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We wish to add that at no time has the department had such good co-operation from the school authorities as during the past year, and in Minneapolis and St. Paul not a certificate was issued illegally during the 1915-16 school year. In St. Paul the number of certificates issued during the past year decreased from 199 to 77, while in Minneapolis the number increased from 205 to 452. This increase is probably due to a more rigid enforcement of the truancy laws and a perfected system of checking up by the school census workers on children leaving school, and may therefore represent less illegal and more legal employment.
The attendance department of the Minneapolis public schools not only followed up all truants reported by the schools during the last two years, but ascertained the occupation of all eighth grade graduates still under 16 years who were not continuing their studies in high schools. All children at work as wage earners were then referred to the department of labor for the investigation of the employment, and 402 such cases were acted upon during the school year 1915-16. The child was in most cases employed under conditions not entirely in accord with the law and the inspectors found readjustments of their work necessary. The attendance department now conducts a labor exchange for minors which empioyers find very convenient.
This attendance department issues a statement of age as recorded in school to every pupil over 16 years who asks for it, and employers appreciate this protection against the risk of employing children under age without permits or in other ways contrary to the child labor restrictions, and many large establishments require every minor, before the child is allowed to work, to present either a legal employment certificate issued to those between the ages of 14 and 16 or an age certificate issued to those over 16.
Minneapolis has also systematized the physical examinations made by the school physician of every child starting to work, and in many cases a suitable job is found for the frail child.
The Minneapolis attendance department is beginning a working history for every child who has recently received a labor permit. A record is made of the number of jobs held, the length of employment, the kind of work, the wages and the advancement and success on each job. If this tabulation could be extended to cover all children now at work in the state it would make a valuable contribution to the meager information we now have on the opportunities for the minor child in modern industry.
CHILD LABOR. The Minneapolis attendance department made so many complaints of the illegal employment of children under 16 years of age that the Bureau of Women and Children determined to investigate the situation in other parts of the state and to ascertain whether the illegal employment of children was general throughout the state.
The inspectors investigated 472 complaints, of which 23 were found to be without cause, and made 330 other investigations upon the initiative of the inspectors. A large majority of the complaints came from the Minneapolis attendance officers.
The investigation covered 1,151 children at work in 602 establishments, only 101 of which were employing children in complete accordance with the law. Of these 1,151 children at work 56 were under 14 years old, and 1,095 were between the ages of 14 and 16. Only 220 were employed in strict observance of the law, while 931, or 80 per cent, were employed in violation of the child labor laws in one or more respects. A single child may have been employed without a certificate and also have been working over eight hours a day and after 7 o'clock in the evening, making three violations for the one child.
Violations found in the special investigation of child labor may be summarized as follows:
Employed in forbidden occupations: Elevator boy
4 Setting pins in bowling alleys.. Operating machines
60 Girls standing constantly.
Classification in approved occupations in which other violations were found: Messengers 59 Machine helpers
51 Delivery and shipping depart
44 ments 261 Miscellaneous
179 Cash and bundle girls.
96 Factory operatives
Table No. 8 shows the hours which children under 16 years were employed. The most amazing fact is that only 404 of the 1,151 children reported by the inspectors were working in conformity with the eight hour day requirement and only 423 in conformity with the 48 hour week requirement. About 65 per cent were employed in violation of the child labor hour law at the time of the first inspection. Some were extreme cases of over time, such as 12-hour day and weeks ranging from 72 to 98 working hours, but these cases were few. These violations were not altogether intentional, but due in large part to the ignorance of the employers. They were usually willing to observe the legal limit when once their attention was called to the provisions of the law.
The method of issuing orders and the follow-up work for child labor inspections is similar to that in the case of the laws relative to women. Table No. 9 on orders issued for child labor law violations shows the violations classified according to their nature and to their location. There were 1,636 orders issued to cover illegal employment of children, 980 of which were complied with, 7 were cancelled and 49 are pending. The summary which follows shows the ir:dustries in which the children were illegally employed.
Table No. 10 presents the prosecutions for violation of the child labor laws. Only the extreme cases of illegal employment, which were impossible to adjust outside of court, were brought into court. An inspection of the table shows that almost all of the cases resulted in a verdict of guilty.
TRUANCY. The department of labor receives many requests from school boards for the aid of an inspector in truancy cases, and until recently response was made to these requests to the fullest extent possible. The department has found it necessary in the past two years, however, to notify these applicants that the local authorities were expected to exhaust their own resources to compel school attendance before the department could consider sending an inspector. The result has been that in some cases local truant officers have been appointed and the truancy work of the department of labor decreased appreciably. This has set the inspectors free to attend to their other duties.
STREET TRADES. So many other agencies have interested themselves in the welfare of the newsboys of late that the inspectors of this bureau have only taken action upon such cases as have been brought directly to their attention. When possible the aid of other organizations has been secured, but 59 cases of newsboys (12 in St. Paul, 17 in Minneapolis and 30 in Duluth) have been under orders from this bureau to keep within the limits of the law. Minnesota is far behind in its legal regulation of children engaged in street trades. Three stubborn cases were finally brought before the judge of the juvenile court, who adjudged the children dependents and placed the families on probation and under direct supervision of the court.
CHILDREN ENGAGED IN THEATRICAL PERFORMANCES.
In St. Paul, Minneapolis and Duluth there were 78 children to whom permits were granted to take part in theatrical performances. The ages of these children and the number of times they performed is shown by the following tabulation: Number of
3 8 10 21 19 17
10 11 12 13 14 15
8 69 207
2,308 WELFARE WORK. The labor of women and children links closely with the dependency and delinquency of children, for whom much of the welfare work is done. We believe that our work is only begun when a child is taken out of illegal employment, and it is our practice to visit the homes of these children. We are therefore often called upon to help adult members of the family to better positions, or to secure financial aid for the family through individuals or other agencies. Hardly a day passes but that we are called upon to help some woman or child to find better employment.
We are also called upon to collect wages. Many such cases can be adjusted without difficulty, but when it is necessary to go to court to collect wages it is our practice to refer the case to the legal aid department of some organization especially equipped to give such assistance. In fact, all cases of welfare which can be referred to agencies willing to co-operate with us are disposed of in this way. In rural districts and small cities, however, this is not possible so here we give more service and co-operation with the local authorities and interested persons. In some cities committees of club women, and in others county officials, are doing the followup work such as visiting homes and acting as probation officers.
The summaries of special cases which demanded the attention of this bureau are given below. In all of these cases the follow-up work was necessarily left to others, and, as this work is really that which counts, the
people of Minnesota should see to it that all dependent, neglected and deÎinquent children be given the same careful supervision that is now possible in Ramsey, Hennepin and St. Louis counties only.
In cases necessitating court procedure the circumstances and history of the cases were such that they cannot be given. Eight families were represented, 16 children and 3 adults involved. The disposition of the cases is as follows:
Placed on probation.
*A feeble-minded mother of one child.
In cases of children cared for without court procedure 11 families and 41 children were involved. Four were deserted children whose parents sent for them when threatened with prosecution; 33 were neglected children, 4 of whom have since been sent to the state school at Owatonna by county officials, while local committees are looking after the remainder. Two delinquent children were looked after by their parents when the need was called to the parent's attention, and two other children were placed in temporary homes.
RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE SUPERINTENDENT OF THE BUREAU
OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN. The report of this bureau shows in detail the conditions of employment of women and children which we have found in the state. We recommend the passage of laws or amendments to our present laws which will remedy certain of the conditions pointed out. Our recommendations are as follows:
1. That the hours of labor law for women be amended to provide that no women may be employed in any occupation for more than nine hours in one day. Our report shows the necessity for a uniform hour of labor law.
2. Girls under the age of 21 should be prohibited from working after 9 P. M.
3. We recommend an eight-hour working period for women employed at night unbroken by rest periods except time allowed for meals. It is customary in restaurants to give two or three hours relief in the early morning hours. This prolongs the woman's work day by the length of the rest period and keeps her away from home 10 or 11 hours in order to work 8 hours.
4. A law should be enacted to regulate the sleeping quarters provided in hotels for women employes. The location, size, light, ventilation and toilet facilities should all be specified in the law. Basement sleeping rooms for women employes should be forbidden by law.
5. A sanitary code for work places should be enacted which would clearly establish standards of use and arrangement of seats, light, temperature, air and ventilation, height of ceiling, light and air in toilets, and the regulation of drinking water cups and towels. The use of basements as work rooms should also be prohibited by law as a menace to health.
6. The employment of women in rooms where liquor is sold or in rooms directly connected with such rooms should be forbidden by law.
7. Regulation for the protection of minors engaged in street trades should be provided to protect the health and morals of such minors.
8. A discrepancy between the law which makes the age for compulsory school attendance 16 years and the law which limits the age at which children may receive pensions under the mothers' pension law to 14 years should be eliminated. The age limit in the mothers' pension law should be raised to 16 years to conform to the compulsory education law.
9. A number of the laws relating to children are defectiv and the is great need for new legislation for the welfare of children, and we suggest a careful consideration of the recommendations made by the child welfare commission recently appointed by Governor J. A. A. Burnquist.
10. It is impossible for three inspectors to do the work of this bureau and we therefore recommend an additional inspector.