Изображения страниц

mortality intemperance stands easily first. Among the functional enemies of child life the industrial employment of married women looms large. The collective work of wives and mothers in factories and their less obvious work as charwomen and day servants have become a serious obstacle to family life on older lines; and one of our most pressing current problems, especially under war conditions, is to secure the retention of the mother for the family or to safeguard the child in her absence. Over a million women have been added to the ranks of occupations outside homes during the War, of whom more than one-half are engaged in munition works. According to the Census of 1911, more than half of the total women during and after childbearing ages were married; of all the unmarried women over 20, 58.4 per cent., and of all the married women over 20, 10.3 per cent., were industrially employed. It looks as though the time was rapidly approaching when our population will have become stationary, following the example of France, or will only continue to increase in virtue of the immigration of races whose outlook on life is diverse from ours, and whom we should regret to see occupying Greater Britain for lack of sons and daughters of our own. In reconstruction after the War it is evident that in the interest of both mother and child home-making and home-keeping, child-bearing and child-rearing, will need to be encouraged; and if, as is not unlikely, the proportion of industrial employment of married women does not go down to the ante bellum level, special steps will need to be taken to assist in maintaining the efficiency of home life. How are existing conditions to be improved? First, it is essential to insist on the enforcement of duties which devolve on the local sanitary authority: (1) The prompt and efficient removal of house refuse. (2) The enforcement of paving of yards, and the general control of structural defects of the dwelling affecting health. (3) The reduction of street dust and noise to a minimum. (4) The more complete control of industrial, including smoke, nuisances, and accumulations of horse manure. (5) The provision of a pure water supply, and of gas and electric light at minimum prices. Secondly,

the more important domestic physical conditions for healthy family life may be ennumerated as follows: (1) An adequate kitchen and living room, possibly the two in one room. (2) Satisfactory sleeping accommodation for each member of the family. (3) Arrangements for the cool and dustless storage of food. (4) A separate drinking-water tap within or for each dwelling, and a sink for washing and for the disposal of waste water. (5) Separate water-closet accommodation for each family. (6) Satisfactory storage for coal, and a movable covered ash-bin. With the fulfilment of these conditions it becomes practicable to insist that each tenant shall maintain strict cleanliness within the dwelling. In 1911, of the total population of England and Wales, 2,580,814 persons were living in one- or two-roomed dwellings, and of this number 1,015,841 were living overcrowded in the sense of more than two persons per room; 4,429,119 persons were living in three-roomed dwellings, and of this number 1,023,925 were similarly overcrowded. It must not be overlooked that urbanization is not without its advantages. Urban life has rendered available auxiliaries to family life which can be employed to counterbalance existing evils. The home is the base of family life; the city is the larger home, and the institutions of the city are good and useful in so far as they conduce to the health, efficiency, happiness and character of its constituent families. The best hope that prompt remedies will be applied for removing the dangers to childhood within the home and in its city setting consists in the realization by every family in the city that they are co-partners in responsibility for the functioning of the city as well as members of a single family. It must not be forgotten that great progress has been made in child welfare work. If the death-rate at ages 0-5 of 1871 had prevailed in 1916, 200,000 more deaths would have occurred in this year than in fact were experienced. There is still a great loss of child life which can be prevented by means at once available; the sickness and defects found so commonly among school children can in large measure be prevented if the necessary measures are adopted in earlier

childhood; and a large mass of industrial and social inefficiency in adults can similarly be obviated. This may cost money, but health, when we have paid for it as a community, is always cheaper than disease, and within limits we can have as much health as we are prepared to pay for. As Macaulay once said of science so it may be declared as regards services for the protection of maternity and childhood, the point out of sight yesterday is the goal to-day and will be the starting point to-morrow." Sir Arthur Newsholme and his co-workers are accomplishing constructive work of the highest value and most permanent importance in the safeguarding of the mothers and children and home life of the nation, and in this scientifically expressed exposition of the enemies of child life social service workers of every rank are provided with data which admirably indicate something of the victories won, and direct attention to the improvement of weapons and sure lines of advance for the accomplishment of the lasting defeat of the adversaries of child life and the Great British Commonwealth.


The National Food Journal for February 13, issued by the Ministry of Food, contains the following announcement: "The Food Controller, with the concurrence of the Local Government Board, has issued an Order, the Milk (Mothers and Children) Order, 1918, empowering local authorities to supply milk to children, and milk and food to expectant and nursing mothers, free or below cost price in necessitous cases. The administration of the Order will be in the hands of local authorities within the meaning of the Notification of Births Act, 1907, and the certificates authorizing applicants to obtain milk at the special rates will be granted by medical officers of health, medical officers of maternity and child welfare centres working in co-operation with the local authority, and by persons specifically empowered by either of these medical officers or by the local authority itself. The quantities of milk supplied under the Order will in ordinary cases be: (1) For children under 18 months,

up to 1 pints a day; (2) for children between 18 months and 5 years, up to I pint daily; (3) for expectant and nursing mothers as prescribed by the appointed medical or other authority. Expenses incurred under this Order will be defrayed as to one-half by the local rates and as to one-half by grant from the Local Government Board."

All war workers and philanthropic supporters of patriotic and charitable enterprise will do well to keep within easy reach a copy of the new edition of "Charities entered in the Combined Register of Charities Registered in England and Wales under the Act [The War Charities Act, 1916] up to December 31, 1917." The Record is issued by the Charity Commissioners, and runs to 114 pages. Copies may be obtained from H.M. Stationery Office, Imperial House, Kingsway, W.C.2 (price 2s. 6d. net).

The Committee of the University of London, University College, are about to apply a sum of money from the Working Men's Sir Robert Peel Memorial Fund, in the purchase of books, maps, or other aids to knowledge, for distribution to libraries, mechanics' institutions, readingrooms, or other similar institutions in the United Kingdom, maintained by persons of the working class and receiving no grant in aid from public or municipal funds, or to which such persons have access gratis, or at a small charge; or to any union or association formed for the purpose of circulating aids to knowledge among institutions of that kind. Officers of institutions desirous of benefiting should send applications to Mr. R. Offor, Clerk to the Peel Trustee, at University College, London, not later than March 6. We have just received from the Children's Bureau of the U.S.A. Department of Labour, Washington, particulars of the initial steps to organize "The Children's Year, April 6, 1918-April 6, 1919," "to save the lives of 100,000 children in the United States." It is estimated that every year 300,000 children under 5 years die in the United States, and at least half of these deaths are preventable. American citizens are about to inaugurate a great scheme for the saving of child life.


During this period of supreme testing our journal will endeavour to render every possible assistance to National Associations and Societies, Hospitals, Homes and Orphanages, and all agencies working for child welfare and desirous of publishing particulars regarding their plans, purposes and activities for rendering special assistance to childhood and youth in these days of stress and strain. Particulars should be sent, in as clear and condensed a form as possible, to the Editor, with copies of any publications, appeals, &c., which are being issued to the public.


A Joint Committee of Representatives of the National Society of Day Nurseries and of the National Association for the Prevention of Infant Mortality have issued the following statement: The day nursery should provide for the infants of mothers who are obliged to go out to work, or who, from some other reason, are prevented from properly caring for their children at home, without doing anything to separate the mother unnecessarily from her infant, and especially without in any way encouraging the cessation of breast-feeding. The ideal for every mother is to have a sufficient income to make it unnecessary for her to go out to work. Some mothers may, however, have times of special stress or of illness when it is a great advantage to be able to send a child temporarily to a day nursery. Medical men who have special experience of children's diseases realize there is a risk in the aggregation of little children in institutions unless special precautions are taken, not only owing to the danger of the spread of the ordinary infectious diseases, but also to the danger of the spread of catarrhal infections, causing many of the children to be in a chronic state of poor health. The advantages of day nurseries are thus summarized: (1) The mother is freed from mental worry and anxiety in knowing that her little one is well looked after while she is out at work. (2) A plentiful supply of pure, clean milk, free from risk of contamination, is available for the older children, for those babies who cannot be breast-fed, and in other cases for supplementing breast-feeding. (3) Numerous minor ailments of infancy and childhood are detected at an early stage,

and preventive and curative measures adopted. The services of a doctor are available when required. (4) The children are taught cleanly and hygienic habits. The disadvantages are said to be these: (1) Day nurseries may encourage mothers to take up industrial work who have no need to do so, and in this way discourage breast-feeding and cause an unnecessarily prolonged and undesirable separation of mother and child. (2) There is danger of overcrowding, as the management do not like to refuse the children when brought to the nursery. (3) A further difficulty is the dual responsibility. The mother has charge of the baby or child for one portion of the week, and the day nursery for the remainder. The feeding is apt to be different, and the mother's interest in some case slackens. If the child does not thrive she may shelve the responsibility on the day nursery. The following recommendations are made: (1) We recommend that the proper Departments of the Government be approached with a view to the licensing of day nurseries being made compulsory. (2) We also recommend that our Committee combine with the National Society of Day Nurseries to approach the bodies who give grants in aid of day nurseries with a view to improving the standard. We suggest that the following conditions be insisted upon : (a) That the nursery be approved as suitable for the accommodation of a definite number of children, and that no more be allowed. (b) That the nursery be run, as far as possible, on open-air lines. (c) That there be an adequate trained staff, including a specially trained matron. (d) That weight and progress charts be kept for all children admitted in order to record their progress. The Inspector of the Department


which gives the grant will then be able to see at a glance whether the children of the nursery are thriving. (e) That there be paid medical supervision. That no child be admitted to the nursery until the home has been visited, for the purpose of ascertaining the reason why the mother wishes to leave her child at the nursery, and that such reason be recorded. (g) That special attention be given to prevent the total weaning of children under nine months. (h) That there be systematic attention given to the homes from which the children are brought, so as to secure continuity of feeding and care, especially in the case of infants. (3) We further recommend that every effort be made to ensure that the nurseries be used as centres for training in mothercraft.


On Thursday, January 10, a meeting was held at Salisbury House, under the auspices of the Child Welfare Council of the Social Welfare Association, to consider recommendations of a Committee appointed to inquire into existing provisions for the care of unmarried mothers and their children; Lady Bertha Dawkins presided. The Council agreed to the following main requirements: The provision of waiting and maternity homes for all necessitous mothers; allowances for mothers whose home surroundings make it desirable for them to continue to live in their own homes; residential accommodation for mothers and babies, such accommodation to include day nurseries; special homes for mothers suffering from defects or diseases such as should preclude their keeping their children with them; the reform of the law with regard to the amount to be paid to the mother of an illegitimate child under an Affiliation Order; the encouragement of expectant mothers to take proceedings before the birth of their child; the granting of an allowance to the mother before and during her confinement; the legitimation of the children of unmarried mothers by the subsequent marriage of the mother and father; the institution of legal adoption. It was agreed that a general con

ference of societies and others interested should be called to consider these recommendations. This Conference, at which there was a large and representative attendance, was held at the Mansion House, Sir Charles Wakefield presiding, on February 14. Two resolutions were passed nem. con., the first endorsing the findings of the Special Committee of the Child Welfare Council; the second was as follows: "That this Conference requests the Child Welfare Council of the Social Welfare Association to associate with itself representatives of central and local authorities and of all societies concerned throughout the country, so as to form a National Council for securing better provision for, and protection of, the unmarried mother and her child on the general lines of the recommendations of the Council as approved by the Conference." In view of the latter resolution the Child Welfare Council invite correspondence and suggestions from those interested in the proposed National Council. Such communications should be sent to (Mrs.) Annie E. Barnes, Secretary, Child Welfare Council, 845-850, Salisbury House, London Wall, E.C.2.



This Association was founded in 1903 for the purpose of raising funds to train midwives so as to place them in poor areas insufficiently supplied with women properly equipped for the important work of midwifery. The Association also secures good nursing for poor mothers by the maintenance of the Training Home at East Ham (worked in conjunction with the Plaistow Maternity Charity); it maintains an office as a centre of information, and co-operates with or assists local organizations. The work of the Association is carried on almost entirely by voluntary effort, and the candidates who are trained are chosen with extreme care. On completing their course they are placed in carefully selected posts, or they find work for themselves subject to the approval of the Committee. Some return to their own neighbourhood and take up work there.

When circumstances demand it, candidates are given a free training, but when means allow, they repay part of the fees; this enables the Committee to increase the number of women trained and respects their independence. The training of midwives is but one branch of the work of the Association. The interests of the mother and midwife are watched over, and all steps are taken for the improvement of the status of the midwife. Great consideration is given to public movements bearing on the work of the Association, and action is taken in whatever direction may appear most likely to bear fruit. The Association is supported by voluntary subscriptions, and the funds entrusted to the Committee are used with the utmost economy. Further particulars may be obtained from Miss Emily F. Ford, Secretary, at Dacre House, Dean Farrar Street, Westminster, S.W.1.


The Children's Jewel Fund is being organized with a view to assist in the provision of funds for the starting of child welfare centres, stations for antenatal and post-natal care, and the establishment of day nurseries for children whose mothers are earning their living, and the initiation of other agencies making for child betterment, in those districts where such institutions are urgently needed. The Fund will be administered by a small committee of experts, and these will constitute a sub-committee of the National Baby Week Council. In the poor districts, where child welfare work is so essential, the question of funds is always a problem, and while any centre run on satisfactory lines can always obtain a Government grant, the chief difficulty is to raise sufficient money to cover initial expenses. It is for this purpose the Children's Jewel Fund mainly exists. There are at present 1,150 centres for the care of mothers and babies in the

United Kingdom, but at least 5,000 more are needed. The Vice-President of the Fund is Mrs. Lloyd George, and the Hon. Treasurer is the Duchess of Marlborough. Full particulars may be obtained from the Secretary, at 175, New Bond Street, W.1.


Mr. H. A. L. Fisher, the President of the Board of Education, has forwarded the following letter to Mr. T. VivianRees, the President of the National Sunday School Union, 56, Old Bailey, E.C.: "I have learnt with great interest of the proposal to make 1918 a Children's Year, and to endeavour to bring to bear upon the lives of the children and young people of this country every influence that will tend to promote their physical, intellectual, and spiritual welfare, and to inspire them with high ideals of character and duty. It is especially appropriate that such a movement should be inaugurated at a time when a measure designed to secure great improvements in our educational system is before Parliament. It is essential that public opinion should be still further awakened to the urgent need for preserving and strengthening the child life of the nation, and giving to the young fuller opportunities for physical and intellectual development."

The National Association for the Prevention of Infant Mortality and for the Welfare of Infancy, 4, Tavistock Square, W.C.1, have just issued the Annual Report for 1917, which contains records of much wisely planned work serviceably carried through. A scheme is now being elaborated for the establishment of a National Council for Mother and Child Welfare.

The Russell Sage Foundation Library, 130, East Twenty-second Street, New York City, issue a bi-monthly Bulletin which is of exceptional service to all students of social subjects. A recent number provides a most helpful bibliography on Women in Industry in War Time."

[ocr errors]
« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »