VIRTUAL TOUR of the COLORADO STATE HOME for DEPENDENT and NEGLECTED CHILDREN
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
TO THE PUBLIC
There are homes of various descriptions in Colorado, founded and maintained for the purpose of taking and caring for the children of parents who must labor for their daily bread and are not able to keep them under their care while performing their duties. There bare those who are orphans who have friends or relatives willing and financially able to support them in some good charitable institution; there are children whose parents have so completely lost control of them that they seek the aid of some children’s home to discipline them before too late. The State Home for Dependent and Neglected Children has another field of labor, that of giving a home to those who are dependent upon the public for support, those who are maltreated, and those who are in environments of vice. All such are eligible and under the state law should be committed by the county commissioners of the county in which they are living. Very often parents or relatives come to us with their children, expecting to place them in the institution and pay their board, and occasionally a parent or relative asks the privilege of placing a boy with us on account of having lost control of the child.
This is by no means a prison, reformatory or boarding school, but a home, and in every way possible we endeavor to have our children realize that fact. To many of the children it is necessarily a permanent home on account of the lack of mental and moral training, making them undesirable for private homes. The younger children are more susceptible to the influences and discipline of the Home, and in a short time become desirable for adoption.
Often when being reproved, a child will look up in surprise and say, " why, I did not know it was wrong to do so." "My father and mother did it," or "My mother talked like that." "I did not know there was a God." A sweet-faced little girl of seven was reported at the office for an outburst of vile, profane and abusive language on the playground. She had nee admitted to the Home only a few days before, in a most filthy condition, her body covered with vermin, and a long, livid scar on her head, made by a blow from a stove poker in the hands of a drunken mother. She did not know it was wrong to use such language, and when asked where she learned it, replied, "From mamma."
HOW TO HAVE CHILDREN COMMITTED
It is the duty of the county commissioners to petition the county judge of their county to give an order of admission for any child under sixteen years of age who is adjudged dependent on the public for support, or who is neglected or maltreated, or whose environments are such as to warrant the state assuming guardianship of said child, and is sound in mind and body. The citizens of a certain portion of a county may know of cases which are wholly unknown to the commissioners; it is their duty to inform these officials, to see that the children are brought before them that an investigation be made. After the case is presented to the board of county commissioners, at least two of their number should sign the petition to the county judge, who will hear the case pursuant to citation. If the judge commits the child to the Home, it must be examined by the county physician, who shall certify in writing under oath that the child examined by him is of sound mind and has no chronic or contagious disease, and has not been exposed to any contagious disease within fifteen days previous to such examination. A certified copy of this certificate, with a certified copy of the order for admission, must accompany the child when brought to the Home.
Parents, guardians or relatives who are giving up their children should fully understand that as soon as they are committed to the State Home for Dependent Children, they forfeit all rights over, or to, the custody or service, or earnings of each child, and that they are released from all parental duty. Friends of the parents should see that this portion of the law is explained. In all communities the humane officers will gladly help in rescuing a child from drunken parents and environments of vice.
The conscientious work of the humane societies in rescuing and causing to be sent to the State Home various destitute waifs throughout Colorado, is to be heartily commended.
HOW TO SECURE A CHILD
|In the first place, I would ask you to decide on the purpose you have in taking a child. Is it to secure a servant? Is it to secure a nurse for your own babies? Is it to do the work that your own child may secure the advantages of school? Is it to wait on your own children? If for these or other similar reasons, do not make application to our Board of Control, for you will be disappointed. But if you have not been blessed with an heir and desire to have a son or a daughter for the love of the child, for the comfort and pleasure it may give you, as well as the blessings it will receive in your home, make application. Do not misunderstand me, we do not want our children placed out to be raised in idleness, but we want them placed in good homes where they will receive a mother’s love and a father’s tender care, and be taught habits of industry and self-reliance. Many people have a desire to secure a child to do the work of a man or a woman, and thereby save the expense of paying a servant a salary, and the board has to continually contend with just such applicants. When you have decided to take a child, visit the Home, if possible, you may select for yourself the child you wish, but do not expect to take it with you. You will be furnished an application blank, which must be properly filled out, signed by husband and wife. The signatures of two taxpayers are also necessary as reference. After securing the necessary signature, return the application to the Home, and as soon thereafter as possible the superintendent will visit your home and make such investigations as are necessary to satisfy the management of your capability for raising and educating a child, and even with this precaution there are mistakes made. The destiny of the child depends upon the home selected for it, and the members of the Board of Control keenly feel the responsibility devolving upon them and take the greatest care in making their selections|
TO THE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
|…The dependent ones are by no means the dangerous ones, but the greatest danger is in those who are surrounded by vice of every description and those who are so abused as to become firm in the belief that every man is his enemy, and therefore always on the defensive or offensive. As long as these children are permitted to remain in such circumstances, crime of the lowest degree will be propagated from year to year. It is therefore due to this commonwealth that all officers and citizens who in any manner have to do with child saving, be diligent in the performance of their duties, and by so doing advance the greatest remedy for crime. Some boards of county commissioners have paid certain organizations fifty dollars each for taking dependent children off their hands, and in this way have been led to believe that such an amount was necessary to secure the admission of the child to the State Home. This is a great mistake; no fee is charged by the state for any child committed. The only expense to the county is that of transportation…"||
2nd Biennial Report of the Board of Control, Colorado State Home for Dependent and Neglected Children, 1898
Colorado State Children's Home Main Page [http://www.colorado.gov/dpa/doit/archives/INCLUDES/bottom.htm]
Last modified June 18, 2003