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Statistical summary of institutions for the instruction of orphans and homeless youths.
The following review of the special educational and reformatory features of several of these charities was prepared by the lady* in charge of the work in this Office pertaining to institutions of this character:
The information afforded by statistics concerning the large proportion of criminals who become such through a neglected, vagrant, and uptaught childhood serves to elevate to a high position in the scale of educational and reformatory agencies that class of institutions especially devoted to the care and instruction of friendless chil. dren.
These, under their different names of orphan- and half-orphan-asylums, childrens' homes, javenile-asylums, nurseries, childrens-friend-societies, homes for the friendless, soldiers' and sailors' orpbans' homes, industrial schools, farm-schools, truant-homes, and bouses of refuge, are all doing essentially the same work, taking children from their vagrant life in the street, with their inheritance of idleness and viciousness; giving them bomes, protection, guardianship, and instruction; forming habits of industry and aceastoming them to such work as will enable them to earn a livelihood, and carTying them up to a manhood and womanhood of assured respectability and self-depend
* Mrs. S. A. Martha Canfield.
ence. The records of most of these institutions show that very fow of the inmates who have been under their influence for several years fall into evil courses after leaving. The most unfavorable reports on this head are from the truant-homes, the reason being, as stated in the report of the Truant-Home of Brooklyn, N. Y., that frequently," after children have been fairly started in the right road, they have been discharged at tho request of their parents, and the subsequent management of them has been such as to again allow them to become idle and truant."
Of these institutions, orphan- and balf-orphan-asyluins and homes are the most numerous. Seventy-seven of these were last year reported to the Bureau from twenty States and the District of Columbia. This undoubtedly falls far short of the tine number, since Pennsylvania, which has over twenty orphan-asylums, (twelve of them for soldiers' orphans,) reported only four. It may be mentioned here that Pennsylvania last year educated 4,235 soldiers' orphans, at a cost of over $475,000, and has spent upon these homes since their establishment nearly $4,000,000. The grade of instruction in these schools is much higher than that usually given in homes and asylums.
The benevolent institutions for the care of children in Pennsylvania, as reported, are: soldiers' orphans' homes, 12; orphan-asylums, 7, (6 of which are denominational ;) homes for friendless children, 9, (1 of which is for colored and 1 for Jewish childrenthe latter supported entirely by tbat denomination ;) homes for the friendless, 2; industrial home, 1 ; farm-school, 1, (denominational ;) house of refuge, 1-total, 33.
Especially worthy of mention, as having a distinctive character and aim, are the Burd Orpban Asylum and Lincoln Institution, both located in Philadelphia. The former is for girls only, who are admitted between the ages of 4 and 8 years, kept until they are 18 and, as far as practicable, educated as teachers. The Lincoln Institution receives only boys, and (though it is not classed with the soldiers' orphans' homes) the greater number admitted have been soldiers' orphans. The boys are taken care of during the time they are learning a trade. Their whole time in the day seems to be given to this, but they enjoy the advantage of an evening-school. “Every boy who graduates at the institution is in a position to support himself respectably.” At the Educational Home for Boys, a branch of this institution, boys from 3 to 10 years are received, kept until 12 years of age, and then transferred to the institution for more advanced training.
The reports received from New York represent but a small fraction of the charities of the State. Only twelve institutions for children are reported : cophan- and halforphan-homes and asylums, 7, (of which 1 is for colored children ;) home and school for soldiers' orphans, 1; juvenile-asylum, 1; truant-home, 1; and 2, which, from their peculiar character, cannot be classified: The Sheltering Arms and the Society for the Relief of the Ruptured and Crippled, both located in the city of New York. The former of these receives children for whom provision is made in no other institution ; unfortunates of all classes, until the age at which they can be received into the asylums especially devoted to them; crippled children past hope of cure, who for this reason would not be admitted to other homes and asylums; children whose parents have been obliged to enter a hospital; children rendered temporarily homeless from any cause. Children placed in this institution are not surrendered to it, but are held subject to the order of parents and relatives. The object of the Society for the Relief of the Ruptured and Crippled is sufficiently indicated by its name. Medical and surgical treatment and all the mechanical appliances and apparatus for the cure of cripples are placed within reach of the very poorest. Children are received from the age of 4 to 14, and the design is to cure them rather than to provide a home for incurables. This institution is believed to be entirely unique in its character. The New York Juvenile-Asylum, in making its twenty-first annual report, states that there have been under its care since its opening 16,909 children.
Obio reports childrens' charities as follows: orphan-asylums, 5, (of which one is Jewish ;) children's homes, 2; industrial school and children's home, 1. The Cincinnati Orphan Asylum, one of the oldest charities in the State, reports over 16,000 orphaned children as having been educated under its care and started on the road to respectability and independence. The system of training in the Jewish Orphan Asylum is of a bigh order and presents some peculiar features. “Special attention is given to each child to direct its studies to that vocation which in its future life it is expected to follow.”
From Baltimore, Md., is reported a charity of a peculiar and interesting character. Its object is to provide a home for youths between the ages of 10 and 20, for whom, on account of the high cost of living and the low value of their unskilled labor, the work of maintaining themselves honestly and respectably is rendered exceedingly difficult, not to say impossible. In former years boys of 10 and upwards were apprenticed to tradesmen and mechanics to learn some useful handicraft; but this system has fallen into disuse, being practically prohibited by the trades-unions and other associations. To most boys of this age who try to maintain themselves, life is a very unequal fight, and no wonder if, borne down by discouragements, they fall into evil ways. To such as these in Baltimore the Boys' Home Society extends a helping hand. It is conducted on much the same principle as the Newsboy's LodgingHouses in New York. The boys all work and contribute a certain proportion of their weekly earnings towards the support of the home. The boys are surrounded with the comforts and influences of a home, are given the elements of an English education, and a library of 500 volumes is provided for their use.
A large proportion of the institutions devoted to the care of children are thoroughly catholic in their charity, asking only the question “Is the child friendless 9" But catholic or denominational, they are doing essentially the same work, and through their instrumentality "a large average of muscle, brain, and soul is trained and molded and returned to the community in a few years in the form of educated labor." One defect alone seems apparent in their administration : this lies in the fact that in but very few are industrial pursuits carried to any extent beyond the necessary requirements of the institution. When children arrive at the age of 10 or 12 an effort is generally made to procure suitable homes for them, where employment will be given or a trade taught, but only three institutions have been heard from where any systematic “industrial training” is attempted. Girls are usually instructed in housework, cooking, and sewing; boys are employed in the shoe-shop, broom-factory, garden, and on the farm connected with the institution. But these occupations, while forming habits of industry which are invaluable, do not assure a maintenance for the future. This, the Wilson Industrial School, in New York, and the industrial school connected with the Brooklyn Female Employment Society-both for girls--and the Episcopal Orphan Home, of Brooklyn-for boys and girls-aim to supply. In the latter, the art of printing is thoroughly taught. Job-printing is done, and two books, one of 160, the other of 400, pages bave been stereotyped. A monthly paper-a double-sheet-15} by 11 inches, is issued by the institution. The orphans remain until the age of 16 or 18 and then go into the world with such a knowledge of a skilled industry as will insure them a comfortable maintenance.
The industrial school connected with the Brooklyn Female Employment Society is conducted as follows: Children begin in a sewing-class, where they are instructed in plain needle-work. From this they graduate into the fine-work-room, where they at once begin to earn wages. After becoming proficient in this they can secure situations outside or remain in the employment of the society at remunerative wages. Those who show any special aptitude, and who wish to do so, graduate from the finework-room into the dressmaking-department, where they are taught the trade thoroagbly and fitted to do business for themselves, while at the same time they are paid for wbat they do. The superiority of this system over the ordinary apprentice-system is apparent. Dressmakers' apprentices are paid nothing and those who are really poor cannot afford the time necessary to become thoroughly skilled in their trade. The industrial school, while giving the girls a means of support, affords them at the same time much better facilities for learning.
The Wilson Industrial School, in the city of New York, is conducted on essentially the same plan, with the addition of a “house-work-class," in which girls are trained in the different kinds of house-work for situations in families. In both these schools tho fine-work- and the dressmaking-departments to self-sustaining. The Wilson School has been in operation twenty-one years.
TABLE XXII.- REFORM-SCHOOLS.
Detailed information concerning these schools will be found in Table XXII of the appendix and under the appropriate heading in the abstracts of educational progress in the several States. The following is a summary by States of the number of schools, the number of superintendents and assistants, the number of youths committed to tho schools during the year, the number of inmates, the number of inmates instructed, and the number of volumes in libraries.
1, 200 1,813 4, 873 3, 800
500 5,304 3,657 1,000 2,000
Two schools do not report the number of assistants and three schools do not report number of inmates.
TABLE XXIII.-SUMMARY OF SCHOOLS FOR TIIE TEEBLE-MINDED.
Table XXIII of the appendix presents statistics of schools for the instruction of feeblominded youth, of which the following is a summary:
Statistical summary of schools for the instruction of the feeble-minded.
TABLE XXIV.-BENEFACTIONS. The following summary, drawn from Table XXIV of the appendix, exhibits the total of donations and legacies by individuals in aid of education from October 15, 1872, to October 15, 1873, so far as reported to this Office, and the classes of institutions in the several States which are the objects of the benefactions. The total amount of these reported was $11,226,977. The amount reported for the preceding year was $9,957,494. The above figures, however, do not adequately represent the total gifts for educational objects for the year. The Office has no precise data for estimating numerous minor gifts by individuals and societies, but it is probable that these would aggregate at least two millions of dollars.
The following table shows the aggregate of benefactions to the several classes of institutions and to what uses the same are to be applied: