means for the development of mutual
understanding by teachers and social workers o f one another’s problems
and resources, and for referrals from one to the other.
Full utilization o f school buildings before and after school and during
evening hours, on week ends, and during vacation periods for supervised
activities for children and young people.

Church Influences.

The church, as an established and powerful force in community life,
can play a dynamic part in the prevention o f delinquency.
In fulfilling its primary responsibility for spiritual guidance, the
church helps the child to develop regard for other persons and respect
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



for their rights. It can help the child to gain a perspective upon life
that makes him able to distinguish between fundamental values in
human conduct and transient ideas as to what constitutes acceptable
and unacceptable behavior. Through these positive values children
are enabled to face difficulties and are given confidence in the ultimate
meaning of life. Thus they are fortified against delinquency.
In its secondary role as a community center the church affords a
place and an opportunity for young people to form wholesome associ­
ations and participate in constructive activities.
The church can fulfill its responsibilities for combating juvenile de­
linquency through:
Providing spiritual guidance by private counseling, general and special
religious services, special-class and religious instruction, study groups,
and special programs.
Serving as a community center by use o f church buildings and by providing
leadership for social, musical, and community activities in which boys
and girls, as well as entire families and neighbors, may join, such as clubs,
discussion groups, choirs, games, athletics, contests, and suppers.

Recreational and Group Activities .

Recreational and leisure-time activities constitute an important
aspect o f any wartime program to combat juvenile delinquency.
Wholesome activities offer children a channel for constructive and
satisfying experience and give opportunity for direction o f interests
that might otherwise seek satisfaction in delinquent behavior.
In seeking ways to offset increases in juvenile delinquency, wise
planning for the leisure time o f children and older boys and girls
should take into account not only their need for rest, relaxation, and
enjoyment o f living but also the value o f making them feel they have
a stake in the war effort. The psychological value o f making children
and young people part o f an effort that is absorbing our whole national
life should be kept in mind.
Furthermore, it is important to give attention to provision for par­
ticipation o f young people themselves in the development of recrea­
tional programs to which they have already demonstrated their ability
to contribute. Consideration should also be given to types o f activity
that meet youth’s need for high adventure and dramatic action, which
is intensified by wartime excitement. I f this need is not fulfilled in
acceptable ways, it may find expression in delinquent acts.
A well-balanced leisure-time program o f recreational and group
activities involves:
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



Using all suitable facilities andt programs available, whether publicly,
privately, or commercially sponsored.

This implies full utilization of school buildings, parks and playgrounds,
camping areas, community centers, museums and libraries; of activities
conducted by youth-serving organizations, settlements, and churches; and,
under proper control, of commercial recreation, such as motion-picture
theaters, dance halls, bowling alleys, swimming pools, and skating rinks.
Making the programs attractive to “teen age” boys and girls and offering
them a chance to participate in activities together.

The most popular programs include those that provide soft-drink and
milk bars; lounges equipped with juke boxes for dancing; and recrea­
tion rooms with equipment for ping-pong, pool-table games, and similar
activities. It is desirable that the boys and girls have a major portion
of the responsibility for planning and carrying out the programs, with
unobtrusive supervision.
Providing variety in programs, through active and quiet recreation; large
and small groups; carefully planned or spontaneous play; separate or
combined groups for boys and g ir ls; activities promoting physical fitness;
hikes and camping; and artistic and cultural pursuits.
Providing coverage of program to take into account the needs of all areas,
groups, and individuals.

Special attention should be given to children in congested areas, minority
groups, children with physical, mental, or emotional handicaps, and de­
linquent children or children with behavior problems who may need in­
dividual attention and guidance in selecting activities and associates.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Protection of Groups of Children Especially Vulnerable
to Delinquency
Certain groups of children are particularly sus­
ceptible to juvenile delinquency. ¿4s a result of war
conditions, more children are subjected to situations
conducive to delinquency than in pre-war days. Fur­
thermore, many children whose stability would be
sufficient to withstand ordinary pressures are unable
to adjust satisfactorily to the strains inherent in war
conditions. Preventing or overcoming these handi­
caps and providing special protection for the children
suffering from them, are important factors in pre­
venting and controlling the problem in any

Who are the children in this war period whose resistance to juvenile
delinquency is lowered by their mental or physical condition or by the
situation in which they live?
And what is needed in a community to overcome these handicaps so
far as possible, and protect the children suffering from them?
The answers to these questions require consideration of the groups
o f children who need special protection and the services available to
them. Examples of the latter are day care and extended school serv­
ices for children of employed mothers; safeguards for boys and girls
in employment; improved housing for children in families now living
in crowded quarters or congested areas; services for physically and
mentally handicapped children; and aid for children in families with
economic need.
Children o f Em ployed M others.

The need for day care and extended school services for children
o f employed mothers has received public attention as a wartime prob­
lem created by increased employment o f women. Recognition has
been given to the great need o f such care for children o f both school
and preschool age. Without supervision, direction, and guidance both
young children and adolescents may develop undesirable associations
and find opportunity for activities that lead to delinquency.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



Programs o f day care and extended school services should include :
Counseling and information service designed to assist parents, when
mothers are employed or are thinking about going to work, in planning
for the care' o f both the young child and the adolescent.
Foster-fam ily day care and group care in nursery schools and day-care
centers for children o f employed women.
Before-and-after-school programs for school-age children and, during
school vacations, all-day programs.

B oys and Girls in Em ploym ent.

Eager to earn their own money and restless for new wartime activ­
ities boys and girls are going to work in large numbers. To a great
extent their employment is now unplanned. Much o f it is at night
and in public places. Many are working under conditions that ex­
pose them to health and accident hazards and unwholesome influences
that make the path to delinquency an easy one. Many are placed in
positions where adult supervision is too slight, or the responsibilities
are too great, subjecting them to temptations. Young girls are leav­
ing the shelter of family life in a rural community and going in con­
siderable numbers to crowded areas to seek employment without ade­
quate guidance. Often they find themselves stranded without money
or a place to stay and become involved in difficulties. Thousands of
young people drop out o f school to enter employment and many are
developing exaggerated feelings of self-importance and attitudes of
defiance toward their parents.
Programs helping to control juvenile delinquency through pro­
vision of employment safeguards for boys and girls should include :
Continuing publicity on employment standards in relation to age, hours,
and working conditions for young people, and on jobs best suited for
youth, and insistence on compliance of employers with child-labor laws.
Adequate staff for prompt issuance of employment and age certificates, to
make sure that no child goes to work in violation of child-labor laws.
Counseling and placement services to help boys and girls decide whether
to continue in school or leave for work, and to assist them in finding
suitable part-time or full-tim e jobs.
Inspection o f workplaces by proper authorities to enforce legal employ­
ment standards.
Other measures necessary to see that young people have adequate adult
supervision on their jobs and work in wholesome surroundings.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



Children Living in Crowded Quarters or Congested Areas .

A large proportion o f delinquent children come from crowded homes
and congested areas. Under wartime conditions thousands o f chil­
dren are living in trailer camps, in shacks, or in other places under
unwholesome conditions.
These children are subjected to strains and undesirable influences
arising from lack of privacy. They lack space in which to play
safely. And, because of overcrowding and staggered work hours of
members o f the family group, they lack regular sleep and meals.
When children are placed under such strains some o f them may be
expected to develop delinquent behavior.
A community giving its attention to the control o f juvenile delin­
quency must necessarily be concerned about the relationship between
bad housing conditions and delinquency.
Programs for improved housing include provision for :
Additional housing units to assure safeguards against the physical and
social hazards o f overcrowding.
Facilities, in connection with housing units, for safety, sanitation, recrea­
tion, and transportation.
Legal regulations and effective law enforcement covering sanitary and
fire hazards, sewage disposal, and overcrowding.
Centralized housing registries to serve those seeking living quarters.
Negotiation o f differences between landlords and tenants on a basis of
fairness to both.

Special effort must be made to see that children living under bad
housing conditions have full opportunity for all-day schooling, rec­
reation, church activities, and individual guidance and help when
M entally and Physically Handicapped Children .

Mental retardation and physical handicaps may make children par­
ticularly susceptible to delinquency. The mentally retarded child who
is unable to compete with other children o f his own age group may
yield readily to harmful influences. The child whose physical condi­
tion or handicap prevents him from running and playing like other
children or makes him conspicuous among them may find his satis­
factions through undesirable behavior or delinquent acts.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



Children in these groups are especially affected by the tensions grow­
ing out o f the quickened tempo o f living and the dislocations of family
life in wartime. It is important that consideration be given to the
difficulty they face in attempting to fit into school programs, to play
with other children on equal terms, and to prepare for self-supporting
and satisfying employment.
Services for mentally and physically handicapped children as a
part o f the program to prevent juvenile delinquency should include:
Full utilization, and extension, if necessary, o f State and local resources
for early discovery o f mentally and physically handicapped children and
for adequate diagnosis and treatment that will enable them to function as
normally as possible.

An important part o f such resources should be social services to deal with
the emotional problems that mentally and physically handicapped children
frequently have and to assist parents in understanding and meeting the
special problems o f these children.
Provision in the schools for general and vocational education commensurate
with the physical and mental powers o f the handicapped child and
designed to discover and develop fully his abilities and aptitudes.
Provision for social services in institutions for the mentally handicapped.

Such services should provide for returning to the community those children
who after institutional training can, under supervision, adjust satisfac­
torily to life outside. The removal of these children would then make it
possible to admit to institutions many children who are now denied needed
institutional training because o f lack o f room.

Children in Families W ith Economic Need.

Many delinquents come from families whose financial status is in­
secure. As a result o f this insecurity a child not only may be de­
prived o f the necessary physical requirements o f food, clothing, and
shelter, which affect his adjustment vitally, but also may suffer other
serious deprivations. W orry of parents over finances may result
in domestic discord and thus deprive the child of happy family life.
Necessity for the mother to work may deprive the child o f her care
and supervision. Lack o f money may keep him from participating
on an equal l?asis with other children in school, church, and recreational
activities. The problem o f economic need in families persists in war­
time even though there are increased opportunities for employment.
Families may be deprived o f support because o f absence o f the father
in the armed forces or because of his death or illness. Families that
ordinarily are able to pay their own way may not be able to meet
the demands made upon them by contingencies such as accidents, pro­
longed illness, or death.
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To overcome such conditions a variety of measures are necessary,
including adequate allowances for families of men in the armed serv­
ices, social-insurance benefits sufficient to maintain adequate standards
of living, and public assistance.
In order to be of maximum benefit in preventing juvenile delin­
quency a public-assistance program should stress^
The broadening of eligibility requirements and their interpretation so far
as State laws will permit so that all families in need will be reached.
Standards of assistance and assistance payments that are related to the
requirements and resources of families and to the cost of living in order
that (1) mothers or responsible relatives may have free choice, without
financial pressure, in deciding whether they will accept employment out­
side the home or give full-tim e care and supervision to children if they
wish to do s o ; (2) children may be afforded opportunities for health,
recreation, and education similar to those of other children not in need;
and (3) families may participate in community life on a reasonably equal
footing with their neighbors.
Other individualized services to families receiving assistance, in relation to
family problems, family relationships, and special problems of children.
Appropriations for aid to dependent children, general assistance, and other
types o f public assistance sufficient to provide for adequate aid, effective
administration, and service for meeting the need of families as outlined
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Control of Harmful Influences in the Community

Children and young people, in their inexperience
and lack- of discrimination, are easy prey for harmful
influences in the community. Such influences, there­
fore, should receive attention in an effort to control
wartime juvenile delinquency. If control over harm­
ful or potentially harmful influences is definitely
assumed as a public responsibility, the opportunity
for children to engage in delinquent activities will
be reduced or in large measure removed.

What are the influences in a community that are especially harmful
to youth ?
What are the means through which a community can protect its
young people from influences that may be detrimental to their health
and welfare?
Places providing public refreshment or entertainment, such as dance
halls, poolrooms, beer parlors, and roadhouses, have a particular at­
traction for youth. Under the pressure of war these places have
increased in large numbers, especially near military camps and in
industrial centers. The quality of entertainment offered may vary
from being thoroughly wholesome to being definitely harmful. Other
activities are so obviously detrimental to youth that they should be
prohibited or eliminated. Houses o f prostitution draw in not only
the girl who makes vice a profession but also the unsophisticated
girl in her teens. Obscene literature is an undermining influence at
all times but is especially so in these days o f wartime tensions when
young people’s heightened need for excitement may intensify their
interest in it.
In order to protect its young people, a community must give con­
sideration to measures for controlling or eliminating harmful influ­
ences. These include legal authority for controlling or eliminat­
ing harmful influences; effective enforcement of legal measures; the
protection of youth in public places; and voluntary cooperation o f
commercial establishments.
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Legal Authority for Controlling or
Eliminating Harm ful Influences.

Certain activities may be harmful or constructive, depending upon
the way in which they are conducted. The control of activities that
have potentialities for good, and the prohibition or control o f those
that are definitely detrimental, require carefully drawn laws and or­
dinances. Persons responsible for programs for delinquency pre­
vention and control should be familiar with existing legal provisions.
Some may need strengthening. New ones may need to be passed.
Legal regulations for controlling influences in the community that
have special significance in a program for preventing juvenile de­
linquency are those that make provision for :
Controlling conditions in places offering public refreshment or entertain­
Dealing with owners and operators o f establishments and with other
individuals contributing to the delinquency of minors.
Eliminating harmful practices, such as sale o f obscene literature, and sale
of liquor and o f marijuana and similar drugs to minors.
Closing houses o f prostitution arid controlling conditions th a t lead to
prostitution in hotels, on the streets, and elsewhere.

Effective Enforcem ent o f Legal Measures for
Control o f Harm ful Influences..

I f the legal measures for the control of harmful influences are to be
effective, they must be enforced firmly and consistently by competent,
socially minded officials.
Sound law enforcement as a factor in preventing delinquency
involves :
Licensing, after careful investigation o f applicants and their backers, of
places providing public refreshment and entertainment, and other places,
such as liquor stores and junk shops.
Regular inspection o f all licensed establishments to determine adherence
to licensing requirements.
Revocation of license and prosecution o f flagrant violators o f license
Prosecution o f operators o f illegal establishments and of individuals
contributing to the delinquency of minors.

Protection o f Youth in Public Places.

The assignment o f law-enforcement officials to cover public places
will reveal many children and young people who by their presence in
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such places are in danger o f being victimized or exploited, or whose be­
havior indicates their need for individual attention.
It is important that this supervision be given by competent and
socially minded officials, including policewomen, who are alert in their
recognition o f destructive influences, who understand the needs o f
young people, and who know how to use the social resources of the
community for children and their families that are in need o f special
This type o f protection for children and youth and discovery of
those in need o f assistance to prevent delinquency involves :
Observing places providing public refreshment and entertainment.
Observing public places such as streets, parks, and bus, train, and ferry

Voluntary Cooperation o f Commercial Establishm ents.

The voluntary cooperation o f the operators o f establishments that
provide public refreshment or entertainment or sell reading matter,
liquor, or drugs, is an important factor in protecting young people
from harmful influences. These operators, when given an under­
standing of the potential harm to young people from certain influences
and conditions, will often make a valuable contribution to the preven­
tion o f juvenile delinquency by the way in which they conduct their
Operators o f establishments offering wholesome entertainment can
be especially helpful by making special provisions for youth, such as
children’s programs in motion-picture theaters, and by controlling vol­
untarily conditions that may be detrimental to youth. For example,
managers o f bowling alleys and motion-picture theaters may agree
not to admit children o f school age during school hours.
The cooperation o f operators o f commercial establishments in pre­
vention o f juvenile delinquency may be promoted through:
Adoption o f policies by associations or groups o f operators, such as asso­
ciations o f liquor dealers or bowling-alley proprietors, governing the
conduct o f business with respect to minors.
Adoption o f practices by individual operators that will protect minors.
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Services for the Delinquent Child and the Child With
Behavior Problems
An individual child who commits a delinquent act or
who is found under circumstances that appear to in­
dicate delinquency, who presents behavior problems, or
who engages in mischievous and destructive conduct,
requires consideration in any program of delinquency
control. The services afforded by the social agencies
of the community, both public and private, are im­
portant factors in determining whether a child will
become confirmed in delinquency or be able to substi­
tute some constructive activity for his unacceptable be­
havior. For the development, strengthening, and ex­
tension of these services the local public-welfare agency
has major responsibility.

What happens to a child who engages in delinquent acts?
Whose responsibility is it to deal with him ?
In what way is such a child handled ?
These questions must be answered by each community considering
juvenile delinquency. As a guide in determining whether the wartime
needs of the delinquent child or the child with behavior problems
are being met, the services a community should provide are described
in the pages that follow.
Just as the causes of delinquent behavior are multiple and inter­
related, so its treatment requires a variety of resources that comple­
ment and support one another. The delinquent child or the child with
behavior problems needs the same basic services as the child who
is neglected, dependent, or handicapped by a mental or physical de­
fect. The problems o f the delinquent child, therefore, cannot be dealt
with apart from those o f other children with special needs that can­
not be met by their families or by community services furnished for
all children.
Social services must be available to all agencies whose work involves
dealing with problems of children’s behavior or affords natural oppor­
tunities for treating behavior likely to be a forerunner of delinquency.
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For example, social services to children need to be closely related to
the work o f the police and the juvenile court, if individual children
and young people are to experience the constructive aspects of law
enforcement; to the work of the schools, if behavior problems that
teachers discover in their early stages are to be checked; to the work
of agencies dealing with family groups, if the child is to be helped
to meet his personal difficulties and if the family situation, which di­
rectly or indirectly may have been a causal factor in the child’s be­
havior, is to be modified; to the work of recreational and group-work
agencies, if the child who needs individual attention is to be discovered
and the child who has difficulty in getting along with his fellows is
to be helped to become one o f them; and to health services, if the im­
portance o f physical well-being to the correction of undesirable
behavior is to have due emphasis.
Although both public and private agencies are responsible for fur­
nishing social services, the major responsibility for laying the ground
work o f a sound system of community social services should rest upon
the local public-welfare department. Its function is not only to
conserve and strengthen the family life of children by adequate pro­
grams o f assistance implemented by social services to aid in working
out special problems, but also to develop, strengthen, and extend all
essential social services to individual children. This it may do by
affording social services to children within its own organization; by
making such services available to other agencies such as the school,
police department, or juvenile court; or by stimulating the develop­
ment o f such services in appropriate public or private agencies.
Social services, by whatever agency furnished, must be closely
coordinated, not only to avoid duplication and to bridge gaps but
to insure a high degree of effectiveness. This is especially important
in times when the pressures on all agencies are heavy. In many
cities the council o f social agencies offers a medium for such coopera­
tive planning and coordination of activities.
Some of the devices used to attain these goals are interagency com­
mittees, liaison services to further mutual understanding and facili­
tate referral of cases from one agency to another, and joint com­
mittees through which representatives of different fields, such as the
police and social agencies, the school and social agencies, case-work
and group-work agencies, may arrive at mutual understanding o f
one another’s problems and resources, develop procedures for referrals
o f cases from one to the other, and evolve ways in which their united
efforts may best contribute to the welfare of children.
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Social Services.

The majority o f children who require attention because o f delin­
quent or unacceptable behavior can be dealt with in their own homes
if social services are available to help them and their families with
their problems. The cases o f many do not require action by the police
or the juvenile court. Frequently, even when it is necessary for the
police or court to intervene, these children and their families also
require service other than that which even the best o f police depart­
ments or o f juvenile courts is equipped to give.
For children who are not in immediate need o f court action or
who require special service in addition to court action the community
should make provision f o r :
Social services adapted to the needs o f any child who presents behavior
problems -in the home, school, or elsewhere, and made available to parents,
teachers, police, court officials, and others who deal with the child.

The local public-welfare agency should take major responsibility for pro­
viding these services directly or making sure they are available elsewhere.
These services may be given by child-welfare staff working in the local
welfare agency; by child-welfare workers assigned by the welfare depart­
ment to work with the schools, police, or juvenile court, and provide serv­
ice for cases referred by them; by social workers on the staffs o f agencies
dealing with children in the fields in whljh their agencies work—for
example, school social workers for problems relating to the child’s
school life and probation officers for cases requiring court attention; or
by social workers in private child-caring agencies.
Full utilization of these social services by law-enforcement officials and
by courts in order that children and young persons coming to their
attention may be dealt with understandingly and sympathetically, and that
their needs for special services may be met with a view to preparing
them for healthy, wholesome, and productive lives rather than merely
to meet an immediate emergency.

For example, it is important that young girls taken into custody by the
police as sex delinquents be dealt with not as children in need o f punish­
ment, nor merely as patients in need of medical treatment, but as individ­
uals whose total needs— social, economic, educational, vocational,
recreational, and spiritual as well as health— must be given attention.
Services to meet these needs are required especially for the girl who has
received treatment for venereal disease and must readjust to community
Utilization by social agencies o f all available services that are pertinent to
the treatment o f delinquency and behavior problems.

This involves knowledge
recreational services, to
receiving social services
welfare agency, such as
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and use o f local services, such as health and
make sure that all the needs of the children
are met; assistance available from the State
consultation on difficult cases, and psychiatric



and psychological services; services from the Federal agencies that
directly or indirectly have responsibility for programs operating in the
community—such as the Bureau of Public Assistance of the Social Security
Board, the Social Protection and Recreation Divisions of the Office of
Community War Services, the United States Employment Service, and
the Children’s Bureau o f the Department of L abor; and information and
consultation services from private national agencies.

The Police and the Juvenile Court.

In every community the police or other law-enforcement officials
and the juvenile court represent the authoritative agencies that deal
with children who get into difficulty. The police are in a strategic
position to discover potential delinquents, frequently long before they
come to the attention o f social agencies. Although it is not desirable
that the police attempt to carry on social treatment, they can do much
to prevent delinquency if they perform police duties, when children
are involved, with understanding of the factors that influence youth­
ful behavior and with knowledge of the community’s social resources
and o f how to use them to help the children with whom they come
in contact.
Recent years have witnessed a change in point of view as to the chil­
dren who should be dealt with by the juvenile court.. A t one time
the juvenile court was regarded as the proper agency to deal with
behavior problems o f children, regardless of whether or not judicial
action was called for. As local welfare departments and private
agencies increasingly provide social services for children, the function
o f the juvenile court with respect to the delinquent child and the child
with behavior problems is being clarified and redefined. Gradually
the belief is being accepted that the juvenile court should deal only
with cases o f delinquency in which it is necessary to take the custody
o f the child temporarily from his parents, to settle a controversy, or
to exercise court authority in dealing with the child’s behavior.
Effective handling of juvenile cases by the police and juvenile court
Law enforcement with provision for special handling o f children’s cases
through a special unit in the police department (in larger communities),
a staff o f policewomen, or a selected officer.

This staff should have understanding of the needs of young people, knowl­
edge of the social resources of the community and how to use them, and
alertness in recognizing destructive community influences. They should
be responsible not only for special procedures in dealing with children but
for the promotion of better understanding of children on the part of all
police officers who in discharging their regular duties come in contact with
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Court procedure for children’s cases— based on the idea that children
should be helped and protected rather than punished for specific acts—
through either a juvenile court or specialized court procedure.

A juvenile court should have available the services o f social workers
qualified to deal with children. These may be provided either through a
staff of probation officers or, in less populous communities, through workers
in the public-welfare department, which often has one or more childwelfare workers who can give the necessary service.

Adequate Detention Care.

A small proportion o f the children coming to the attention o f the
police and the juvenile court require safekeeping pending disposition
o f their cases. Many Communities find themselves without needed
detention facilities for children,' and this condition is aggravated by
wartime pressures. In some communities children are even placed in
jail, a practice that may mean serious harm to the child. Moreover,
in some communities that do have special detention facilities for chil­
dren, the management or the practices o f detention are so poor that
boys and girls may be confirmed in delinquency or subjected to influ­
ences that promote interest in unacceptable behavior.
It is important to realize that the circumstances under which children
are detained may be a vital influence for good or ill.
A program of detention for children should provide:
Quarters entirely apart from those used for the detention o f adults.

Provision for detention may be made through a special institution or home
if the community is large enough; a foster home to which a regular
monthly subsidy is paid plus payment for care of individual children; or
boarding homes without such special subsidy. Children should not be
detained in the building housing the jail nor in the sheriff’s quarters.
Standards o f care that assure understanding and protection o f children
while in detention.

These standards especially relate to provision for adequate space to permit
satisfactory eating and sleeping arrangements, and opportunity for indoor
and outdoor activities; sufficient personnel qualified to deal with children;
medical services through which physical examinations and necessary medi­
cal treatment can be given; and a program that offers recreation and con­
structive occupation for children.
Limitation o f detention to children for whom it is absolutely necessary.

Children requiring detention include runaways and children whose homes
are outside the community; those whose parents cannot be relied on to
produce them in cou rt; and those who have committed acts so serious that
their release pending disposition o f their cases would endanger public
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Immediately after a child is taken into custody and before detention he
should be released to his parents when feasible or possible. If this cannot
be done, he should be referred to the juvenile court or, if the local depart­
ment of public welfare assists the juvenile court with social services, he
should be referred to that department for consideration as to whether
plans may be made promptly that will make detention unnecessary.
Authority for discharge of children from detention vested only in the
juvenile court or the agency designated to provide social services for
the juvenile court.

When a child is taken to a place of detention the authority of the police
should cease, except for giving information as to the cause of the child’s
arrest, reason for taking the child into custody, and for filing a formal
petition or complaint.
To keep detention periods brief requires that the juvenile court have
adequate services to give priority to children in detention and that com­
munity agencies assist in making plans for individual children.

Provision for Institutional and Foster-Fam ily Care•

Although a child’s own home generally is the best place for him,
care outside the family home is sometimes needed for treatment of
delinquent children and children with behavior problems. Institu­
tional care and foster-family care are especially helpful for children
with individual difficulties whose home situation will not respond to
efforts to make the home a safe and proper place for them. The
availability o f institutional and foster-home care in a community
will strengthen social-work agencies in planning sound treatment for
individual children, and attention should, therefore, be directed pri­
marily toward resources for care within the community. Neverthe­
less, since some o f the most seriously delinquent children will need
care and treatment in State training schools, the community should
feel responsibility for knowing the quality o f service given to children
in these schools.
A program of institutional and foster-home facilities focusing on
the delinquent child and the child with behavior problems includes:
Assumption by the local public-welfare agency o f responsibility for pro­
viding foster-home services in communities where no facilities exist or
where existing facilities cannot meet the entire need.

Such services should be entrusted only to workers who understand the
needs of children and who are experienced in the selection and super­
vision of foster homes.
Payment o f adequate boarding rates, essential to obtaining the kind of
foster parents who can deal wisely with such children.

Efforts should be made to establish boarding rates o f both public and
private ageficies that will assure not only payment of full cost o f proper
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maintenance but also some compensation for services involved in dealing
with a difficult child.
Pooling the efforts o f child-placing agencies to stimulate applications
from desirable foster parents.

Wartime pressures have reduced the number of available foster homes in
many communities. Extra rooms are rented to war workers; women
who would make good foster mothers are taking war jobs. The appeal
for suitable foster homes should emphasize the patriotic aspects o f this
service, since it contributes to wholesome child life, on which the future
o f the Nation is built.
Consideration o f the place and contribution o f child-caring institutions
in the total child-welfare program o f the community, in the light of
wartime needs.

•Many institutions might consider adaptation of their programs to meet the
wartime needs of children for institutional care, as, for example, pro­
vision for emergency or temporary care of children.
Standards of care o f foster homes and institutions which are in conformity
with the standards established by the State public-welfare agency.

Child-Guidance Services.

Child-guidance services by a psychiatrist, a psychologist, and a
psychiatric social worker play an important role in the treatment
o f individual children presenting behavior problems and are a valu­
able resource for social case-work agencies and the juvenile court.
Such services strengthen the other community agencies in dealing
with individual children. In addition, child-guidance services pro­
mote better understanding and greater awareness of the mental-health
needs o f children on the part o f all those who deal with children’s
problems. Such services also are o f particular importance to par­
ents in helping them to understand better their children’s special needs
in this time o f difficult adjustments and to measure up more fully to
their responsibilities as fathers and mothers.
Child-guidance services may be obtained through:
Establishment in large communities o f child-guidance services under
public auspices to serve parents, the social agencies, the schools, and the
juvenile court in handling o f children showing personality difficulties.
Provision for funds to obtain service on a fee basis from psychiatrists
engaged in private practice or from private child-guidance clinics, with
social services available for all children referred.
Utilization o f traveling clinics or special consultant services that may be
provided by State agencies.
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A program for the prevention and control o f juvenile delinquency
includes a wide range o f activities that must be developed as integral
parts o f community services essential to the well-being of all children.
Among these are family- and child-welfare services in public-welfare
departments or private agencies; services to promote the physical and
mental health o f children; school programs adapted to individual
needs and providing individual guidance; and leisure-time programs
for youth.
Moreover, a program for control o f juvenile delinquency must be a
part of or related to other community-wide programs that are already
under way or are planned for the purpose o f meeting the needs of
children and youth. Examples o f such programs are those developed
through State and local defense councils, councils o f social agencies,
and other local organizations and groups; the “ Program o f State A c­
tion for Our Children in Wartime” and “ Community Action for Chil­
dren in Wartime” adopted by the Children’s Bureau Commission on
Children in Wartime; and the work o f the follow-up committees of
the White House Conference on Children in a Democracy.
Communities in developing a program for control o f juvenile de­
linquency should draw upon all resources that may help, them in
achieving their objectives, including the services of State and Federal
agencies and private National agencies. Such agencies afford valuable
assistance through publications and consultation on the various as­
pects-of the community program.
A vigorous attack on juvenile delinquency requires the teamwork
o f all in the community who are concerned with children’s problems or
conditions that affect children. Effective teamwork requires leader­
ship and a framework within which all community groups, agencies,
apd citizens can come together to review the local situation, discover
needs, determine gaps in resources needing to be filled, and plan for
effective action in meeting the needs and filling the gaps.

Organization for developing a program to prevent and control juve­
nile delinquency requires:
Placement of responsibility for leadership on some representative group
in the community.

A committee of the local defense council, council of social agencies, or
other organization that has broad responsibility for problems related to
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children and youth is the most appropriate group to assume responsibility
for the program to prevent and control juvenile delinquency, acting perhaps
through a subcommittee.
Such a committee should include representation o f public and private
groups concerned wth children and youth and individual citizens.
It is especially important that full utilization be made of existing com­
mittees or groups in special fields such as housing, education, health,
recreation, social protection, and others that may be required in developing
the program.
Clarification qf function o f the group assigned responsibility for the pro­
gram for the prevention and control of juvenile delinquency.

The function of such a group should be to study the problem of juvenile
delinquency, to stimulate the activities o f other committees or groups
with responsibility in special fields important in prevention and control
o f juvenile delinquency, to plan for essential services not already fully
available, and to assist in the fullest possible coordination o f these services.

Putting the Program Into Action.

Planning for an active program of combating juvenile delinquency
Getting the facts with respect to juvenile delinquency in the community,
the services available to deal with it, and th e gaps that need to be filled,
in the light o f the goals for community action outlined in part I.

For the purpose o f expediting this review the services of those who have
technical training, experience, or special interest in particular fields should
be fully utilized; advantage should be taken of consultative services
available from local, State, and Federal agencies; and use should be made
of the findings already available in reports or special studies on juvenile
delinquency and related subjects.
Analyzing the facts and charting the course to be taken, in the light of the
findings, to strengthen existing resources and develop new resources

This will involve:
(1) Decision as to the steps to be taken.
(2) Consideration of ways to adapt existing programs to community
needs, to use staff more effectively, and to develop better working
relations among agencies so as to avoid duplications and fill gaps.
(S) Planning for the additional resources that must be supplied to cope
with the delinquency situation in the community.
(4) Review of the possibilities o f obtaining assistance in adapting,
strengthening, and developing programs. Such assistance may be
obtained from State and Federal agencies and private National
(5) Review o f the adequacy of funds already available and of the ways
in which additional funds may be obtained for strengthening existing
services and developing new ones.
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Acting on the facts by proceeding promptly and effectively to stimulate
widespread community interest and mobilize support for specific services
and facilities for the prevention and control o f juvenile delinquency.

This involves:
(1) Well-timed publicity through a variety of media, including radio,
press, and public speeches, and enlistment of the backing of appro­
priating bodies, officials having power to effect necessary changes,
interested groups, and influential citizens.
(2) Continuing committee service for coordination, interpretation, and
general guidance in the development of action programs.

Other publications and a list of references
relating to prevention and control of juve­
nile delinquency are available on request
from the Children^ Bureau, U. S. Depart­
ment of Labor, Washington, D. C.

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

U n ited States G overn m en t P rinting Office, W a sh in g to n , 1943
For sale b y the Superintendent o f D ocum ents, U. S. G overnm ent Printing Office
W&shingtoii) D* G* ■ Price 10 cents
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