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NOW 10 1950


The Illinois Juvenile Court law having taken its place in the state as a permanent and beneficent institution, it seems proper and fitting that a brief history of the movements leading up to the enactment of the law should be recorded. Especially, is this desirable at the present time, as there are several persons who have been connected with the movement from the beginning and who are still actively engaged in the work. We were thus enabled to obtain accurate data from these various persons. We feel justified in saying that this brief history is a true record of what occurred from time to time in the enactment of the law.

When the first and second editions were published many claimants from the various sections of the country came forth and insisted that the Juvenile Court movement was inaugurated in their respective states. In some of these states, there was a separate trial of children, in others separation of children charged with offences from adults, others, again, had limited probation. All, however, dealt with the child as an offender against the law. The Criminal Law was invoked and whatever order was entered in the case was under the Criminal Statute. These various statutes were examined by the framers of the Illinois 'Juvenile Court Law and none proved satisfactory. After a long research, the committee discarded all these statutes and started with new thoughts and ideas.

The first question settled was that they were to deal with childhood and, second, that it was not crime but conditions that confronted the committee, and so it was decided that a law would be drafted dealing with conditions. Was the child in a condition of truancy, neglect, dependency, or delinquency? If so, what was the best thing to be done for it? Having arrived at this point, the problem may be said to have worked itself out. The circumstances that would create the above conditions were defined. The child was then made a ward of the Court. A ward of the Court implies a Court with Equity Power and so the Circuit and County courts were selected to have exclusive jurisdiction in all children's cases. Such courts could not permit to have their wards locked in cells or allow their association with vicious or immoral persons or commit them to institutions until after a very thorough and exhaustive research on the part of the court. In every case, the court would determine the disposition of the child with the thought in its mind as to what was the best thing to do with the child under the particular circumstances.

We have treated only of the origin and purposes of the law. It has not been our intention to give a complete detailed history of the various operations of the Court. This would necessitate a review of all the work performed throughout the state.

In addition to the origin of the law, we have included a brief account of several days spent in the Juvenile Court, showing the different modes of treating the various cases that come before the Court. The law as revised, as also the adult delinquent law, together with the Juvenile Court Blanks, will be found in the latter part of the book.

We have received inquiries from all parts of the world asking for information in regard to the Illinois Juvenile Court Law, and we feel that this third edition will meet a want among Juvenile Court workers throughout the country.

T. D. H.


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