Page images




Washington, February 3, 1917.

SIR: I transmit herewith a summary of child-welfare laws passed in 1916. The summary relates new provisions to those which they supplement or supersede and gives exact legal references for all material included. The summary is based on an outline of topics which was originally prepared as the basis for the bureau's reference index of legislation in various States and which is appended to the summary.

The summary of current legislation was prepared by Miss Anna Rochester and Miss Lulu L. Eckman, with the assistance of Miss Ella A. Merritt. The outline index was planned by Miss Emma O. Lundberg, with the assistance of other members of the staff.

Respectfully submitted.



Secretary of Labor.





Laws affecting the welfare of children were passed during the year 1916 by each of the 11 State legislatures holding a regular session,1 by the legislatures of the Philippine Islands and Porto Rico, and by the Federal Congress. The acts of 11 extra sessions held in 10 States between October 1, 1915, and December 1, 1916, have also been examined. This report summarizes the changes in child-welfare legislation found in these session laws and compares the new provisions with those which they supersede and, in some cases, with related provisions in the same State. Exact legal references are given for each statement, but these references do not attempt to cover the entire field of the subject under discussion.

The main divisions of this summary follow the main divisions of the index outline of child-welfare legislation prepared by the Children's Bureau, with certain modifications made necessary by the present less detailed plan of analysis. Thus the two subjects (E) Education laws and (F) Child-labor legislation, which the index outline separates, have been combined under the heading "Child labor and school attendance," and only such education laws have been included as directly affect employment, viz, those relating to compulsory school attendance, school census, length of school term, and attendance at part-time continuation schools. Laws which the index outline divides under three main headings-(G) State care of children, general provisions for administration, supervision, and maintenance; (H) Delinquent, dependent, and neglected children; and (I) Defective children-are given in the section entitled "Defective,

1 Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Virginia.

2 California, Connecticut, Illinois (2 extra sessions), Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Wisconsin.

3 Two changes in child-welfare legislation-one in Louisiana and one in Mainemade effective by referendum vote between Oct. 1, 1915, and Dec. 1, 1916, have been included.

For scope and text of this index outline, see Appendix, page 63. The subdivisions under the main headings are not arranged in the order in which they are found in the index outline.


delinquent, and dependent children." Two divisions of the index outline have been entirely omitted: (B) Guardian and ward, and (J) Minor's capacity or incapacity to acquire rights and to incur liabilities. In other divisions topics which are legal rather than social, or which concern adults primarily and children only indirectly, have not been included. For example, in the section entitled "Parent and child," changes are noted only in provisions regarding abandonment and neglect; abuse; care and support; custody of child; void and voidable marriages, with effect on legitimacy of child; adoption; and illegitimacy. Similarly, in the section on "Health and sanitation," no general health laws in which minors are not specifically mentioned have been included except provisions regarding venereal disease, infantile paralysis, visiting nurses, and town physicians (as distinct from health officers). But all laws concerning infant blindness, hospitals specified as for children or mothers, midwives, birth registration, and official divisions of child hygiene are covered. Recreation laws are placed in the section on health and sanitation, as in the index outline. Under the title "Defective, delinquent, and dependent children" only such laws relating to delinquents and dependents are included as specifically refer to minors, but all changes in provisions concerning mental defectives are summarized. In the last section, entitled "Miscellaneous provisions affecting children," are included a few laws not closely related to any of the subjects of the index outline.

The laws summarized under the heading "Child labor and school attendance" cover the same topics as those published by the Children's Bureau in the bulletin entitled “Child-Labor Legislation in the United States," and this review of 1916 laws may therefore be used as a supplement (in summary) to that volume. Three types of laws not given in the earlier publication, however, are included, viz: Provisions specifying a required length of annual school term are summarized; reference is made to provisions for investigations, a type of temporary legislation quite outside the scope of the other publication; and all provisions of workmen's compensation laws which specifically affect minor employees are indicated. The earlier bulletin referred only to such provisions of compensation laws as affected minors illegally employed; and those were not given in full, but summarized in the "Introduction." Even in the present summary changes in compensation laws which do not mention minor employees are not included, and none of the benefit provisions are mentioned.

A few local laws, i. e., State laws affecting a single county or city, etc., have been included, but neither the changes in local laws here summarized nor the references relating them to earlier local provisions cover this entire field. Appropriations are referred to

[merged small][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »