Cartoon by Lewis Hine, circa 1912
Photo: Library of Congress
Digital ID nclc 04783

Child Labor/Child Welfare 


Child welfare is an all encompassing term covering a broad swath of American social welfare initiatives, policies programs and organizations concerned with child labor, orphans, foster care, child abuse, child care and elementary education. The entries below are a starting point in describing the history of some of these initiatives.

  • A Needed Amendment To Restrict Child LaborThe particular reason that it seems necessary to deal with child labor federally rather than through legislation by States is the existence of economic rivalries among the latter. Probably the people of New England would be glad to stop grinding up children's lives in their factories if it were not for losing their textile business to the South. Likewise the South would not willingly countenance child labor except for the hope of profit in the establishment of new industry. The number of children under sixteen years of age in the textile industry of the United States decreased 59 per cent between 1920 and 1930, but in the same period the number of children in the textile mills of South Carolina and Georgia increased 24 and 12 per cent, respectively.
  • AdoptionSince ancient times and in all human cultures, children have been transferred from adults who would not or could not be parents to adults who wanted them for love, labor, and property. Adoption’s close association with humanitarianism, upward mobility, and infertility, however, are uniquely modern phenomena. An especially prominent feature of modern adoption history has been matching: the idea that adoption substituted one family for another so carefully, systematically, and completely that natal kinship was rendered invisible and irrelevant. This notion was unusual in the history of family formation, especially because the most obvious thing about adoption has been that it is a different way to make a family. Practices that aimed to hide this difference ironically made modern adoption most distinctive.
  • Adoption Project: 1937Modern adoption history has been marked by vigorous reforms dedicated to surrounding child placement with legal and scientific safeguards enforced by trained professionals working under the auspices of certified agencies. In 1917, for instance, Minnesota passed the first state law that required children and adults to be investigated and adoption records to be shielded from public view. By mid-century, virtually all states in the country had revised their laws to incorporate such minimum standards as pre-placement inquiry, post-placement probation, and confidentiality and sealed records. At their best, these standards promoted child welfare. Yet they also reflected eugenic anxieties about the quality of adoptable children and served to make adult tastes and preferences more influential in adoption than children’s needs. The Adoption Project paper is a part of that history.
  • C.C. Carstens (1865-1939)The seeds for establishing a “national” child welfare advocacy organization were planted by a group of influential child welfare advocates attending the 1909 White House Conference on the Care of Dependent Children, convened by President Theodore Roosevelt. The idea of a national advocacy organization was further strengthened by the presentation of an influential committee report by Carl Christian Carstens, Secretary and General Agent, Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, Boston. Carstens report was presented at the National Conference of Charities and Corrections (NCCC) in 1915 in Baltimore, MD. His presentation was entitled: “Report of the Committee: A Community Plan in Children’s Work.”
  • Carstens, Carl ChristianDuring his early years as director of CWLA, Dr. Carstens spent time making inspection trips of institutions and orphan organizations throughout the country and in Canada, and he found a dearth of intelligent services for children. He spent many days in agencies to help them define their functions and to help organize the internal workings of the societies more efficiently. His work took one day in some areas and a week in others because his technique was not to talk to agencies about what needed to be done, but to stay with them and show them how to do it. In addition, he lectured on children's work at universities and encouraged social work training courses at state conferences. He also worked with other national organizations, attended conferences of probation officers and judges and familiarized himself with states' legislation for the care and protection of children.
  • Child Abuse & NeglectFederal legislation lays the groundwork for States by identifying a minimum set of acts or behaviors that define child abuse and neglect. The Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), (42 U.S.C.A. §5106g), as amended by the Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of 2003, defines child abuse and neglect as, at minimum:* Any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation; or * An act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm.
  • Child Care: An IntroductionMothers have left children alone in cradles and cribs, and have locked them in tenement flats and cars parked in factory lots. They have taken them to parents, grandparents, comadres, play mothers, neighbors and strangers. They have sent them out to play with little mothers – siblings sometimes only a year or two older. They have enrolled them in summer camps and recreation programs, taken them to baby farms, given them up to orphanages and foster homes, and surrendered them for indenture. They have taken them to family day care providers and left them at home with babysitters, nannies, and nursemaids, some of them undocumented worker.
  • Child Growth and Development: A Report 1954The biological base of human growth and development was impressively shown. It was clearly seen also that understanding of this biological base of human behavior is essential to comprehending human behavior in any of its manifestations. Instinctual biologic drives in physical and emotional growth and development are interdigitated and dynamic. These are expressed in emotional and social behavior just as they are in changes of size, structure and ability of the person.
  • Child LaborAlthough children had been servants and apprentices throughout most of human history, child labor reached new extremes during the Industrial Revolution. Children often worked long hours in dangerous factory conditions for very little money. Children were useful as laborers because their size allowed them to move in small spaces in factories or mines where adults couldn't fit, children were easier to manage and control and perhaps most importantly, children could be paid less than adults.
  • Child Labor in New York CityThe continuation of child labor in industry in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, sparked controversy. Much of this ire was directed at employers, especially in industries where supervisors bullied children to work harder and assigned them to dangerous, exhausting or degrading jobs. In addition, working-class parents were accused of greedily not caring about the long-term well-being of their children. Requiring them to go to work denied them educational opportunities and reduced their life-time earnings, yet parents of laboring children generally required them to turn over all or almost all of their earnings. For example, one government study of unmarried young women living at home and working in factories and stores in New York City in 1907 found over ninety percent of those under age 20 turned all of their earnings over to their parents.
  • Child Labor Photographs by Lewis HineHine's interest in social welfare and in reform movements led him in 1905 to begin his first documentary series; immigrants on Ellis Island. In 1908 he left teaching to become an investigator and photographer for the National Child Labor Committee (NCLC), and between 1908 and 1916 he traveled extensively photographing child-labor abuses. Hine would manage to gain access to the sweatshops and factories where children were employed, and then, if he could, photograph them at work. Hine inveigled his way into factories by posing as an insurance agent, bible salesman, postcard seller, or industrial photographer.
  • Child Labor Reform and the U.S. Labor MovementIn the early decades of the twentieth century, the numbers of child laborers in the U.S. peaked. Child labor began to decline as the labor and reform movements grew and labor standards in general began improving, increasing the political power of working people and other social reformers to demand legislation regulating child labor. Union organizing and child labor reform were often intertwined, and common initiatives were conducted by organizations led by working women and middle class consumers, such as state Consumers’ Leagues and Working Women’s Societies.
  • Child Labor: Children at Work: 1932The study on the whole presents a disheartening picture; children injured, often needlessly, permanently handicapped for work at the outset of their industrial careers; ignorant of their rights under the compensation law; sometimes at the mercy of unscrupulous employers; left without advice or counsel in planning for their future; groping in the dark for something that will enable them to regain their power of self-support, but drifting oftentimes into discouragement and despondency if not into definitely anti-social behavior. "I've about decided I cannot make an honest living and will go to bootlegging," said one youth who had been turned down repeatedly because "we can't afford to take a boy with three fingers off."
  • Child Study Association of America - Statement of Purpose 1913The Child Study Association of America (CSAA) grew out of the Society for the Study of Child Nature, which was formed in 1888. In 1908, the society was renamed the Federation for Child Study and began to more actively disseminate child development information. During the 1920s, grants from the Laura Spellman Rockefeller Memorial Fund enabled the federation to expand its programs. The organization was formally incorporated and renamed Child Study Association of America in 1924. CSAA continued to provide parental education and consultation services on child development topics through the 1960s, when it began to shift its emphasis to professional training. By the 1970s, CSAA focused almost entirely on training programs for child welfare, child health, and education professionals. A series of mergers and continuing financial difficulties during the 1970s and 1980s, led to the gradual dissolution of the association.
  • Child Study Association: History 1928The Child Study Association of America (CSAA) grew out of the Society for the Study of Child Nature, which was formed in 1888. In 1908, the society was renamed the Federation for Child Study and began to more actively disseminate child development information. During the 1920s, grants from the Laura Spellman Rockefeller Memorial Fund enabled the federation to expand its programs. The organization was formally incorporated and renamed Child Study Association of America in 1924. CSAA continued to provide parental education and consultation services on child development topics through the 1960s, when it began to shift its emphasis to professional training. By the 1970s, CSAA focused almost entirely on training programs for child welfare, child health, and education professionals. A series of mergers and continuing financial difficulties during the 1970s and 1980s, led to the gradual dissolution of the association.
  • Child Welfare League History 1915-1920This entry describes the first five years of what would become the Child Welfare League of America. Formally established January 2, 1921, the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) has been one of the most important national organizations in the history of American child welfare. The creation of the CWLA coincided with the end of the progressive era and the beginning of another: an era dedicated to establishing national policies and standards combined with developing and disseminating program materials and practices to affiliate members thereby raising the quality of child caring services throughout the nation.
  • Child Welfare League History 1919-1977Formally established January 2, 1921, the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) has been one of the most important national organizations in the history of American child welfare. The creation of the CWLA coincided with the end of the progressive era and the beginning of another: an era dedicated to establishing national policies and standards combined with developing and disseminating program materials and practices to affiliate members thereby raising the quality of child caring services throughout the nation.
  • Child Welfare League of AmericaFormally established January 2, 1921, the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) has been one of the most important national organizations in the history of American child welfare. The creation of the CWLA coincided with the end of the progressive era and the beginning of another: an era dedicated to establishing national policies and standards combined with developing and disseminating program materials and practices to affiliate members thereby raising the quality of child caring services throughout the nation.
  • Child Welfare: A 1934 Report on Security for ChildrenSpecial measures needed to promote the normal growth and development of children include (1) services additional to those provided in a comprehensive general program of social security, and (2) aspects of a general security program which are of special importance to children and which may be incorporated in proposals for immediate action, pending the formulation and adoption of a complete program. Both these types of measures should be planned in relation to general proposals for economic security, social welfare, medical care, and public health.
  • Children Hurt at Work: 1932ONE of the many tragic aspects of the industrial exploitation of children is the army of boys and girls who, at the outset of their industrial careers, fall victims to the machine. Each year, in the sixteen states which take the trouble to find out what is happening to their young workers, no less than a thousand children under eighteen years are permanently disabled and another hundred are killed.
  • Children on StrikeSHOCKING conditions in the sweatshops of Pennsylvania, where 200,000 men, women, and children work long hours for starvation wages, became front-page news through the efforts of the "baby strikers" of the Lehigh Valley. Aided by the presence of Mrs. Gifford Pinchot on their picket line, they won the first skirmish in their fight against intolerable conditions when some of the employers signed an agreement providing for shorter working hours, a minimum-wage scale, and an immediate 10 per cent increase in wages. Unfortunately the agreement does not affect all the mills in Allentown or those in Easton, Northampton, and Catasqua, where the children are still on the picket line.
  • Children WantedThe first federal child labor law was passed in 1916. It prohibited the shipment in interstate commerce of goods produced in mines and quarries in which children under sixteen years of age were employed; or in mills, canneries, workshops in which children under fourteen were employed, or in which children aged fourteen to sixteen worked more than eight hours a day or six days a week or between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. The law went into effect September 1, 1917. Less than a year later it was declared unconstitutional by a five-to-four decision of the U.S. Supreme Court, on the ground that it transcended "the authority delegated to Congress over commerce," and interfered with states' rights. Justice Holmes, dissenting, held that "the act does not meddle with anything belonging to the states," and added that "if there is any matter upon which civilized countries have agreed...it is the evil of premature and excessive child labor."
  • Children's Aid Society of PennsylvaniaChildren’s Aid Society of Pennsylvania (CAS of PA) was formed in 1882 as a volunteer child welfare organization and quickly established itself as a leader among service-providers. In the early 20th century, Mary Richmond helped reform the organization to match the latest progress of the scientific charity movement through collaborations and research, and CAS of PA also holds a strong connection to the formation of the Pennsylvania School of Social Work.
  • Children's Bureau - A Brief History & ResourcesThe early 1900’s was a time in which the United States was attempting to change it stance on child labor and end abusive child labor practices. As more advocates started to address the issue, they recognized that the federal government was not yet fully engaged in addressing the physical or mental well-being needs of children
  • Children's Bureau: Part IThis is the story of the Children's Bureau of the U. S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare from the idea in 1903 to its founding in 1912 and on through the years to the present time. The Bureau's establishment by Congress was an expression of a belief on the part of many people that children are the most important of the Nation's resources and that the Government should foster their development and protection by setting up a center of research and information devoted to their health and welfare. From this center would flow knowledge of conditions surrounding children's lives, ideas on how to improve these conditions, and plans and programs for action in their behalf.
  • Children's Bureau: Part IIThe State of Washington was the proving ground for the emergency program for the care of the wives and babies of servicemen. At Fort Lewis, as around all training posts, in late 1940 and early 1941, families of many of the men had come to live. The Commanding Officer of the Fort, concerned with the well-being of his men, began observing some of the difficulties that these families–far from home–were encountering. He found a group of wives who were in need of maternity care but unable to get it. They were girls, most of them young, who had followed their men to camp with the hope that they might be with their husbands for a little while before they were sent overseas. Most of them were having their first babies. Frequently their husbands went overseas before their babies came. These girls had no fixed residence.
  • Children’s BureauFaced with a small staff of only fifteen and a miniscule budget of $25,640, the U.S. Children’s Bureau’s relied on data collected by other federal agencies and an army of female volunteers. In 1913 the bureau found that the world’s largest economic power had an infant mortality rate of 132 deaths per 1,000 live births that placed it behind New Zealand (83), Norway (94), Ireland (99), Sweden (104), Australia (108), Bulgaria (120), and Scotland (123). Bureau investigators concluded that poor sanitation, lack of good medical care, and poverty were the major factors contributing to infant deaths. Educating mothers, improving public sanitation, and requiring birth certificates would help save babies’ lives. Advice pamphlets published by the bureau became very popular and Congress declared 1918 Children’s Year.
  • Christ Child SocietyThe Christ Child Society was founded in Mary Virginia Merrick’s home at the end of the 19th century as a small relief organization which sewed clothes for local underprivileged children. As more needs were recognized by Merrick and her friends, more individuals and agencies became involved. By 1903, the organization was officially recognized in the District of Columbia, and the Society provided a variety of services including settlement efforts. By 1915, the Child Christ Society had nationalized and become associated with work in twenty states; individual branches decided the type of efforts to undertake in response to the needs of their communities.
  • Crushing Out Our Children's Lives (1931)I WONDER how many of you have Miss Abbott's annual report of the Children's Bureau. The part relating to child labor is distressing. Miss Abbott tells us that there was a steady increase in child labor during the three years preceding the present period of depression and unemployment. According to reports from sixty cities in thirty-three states, 220,000 full-time working certificates were issued to children between fourteen and eighteen years of age in 1929, as against 150,000 in 1928.
  • Edwards, Thyra J. (1897 - 1953)America's dismal handling of child welfare concerns weighed heavily on Edwards, which led her to the International People's College in Elsinore, Denmark. There - in 1931, during a six-month fellowship awarded by the American Federation of Labor (AFL) - she studied a wide range of areas with a concentration on child welfare legislation and industrial relations. Legendary labor leader, A. Phillip Randolph, who headed the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, was a mentor to Edwards and was key to her receiving the fellowship.
  • Exploiting the Child: 1934It has been almost a century since the first child-labor legislation began to appear on the statute books. Throughout this very long period of time, in the enactments of all of the State legislatures dealing with the problem, no example of abuse of authority has been found.... In no State has the labor of children on their family farm been regulated. In none has the home been invaded under the guise of regulating child labor. In none has the regulation or prohibition of premature employment operated to destroy the republican form of government. In none has the State's solicitude for the health of its youth been repaid by the automatic conversion of its wards to bolshevism. By what strange alchemy will the power to regulate child labor become so fraught with peril when entrusted to the national government? Are the men whom the States send to Congress possessed of some strange virus which makes it unsafe to give to them power exercised as a matter of course by the legislators who remain in the State capitols?
  • Family Service: Community Service Society 1940Last year the Family Service had 19,373 children in the families under its care. Who are these children? They are the children of the unemployed, the widow, the widower, the father in prison, the mother who has deserted, the parent who is mentally or physically ill, the parents who are estranged, or the otherwise happy parents who are socially or economically handicapped.Some of these children are loved and wanted, some are unloved and unwanted. Some are "good" and some are "bad". Some are well and some are sick. But they are all children and upon them and their lives depends our future civilization. Are these the children of the poor? Yes, the children of the poor in spirit and in heart -- of all classes, of all races, and of all creeds and colors.
  • Florence Crittenton Homes: A HistoryDuring the tenures of Kate Waller Barrett and Robert Barrett, the Crittenton homes began to be influenced by the emerging profession of social work. The NFCM began to offer professional training to staff members and worked to make homes comply with new state standards for child welfare. This trend was to have a profound influence on Crittenton methods over the next two decades, even while some homes retained their religious evangelical character and remained true to their original policy of encouraging unwed mothers to raise their own children. Issues faced during these years included: professional training of social workers, changing attitudes towards adoption, and meeting standards set by state welfare agencies.
  • Florence Crittenton MissionThe Florence Night Mission was opened on April 19, 1883 as a combination mission where daily and nightly services were held and a shelter for girls. The work continued as a combination of evangelism which included midnight street-corner meetings and the care of the girls in the shelter. In 1889 Mr. Crittenton went abroad for a year's rest and on his return he spent several years in the West, preaching and helping “rescue homes” with their problems. New homes were organized with his name. Because so many imitators used to name “Florence Mission”, it was changed to Florence Crittenton.In 1976, the Florence Crittenton Association of America merged with the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA), and the Florence Crittenton Division of the Child Welfare League of America was established. Merging with the CWLA gave the Crittenton agencies access to the range of resources and services necessary to deal with the broad scope of problems, including drugs, runaways, and abuse, facing teenagers in the 1970s.
  • Insuring DemocracyBut all children, it seems to me, have a right to food, shelter, and equal opportunity for education and an equal chance to come into the world healthy and get the care they need through their early years to keep them well and happy. And though one may not trust oneself to direct their lives, every mother should encourage them to self-confidence and should give them the feeling that whatever happens in life, there is a place where they can turn for understanding and help.If you have this feeling about your own children, you should have it about all children, and for that reason I have always been interested in the problems of the children in our communities. Under the standards which we have set to guide us in the upbringing of our children, we used to be very individualistic, with, however, certain strongly marked influences such as those of the church, and group traditions in which we had grown up. For instance, in New England the customs of the Pilgrims shaped the child's education, just as later the Quakers had a great deal to do with the character and upbringing of the young Philadelphians.
  • National Child Labor CommitteeForms of child labor, including indentured servitude and child slavery, have existed throughout American history. As industrialization moved workers from farms and home workshops into urban areas and factory work, children were often preferred, because factory owners viewed them as more manageable, cheaper, and less likely to strike.
  • Need for an Expanded Maternal and Child-Health Program: 1944The result is that thousands of mothers and hundreds of thousands of children go without care that we know how to give but are not able to provide because of inadequacy of facilities, of well-trained physicians, nurses, and other professional workers, and of administrative personnel. If we are to wipe out this blot on our national life within the next decade we must take steps now, not next year or the year after. Nothing short of a large scale Nation-wide effort supported by adequate Federal and State funds will make it possible to assure access to proper care for all mothers in childbirth, for all newborn infants, and for preschool children, and for children during the school years and throughout adolescence
  • Nursery Schools: History (1844 - 1919)These nurseries were started about 1854. Think what that means. Realize they came before even the dawn of social work as we know it. Wipe from your memory every family agency, every clinic, board of health, even every kindergarten. Visualize the dismal “paupers” waiting for the dole, the ramshackle porches of county poor farms where ragged children played beside the drunken and insane, visualize little scarlet fever patients serenely playing with their brothers and sisters, consider a world where there was no diphtheria antitoxin. And another picture--the old “district school” children sitting stiffly in high backed desks, marching inline, droning empty words, the rawhide whip in the corner.
  • Orphan TrainsBetween 1854 and 1929 the United States was engaged in an ambitious, and ultimately controversial, social experiment to rescue poor and homeless children, the Orphan Train Movement. The Orphan Trains operated prior to the federal government’s involvement in child protection and child welfare. While they operated, Orphan Trains moved approximately 200,000 children from cities like New York and Boston to the American West to be adopted.
  • Pea-Pickers' Child (1935)The death notice in the county paper was not more than two inches in depth but it had, nevertheless, its modest headline: PEA-PICKERS CHILD DIES. Already there had been three deaths in the pea-pickers' camp: a Mexican had been murdered, stabbed; a child had died of burns; a baby had died of what his young mother referred to as "a awful fever in his little stomach." And now the shallow headlines spoke of Zetilla Kane, the seventh child and only daughter of Joe and Jennie Bell Kane.
  • Progress Report on Maternal and Child-Health Services: 1940In 1938, the Advisory Committee on Maternal and Child-Health Services met with the Children’s Bureau and made several recommendations. This is a response.
  • Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Maternal and Child Health Services: 1938The first recommendation declared: "The advisory committee, recognizing that efficient administration of the maternal and child-health services depends upon the employment of fully qualified personnel and that personnel with such qualifications are not always resident within each State, urges that (1) selection of personnel be on the basis of qualifications only and (2) that salaries commensurate with the qualifications required and services performed be paid."
  • Sisters of Charity of New YorkAs Catholic immigrants arrived in poverty during the 19th century, the sisters became known for accepting newborns at the doorsteps of the convent. The work of the SCNYs in education, health care, and other social services for all faiths and races continues today throughout the city and beyond.
  • Steele, CarrieBorn into slavery and orphaned as a young child, Carrie Steele felt the hunger and heartache of the abandoned children she saw around her while working as a maid at Union Station in Atlanta. In 1886 she obtained permission and began placing the foundlings in a box car to play during the day. At night she took them to her own two bedroom home where she gave them food, comfort and guidance.
  • The Boarding System For Neglected Children (1894)The Children's Aid Society of Pennsylvania exists chiefly to take care of that other kind of child. Whenever we hear of a child that nobody wants, that every institution closes its doors against, that is unlovable, incorrigible, full of bad habits, that is sickly, diseased, nervous, with sore eyes and sore head, —a poor, maimed, halting thing that the world shoves out of sight,-we say, " This is a case for the Children's Aid Society, for we know how to take care of it." This is the kind of child that most needs family life, that is most injured by the institution. The longer it remains in the institution, the less fitted is it to enter the family.
  • The Place of The Kindergarten in Child-Saving: 1900Perhaps in no field of sociological effort has more intelligent and corrective progress been made, in recent years, than in the treatment of children and the recognition of prenatal influences, which have only recently been regarded as of importance. There has been a constant advance in the recognition of that period in the lives of children when they should become objects of educative and considerate direction. It may be said that, until recently all children were waifs in infancy, so little were their expanding natures understood and cared for along moral and intellectual lines.
  • The Removal of Children From Almshouses (1894)As receptacles for adult paupers, the committee do not hesitate to record their deliberate opinion that the great mass of the poorhouses that they have inspected are most disgraceful memorials of the public charity. Common domestic animals are usually more humanely provided for than the paupers in these institutions. The evidence taken by the committee exhibits such a record of filth, nakedness, licentiousness, general bad morals, and disregard of religion and the most common religious observances, as well as of gross neglect of the most ordinary comforts and decencies of life as, if published in detail, would disgrace the State and shock humanity.
  • The Removal of Children From Almshouses in The State of New York (1894)A group of boys were found in the wash-house, intermingled with the inmates, and around the cauldrons where the dirty clothes were boiling. Here was an insane woman raving and uttering wild gibberings; a half crazy man was sardonically grinning; and an overgrown idiotic boy was torturing one of the little boys, while securely holding him, by thrusting splinters under his finger-nails. The cries of the little one seemed to delight his tormentor as well as some of the older inmates who were looking on. The upper apartment of this dilapidated building was used for a sleeping-room. An inmate was scrubbing the floor, which was so worn that water came through the cracks in continuous droppings upon the heads of the little ones below, who did not seem to regard it as a serious annoyance....The third group was in a back building, called the Insane Department. They were the most promising children of all, and yet the place was made almost intolerable by the groaning and sighings of one of the poor insane creatures. She was a hideous-looking object, and most of the time she was in an excited state. The children were not sent to school, nor was a school maintained upon the premises.
  • The Shift in Child Labor: 1933CHILD labor cannot be ignored as a vital factor in the present economic crisis. Children are leaving school and going to work at a time when millions of adults are jobless and many of these children are acting as the sole support of their families because their fathers and older brothers and sisters are unemployed. While it is true that the number of gainfully employed children has fallen off in the past two years, this decrease measured against the decrease in all wage-earning shows that child labor has only kept pace with the drop in adult employment during the depression.
  • Three Notable African American Women in Early Child WelfareFor the most part, social welfare history has focused on efforts to protect dependent and delinquent white immigrant children. Information on the care of African American children has been excluded. Because of racial separation and discrimination, information describing the care of African American children has often been left out.
  • Vasa Children's Home The Vasa Children's Home is the oldest Home in Minnesota and the Augustana Lutheran Church. In 1926 the present structure housing 50 children and personnel was erected on this new location. The building is fireproof with all modern facilities. April 21, 1926, Dr. C. J. Sodergren, then vice-president of the Conference, conducted religious ceremonies at the ground breaking of the new home. The cornerstone was laid by Crown Prince Gustaf Adolph of Sweden. Thousands of people attended this auspicious occasion. In the presence of a large gathering, the Home was officially opened for the children October 16, 1926.
  • Widows and WaifsIn New York City, during the early decades of the 20th century, progressive reformers made deliberate use of the child-saving impulse to initiate a new welfare methodology. This had a decided impact on the development of America's welfare system during the 1930s.
  • Will the Codes Abolish Child Labor?Determined efforts to regulate or eliminate child labor have been a feature of social reform in the United States since 1900. The leaders in this effort were the National Child Labor Committee, organized in 1904, and the many state child labor committees. These organizations, gradualist in philosophy and thus prepared to accept what was achievable even if not theoretically sufficient, employed flexible tactics and were able to withstand the frustration of defeats and slow progress. The committees pioneered the techniques of mass political action, including investigations by experts, the widespread use of photography to dramatize the poor conditions of children at work, pamphlets, leaflets, and mass mailings to reach the public, and sophisticated lobbying. Despite these activities, success depended heavily on the political climate in the nation as well as developments that reduced the need or desirability of child labor.