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JAMES J. DAVIS. Secretary





WASHINGTON, D. C., M AY 18. 1923


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

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Foreword________________ l_____________ .___________________________ _____________
I. The court________________________________________________________________
A. Court given jurisdiction__________________________________________
B. Nature of proceeding_____ ____________________
C. Extent of jurisdiction_______________________________ •______________
D. The judge__________________________________________________________ .
II. Process before hearing_______________________________________________
A. Relation between the court and the police department___ ____
B. Reception o f complaints and adjustment of cases______________
III. Detention______________ ___________________________________________ 1______
A. Detention policy___________________________________________________
B. Methods of detention_____________________________________________
IV. Study o f the c a se _______Ü
__________________________ _____________________ ;
Y. H earin g__________________________________________________________________
A. Children’s cases__________
B. Cases involving adults__________________________________ ;_______ _
C. Use of referee___________________________________________ ___________
V I. Disposition of cases_______
V II. Probation and supervision_____________________________________________
V III. Records___________
52567°— 23
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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

A t the request o f a conference on juvenile-court standards held in
Milwaukee on June 21-22,1921, under the auspices o f the Children’s
Bureau and the National Probation Association, a committee was
appointed by Julia C. Lathrop, then chief o f the Children’s Bureau,
to work out standards.
The following served as members o f the committee:
Judge Charles W. Hoffman, Hamilton County court o f domestic
relations, Cincinnati, Ohio, chairman.
Judge Kathryn Sellers, juvenile court o f the District of Columbia.
Judge Henry S. Hulbert, juvenile division o f the probate court of
Wayne County, Detroit, Mich.
Judge Frederick P. Cabot, juvenile court, Boston, Mass.
Dr. Miriam Van Waters, referee of the juvenile court o f Los Angeles
County, Calif.
Dr. William Healy, director o f the Judge Baker Foundation, Boston.
Dr. V. V. Anderson, associate medical director o f the National Com­
mittee for Mental Hygiene.
Charles L. Chute, secretary o f the National Probation Association.
Herbert C. Parsons, secretary o f the Massachusetts Probation Com­
Bernard Fagan, chief probation officer o f the children’s court of
New York City.
Joseph L. Moss, chief probation officer o f the juvenile court, Cook
County, Chicago, 111.
Henry W. Thurston, o f the New York School for Social Work, New
York City.
Ralph S. Barrow, State superintendent o f the Alabama Children’s
A id Society.
Secretary: Emma O. Lundberg, Children’s Bureau, United States
Department o f Labor.
This committee has been at work for two years. It has met a
number o f times,, and in January, 1923, held a two-day session in
Washington, at which a tentative draft o f standards was prepared.
This draft was mimeographed and sent by the Children’s Bureau to
more than 200 persons, including judges, probation officers, officers
o f child-caring agencies, and others interested in juvenile-court work.
A considerable proportion of those to whom the draft was sent made
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specific suggestions, which were carefully considered at meetings
o f the committee in May of 1923. The members of the committee
were not agreed on all points, but each statement represents the
prevailing opinion as expressed in the committee meetings and in
suggestions received.
The committee presented a preliminary report to a second con­
ference held in Providence in June, 1922, and a final report to a
third conference held in Washington on May 18, 1923, both under
the auspices o f the National Probation Association and the Children’s
Bureau. After a free discussion in this conference, and the adop­
tion o f certain amendments, the report was approved in the form
in which it is here given.
The fundamental principles underlying the standards might be
summarized as follows! (1) That the court dealing with children
should be clothed with broad jurisdiction, embracing all classes of
cases in which a child is in need of the protection o f the State,
whether the legal action is in the name o f the child or of an adult
who fails in his obligations toward the child; (2) that the court
should have a scientific understanding o f each child; (3) that treat­
ment should be adapted to individual needs; and (4) that there
should be a presumption in favor o f keeping the child in his own
home and his own community, except when adequate investigation
shows this not to be in the best interest o f the child.
In drafting laws based on these recommendations consideration
must o f course, be given to provisions o f State constitutions, ex­
isting court systems, and related laws which it may be necessary
to modify if the standards are to be fully realized.
G race A
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1. There should be available to every community a court equipped
to deal with children’s cases.
2. The laws o f each State and local conditions determine whether
the juvenile court should be an independent court or a branch o f a
court, and in what court system it should be placed. In order that
the court may serve rural as well as urban population, it is usually
desirable that the county should be the unit o f jurisdiction.
3. The juvenile court should be a court o f superior jurisdiction
and a court o f record. The disposition o f a child in the juvenile
court, or any evidence given in a juvenile court proceeding, should
not be lawful evidence against the child in any civil, criminal, or
other cause or proceeding in any other court.
B . N A T U R E O F P R O C E E D IN G .

In children’s cases the proceeding should be chancery or equity,
and not criminal, in nature. The juvenile court should, however, be
vested with criminal jurisdiction in adult cases such as contributing
to delinquency and dependency o f children.

The juvenile court should be vested with exclusive jurisdiction
over the following classes of cases:
(a) Children alleged to have violated laws or ordinances of
the State or o f any subdivision thereof, or children whose con­
duct or associations are alleged to have rendered them in need
o f the care and protection o f the State. The juvenile court
should not have the power to waive jurisdiction and certify
cases for trial in another court.
(&) Children whose custody is to be determined by reason
o f their being in need of protection and supervision, homeless,
abandoned, destitute, without proper parental care or guardian­
ship, neglected or cruelly treated, or in surroundings dangerous
to morals, health, or general welfare.
(e) Adoption cases.
(d) Children in need of protection or custodial care by reason
o f mental defect or disorder.
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(e) Violations o f school-attendance laws beyond the provi­
sions for control by school administration.
( / ) Contributing to delinquency or dependency. A finding of
delinquency or dependency of the child should not be necessary
to adjudication. Action should not be limited to parents or
guardians in cases of delinquency.
(g) Nonsupport or desertion o f minor children.
( h) The determination of paternity and the support of chil­
dren born out o f wedlock.
The age limit under which the court may obtain jurisdiction in
children’s cases should be not lower than 18 years. Marriage of the
child should not terminate jurisdiction. Jurisdiction once obtained
should continue until 21 years o f age unless the case is sooner dis­
missed or passes out o f the jurisdiction o f the court.

1. The judge should be chosen because o f his special qualifications
for juvenile-court work. He should have legal training, acquaint­
ance with social problems, and understanding of child psychology.
2. The tenure of office should be sufficiently long to warrant special
preparatory studies and the development o f special interest in juve­
nile work, preferably not less than six years.
3. The judge should be able to devote such time to juvenile work as
is necessary to keep detention at a minimum, to hear each case care­
fully and thoroughly, and to give general direction to the work o f
the court.
A . R E L A T IO N B E T W E E N T H E C O U R T A N D T H E P O L IC E D E P A R T ­

1. The jurisdiction o f the court should begin as soon as petition is
filed or as soon as a child is taken into custody or placed in charge
of an officer o f the court; Whenever a child is taken into custody
the parents or the person with whom the child resides should be noti­
fied at once by the police officer or other person holding such custody.
The responsibility for such notice should rest with the court.
2. A child taken into custody should immediately be placed in the
care of an officer of the juvenile court, and only if necessary taken
to a place o f detention for juveniles.
3. The police and peace officers should be required to work in close
cooperation with the juvenile court in the handling o f juvenile cases,
and should be given a clear understanding o f the difference between
the procedure in children’s cases and that in cases of adult offenders.
4. The police should not attempt to handle unofficially cases o f
juvenile delinquency after the child has been taken into custody.
Police authorities should not be empowered to place children on
unofficial probation without referring them to the court.
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The police should not be authorized nor should they, have the
power to hold children in a station house. When the chijd is taken
to a place o f detention for juveniles, the authority o f the police
should cease except for giving information as to the cause o f the
child s arrest and filing a formal petition or complaint.
6« From the moment a child is taken into custody he should be
sheltered to the greatest 'possible extent from public observation and
from conditions that tend to mark him as an offender. Transporta­
tion in a police van, escort by a police officer in uniform, and any
visible physical restraint are objectionable and should be avoided.
Transportation o f girls to a place o f detention- or elsewhere should
be by women officers.
7. With rare exceptions no collateral, bail, or appearance bond
should be required in children’s cases.
B . R E C E P T IO N O F C O M P L A IN T S A N D A D J U S T M E N T O F C A S E S .

1. The judge, or a probation officer designated by him, should ex­
amine all complaints and after adequate investigation determine
whether a petition should be filed or other formal action should be
taken. It should be the duty o f the court to bring about adjust­
ment o f all cases without such formal action whenever feasible.
2. Supervision should be exercised in cases handled informally
when it is desirable thus to safeguard the child or keep in touch
with developments.
3. The judge should exercise general supervision over all the work
o f the court, even though he is not able to give individual attention
to all cases.
A . D E T E N T IO N P O L IC Y .

The number o f children detained and the length o f detention
should be kept at a minimum, and so far as possible those who must
be detained should be provided for in private boarding homes. De­
tention should be limited to children for whom it is absolutely
necessary, such as:
(a) Children whose home conditions make immediate re­
moval necessary.
(5) Children who are beyond the control o f their parents or
guardians, runaways, and those whose parents can not
be relied upon to produce them in court.
(o) Children who have committed offenses so serious that
their release pending the disposition o f their cases
would endanger public safety.
(d) Children who must be held as witnesses.
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(e) Children whose detention is necessary for purposes o f
observation and study and treatment by qualified ex­
2. Children should not be detained in jails or police stations.
3. No child should be detained without an order from the court for
a longer time than is necessary to obtain such court order, unless the
parents consent to detention or unless the parents can not be reached
at once and need for detention is indicated, and in these cases de­
cision as to detention should rest with the judge or some one desig­
nated by him, usually the chief probation officer.
4. Constant effort is required to keep the period o f detention in
each case as short as possible. This may be accomplished through
frequent hearings, prompt investigation, sufficient court staff to ex­
pedite the movement o f cases, and adequate facilities for institu­
tional care.
B . M E T H O D S O F D E T E N T IO N .

1. For temporary detention either a public detention home or
boarding homes under the supervision o f the court should be pro­
vided, available to the entire area over which the court has juris­
2. The essential features of a detention home are the following :
(a) The juvenile court, if not actually operating the detention
home, should control its policies and the admission and
release o f children.
(&) Provision should be made within the home for segrega­
tion o f sexes and types o f children, and for adequate
isolation facilities and medical care.
(c) Adequate facilities should be provided for the study o f
the child’s physical and mental health, but except in
rare instances, the detention home should not be used
primarily for this purpose.
(d) There should be specialized school work for the children
detained, and recreational facilities should be provided.
The daily program o f activities should be full and
varied in order that constructive interests may supplant
morbid tendencies and undesirable companionships.
Opportunity should be given for the exercise o f the
child’s religious duties.
(e) Effective supervision should be maintained at all times.
( / ) The detention home should not be used as a disciplinary
Social investigation should be made in every case, and should
be set in motion at the moment o f the court’s earliest knowledge o f
the case.
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2. The minimum essentials o f adequate study o f a case o f delin­
quency are: Study o f the child himself, including a physical and a
mental examination and study o f his behavior, developmental his­
tory, school career, and religious background; study o f his environ­
ment, including his family and home conditions; an estimate o f the
essential causal factors responsible for his behavior; and in the light
o f this estimate, recommendations for treatment.
3. Psychiatric and psychological study o f the child should be made
at least in all cases in which the social investigation raises a question
o f special need for study and should be made before decision concern­
ing treatment, but only by a clinic or examiner properly qualified
for such work.
4. The clinic for study o f the child should be a separate branch o f
the court or a separate organization fully available. The personnel
required includes a physician trained in psychiatry, a psychologist,
and one or more social investigators.
5. The physical examination should be thorough, and all the com­
munity facilities for diagnosis and treatment should be utilized.
Physical examinations o f girls should be by women.
6. For rural communities facilities for study o f the child may be
provided through the development of centers in urban communities
or through traveling clinics under the auspices o f State boards or
commissions or institutions.
A . C H IL D R E N ’S C A S E S .

1. The hearing should be held as soon as proper notice to parents
or custodians can be given, and within 48 hours.
2. There should be no publicity in a juvenile-court case. The
hearing should be private, with no one present other than those
directly concerned in the case. Witnesses should not be permitted
in the court room except when testifying. Adequate provision
should be made for children awaiting hearing, and they should be
protected from publicity and given necessary supervision.
3. One or both parents or the legal guardian o f the child should
be required to be present.
4. The hearing should be conducted with as little formality as
possible, and the formal adherence to the practice and rules o f pro­
cedure that characterizes the criminal court should be avoided.
5. The purpose o f the juvenile court is to prevent the child’s being
tried and treated as a criminal; therefore, all means should be taken
to prevent the child and his parents from forming the conception that
the child is being tried for a crime. In the ascertainment o f facts
the court Should always bear in mind the rules o f evidence. This
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does not imply, however, that in the application of these rules the
court must conduct a formal hearing.
6. In all cases there should be a written report of the proceeding,
not official in the. sense that affidavits and petitions are official but
unofficial and private, to be used by the court for the purpose of
record and interpretation.
7. In every case the court should explain to the child and parents
the nature o f the proceeding and the disposition made o f the case.
8. Under no circumstances should jury trials be permitted in chil­
dren’s cases. They are inconsistent with both the law and the theory
upon which children’s codes are founded.
9. Children should not be present at the hearing of neglect or de­
pendency cases except for the time required for identification, when
identification is necessary.
B . C A S E S IN V O L V IN G A D U L T S .

In cases involving adults, such as cases in which adults are charged
with contributing to the delinquency or dependency o f children, the
usual court procedure in criminal cases is necessary, as the defendant
is entitled to all the safeguards that the law and Constitution throw
around him. In the trial o f these cases children who are involved
should be protected to the extent that they should not appear in the
court room except for the purpose of testifying, and while in the
court room should be accompanied by a probation officer.
C. U S E O F R E F E R E E .

1. It is desirable that girls’ cases should be heard by a properly
qualified woman referee.
2. Where the area of jurisdiction is so large that the judge can not
attend promptly to cases in all sections, the court should utilize prop­
erly qualified referees.
3. In all cases heard by referees the judge should pass on findings
and recommendations and review all dispositions. The judge should
have general oversight o f policies and each part o f the district should
be given a fair proportion o f his time.
1. Sufficient resources of various types should be available for the
supervision of children in their own homes, and for the care in
family homes or in institutions o f those who can not remain with
their own families, so that in disposing of each case the court may
fit the treatment to the needs of the child.
2. Institutional care should be utilized only when careful study
that includes a knowledge of the needs and possibilities of the indi­
vidual clearly indicates the necessity for it, or when repeated at­
tempts to adjust the child to home life in the community have failed.
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3. Fines should never be imposed in children’s cases. Restitution
or reparation should be required only in cases where they seem to
have disciplinary value or to instill respect for property rights.
4. A complete copy ©f the social investigation and reports o f
physical and mental examinations, and a summary o f the work done
by the court on the case, should accompany the order o f commitment
to an agency or institution. These records should be unofficial and
5. Children placed under the care of private agencies or institu­
tions should remain under the jurisdiction o f the court, and there
should be close cooperation between the court and the agency or
institution. The court should have the power to require reports con­
cerning the progress o f the child and to visit agencies and institutions
to which children are committed. A ll private agencies and institu­
tions receiving children from the court should be subject to State
6. Administrative work such as placing dependent or neglected
children in family homes should not be undertaken by the court
itself, unless suitable agencies are not or can not be made available
for this type of service.
7. The court should be authorized to order the parents o f children
committed to the care o f agencies or institutions to contribute to the
support o f the children.
8. When its jurisdiction does not include offenses by adults against
children, it should be the responsibility o f the juvenile court to see
that proceedings are initiated in other courts whenever such action
is advisable. There should be close cooperation in these cases be­
tween the juvenile court, the prosecuting authorities^ and the crimi­
nar court, and the juvenile court should use all possible means o f
protecting child witnesses in other courts.
1. The probation staff should be appointed by the judge from an
eligible list secured by competitive examination, subject to approval
by a supervising board or commission.
2. The minimum qualifications o f probation officers should be as
follow s:
(a) Education: Preferably graduation from college or its
equivalent, or from a school o f social work.
(5) Experience: A t least one year in case work under super­
(<?) Good personality and character j tact, resourcefulness, and
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3. The compensation o f probation officers should be such that the
best types o f trained service can be secured. The salaries should
be comparable with those paid to workers in other fields o f social
service. Increases should be based on records o f service and effi­
4. Not more than 50 cases should be under the supervision of one
probation officer at any one time. Officers handling girls’ cases
should be assigned a smaller number.
5. I f volunteer service is used, the persons performing such serv­
ice, or the executive o f the organization o f volunteers, should be
directly responsible to the court.
6. Girls’ cases should always be assigned to women officers; cases
o f boys under 12 years may be assigned to women officers, but all
cases o f boys 12 years o f age and over should be assigned to men.
7. The district system is frequently an economical method o f
assignment, but fitness o f particular officers for special kinds o f
work must also be taken into account.
8. A definite plan for constructive work, even though it be tenta­
tive, should be made and recorded in each case and should be
checked up at least monthly in conference with, the chief probation
officer or other supervisor.
9. A general minimum probation period o f from six months to
one year is desirable, but exceptions should be allowed on recom­
mendation o f the supervisor or chief probation officer. The length
o f probation in each case should be determined by study of the
case, needs disclosed, and progress made.
10. Reporting by a child to a probation officer at regular intervals
should be required only if it seems clearly to be for the good o f the
probationer, and should never be made a substitute for more con­
structive methods o f case work. When rightly safeguarded, report­
ing gives opportunity for acquaintance with the child, and free
conversation regarding his interests and surroundings, and is a
means o f training in habits o f regularity and punctuality.
11. Regular reporting should usually be limited to delinquent
boys over 12 years o f age, and they should report at a suitable place
away from court and approved by the judge or chief probation
officer. Mingling o f boys reporting should be avoided through
using different days in the week and fixing a certain time for each
child to report.
12. Except in rare cases, home visits at least once every two weeks
are essential to effective supervison, knowledge of the assets and
liabilities o f the family, and correction of unfavorable conditions.
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13. In probation work due consideration should be given to
language, racial psychology, and religion.
14. Reconstructive work with the family should be undertaken
whenever necessary, either by the probation officer himself or in
cooperation with other social agencies. Whenever other agencies
can meet particular needs their services should be enlisted. In
cases in which two or more agencies are concerned with the same
family frequent conferences are necessary for good team work.
15. Special detailed school reports for each child on probation
are advisable. The educational authorities should be requested to
cooperate through weekly reports, frequent conferences, and other
means; but care should be taken to preserve harmony, faith, and
good will between the teacher and pupil, the probationer and proba­
tion officer.
16. The probation officer should assist and guide children o f
working age in the choice o f a vocation.
17. Whether or not an employer should be informed with refer­
ence to the child’s delinquency depends on the type o f employer.
Tact and judgment should be used in protecting the interests of both
the employer and the child.
18. Planning for the “ spare time ” or recreation o f probationers
is a very important part o f a probation officer’s functions.
19. In rural communities it is often practicable and desirable to
combine probation work with other types o f social service. The
form of combination and the division o f work will vary according
to local conditions and needs. The probation officer, however,
should not hold other office in relation to the court, nor an office
identified with the prosecution o f cases, such as clerk o f the court,
police officer, or sheriff. Reporting o f probationers is usually not
practicable, and it may be necessary to use volunteer aid to a larger
extent than in urban communities. Volunteer workers should be
carefully selected and should be under the supervision o f a paid
officer. Emphasis should be placed on the strict accountability to
the court o f all officers, paid and unpaid, doing probation work.
The officers should be provided with adequate means o f trans­
20. Supervision o f the work o f probation officers should be exer­
cised by a State commission or board, either specially created or
definitely charged with this duty, or by a State supervisory officer.
The supervision should be advisory both to the probation officers
and the courts as to all features o f the service, but with power to
require the keeping o f prescribed records and to compel periodical
reports to the supervisory board or officer.
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1. Every juvenile court should have a record system which pro­
vides for—
(a) The filing o f the necessary legal records.
(&) The filing o f social records covering the investigation o f
the case, the study o f the child, &nd the work done by
the officers o f the court and the probation staff. These
social records should be deemed privileged and con­
fidential records of the court, and should be at all times
safeguarded from indiscriminate public inspection.
2. The filing system should be such as to permit ready identifica­
tion o f cases.
3. The records o f the social investigation and the study of the
child should include all the facts necessary to a constructive plan
o f treatment.
4. The records of supervision should show the constructive case
work planned, attempted, and accomplished, and should give a
chronological history o f the supervisory work.
5. The court should compile annually statistical information which
will show the problems deafit with and the results.
6. In order that it may be possible to compile information covering a period o f years and to compare the work o f one court with
that o f others it is essential that uniform terminology and methods
o f statistical tabulation and presentation of fundamental items be
agreed upon. By this means onkO^atT significant social data con­
cerning the prevention and ^kpnenjbi© ! juvenile delinquency and
neglect be obtained.
m yv
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