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Creating a female dominion in American reform, 1890-1935 / Robyn Muncy
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These standards, emphasizing the importance of due process for youth offenders, were cited in the groundbreaking in re Gault decision that year.

At that time, many of the Bureau's responsibilities were assigned to other areas of the federal government. All health programs, including maternal and child health services, crippled children's services, maternity and infant care projects, and health research, were permanently relocated to the Public Health Service within the Health Services and Mental Health Administration.

Department of Health and Human Services. The Children's Bureau continued to administer research but was no longer responsible for any direct service programs, including those related to juvenile delinquency, child welfare, or families in the AFDC program. In response to rising numbers of children in foster care, Children's Bureau grants during the s investigated in-home services to strengthen families, family-centered casework, permanency planning, family reunification, the needs of children living with relatives, and how to remove barriers to adoption for children with special needs.

The Bureau also examined the impact of workforce issues on the foster care system and supported a growing foster parents' movement through conferences and grants. In adoption policy, the Children's Bureau's focus shifted from finding children for families to finding parents for children. Increased attention was paid to the growing number of hard-to-place children, including those from minority groups, older children, children with disabilities, and sibling groups.

The Bureau supported exploration of nontraditional adoption arrangmeents, such as cross-cultural, transracial, single-parent, and subsidized adoption. NCCAN centralized and coordinated the Bureau's growing focus on more effective child abuse prevention, research, state reporting laws, and systems. This landmark law assigned the Children's Bureau additional responsibilities, including reporting to Congress on foster care placements, collecting and publishing data on foster care and adoption, and conducting regular audits of state child welfare programs.

During President Ronald Reagan 's administration, there was a continued emphasis on family-based services, special needs adoption, and child abuse prevention. Some notable examples of the Bureau's projects during the s include proclamations of the first National Child Abuse Prevention Month and National Adoption Week, establishment of a National Adoption Information Clearinghouse , and creation of the Children's Justice Act program to help states improve their handling of child abuse cases, with a particular emphasis on child sexual abuse. This led to legislative and policy changes during the late s and early s, including the establishment of a federal program to support independent living services for youth aging out of the foster care system without permanent families.

The family preservation program, administered by the Children's Bureau, authorized services to help families in crisis such as respite care and intensive in-home assistance , as well as other forms of family support and family reunification. Growing awareness of the problem of child abuse and neglect, and particularly child deaths, resulted in many enhancements to prevention, investigation, and prosecution efforts. In , the Children's Bureau created a new program, the Community-Based Family Resource and Support grants, to encourage public and private child abuse prevention and treatment programs to work together more effectively.

Around the same time, President Clinton encouraged HHS to develop a plan for doubling the number of adoptions and permanent placements from foster care during the next five years. HHS responded by issuing a report, with the Bureau's assistance, that outlined a series of policy- and practice-related steps toward achieving this goal. The Children's Bureau was tasked with helping states bring their laws and policies into compliance with this new federal law, which focused on timely permanence, child well-being, and increased accountability of child welfare systems.

These measures were used in a series of annual reports on national outcomes for child welfare services, first published in Some examples include:. Since then, support for child abuse prevention efforts has continued to expand, due in part to growing evidence that home visitation programs can effectively reduce maltreatment and improve outcomes for pregnant mothers and families with young children. On April 9, , the Children's Bureau marked its th anniversary with a ceremony at the Hubert H. Humphrey Building in Washington, DC.

In its early years, the Children's Bureau published voluminously on many topics related to children's health and well-being, and it distributed its publications very widely. A full bibliography is impossible here, but an OpenLibrary search by author gives some sense of the range of topics. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Children's Bureau and child welfare, University of Illinois Press, , Children's Bureau and child welfare, University of Illinois Press, , 9.

Children's Bureau, U. A Right to Childhood. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press. Washington, DC: Children's Bureau. Hamilton, who resented the demands of service, nevertheless fulfilled them, and thus won the enthusiastic endorsement of the most important women at Hull House.

With their encouragement, Hamilton endured her conflicting desires until she discovered a way to reconcile them. The reconciliation brought her professional success as well as a peaceful soul.

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Conformity to the service ideal was the price of her success. Indeed, the service ideal itself exacted a price.

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Serving a clientele that could not pay for professional services, the women at Hull House constantly searched for sources of funding. Because voluntary contributions continued only at the pleasure of individual donors who might at any time find a more attractive cause for their largess, female professionals began to look for more constant and reliable funds from the very beginning of their occupational experiments at Hull House.

Usually, their patrons searched with Hull House, 25 them, and often the most obvious source of continuous support was government. Soon after the settlement opened its employment bureau, for example, it began to lobby the state government for the establishment of publicly funded bureaus. In , such legislation passed. Even Alice Hamilton's success depended on governmental intervention because workers could ill afford to pay for studies of industrial diseases and employers did not care to.

In some cases, government was the first place that Hull House residents turned for financial support. The career of Florence Kelley serves as a case in point. Kelley arrived at Hull House in December , a mother of three, immigrating to Illinois because of its relatively lenient divorce laws. Motherhood and divorce set her apart from the average Hull House resident, as did her association with radical politics. After graduating from Cornell University in and suffering rejection by the graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania, she eventually made her way to the University of Zurich.

In , she married a Russian medical student, Lazare Wischnewetzky, and the next year bore her first child. In , the young family moved to New York City, where two more children were born and Wischnewetzky threw herself into the projects of the city's socialist party. When her marriage disintegrated, she took her children to Illinois, obtained a divorce, and resumed her maiden name. While lecturing at the College Settlement in New York, she had heard of Hull House and in decided to rebuild her life there. Moral passion ruled her, and what made this headstrong, incautious woman especially attractive was that she knew exactly who she was.

Creating a female dominion in American reform, 1890-1935

She described herself as a "raging furnace" and as a person "consumed with burning indignation. She metamorphosed from a male-identified into a female-identified woman. The most crucial influence on her before her sojourn to Europe was her politician father, Congressman William "Pig-Iron" Kelley.

Not until her marriage dissolved and she entered the female world of Hull House did Florence Kelley have colleagues and mentors predominantly female. Because Kelley's special interests lay with industrial workers, Addams put her on a fellowship in the Labor Bureau. Especially touched by the miserable conditions under which women and children worked in the sweatshops, residents joined her and the Illinois Woman's Alliance a cross-class umbrella organization for thirty women's unions and voluntary societies in an effort to persuade the state legislature to regulate the sweating industries.

Under pressure from the Hull House community, laboring women, and allies among wealthy female Chicagoans, the governor appointed Kelley to enforce the new law. She thus became Illinois's first Chief Factory Inspector. She wrote to a friend that her appointment "assures us [her family] of permanent useful employment. As her assistant chief inspector, she hired Alzina Stevens, another Hull House resident.

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Among her ten deputy inspectors, she employed four women, one of whom lived at the Jane Club. Concern for others and for self simply could not be separated. Because their professional situations thus predisposed them to see governmental intervention as the solution to social problems, women at Hull House counted among America's first progressives. Historians refer to the first two decades of the twentieth century as the Progressive era because they constituted a period of vital response to the social and economic changes wrought by industrialization in the previous half-century.

Literally millions of Americans organized in local, state, and national bodies to push for reforms of the industrial order. Though members of many of those bodies would unite in the new and temporary Progressive party in , there existed no truly unified progressive movement in these years but rather a hodgepodge of coalitions working for changes that often contradicted each other. Different social groups had different ideas about how the new industrial order should look, and in many cases, the same individual lobbied simultaneously for changes that now seem antithetical to each other.

For example, in an effort to democratize government, reformers mounted campaigns for the direct elections of senators, women's suffrage, the use of referenda, and the right to recall representatives thought to betray voters' interests.

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At the same time, groups of reformers sought to streamline local governments by replacing political machines with expert administrators ostensibly responsible to no other bosses than efficiency and economy. Rule by unelected experts, of course, flew in the face of democratic ideals and in many instances represented the attempt of native-born middle classes to wrest control of city governments from immigrant groups. While some progressives-convinced that huge corporate entities threatened the economic competition on which American mobility and democracy depended — devoted themselves to busting trusts, others —cherishing the efficiency of larger enterprises — urged various levels of government simply to regulate industries so as to prevent rank exploitation of either consumers or workers.

From the latter motive came legislation to guarantee the purity of food and drugs, to regulate railroad rates, and to ensure the sanitation of manufacturing establishments and city streets. Often enough — as in the case of the first progressive president, Theodore Roosevelt—reformers favored trust busting in some cases and regulation in others. Toward the plight of industrial workers progressive reformers took wildly different approaches as well.

Some believed that government should take the lead in ameliorating the suffering of the working classes by requiring unemployment and disability insurance, public employment agencies, and legal safety standards for industries. Others saw the salvation of the workers in unionization; yet others, in the ever-increasing scientific management of industry, which would reputedly so increase productivity that every worker would earn a decent wage under clean and safe conditions.


Distrustful of management's good will, still other reformers organized consumers who, through socially conscious buying, would force employers to do justice to their workers. Some progressives advocated all of the above, attesting to the difficulty of identifying any unifying motive or political agenda for the various people agitating for change between and In addition to the near impossibility of defining a single political agenda for progressivism, historians face the confusion of trying to distinguish the era of progressive reform from the late nineteenth century, which after all faced the same problems as the early twentieth and also spawned enormous and energetic reforming organizations.

The Knights of Labor, the Women's Christian Temperance Union, and the national farmers' alliances stood as worthy examples of Gilded Age reform organizations. Was progressivism simply the relocation of their agenda to the city?

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Certainly the three groups listed here, along with the Populist party of the s, espoused some goals similar to those ringing through the Progressive era. They, for instance, asked the federal government to regulate or own the railroads; they wanted some sort of public control of the finance industry; they especially wanted to create cooperative economic ventures that included consumers' coopera- Hull House, 29 tives as well as cooperatively owned and run industries.

In part, however vaguely, these reform groups were agitating against the centralization of private wealth and power that industrialization was creating, and they envisioned, however hazily, an economy based on cooperative ventures, some large-scale and centered in the federal government, some small-scale and centered in local communities. In these ways, reformers in the Gilded Age sought to preserve democracy itself insofar as democracy meant that people should control their own lives.

Seeing that laissez-faire individualism was rendered obsolete by corporations that swallowed individual entrepreneurs and located financial decisions in a small area of New York City, reformers tried to create a new economic basis for democracy in cooperative economic enterprises. Sometimes progressive reformers sounded a lot like these Gilded Age agitators: the younger activists often echoed the call for a more democratic order and for governmental regulation of industry.

In addition, some progressive reformers used the language and ideals of Christianity as the basis for their reforming zeal just as the older generation of reformers did. On the other hand, the Progressive era brought something new to the fore: a constellation of ideals, values, and methods revolving around the word "efficiency.