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introduction of such a course of training in this institution, and have included in our estimate of appropriations needed a sum for this purpose. We deem this of sufficient importance to urge that arrangements be completed so that the plan can be successfully carried out next year.


The state agency through which the children are placed in homes and through which subsequent supervision of them is carried on has been well inaintained. It has, however, suffered loss in the resignations of Miss Swindlehurst in November, 1908, and of our senior agent and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis, who retired from the service in May, 1910. Their long experience and excellent qualifications made them valuable assistants and their retirement a distinct loss to the service. Two of the vacancies thus caused have been filled by Miss Elizabeth McGregor of St. Paul and Mr. A. J. Harpman of Austin, both of whom have entered upon their duties with enthusiasm and their work has been successful to a marked degree. Mr. Jager and Mr. Swanson continue their services in this department to our satisfaction.

Five agents besides the superintendent have been employed most of the time, one of whom has acted as traveling attendant to children en route to their homes. Another agent will soon be employed to do this and such other work in this department as her time will permit.

The placing out work does not hold a subordinate place in the progress of the institution. In fact, all the departments are so adjusted as to promote the work of the placing out agency and it is essential that sufficient help be employed to personally investigate all applications and give adequate supervision to the children placed out. The problems confronting the state agency are of a scope and character little appreciated by the average casual observer. The dangers attending such work and the serious results that may follow if careless methods prevail make it of the utmost importance that a thorough process of investigation be carried on by persons of reliable judgment in the selection of homes. It is not sufficient that homes shall be found willing to receive our children but each applicant must receive a thorough investigation as to competency and reliability. When his good character has been established in a general way, the spirit which prompts him to take a child and something of his qualifications for the duties of parenthood must be understood.

Much of the general investigation of applicants may be and is carried on through the office by means of letters of reference written to responsible people in the neighborhood of the applicant. But details of the family life must be learned which may be obtained only by a personal visit to the home by one trained to observe trifles, which are often the truest exponents of large realities. The personal investigation of the homes of applicants for children is of such importance that we have come through experience to require a personal visit by an agent before approving any application for a child.

Supervision must be exercised over all children placed out until they are legally adopted, restored to their parents, have attained their majority, or are clearly beyond the need of further supervision. Many of the younger chil. dren are adopted after the guardians are mutually satisfied to have it so. Such adoption is desirable and is encouraged when all relations between the foster parents and the children are shown to be sufficiently cordial. Consent to adoption is usually withheld, however, for at least one year after the child is placed. The step is too important to be taken hastily.

The development of the children, “how they turn out is the important question. We cannot claim to have saved a child when we have placed it in an approved home. This may be merely the shifting of the burden which will be followed by unfavorable and expensive results. However, in the average Minnesota farm home there is ability to support and educate the child and in such homes there will be found many of the comforts and conveniences of life. And there as a member of the family the child of foster parents has opportunities for success.

The information obtained through the visits of the state agents to the children we have placed in homes indicates that, as a rule, they have been restored to the normal population of the state, and that those who have reached man's and woman's estate are filling their places, a large percentage of them, with credit to themselves as young people of good character.

The frequency with which visits should be made that the supervision may be adequate depends upon several factors, among which are the character and conduct of the children, age when placed, length of time in the home and the character of the home. Once a year, until a child is legally adopted, or until we are assured after repeated visits through a term of years that such visits are no longer necessary, with more frequent visits to such as need them, is the rule.

The children now out in homes under supervision are at an average distance of 100 miles from the institution.

The average number under supervision during the past two years as shown in the preceding summary has been 1,527.

The average length of time that children have remained under super. vision is 7 years.


Applications are from time to time received from the parents of the children. These are always considered with the greatest interest in the hope that improved conditions in the family may justify the restoration of the children to the parents. In this we are often disappointed in finding such a record of conduct as to forbid the return of the children. If the good character of the parents and their ability to care for and educate the children is established, it is a pleasure to reunite them, and in passing upon such applications our usual requirements as to temporal things are not adhered to.

To help children in their own homes and to maintain the integrity of the family by preventing its being broken up is a good idea and one which has been receiving the attention of leaders in Child-saving Work. So far as our observation and study go, the best teaching of all history on the subject points to the truth, which is now being exemplified in modern state governments, that the best thing the state can do to help the children of the commonwealth is to foster and protect the home and the home spirit.

Many requests have been received for the admission of children conditioned upon their being held in the school for six months or a year to enable a worthy parent-usually a mother-to improve her condition and circumstances so as to be able to take them again. Such requests come from the judges who have authority to commit children to the school, from relatives and friends and from the parents themselves.

We believe it would be a wise, humane and economical step for the state to give authority and make provision for helping such children in their own homes. This Board could be authorized, on the order of the court committing them to its guardianship, to expend for the benefit of the children so committed and left in their own homes a sum not to exceed the amount that would be expended for their care and support in the institution for a given period. In such cases the children should be kept under supervision and visited in their homes the same as any other children cominitted to this school and placed in homes not their own. This would cost the state no more for their support, would help both the children and the parents and avoid the necessity of breaking up inany homes and destroying family relationships. We commend this to your consideration.

Appropriations for the maintenance and improvement of the institution are recommended as follows:

Support of institution and state agency for the year ending July 31,

Repairs and betterments for the year ending July 31, 1912.
Library for the year ending July 31, 1912.
Support of institution and state agency for the year ending July 31,

Repairs and betterments for the year ending July 31, 1913.
Library for the year ending July 31, 1913..

$65,000.00 2,000.00


67,000.00 2,500.00


Improvements to be made during the two yearsAddition to barn..

$3,500.00 Steward's office

500.00 Gymnasium and bathing pool..

25,000.00 Renewing tile floors and cement walks

1,200.00 Domestic science apparatus.

500.00 Fire escapes

2,000.00 Cold stcrage, building and apparatus

3,700.00 Cottage for farm boys..

15.000.00 Greenhouse

3,000.00 Improvenients to power plant, including engine and generator, stokers and auxiliaries, extension of water main.

6,000.00 We believe that these estimates are as low is they can safely be made. There is need for all of the funds asked for that the institution may be maintained at a proper state of efficiency.

In conclusion, we commend the State Public School to your consideration as one of the progressive agencies of this country for the care of neglected and dependent children, and bespeak for it adequate support. We would be neglectful if we failed to remember and commend our employes ripon whose efficiency and faithfulness so largely depends the success of its work.

Respectfully submitted,


Board of Managers. GALEN A. MERRILL,


PHYSICIAN'S REPORT. Mr. Galen A. Merrill, Superintendent.

Dear Sir: Herewith I present my report as physician of the State Public school for the biennial period ending July 31, 1910.

It is gratifying to record the fact that the health of the inmates of the Institution has been exceptionally good during the time covered by this report, there having been an absence of epidemic diseases and a notable decrease of those requiring hospital care.

Better facilities for the care and management of the infant portion of the population, so far as concerns their immediate surroundings, and the intelligent labors of those charged with this portion of the work, have resulted in a noticeable decrease in the mortality rate of the school.

The addition of sun rooms both to the hospital and the baby cottage are welcome improvements that cannot fail to be of great benefit to those inmates who are necessarily deprived of the advantages of the outside air and the sunshine.

The food supplies, including the milk from the Institution herd, have been of good quality, and it should be stated that the latter is used uniformly in the dietary of the infants to the exclusion of all artificial foods, and with the best results.




Mr. Jager's Report. Mr. Galen A. Merrill, Superintendent.

Dear Sir: I respectfully submit herewith my report of work as State Agent during the biennial period ending July 31, 1910.

I have visited 540 children in their homes and in addition, settled 80 special cases, and investigated 283 applications for children. In addition to this work I have called on most of the county commissioners and judges of probate courts in the counties traversed. I have traveled 25,260 miles by train and 3,770 miles by team. My expenses have been as follows: Railroad fares $510.96; livery $452.40; hotel $484.80; miscellaneous $13.20.

During the last few years there has been a constant increase in hotel rates and livery charges, which accounts for the increase in our expenses. In some localities automobile service is now so reasonable that much time can be saved by their use and the per capita cost of visits thereby much reduced. As they become more available our working capacity will be much increased.

With this report I hereby finish eleven years of service as State Agent. They have been years of varied experiences, encouragement and disappointment mixed and often meeting the one when I expected the other, but never has the interest and stimulus of the work waned—no, it has rather increased with the increasing number of children known. But while this is true, I must also contend that our problems have not grown less in numbers or in size. Before dealing with them I want to give credit to one factor that has greatly eased our labors—the school laws passed by the last legislature. Where we had to scold and threaten to secure four and five months schooling, for our large children, under the old law, they now receive from six to nine months without any effort on our part. There is, however, a widespread feeling that the law is too drastic and it may be wise to change it to compel full time attendance of country children under fifteen years instead of under seventeen years, as at present. There can be no question that the law has been very beneficial and generally quite effective.

The problem of keeping our large children settled in homes after they reach wage earning age has been getting more difficult each year. It is a deplorable fact that there is a growing tendency to irresponsibility among most young people and it is not surprising that our children should become infected with the same germ. I believe the solution of the problem lies in an annual adjustment of their wages after they are fifteen years old. It is almost impossible to get young people to look ahead to the future advantage of remaining in their homes devoted to their task when a neighbor is tempting them with "big wages.” The prospect of some day owning the farm looks small compared with a dollar a day in cold cash, and too often the boy chooses the latter and his chance is lost.

There is no difficulty in finding homes for the older children, the problem is how to make them stay. With our youngest children the problem is reversed—they will stay if once placed, but placing the baby boys is the great task. That we are going to have an ever increasing number of this class is evident and I believe we will need to plan our work for the future with a view to placing infants more rapidly. There are always plenty of homes open for girl babies but boys seem to be regarded as undesirable until they reach the age of usefulness. What a shame to have to admit this—is it any wonder boys treated that way fail to appreciate their late found home! My experience proves that the person who adopts a baby (without thought of financial gain) makes a better investment than he who takes the big 'boy for profit. The rapid development of babies in their foster homes, is a marvel to most people. It is not uncommon to have friends advise people to return the baby quickly before it dies on their hands and yet in a few months this same puny infant will be the healthiest and plumpest baby in town. We have the reputation, so far, of sending out healthier and better babies than any other institution can supply, but I believe it is possible to improve on the present. This would be accomplished by getting possession of the infants at an earlier age before their health and vitality has been impaired by improper care and food, or entirely ruined by neglect. It is a disgraceful fact that in many cases authorities will discourage unfortunate mothers in nursing their babies because the county can save money by letting her go to work while they hire the baby kept by some woman who takes it for profit. Since investigations prove that over 90 per cent of the infants who die during their first year are “bottle babies,” it is easy to understand the disastrous effect of such practice on the health of the babies that survive and later are sent to us. I know that this is a matter at present beyond our control but it seems a pity to allow this to continue and if any change is to occur it must begin with an increased ability to care for such babies before the mischief has been done. I consider the placing of the babies by far the most important and most promising part of our work.

Another problem, difficult to deal with impartially, is the frequent appeals by parents for the restoration of their children committed to our care

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