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Perry, Fredericka Douglass Sprague

in: People

Fredericka Douglass Sprague Perry (1872-1943): Child Welfare Pioneer

Fredericka Douglass Sprague Perry was the granddaughter of the famous abolitionist, Frederick Douglass. She and her husband, Dr. James E. Perry helped to provide better health care to African American children in Kansas City, Missouri. During this period, many African American children suffered from poor nutrition and experienced poor physical development. In addition to working with her husband who founded a local hospital, Mrs. Perry worked as a juvenile court worker. She was concerned about the lack of foster homes for African American children over 12 years old who got into trouble. If there was no one to care for them, the children were routinely sent to the state delinquency institution. In 1934, with the help of African American club women and other prominent African Americans in the community, she founded the Colored Big Sister Home for Girls. Mrs. Perry called attention to the need for foster care services for African American children to the local Community Charities Chest Committee which developed these services for white children. The Colored Big Sisters Home existed until 1943, when states began to provide child welfare services that included African American children.

How to Cite this Article (APA Format): Social Welfare History Project (2011). Fredericka Douglass Sprague Perry (1872-1943): Child welfare pioneer. Social Welfare History Project. Retrieved [date accessed] from

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