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Feeble-minded children are cared for in various institutions through the agency of the Board of Children's Guardians. The number under their care at the close of the year was 44.
The insane are cared for in the Government Hospital for the Insane, the average number being about 1,000.
JONATHAN EDWARDS, PH.D., WARDNER, STATE CORRESPONDING
As the state legislature held no session during the last year, there is nothing to report from that source. Reports from state penitentiary, insane asylum, and Soldiers' Home, the same as last year. The report of the state superintendent of public instruction contains the following regarding the deaf, dumb, and blind :
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“On page 33, chapter xvi., of the compiled school laws of Idaho will be found the act providing for the care, education, and maintenance of the deaf, dumb, and blind children of the state. Too much credit cannot be given to the friends of humanity throughout the state and to Idaho's legislators for the wise and benevolent provisions thus made for these children.
"An annual appropriation of $6,000 has covered the expense incident to their education in the states of Washington, Utah, and Colorado. The institutions in these states have long been established, are amply endowed and provided for, and furnished with every facility for carrying on this great educational work. Per. sonal visits to these institutions would suggest that, under present circumstances and conditions, the care and education of the deaf, imb, and blind children of our state should continue to be provided for as at present. With due regard to differing opinions of some of our predecessors, who have favored the establishment of similar institutions in the state, we would respectfully submit that, in our judgment, many substantial reasons militate against the proposition. In the first place the building and equipment of such an institution would prove an unnecessary burden upon the tax-payers, as the immediate cost of such an undertaking would in a manifold degree exceed the cost of the present plan. Already we have three educational institutions that will require much larger appropriations if they are to meet the requirements for which they were established. The institution of state schools without sufficient appropriation to carry on the work is a detriment to school and state."
The North-western Home-finding Society, with headquarters at Spokane, Wash., continues to push its work and operations in the northern portion of the state. Several children from this state
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are cared for by the Spokane Home of the Friendless and the Catholic Orphanage.
Some of the women's clubs show increased interest in charitable work. The poor are provided for through the county commissioners. I have not been able to find that any county poor farms exist.
HASTINGS H. HART, CHICAGO, STATE CORRESPONDING SECRETARY.
Illinois has a population of 4,821,550, and is the third state of the Union in population, coming next to Pennsylvania. She has an elaborate system of public charities, comprising four state hospitals for the insane, a state asylum for the chronic insane, a state asylum for insane criminals, a Soldiers' Home, a Home for Soldiers' Widows, a Home for Soldiers' Orphans, institutions for the feeble-minded, the deaf and the blind, and a state eye and ear infirmary for the free treatment of diseases of the eye and ear. Cook County maintains an insane asylum with 1,700 inmates, an extensive hospital for the sick, and a hospital for consumptives. There are in the state 100 almshouses, containing 1,300 insane patients. Only a few almshouses have any special accommodations for the insane.
Illinois is caring for 9,728 insane patients, as follows: in five state hospitals for the insane, 6,114; in the asylum for incurable insane, 356; in the asylum for insane criminals, 158; in the Cook County insane asylum, 1,396; in county almshouses, 1,704.
The correctional institutions of the state comprise two state penitentiaries at Joliet and Chester, containing about 2,100 convicts, a state reformatory at Pontiac for young offenders (ten to twenty-five years), with accommodations for about 1,400 inmates, and 102 county jails, besides an unnumbered list of city and village lockups and station houses. The state maintains a Home for Delinquent Girls, but has no juvenile reformatory for boys. The legislature of 1901 passed a bill for the organization of a State Home for Delinquent Boys, appropriating $25,000 for buildings. Wealthy citizens of Chicago will supplement this fund by private contributions, more than $175,000 having been already subscribed. It is expected that the donors will be given a voice in the administration of the home, in order to preserve it from the unfavorable influence of partisan political control.
The legislature of 1899 authorized the establishment of a colony for epileptics, and a site was selected by the Board of Public Charities; but the legislature of 1901 failed to make the necessary appropriations for buildings, and these unfortunates must await the action of the next legislature. An enumeration of epileptics taken by the State Board of Public Charities in 1900 showed 1,091 epileptics, of whom 516 were found in state institutions, 335 in county almshouses, and 240 in private families. It is probable that this enumeration falls much short of the facts.
The private or voluntary charitable institutions of Illinois are comparatively few in number and small in size, but are of a high quality. Their organizers have profited by the experience of older cities, and have adopted modern methods of construction and management. The hospitals and children's institutions of Chicago will compare favorably with the best in the world. In the city of New York there are no less than seven institutions for children, with a capacity of 1,000 or more. The largest children's institution in Chicago has a capacity of 500 children. The united capacity of all of the children's institutions in Chicago, put together, is only a little more than that of the Catholic Protectory in New York. The children's institutions of New York City contain about 24,000 children, while the children's institutions of Chicago contain less than 4,000. Chicago had as many in proportion as New York, they would contain about 12,000. New York expends about $3,000,000 annually in caring for neglected children; Chicago, about $400,000 annually.
This favorable condition of things is due partly to the fact that Chicago's institutions are young and undeveloped, partly to the fact that there is a smaller amount of pauperism in Chicago than in some of the older cities, and largely to the fact that the institutions and societies of Chicago have long been committed to the policy of placing neglected children in family homes in preference to bringing them up in an institution.
Illinois probably suffers more than any other state in the Union from partisan political control of public institutions. This evil is not chargeable to any one party or any one administration. It has gradually increased until it has become the fashion, not only to change the administration of state institutions when there is a change of parties, but even to change their administration with the advent of a new governor. Jan. 1, 1901, a new governor took his seat, be
longing to the same political party as his predecessor. There are in the state seven state hospitals and asylums for the insane, with 6,600 inmates. Each institution has three trustees. The official report of the State Board of Public Charities shows that, of the twentyone trustees who were in office June 30, 1900, only five remained in office March 31, 1902.
In four of the seven institutions every trustee has been changed. All of the trustees for the three institutions for the deaf, the blind, and the feeble-minded, containing a united population of 1,749, had been superseded. In five other state insti- . tutions supervised by the State Board of Public Charities, containing a united population of 2,349 inmates, ten out of eighteen trustees had been superseded. In the fifteen institutions six superintendents were changed in fifteen months. Thus the most miserable and unfortunate classes are exposed to the vicissitudes of political changes, and are left to the care of those who are selected in recognition of their efficiency in rendering political service. It is true that under this system many excellent people come into the service of the state ; but it is also true that they no sooner become qualified by experience for the discharge of delicate and technical duties than they are likely to give place to others. An illustration is afforded by the Eastern Hospital for Insane at Kankakee, which had no less than five different superintendents within a period of six years. However competent these superintendents were, it was impossible to secure continuity of policy and methods.
The responsibility for this lamentable condition does not belong to any one individual or any one party. It is shared by the legislature, the public press, and the people of the state who have tolerated and, by withholding their opposition, given encouragement to it.
One result of the long continuance of these conditions has been to arouse a strong public sentiment in favor of a “state board of control,” to supersede the local boards of trustees and to be hedged about with such limitations as shall prevent, if possible, its manipulation for the promotion of partisan or personal ends. The State Board of Public Charities, in their last annual report, recommended their own abolition and the establishment of a board of control ; but the bill did not become a law.
The people of Illinois are not blind to their own shortcomings. The newspapers generally oppose the present conditions. There is an increasing feeling in both the leading political parties against political appointments, assessment of public employees, and in favor of a civil service law. The governor has repeatedly declared that he would favor such a law, and local political conventions have made emphatic declarations in its favor. There is good reason to hope for an early and complete reform.
The state appropriations for charitable institutions (not including the correctional institutions) for the current year 1902 amount to $3,870,000, of which about $1,800,000 are for current expenses. The population of the fifteen institutions is 10,644. The average net cost per inmate is $145 per annum.
AMOS W. BUTLER, INDIANAPOLIS, STATE CORRESPONDING
There has been no session of the General Assembly since the last report.
There is a growing interest in all branches of the work of charities and corrections. Those which most attract attention are perhaps the preventive measures, particularly the child-saving work. Sunday, however, was observed by several hundred ministers last October; and the continued interest in reformation is encouraging.
Taking our institutions altogether, progress has been made in the past year. Several sets of plans and specifications for new jails and poor asylums have been submitted to the Board of State Charities. The increased accommodations provided at the state hospitals for insane have made possible the acceptance of many outstanding applications; and the reports from those institutions for the year ending Oct. 31, 1901, indicate an increase of 251.21 in the daily average attendance. In addition to the new buildings completed last year at each of the four insane hospitals, the hospital for sick insane at the Central Hospital, with a capacity of 100, with which we are very much pleased, has been completed, but is not yet equipped for occupancy. Work has also been begun on the new cottage for women at the Eastern Hospital for Insane. This, when completed, will balance the two departments, male and female. This last is the only provision for increased capacity at any of our insane hospitals the present year.