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JU L IA C . L A T H R O P , Chief


: :


Bureau Publication No. 62

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

: 1919

The Children’s Bureau Conference on Child Welfare Standards
was called by the Secretary of Labor at the request of the President
of the United States. The purpose of the undertaking was to formu­
late and to publish standards for the better protection of children.
The preliminary conference was held at Washington, May 5-8, 1919.
The Washington conference was participated in by many Ameri­
can authorities. I t was advised by representatives of Belgium,
France, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, and Serbia. The foreign dele­
gates reported especially on what their nations had learned concern­
ing the better protection of children as a result of their war ex­
• J :'.'0
. I.f'rrfy
The Washington conference divided into three sections. These
1. Child labor and education.
2. Public protection of the health of mothers and children.
3. Children in need of special care.
The papers presented at Washington by leading American experts
discussed the national standards which were recommended by the
three*sections. These are submitted by the Washington conference
for consideration by the regional conferences and by other interested
groups throughout the country. Before adjournment the conference
designated a committee to consider modifications of the standards
which might be suggested by the regional conferences.
At a general session of the Washington conference the economic
and social aspects of child welfare standards were discussed.: While
no standards were formulated in this wide field, an adequate wage
for the father, wholesome living conditions, proper recreation, and
f.he abolition of racial discrimination were recognized as funda­
mental to the realization of any child-welfare program.
On the following pages will be found the standards submitted by
the Washington conference and revised by the committee appointed
for that purpose in accordance with suggestions made by regional
conferences. These are intended only as minimum standards and
not as in any way limiting the degree of protection which an ad­
vanced state might desire to give its children.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

I «>-*«•

Age minimum.

An age minimum of 10 for employment in any occupation, ex­
cept that children between 14 and 16 may be employed in agriculture
and domestic service during vacation periods until schools are con­
tinuous throughout the year.
An age minimum of 18 for employment in and about mines and
An age minimum of 21 for girls employed as messengers for tele­
graph and messenger companies.
An age minimum of 21 for employment in the special-delivery
service of the U. S. Post Office Department.
Prohibition of the employment of minors in dangerous, unhealthy,
or hazardous occupations or at any work which will retard their
proper physical or moral development.
Educational minimum.

All children between 7 and 16 years of age shall be required to at­
tend school for at least nine months each year.
Children between 16 and 18 years of age who have completed the
eighth but not the liigh-school grade and are legally and regularly
employed shall be required to attend day continuation schools at
least eight hours a week.
Children between 16 and 18 who have not completed the eighth
grade or children who have completed the eighth grade and are not
regularly employed shall attend full-time school. Occupational
training especially adapted to their needs shall be provided for those
children who are unable because of mental subnormality to profit by
ordinary school instruction.
Vacation schools placing special emphasis on healthful play and
leisure time activities, shall be provided for all children.
Physical minimum.

A child shall not be allowed to go to work until he has had a physi­
cal examination by a public-school physician or other medical officer
especially appointed for that purpose by the agency charged with
the enforcement of the law, and has been found to be of normal
development for a child of his age and physically fit for the work
at which he is to be employed.
There shall be annual physical examination of all working children
who are under 18 years of age.
Hours of employment.

No minor shall be employed more than 8 hours a day or 44 hours
a week. The maximum working day for children between 16 and
18 shall be shorter than the legal working day for adults.
143328°— 19
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis




The hours spent at continuation schools by children under 18 years
of age shall be counted as part of the working day.
Night work for minors shall be prohibited between 6 p. m. and
7 a. m.
Min'mum wage.

Minors at work shall be paid at a rate of wages which for full­
time work shall yield not less than the minimum essential for the
“ necessary cost of proper living, as determined by a minimum wage
commission or other similar official board.” During a period of
learning they may be rated as learners and paid accordingly. The
length of the learning period should be fixed by such commission or
other similar official board, on educational principles only.
Placement and employment supervision.

There shall be a central agency which shall deal with all juvenile
employment problems. Adequate provision shall be made for ad­
vising children when they leave s. hool of the employment opportuni­
ties open to them, for assisting them in finding suitable work, and
providing for them such supervision as may be needed during the
first few years of their employment. All agencies working toward
these ends shall be coordinated through the central agency.
Employment certificates.

Provision shall be made for issuing employment certificates to all
children entering employment who are under 18 years of age.
An employment certifi ate shall not be issued to the child until the
issuing officer has received, approved, and filed the following:
1. A birth certificate, or, if unobtainable, other reliable docu­
mentary proof of the (hild’s age.
2. Satisfactory evidence that the child has completed the eighth
3. A certificate of physical fitness signed by a public-school physi­
cian or other medical officer especially appointed for that purpose by
the agency charged with the enforcement of the law. This certificate
shall state that the minor has been thoroughly examined by the
physician and that he is physically qualified for the employment con­
4. Promise of employment*
The certificate shall be issued to the employer and shall be re­
turned by the employer to the issuing officer when the child leaves his
The school last attended, the compulsory-education department,
and the continuation schools shall be kept informed by the issuing
officers of certificates issued or refused and of unemployed children
for whom certificates have been issued.
Minors over 18 years of age shall be required to present evidence
of age before being permitted to work in occupation in which the
entrance ages or hours are especially regulated.
Record forms shall be standardized and the issuing of employment
certificates shall be under State supervision.
Reports shall be made to the factory inspection department of all
certificates issued and refused.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



Compulsory attendance laws.

Full-time attendance officers adequately proportioned to the school
population shall be provided in cities, towns, and counties to enforce
the school attendance law.
The enforcement of school-attendance laws by city, town, or county
school authorities shall be under State supervision.
Factory inspection and physical examination of employed minors.

Inspection for the enforcement of all child-labor laws, including
those regulating the employment of children in mines or quarries,
shall be under one and the same department. The number of inspec­
tors shall be sufficient to insure semiannual inspections of all estab­
lishments in which children are employed, and such special inspec­
tions and investigations as are necessary to insure the protection of
the children.
Provision should be made for a staff of physicians adequate to
examine annually all employed children under IB years of age.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis


1. Maternity or prenatal centers, sufficient to provide for all cases
not receiving prenatal supervision from private physicians.
The work of such a center should include:
(a) Complete physical examination by physician as early in
pregnancy as possible, including pelvic measurements,
examination of heart, lungs, abdomen, and urine, and the
taking of blood pressure; internal examination before
seventh month in primípara; examination of urine every
four weeks during early months, at least every two weeks
after six month, and more frequently if indicated; Wassermann test whenever possible, especially when indicated
by symptoms.
(&) Instruction in hygiene of maternity and supervision
throughout pregnancy, through at least monthly visits to
a maternity center until end of sixth month, and every
two weeks thereafter. Literature to be given/mother to
acquaint her wTith the principles of infant hygiene.
(c) Employment of sufficient number of public-health purses
to do home visiting and to give instructions to expectant
mothers in hygiene of pregnancy and early infancy; to
make visits and to care for patient in puerperium; and to
see that every infant is referred to a children’s health
(d) Confinement at home by a physician or a properly framed
and qualified attendant, or in a hospital.
(e) Nursing service at home at the time of confinement and
during the lying-in period, or hospital care.
(/) Daily visits for five days, and at least two other visits dur­
ing second week by physician or nurse from maternity
(g) At least ten days’ rest in bed after a normal delivery, with
sufficient household service for four to six weeks to allow
mother to recuperate.
(h) Examination by physician sjx weeks after delivery before
discharging patient.
Where these centers have not yet been established, or where their
immediate establishment is impracticable, as many as possible of
these provisions here enumerated should be carried out by the com­
munity nurse, under the direction of the health officer or local
2. Clinics, such as dental clinics and venereal clirfics, for needed
treatment during pregnancy.
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3. Maternity hospitals, or maternity wards in general hospitals, suffi­
cient to provide care in all complicated cases and for all women
wishing hospital care; free or part-payment obstetrical care to
be provided in every necessitous case at home or in a hospital.
-4. All mid wives to be required by law to show adequate training, and
to be licensed and supervised.
5. Adequate income to allow the mother to remain in the home
through the nursing period.
6. Education of general public as to problems presented by maternal
and infant mortality and their solution.

1. Complete birth registration by adequate legislation requiring re­
porting within three days after birth.
2. Prevention of infantile blindness by making and enforcing ade­
quate laws for treatment of eyes of every infant at birth and
supervision of all positive cases.
3. Sufficient number of children’s health centers to give health in­
struction under medical supervision for all infants and children
not under care of private physician, and to give instruction in
breast feeding and in care and feeding of children to mothers,
at least once a month throughout first year, and at regular in­
tervals throughout preschool age. This center to include a nutri­
tion and dental clinic.
4. Children’s health center to provide or to cooperate with sufficient
number of public-health nurses to make home visits to all in­
fants and children of preschool age needing care—one publichealth nurse for average general population of 2,000. Visits to
the home are for the purpose of instructing the mother in—
(a) Value of breast feeding.
(&) Technic of nursing.
(c) Technic of bath, sleep, clothing, ventilation, and general
care of the baby, with demonstrations.
(d) Preparation and technic of artificial feeding.
(e) Dietary essentials and selection of food for the infant and
for older children.
(/) Prevention of disease in children.
5. Dental clinics; eye, ear, nose, and throat clinics; venereal and
other clinics for the treatment of defects and disease.
6. Children’s hospitals, or beds in general hospitals, or provision
for medical and nursing care at home, sufficient to care for all
sick infants and young children.
7. State licensing and supervision of all child-caring institutions or
homes in which infants or young children are cared for.
8. General educational work in prevention of communicable disease
and in hygiene and feeding of infants and young children.

1. Proper location, construction, hygiene, ventilation, and sanitation
of schoolhouse; adequate room space—no overcrowding.
2. Adequate playground and recreational facilities, physical train­
ing, and supervised recreation.
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3. Adequate space and equipment for school medical work and avail­
able laboratory service.
4. Full-time school nurse to give instruction in personal hygiene and
diet, to make home visits to advise and instruct mothers in prin­
ciples of hygiene and nutrition and to take children to clinics
with permission of parents.
5. Part-time physician with one full-time nurse for not more than
2,000 children; if physician is not available, one school nurse,
for every 1,000 children; or full-time physician with two full­
time nurses for 4,000 children for:
(a) Complete standardized basic physical examinations once a
year, with determination of weight and height at begining and end of each school year; monthly weighing
wherever possible.
(&) Continuous health record for each child to be kept on file
with other records of the pupil. This should be a con­
tinuation of the preschool health record which should
accompany the child to school.
(c) Special examinations to be made of children referred by
teacher or nurse.
(d) Supervision to control communicable disease.
(e) Re ommendation of treatment for all remediable defects,
diseases, deformities, and cases of malnutrition.
(/) Follow-up work by nurse to see that physician’s recom­
mendations are carried out.
6. Available clinics for dentirtry, nose., throat, eyn, ear, skin, and
orthopedic work; and for free vaccination against smallpox.
7. Open-air classes with rest periods and supplementary feedings
for pretuberculars and certain tuberculous children, and t hildren with grave malnutrition. Special classes for children
needing some form of special instruction due to physical or
mental defect.
8. Nutrition classes for physically subnormal children, and the main­
tenance of midmorning lunch or hot noonday meal when necessary.
9. Examination by psychitrist of all atypical or retarded children.
10. Education of school child in health habits, including hygiene and
care of young children.
11. General educational work in health and hygiene, including edu­
cation of parent and teacher, to secure full cooperation in
health program.

1. Complete standardized basic physical examination by physician,
including weight and height, at least once a year, and recom­
mendation for necessary treatment to be given at children’s
health center, school, or other available agency.
2. Clinics for treatment for defect and disease.
3. Supervision and instruction to inure:
(a) Ample diet, with special attention to growth-producing
(b) Sufficient sleep and rest and fresh air.
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(c.) Adequate and suitable clothing.
(d.) Proper exercise for physical development.
(e.) Knowledge of sex hygiene and reproduction.
4. Full-time education compulsory to at least 16 years of age,
adapted to meet the needs and interest of the adolescent mind,
with vocational guidance and training.
5. Clean, ample recreational opportunities to meet social needs, with
supervision of commercial amusements.
6. Legal protection from exploitation, vice, drug habits, etc.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

1. General statement.

The conclusions of the White House Conference of 1909 on the
Care of Dependent Children are reaffirmed in all essentials. They
have been guides for communities and States in reshaping their
plans for children in need of special care. They are commended for
consideration to all communities whose standards do not as yet con­
form to them, so that they may be translated into practice in the
various States.
The fundamental rights of childhood are normal home life, oppor­
tunities for education, recreation, vocational preparation for life,
and moral, religious, and physical development in harmony with
American ideals and the educational and spirtual agencies by which
these rights of the child are normally safeguarded.
Upon the State devolves the ultimate responsibility for children
who are in need of special care by reason of unfortunate home con­
ditions, physical or mental handicap, or delinquency. Particular
legislation is required to insure for such children the nearest possible
approach to normal development.
2. Adequate income.

Home life which is, in the words of the conclusions of the White
House Conference, “the highest and finest product of civilization,”
can not be provided except upon the basis of an adequate income for
each family.
3. Assistance to mothers.

The policy of assistance to mothers who are competent to care for
their own children is now well established. I t is generally recognized
that the amount provided should be sufficient to enable the mother to
maintain her children suitably in her own home, without resorting
to such outside employment as will necessitate leaving her children
without proper care and oversight; but in many States the allow­
ances are .still entirely inadequate to secure this result under present
living costs. The amount required can be determined only by care­
ful and competent case study, which must be renewed from time to
time to meet changing conditions.
4. State supervision.

A State board of charities or a similar supervisory body should
be responsible for the regular inspection and licensing of every insti­
tution, agency, or association, incorporated or otherwise, which re­
ceives or cares for mothers with children or children who suffer from
physical or mental handicaps, or who are delinquent, dependent, or
without suitable parental care, and should have authority to revoke
such licenses for cause and to prescribe forms of registration and
report. This State agency should maintain such supervision and
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



visitation of children in institutions and children placed in family
homes as will insure their proper care, training, and protection. The
incorporation of private organizations caring for children should be
required, and should be subject to the approval of the State board
of charities or similar body. State supervision should be conceived
and exercised in harmony with democratic ideals which invite and
encourage the service of efficient, altruistic forces of society in the
common welfare.
5. Removal of children from their homes.

Unless unusual conditions exist,, the child’s welfare is best pro­
moted by keeping him in his own home. No child should be* perma­
nently removed from his home unless it is impossible so to recon­
struct family conditions or build and supplement family resources
as to make the home safe for the child, or so to supervise the child as
to make his continuance in the home safe for the community. In
case of removal separation should not continue beyond the period of
6. Home care.

The aim of all provision for children who must be removed from
their own homes should be to secure for each child home life as
nearly normal as possible, to safeguard his health, and to insure
for him the fundamental rights of childhood. To a much larger
degree than at present, family homes may be used to advantage in
the care of such children.
7. Principles governing child placing.

Before a child is placed in other than a temporary foster home, ade­
quate consideration should be given to his health, mentality, charac­
ter, and family history and circumstances. Arrangements should
be made for correcting remediable physical defects and disease.
Complete records of the child are necessary to a proper under­
standing of his heredity and personality, and of his development
and progress while under the care of the agency.
Particular consideration should be given to children who are dif­
ficult to place and who require provision adapted to their peculiar
Careful and wise investigation of foster homes is prerequisite to
the placing of children. Adequate standards should be required of
the foster families as to character, intelligence, experience, training,
ability, income, environment, sympathetic attitude, and their ability
to give the child proper moral and spiritual training. When prac­
ticable children should be placed in families of the same religious
faith as the parents, or the last surviving parent.
A complete record should be kept of each foster home, giving the
information on which approval was based. The records should show
the agency’s contacts with the family from time to time, indicating
the care given the child entrusted to it. In this way special abilities
in the families will be developed and conserved for children.
Supervision of children placed in foster homes should include
adequate visits by properly qualified and well-trained visitors who
should exercise watchfulness over the child’s health, education, and
moral and spiritual development. Periodic physical examinations
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



should be made. Supervision of children in boarding homes should
also involve the careful training of the foster parents in their task.
Supervision should not be made a substitute for the responsibilitieswhich properly rest with the foster family.
The transfer of the legal guardianship of a child should not be per­
mitted save with the consent of a properly designated State depart­
ment or a court of proper jurisdiction.
In all cases involving the legal adoption of children, the court
should make a full inquiry into all the facts through its own visitor
or through some other unbiased agency, before awarding the child’s
8. Children in institutions.

The stay of children in institutions for dependents should be as
brief as possible. The condition of all children in such institutions
should be carefully studied at frequent intervals, in order to deter­
mine whether they should be restored to their own homes, placed in
foster homes, or transferred to institutions better suited to their
needs. While they do remain in institutions, their condition should
approximate as nearly as possible that of normal family life as to
health, recreation, schooling, and spiritual, aesthetic, civic and voca­
tional training.
9. Care of children bom out of wedlock.

The child born out of wedlock constitutes a very serious problem,
and for this reason special safeguards should be provided.
Save for unusual reasons both parents should be held responsible
for the child during its minority, and especially should the respon­
sibility of the father be emphasized.
Care of the child by its mother is highly desirable, particularly
during the nursing months.
No parent of a child born out of wedlock should be permitted to
surrender the child outside its own family, save with the consent of
a properly designated State department or a court of proper juris­
Each State should make suitable provision of a humane character
for establishing paternity and guaranteeing to children born out of
wedlock the rights naturally belonging to children bom in wedlock.
The fathers of such children should be under the same financial re­
sponsibilities and the same legal liabilities toward their children as
other fathers. The administration of the courts with reference to
such cases should be so regulated as not only to protect the legal
rights of the mother and child, but, also to avoid unnecessary pub­
licity and humiliation.
The treatment of the unmarried mother and her child should in­
clude the best medical supervision, and should be so directed as to
afford the widest opportunity for wholesome, normal life.
10. Care of physically defective children.

Special care and educational opportunities for deaf, blind, and
crippled children should be provided in the public educational sys­
tem, local or State.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



11. Mental hygiene and care of mentally defective children.

The value of the first seven years of childhood from the point of
health, education, and morals and formative habits can not be over­
estimated. Throughout childhood attention should be given to the
mental hygiene of the child—the care of the instincts, emotions, and
general personality, and of environment conditions. Special atten­
tion should be given to the need for training teachers and social
workers in mental hygiene principles.
Each State should assume the responsibility for thorough study
of the school and general population for the purpose of securing
data concerning the extent of the feeble-mindedness and subnormality.
Adequate provision should be made for such mentally defective
children as require institutional care. Special schools or classes with
qualified teachers and adequate equipment should be provided by
educational authorities for such defective children as may be prop­
erly cared for outside of institutions. The State should provide for
the ¡Supervision and after-care of feeble-minded persons at large in
the cbmmunity, especially those paroled from institutions. Custodial
care in institutions for feeble-minded children should not be resorted
to until after due consideration of the possibility of adjustment
within the community.
12. Juvenile courts.

Every locality should have available a court organization provid­
ing for separate hearings of children’s cases; a special method of de­
tention for children, entirely apart from adult offenders; adequate
investigation for every case; provision for supervision or probation
by trained officers, such officers in girls’ cases to be women; and a sys­
tem for recording and filing social as well as legal information.
In dealing with children the procedure should be under chancery
jurisdiction, and juvenile records should not stand as criminal
records against the children.
Whenever possible such administrative duties as child placing and
relief should not be required of the juvenile court, but should be
administered by agencies organized for that purpose.
Thorough case study should invariably be made. Provision for
mental and physical examinations should be available.
The juvenile victims of sex offenses are without adequate protec­
tion against unnecessary publicity and further corruption in our
courts. To safeguard them the jurisdiction of the juvenile court
should be extended to deal with adult sex offenders against children,
and all safeguards of that court be accorded to their victims; or if
these cases are dealt with in other courts, the facts revealed in the
juvenile court should be made available, and special precautions
should be taken for the protection of the children, as here suggested.
13. Rural social work.

Work for children needing special care has been neglected in
rural parts of the country. Social conditions in rural communities
are often as acute as in urban communities. The principles of child
care, as enumerated above, are applicable to rural needs. Agencies
for rural service should be encouraged, and should be adapted to the
peculiar needs of rural communities. The county is usually the best
administrative unit.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis



14. Scientific information.

There is urgent need of a more adequate body of scientific, literature
dealing with principles and practice in the children’s field of social
work, and the meeting of this need is a responsibility resting on those
so engaged. Careful interpretation and analysis of methods and
results of care and the publishing of these findings must precede the
correcting of many present evils in practice. Boards of directors,
trustees, and managers should particularly consider participation in
the preparation of such a body of facts and experience as being a
vital part of the work of their staff members.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Economic and social standards.

At a general session of the Washington conference the economic
and social aspects of child-welfare standards were discussed. While
detailed standards were not formulated in this wide field, it was
recognized that an adequate wage for the father, wholesome and
pleasant housing and living conditions, and the abolition of racial
discrimination are fundamentals to the realization of any childwelfare program.

The desire for recreation and amusement is a normal expression
of every child, which must be considered in any program for the
physical and moral education of children. Parents and others
charged with their, care should be educated as to the importance of
recreation. Public provision should be made for wholesome play
and recreation, both indoor and outdoor, under trained leadership,
and especially adapted to the different age periods of the child.
Commercialized amusements should be safeguarded by official super­
visors having a scientific knowledge of recreation.
Child-welfare legislation.

The child-welfare legislation of every State requires careful re­
consideration as a whole at reasonable intervals, in order that neces­
sary revision and coordination may be made and that new provisions
may be incorporated in harmony with the best experience of the day.
In States where children’s laws have not had careful supervision as
a whole within recent years, a child-welfare committee or commission
should be created for this purpose. Laws enacted by the several
States should be in line with national ideals and uniforms as far as
desirable, in view of diverse conditions in the several States.
Child welfare legislation should be framed by those who are thor­
oughly familiar with the conditions and needs of children and with
administrative difficulties. I t should be drafted by a competent
lawyer in such form as to accomplish the end desired by childwelfare experts and at the same time be consistent with existing laws.

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis