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The law requires that “any person or corporation who shall place out a destitute child, shall keep and preserve a record of the full name and actual or apparent age of such child, the names and residence of its parents so far as known, and the names and residence of the person or persons with whom the child is placed. If such person or corporation shall subsequently remove such child from the custody of the person or persons with whom it was placed, the fact of such removal and the dis position made of such child shall be entered upon such record."

This provision of the statute is exceedingly important, as it enables the public authorities to follow the movements of the child. It has been found, however, in examinations made by inspectors of this Board, that these records are not kept with the completeness which the law requires. In many instances children have been placed-out, and the actual residence of the persons to whom these dependent wards of the State have been committed are not known. Children have been transferred from one family to another at the pleasure of the families, and without consultation with the county authorities who are responsible for the welfare of such public wards.

The books of record required by the statute should be made as complete as possible, and all essential facts concerning the child, as long as it is properly a public ward, should be recorded. A failure to keep such record in proper form is made a misdemeanor. Sometimes large interests depend upon records of this character. At the present time it is said that the disposal of a very large estate hinges upon the identification of certain children who were placed out by a county superintendent of the poor.

The visitation and inspection of homes for dependent children should be carried on with thoroughness and frequency. The limited inspection force at the command of the Board at the present time does not permit as frequent visitation of such homes as is desirable. During the past year the inspectors of the Department of State and Alien Poor have made a large number of visitations. They have examined into the condition and environment of many of the children, and also have made investigations whenever complaints have reached the Board. From the result of these visitations your committee reports that, in the main, children placed out by public officials were found in satisfactory homes. If it were possible to have every child visited at least twice a year, it would be very

desirable, but, with the other duties devolved upon the inspectors, this is not possible at the present time. Were the Legislature to realize the importance of this work, there is no doubt that ample provision would be made to carry it on in a proper way. Until such time as our appropriations warrant the employment of additional inspectors, we shall be obliged to continue, in connection with other work, the visitation of the homes of children placed-out, and as a rule can secure reports upon children placedout under the authority of the county superintendents and overseers of the poor only.

Respectfully submitted,

ENOCH V. STODDARD, M. D., Chairman Committee on the Placing-Out of Children.

REPORT

OF THE

Committee on Dispensaries.

REPORT.

To the State Board of Charities:

The duties imposed upon the Board by the enactment of the “ Dispensary Law” in 1899 were of such novel character as to require the most judicious use of the powers which that law conferred. The dispensaries have held an honorable position among our charities for upwards of a.century, and it is only within the last two or three decades that abuses have crept into their management which required to be remedied by a legislative enactment. The most serious allegation against them was that they were no longer devoted solely to the treatment of the sick poor, but were patronized by those able to employ physicians. Though these abuses have long been recognized in other states and countries, the State of New York was the first to place dispensaries under legal control. The medium selected through which that control was to be exercised is the State Board of Charities, and the authority given the Board was discretionary to the extent of empowering it to revolutionize the management of every dispensary in the State. But in the preparation of the rules governing the future management of the dispensaries as required by the “ Dispensary Law”, the Board endeavored to accomplish the purpose of the statute with as little disturbance of their operations as possible. These rules have now been in operation for a period of two years and upwards, and the results are on the whole distinctly favorable. The dispensaries have gradually conformed more and more completely to the regulations of the Board until, with but few exceptions, the rules are so generally observed as to secure the more important reforms which the law was designed to accomplish.

In the present report the committee has endeavored to present in a concrete form the work of the dispensaries of the State under the “ Dispensary Law”, constituting chapter 368 of the Laws of 1899.

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