Juvenile Probation: An Analysis of the Case Records of Five Hundred Children Studied at the Judge Baker Guidance Clinic and Placed on Probation in the Juvenile Court of Boston

By Belle Boone Beard | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III
PROBATION AND THE HOME LIFE OF THE DELINQUENT

The first requisite of wholesome childhood is an environment promoting physical and social development. The home is the institution that normally fulfils this function. Society at the present time accords to parents the privilege and the responsibility of the care and guidance of the children. Only when the home situation presents very grave dangers does society interfere to remove the child or to attempt other adjustment.

The 500 boys and girls who are studied here as probation cases were not all left in the home because it was considered the ideal environment for them. Indeed, conditions of many were atrociously bad. The Clinic, in more than one-fourth of the cases, had pronounced the home environment inadequate or menacing and had urged that the child be removed. For a few others it recommended transfer to institutions for the feeble-minded, and industrial schools for boys and girls needing severe disciplinary training. In these cases two purposes are evident: first, to provide the training commensurate with the child's ability and needs; and second, to protect society from the depredations of the child. That the recommendations of the Clinic were not followed does not indicate lack of agreement on the part of the Court. Some children were placed on probation because their parents would not permit them to be sent to institutions or to be placed in foster homes; some, because other facilities were lacking.

In order to bring about an improvement in environmental conditions, the probation officer uses three types of treatment: (1) removal of the child, where the home is hopelessly inade-

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