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Charitable Aid Systems.

Afc the meeting of the Charitable Aid Board in Chris'ehutch on Wednesday, the chairman (Mr H. i'riedlander) reported that be had paid surprise visit 3to tho institutions in which the Board had children maintained. He had visited the Orphanage three t:mes at meal hours with tie object of in peofing the f jod given/and found it to he eminently satisfactory. Accomp>nied by Mrs Henderson and the secretary, he had paid some surprise visits to the home=i of many children in and around Christchurch. In some instances the word "home" mi>;ht be slid to be a misnomer; bub fortunately, there were only a few undesirable nnd insanitary abodes. On the other hand, there were some most desirable places, homes whore children enjoyed the protectioa and care of foster parents, among healthy and bright surroundings. M-my, however, were scarcely conducive to satisfactory results, in respect of the development of character and ihe eultivp.tion of habits of cleanliness and self reliance which ife should bs the primary duty of any guardians of children to aim at. In all they visited thirty-nine children. The Board had a duty to perform and should see that such duty was conscientiously and intelligently carried out, by a judicious selection of all homes subsidised by publio funds. Whether better results could be obtained by providing separate bouses than by housing a considerable number of children under one roof he would not attempt to discußS, but it was essential that some of the children should ba provided with more suitable homes than those they were occupying. One common praotice was to place a helplesg babe in some licensed home on promise of payment for its maintenance. The undorttking was sometimes kept for a few weeks or months, when payment got into arrears »md suddenly the custodian found the heartless mother had decamped, or had, or was about to have another child. Then the person in charge was forced, and often not unwillingly, to appeal to the Board, as a more prompt and reliable paymaster. It would thua be Bean that the Board had nothing whatever to do with the selection of a home in such a'case, although the home mightjbe'licensed and prove to be one of the undesirable nature referred to. One might suppose that the system of licensing under the 'Infant Life Protection Act would be most carefully and jealously watched. But it appeared to hin?, from observations he had made, that in many licensed homes those salient factors were totally ignored. The mode of licensing was'not, however, the only evil arising out of the administration of the Act. The occupier of a cottage was allowed to take in and drag up a certain number of poor helpless infants under the age of four years, according to the inch-measurement of the rooms, but those baby-farmers could, nnd did, house other children over that age, the consequence being that the Act did in suoh cases more harm than good. He would therefore suggest for the Board's consideration: —(1) That with regard to children of worthless and absconding parents, the Charitable Aid Committee should be instructed to refuse any monetary assistance unless suoh ohildren were placed absolutely under the Board's control, and if the committee waß not satisfied with the surroundings of the home and the fitness of the custodians to have charge, the children should be t at the earliest possible moment, provided with another and approved home. (2) That regulations for visiting all homes should be laid down, and the Board's medical officer instructed to examine every child at least twice in every year, and report to the committee. He was convinced that some of the children he had seen were not supplied with the kind of nourishment best suited to their age . and requirements. (3) That the Board should obtain at the end of each school term, from the masters of the schools attended by any children paid for by the Board, a report asjto regularjattendance or otherwise ; and atjthe end of every year another report as to their progress in school work. The adoption of these suggestion * would of course bo governed by the decision the Board arrived at on the question o£" boarding out," or " institutions," or cottage homes.

The report was referrad to the Charitable Aid Committee.

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Bibliographic details

Charitable Aid Systems., Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXII, Issue 6615, 7 July 1905

Word Count

Charitable Aid Systems. Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXII, Issue 6615, 7 July 1905

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