A Right to Childhood: The U.S. Children's Bureau and Child Welfare, 1912-46

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University of Illinois Press, 1997 - 368 pages
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Warring factions in the United States like to use children as weapons
for their political agendas as Americans try to determine the role--if
any--of the federal government in the lives of children. But what is the
history of child welfare policy in the United States? What can we learn
from the efforts to found the U.S. Children's bureau in 1903 and its eventual
dismemberment in 1946?
This is the first history of the Children's Bureau and the first in-depth
examination of federal child welfare policy from the perspective of that
agency. Its goal was to promote "a right to childhood," and
Kriste Lindenmeyer unflinchingly examines the successes--and the failures--of
the Bureau. She analyzes infant and maternal mortality, the promotion
of child health care, child labor reform, and the protection of children
with "special needs" from the Bureau's inception through the
Depression, and through all the legislation that impacted on its work
for children. The meaningful accomplishments and the demise of the Children's
Bureau have much to tell parents, politicians, and policy-makers everywhere.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
The Origins of a Federal Bureau for Children 19001912
9
The Bureau Goes to Work 191213
30
Expanding the Bureau through a Blueprint for Maternal and Child Health 191420
52
Saving Mothers and Babies Designing and Implementing a National Maternity and Infancy Act 191830
76
The Childrens Bureau and Child Labor Reform 191232
108
When Families Fail Defining Social Policy for Children with Special Needs 191230
139
A Policy for Security The Childrens Bureau and the Great Depression 192939
163
Children in a Democracy The Childrens Bureau and World War II 194046
203
The Childrens Bureau and A Right to Childhood
249
Notes
263
Selected Bibliography
323
Index
361
Copyright

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About the author (1997)

Kriste Lindenmeyer is an associate professor of history at Tennessee Technological University, Cookeville.

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