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These homes may be classified as follows: Number of homes retaining over 50 per cent. of

inmates five years plus..... Number of homes retaining between 40 and 50 per

cent. of inmates five years plus.... Number of homes retaining between 30 and 40 per

cent. of inmates five years plus... Number of homes retaining between 20 and 30 per

cent. of inmates five years plus. .... Number of homes retaining between 10 and 20 per

cent. of inmates five years plus... Number of homes retaining between 1 and 10 per

cent. of inmates five years plus... Number of homes retaining no inmates five years

plus

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Respectfully submitted,
WALTER S. UFFORD,

Superintendent of Inspection.

REPORT

OF THE

Committee on the Placing-Out of Children.

REPORT.

To the State Board of Charities:

Your Committee on the Placing-Out of Children respectfully reports as follows:

Among the functions of the State Board of Charities, the prevention of evils and abuses in connection with the placing-out of children is not the least important. To safeguard the welfare of dependent childhood, and to see that such supervision be given as will prevent abuse and assure proper homes for such as may be placed out, is the object of chapter 264 of the Laws of 1898. This authorizes the Board to issue licenses to such persons or corporations as apply therefor and who, in the judg. ment of said Board, are proper agencies for placing out children. Under these licenses destitute children may be placed in approved homes by such persons and corporations, and it is made unlawful for unlicensed persons, except public officials to whom authority is given by statute, and who therefore do not require a special license, to engage in the business of placing-out dependent children. This art confers upon the Board full oversight of dependent children placed out by charitable societies or by individuals in family homes. It was passed in obedience to a public demand that there be a thorough supervision over children placed in homes. Prior to the passage of this act, many private individuals had engaged in the business of finding homes for destitute children, and for personal gain had frequently sacrificed the interests of the children. These abuses became so flagrant that the public demanded the passage of a law for their suppression, as it had been found that there was no other way to control these persons. They covered their practices by declaring that they were engaged in a work of charity, and, while often fostering crime, posed before the public as earnestly laboring for the benefit of society. Midwives, keepers of private lying-in asylums, and frequently individuals living principally upon the proceeds of immorality, were engaged in this business, and it became necessary to enact a law which would save the children from sacrifice to their cupidity.

The second section of chapter 264, Laws of 1898, makes it "unlawful for any person or corporation, other than a charitable or benevolent institution, society or association, or society for the prevention of cruelty to children, now or hereafter duly incorporated under the laws of this State, or a local officer charged with relief of the poor and placing out in the manner now provided by law, to place out any destitute child, directly or indirectly, unless such person or corporation shall be duly licensed as hereinafter provided, by the State Board of Charities, to place out destitute children. Nor shall any local officer charged with the relief of the poor, directly or indirectly, place out any child or children in a family not residing in this State."

This section has gone a long way toward the prevention of abuses and evils which have existed in connection with the placing-out of children. Its provisions were deemed ample to prevent unlicensed persons and those not approved by the State Board of Charities from engaging in this work, but an experience of over three years has shown that there is a method by which its provisions are sometimes evaded. Authority is granted to local officers charged with the relief of the poor to place out destitute children, and some local poor authorities have taken advantage of this provision to employ as agents parties who have been refused license by the State Board of Charities. In some of the counties the superintendents of the poor have chosen careful and competent agents who are doing most excellent work. In other counties, however, it has been found cheaper to employ parties who cannot meet the requirements of the State Board of Charities for license. If all county poor authorities would undertake the work of placing out children as it is done in Erie, Essex, Monroe, New York, and some other counties, there would be little reason to fear that our dependent children would be placed in improper homes.

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