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effectively with the department of public charities, which is charged with the examination and commitment of destitute and dependent children. For the first time, by the new arrangement, it will be possible to keep the children brought into court from mingling with adults charged with the commitment of crime. The Board gave its formal approval to the principle of establishing children's courts in the city of New York by resolution adopted October 10, 1900, and communicated to the Char
ter Revision Commission.
An Amendment to the State Constitution.
The Senate and Assembly adopted a concurrent resolution. which had been referred by the Legislature of 1899, pursuant to statute and the Constitution, amending section 18 of article III. of the Constitution, relative to cases in which private and local bills shall not be passed. The addition to this section prohibits: “Granting to any person, association, firm or corporation, an exemption from taxation on real or personal property." The adoption of this amendment has since been ratified by the people at the polls. The effect of the amendment will be to relieve the Legislature of further consideration of local bills introduced on behalf of individual charitable societies asking to be relieved of taxation. The question of non-taxation of charitable societies as a whole by general legislation is not involved in the adoption of the constitutional amendment, as seems to have been supposed, judging by the opposition which developed in the course of the discussions as to the merits of the amendment.
Proposed Legislation Which Failed of Enactment.
The session of 1901 was noteworthy for the general and full discussion relative to the proposed abolition of the State Board
of Charities as at present organized and the substitution there. for of a commission to be composed of a president who should receive a salary of $2,500 and who should give his entire time to the duties of the office, and two other commissioners, who might be State officers, and who should serve without pay. A joint hearing on the proposed legislation bodied in Assembly bill No. 169 and Senate bill No. 114, 472 was given by the respective committees of the Senate and Assembly, to whom the bills were referred. This hearing was held in the Senate chamber on February 12, and was attended by a large number of delegated representatives of the public and private charities of the State. But one sentiment was ex. pressed at the hearing. This was in favor of the continuance of the policy adopted in 1867, namely, that the State Board of Charities should be a body of considerable size, composed of citizens representative of the charitable and correctional interests of the various sections of the State, and knowing neither creed nor political preferences in the administration of the public and private charities intrusted to the visitation, inspection and gen. eral supervision of such Board. Neither the Senate nor Assembly bills embodying the proposed reorganization of the Board were reported by the respective committees having the matter in charge.
The Jurisdiction of the State Hampered.
The Board is impelled to bring again to the attention of the Legislature the following facts contained in its report to the Legislature of 1901:
Unfortunate conditions continue to exist in consequence of the decision of the Court of Appeals in the case of The People of the State of New York ex rel. The State Board of Charities v. The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, handed down January 9, 1900, and reaffirmed April 17, 1900. By this decision those institutions only which receive public moneys are declared to be within the authority vested in the Board by section 11 of article VIII. of the state Constitution which says: “The Legislature shall provide fora State Board of Charities, which shall visit and inspect all institutions, whether State, county, municipal, incorporated or not incorporated, which are of a charitable, eleemosynary, correctional or reformatory character, excepting only such institutions as are” subject to the visitation and inspection of the State Commission in Lunacy and the State Commission of Prisons.
Briefly stated some of these unfortunate conditions are:
1. For the first time in a quarter of a century the Legislature and the public are prevented from having any definite knowledge annually of the amount of dependency which exists in the State. For example, the total number of dependent children in insti. tutions cannot now be definitely known through any official source.
2. The State is prevented from having any definite knowledge of the work of many of the charitable corporations it creates, not a few of them having authority to stand in the place of parents or guardians of dependent childhood.
3. The protection which the State has hitherto extended to the inmates of such exempted institutions is removed.
4. The protection to trust funds, left by will or otherwise bestowed, for the use of the poor, amounting in some cases to hundreds of thousands of dollars, is also removed.
NEED OF FURTHER PROVISION BY THE STATE FOR THE CARE OF THE FEEBLE-MINDED, THE IDIOTIC AND THE EPILEPTIC.
The State of New York, in the course of the evolution of its local and general relief agencies from their primitive beginnings toward better forms, decided to care for the feeble-minded, the idiotic and the epileptic, in separate institutions maintained from the State treasury. This is shown by,
1. The establishment, in 1851, of the Syracuse State Institution for Feeble-Minded Children, intended for the education and training of children of this class. It now has a population of 536.
2. The establishment, in 1878, of the State Custodial Asylum for Feeble-Minded Women. This institution is designed to receive and protect feeble-minded women of child-bearing age. There are now 456 inmates at the asylum.
3. The establishment, in 1893, of the Rome State Custodial Asylum, which is intended to provide for the less teachable class of idiots. The population now numbers 539.
4. The establishment, in 1894, of the Craig Colony for epileptics who are not insane. The colony has 750 patients.
5. The enactment of the following provision of the Poor Law, chapter 225 of the Laws of 1896: “Section 6. Idiots and lunatics.—The superintendents of the poor shall provide for the support of poor persons that may be idiotic or lunatics, at other places than in the almshouse, in such manner as shall be provided by law for the care, support and maintenance of such poor persons."
Thus far, the State has provided only partially for these classes.
Feeble-minded Children. 1. There are now a large number of feeble-minded children in various private institutions for children, where they are being supported at public expense. Over seventy of these cases have been found by the Board's inspectors. Such children are out of place with those of normal minds, and should have the benefit of training in the Syracuse State Institution for Feeble-Minded Children. Beside these, a considerable number of the same class, approximately about eighty, are forced to remain in the county, city and town alnishouses, owing to the lack of room for them at Syracuse.
To make room for these children in the Syracuse institution, the adult inmates, about 150 in number (50 men and 100 women), should be provided for elsewhere, the men at the Rome Asylum and the women at the Newark Asylum. The authorities at Rome are willing to receive the men from Syracuse, and are doing so as fast as practicable.
The authorities of the Newark Asylum have not, however, shown a like disposition with relation to the women. They objected to the bill of last session which provided that the new cottage at the Asylum should be used to receive feeble-minded women of child-bearing age from the Syracuse institution, and secured an amendment eliminating this provision.
Feeble-minded Women. 2. In county, city and town almshouses, as well as in other institutions where they are supported at public expense, and also in family homes, there are many feeble-minded women of child-bearing age, who should be provided for at the Newark Asylum. This should be done in order that the women may have the protection they need, and that the various localities of the State may be saved the expense of providing for them and their illegitimate, and frequently degenerate, offspring. Such women cannot be cared for properly in almshouses, and their continued presence in such institutions is frequently a source of scandal. They should be cared for by those of their own sex in a custodial institution such as that at Newark. The reports to the Board for the fiscal year ending September 30, 1900, indicate this number, in the almshouses alone, to be 200.
3. There are also in the county, city and town almshouses, where they are a disturbing element, unsuitably cared for, many unteachable male idiots, and women above child-bearing age, who should be removed to the Rome State Custodial Asylum.