AID TO DEPENDENT CHILDREN
Title IV of the Social Security Act adopted in 1935 provided federal grants to such states as would adopt programs of aid to dependent children that complied with the requirements of the national act. The present chapter will deal primarily with that program. At the outset we shall present in broad outline the evolution in care for dependent children that preceded the passage of the national act. We shall then take up the more essential features of the national act, following that with a generalized description of what the several states have done legislatively with respect to such features as eligibility and amount of grant. We shall then present, for the several states, figures as to the number of children, the number in receipt of assistance, and the amount of grant.
American public opinion has long recognized that dependent children present a distinctive problem. By nature children are dependent. They cannot be expected to be self-supporting or to direct their own affairs. If they are in difficulties, it is generally not their own fault. Childhood and youth are the period of preparation for what may be a long life. The democratic state has an interest in making it a good and useful life. Fairly early in American history came provisions for educating children, for preventing certain forms of cruelty and exploitation, and for caring for orphans.
Private philanthropy and some governments early provided orphan asylums where young children could be sent rather than to almshouses. Frequently, when one parent died, the children were placed in a public or private asylum. Maintaining such an institution was in many instances a function of the church or of a benevolent fraternity, and many a philanthropist in his will left money to these institutions, sometimes even