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right conception of that thing, and then we would like to get the medical profession to cooperate with us to the extent that they will not give to these tuberculous people, a statement that they are collecting money to get to Colorado. There is not a month in the year but what some wandering tuberculous person comes to the city of Des Moines and nearly every one of them has a statement from a reputable physician. We would like to have that thing stopped.
Professor Stiles: The statement has been made that there are from 8,000 to 12,000 feebleminded children in Iowa.[ take it that the term as used covers all cases resulting from an arrested mental development. Since the state institution at Glenwood is able to care for but a small part of these unfortunates, I should like to ask what is the basis of differentiation in accepting cases.
This problem is of interest to the public school superintendent because the greater part of these children will be sent to the public school to be educated and trained. While it is true that in each community there are but few cases that would be generally recognized as feebleminded there are many which are classified as backward and retarded. All of these children need special training and care. If this problem was generally recognized throughout the state, it would be much easier for the school superintendent to establish his ungraded rooms.
The majority of men in the Men's Reformatory were backward or retarded children who early lost interest in their school work. Special attention and training would have done niuch to increase the economic efficiency of these men; and at the same time the general teaching efficiency of the public school would have been increased because the feebleminded, the backward, and the retarded pupils are clogging our machinery.
Superintendent Mogridge: The feebleminded, when I use the generic term, embraces every grade of mental feeblenessidiot to so-called moron, the high type of imbecile. Idiot, imbecile and morons; and three subdivisions under each of these, making nine different groups of individuals.
In regard to the public schools and the training of feebleminded children, it is being tried all over the United States. It is not a new thing. Special schools were organized many years ago across the Atlantic. In one European country, if there are ten feebleminded children in a district, they are compelled by law to have a special school for them.
The United States has these schools. Miss Mary Diemer is in charge of these special classes in Des Moines and such classes will take care of a small number of feebleminded children, it is true. But Mr. Stiles seems to think we can so educate in the public schools all educable feebleminded children, and take care of the lower grade in the state institution. The low grade is not the dangerous one. The low grade is simply a matter of care and habit training, and can be cared for any place except he or she may be an incubus in the home. They are not dangerous, no tendency toward delinquency, and perhaps only interfere with the progress of the family economically. The medium grade or frankly feebleminded child, the imbecile can be trained to do small tasks, learning a little in the schools, but it is impossible for him to stand alone.
Then we come to the moron class who are in danger of becoming delinquent. Some of these are in the Men's Reformatory, some of them at Eldora, and some at Mitchellville, and many of them at large, as Mr. Hollingsworth has shown in his l'emarks of the assaults on people—on girls and others in the city by feebleminded of the moron type. I am very heartily in favor of the public schools increasing their capacity to take care of the backward child, and doing all they can for the feebleminded.
There is a possibility that the next legislature may be asked to subsidize, or give financial or other aid to schools maintained for their education in connection with the public school system. Nevertheless, there will always be great need for the care of mentally feeble children of all types by the state and if the state had accommodation at the present time for 3,000, it would not be two years before such accommodations would be filled to overflowing and this would not interfere with any provisions that may be made in connection with the public schools. I estimated 10,000 feebleminded in the state. They will not all require state care but fully forty per cent will and numbers of this forty per cent can be educated in the state institution and returned back to their friends, for work on the farm, in the shop, in the garden, around the house, doing light work of some kind, but always under careful supervision. But let me say
here, that the feebleminded child never becomes normal under any training. I do not say we will send them back "cured”. They will be improved but cannot take full care of themselves or of their affairs, and without proper environment and supervision failure is certain. Instances where they have done well under supervision are common but when supervision was taken away, disaster was the final result. The matter of supervision and control after they go away from us is imperative.
Member Butler: You suggest it would be a good thing if you had a social worker in connection with your institution to place out your inmates. I have wondered if you ever placed out feebleminded inmates in homes other than in families to which the persons might belong.
Superintendent Mogridge: We have never done that intentionally. I have had a number of boys run away and get into fair homes—good homes and the people have taken quite a liking to the children. Where such is the case the child has been permitted to stay and they are doing very well in these homes. Perhaps there are a dozen or more in such conditions as that. But I have never placed children in outside homes. We never have tried that. What I wanted a social worker for was more especially to guard the children from their own people. We have some children who might be taken away from that institution whose parents are a little remiss in this matter-parents who ought to take them and so make room in the institution for others. I mean cases where there is plenty of means to care and provide for them. The idea of a social worker was to prevent a child from being sent from the institution, such as I instanced. We would want to know the conditions where he or she would be if away from us. And then if the child has been paroled to his home we want to know how he is getting along. They are not always truthful and trustworthy. We sent a girl home not long ago on parole to her father, and she was married within thirty days after she got there. We do need connected with the institution, a social worker to look after cases that are difficult for us to control there. Difficult in this way, that their parents are trying to get them out, friends are writing to them in some cases urging them to run away if we do not permit them to go, etc.
Mr. E. F. Miller: Do you find that the friends in the home are more interested in the child after he has been educated? Have you ever followed that up?
Superintendent Mogridge: We have no knowledge about that.
Member Butler: Mr. Reed in his paper has suggested soine things that I have been thinking about quite a little. He has referred to the matter of placing out children from public and private homes and he has suggested that it would be interesting to know how private organizations or homes get their money for such work.
It is a splendid work and I assume that a great many pecple would experience a genuine pleasure in giving to such work.
It seems to me that the work of child placing is one of the most important duties that welfare workers are called upon to do or to assist in doing, and yet I cannot escape from the conviction that it is the most inefficiently done. I may be all wrong about that but that is the way the matter has impressed me. I have taken the trouble to learn quite a little about this kind of work, how it is done in other states and what may be called the relative value of institution care and private home care.
I have found that everywhere the men and women who stand the highest in. child welfare work, men and women who have made national reputations in this line of work declare that the homeless child should be placed in a childless home just as soon as possible after having arrived at the receiving home. They all declare that mass care in an institution is not desirable and if it can be avoided is a crime against the children kept in an institution.
We are. well equipped for receiving children in this state but are poorly equipped for placing them out. We have several persons placing out children from our two juvenile homes. How they find the homes, I do not know. Ninety per cent of the people of this state do not know that such homes exist. I assume that our child placing agents who go around over the state are doing their work well. I am quite sure that they do and I am not attempting to criticise what they do. The point I wish to make is that they do not seem to be able to do the work that should and must be done.
I was interested in reading the other day a work gotten
out by a Dr. Slingerland who at one time lived in Des Moines. He was superintendent of the Iowa Children's Home. I do not know just where that institution was located but I understand it is still here and engaged in the same work. The home he managed received and placed out children in good private homes. Dr. Slingerland has, for about the past ten years, been connected with the Russell Sage Foundation in the juvenile section, and is an authority on child welfare work. His home here had a capacity for forty children but they only averaged twenty-nine in the home and yet he placed out from that same home in good private homes over the state, four hundred children a year for the time he managed the home about ten years. tells us how he did it. He says that he got himself invited to address church meetings at which he told them of the children he had longing for homes. He talked to political bodies and told them of his children. He spoke to women's clubs, to welfare organizations, to county boards, and to all other gatherings, organizations and clubs, that conditions would permit him to attend. He took the work up with the local welfare organizations, women's clubs and other organizations in the different counties in the state. He called attention to his children in newspapers in the counties of the state and published pictures of a few of his children, from time to time in papers in different parts of the state. He also published a small paper or leaflet each month in which he kept the doings of his home before the people who were interested in the work.
We fail to function properly when it comes to placing out children from our juvenile homes. If we did the work as it should be done, it would not be necessary to build new homes and the children would be much better off. There are probably more than 500 children now in our juvenile homes that should be now in private homes. How can we get the children out of the institutions and put them into good private homes? We should organize a child placing bureau to do the work. In my judgment that need not be very expensive.
We have three women child placing agents now who give all of their time to the work. We should employ a good man who could do all the things that Mr. Slingerland did and what additional things that he would think best to do. He would