Document 8: "Juvenile Court Movement Grows," Des Moines Register and Leader, 14 January 1904.

Document 8: "Juvenile Court Movement Grows," Des Moines Register and Leader, 14 January 1904.


        This article apprised readers of the progress on the juvenile court movement in Iowa; the author of the article explained what the major provisions of the juvenile court law are and how much the taxpayer wouldl be affected.

        The article passed on important information about the law itself. Through this article, a general reader got a better understanding of what the intent of the law was and what provisions were included. It, in many ways, was a general advertisement for the law. It was this last use which is of most significance to historians, for how the law was advertised speaks in part to the popular interest Hillis and other reformers generated in the reading public. By publicizing their efforts, reformers were able to make the issue important for readers to learn about and eventually support.

Judge Cole Has Completed the Bill and Arranged for Its Introduction

Provisions Reasonable

They Carry No Appropriation and Entail No Additional Court Expenses

Senator Durham of Delaware county consented yesterday to introduce the juvenile court bill in the upper house of the legislature.

This is the measure which was prepared by Judge C.C. Cole and which has been examined by Judge Robinson of the state board of control. It has the sanction of the women's clubs and kindred organizations representing the entire state.

It carries no appropriation and provides for no additional expense for local enforcement.  It simply authorizes present judicial officers to set aside a part of their machinery for the proper consideration and disposal of cases in which children who are alleged to be dependent, neglected or delinquent but have not been in a state institution, are concerned.  The following children under 16 will be amenable to the jurisdiction of the juvenile court:

Who are Amenable?

Dependent or Neglected children – This includes those who for any reason are destitute, homeless or abandoned, or dependent on the public for support, or who have not proper parental care or guardianship, or who habitually beg or receive alms, or who are found living in a house of ill fame or with any vicious, disreputable or immoral person, or whose home by reason of neglect, cruelty or depravity on the part of its parents or guardian or other person in whose care it may be is an unfit place for such child.  This definition also includes any child under the age of ten years, who is found begging, peddling or selling any article or singing or playing any musical instrument upon the street or giving any public entertainment or who accompanies or is used in aid any person so doing; or who by reason of other vicious, base or illuring surroundings is in the opinion of the court within the spirit of the act.

Delinquent Children – This included children under 16, who violate any law of the state, city or village, or who are incorrigible, or who knowingly associate with thieves, vicious and immoral persons or who is growing up in idleness or crime, or who frequents a house of ill fame, or who knowingly patronizes any policy shop or place where gaming device is or shall be operated.

Where Law is Applicable

The law is made applicable to counties in which there are cities of more that 5,000 inhabitants.  It provides that in such counties a juvenile court shall be established.  It shall be held by a district or superior court judge, selected by his associates for that duty as now the judges divide among themselves in districts like Polk county,the different branches of court work.  A special court room is to be provided and records are to be kept as in any court.

When a child under 16 is decreed to be dependent or neglected the bill provides a state institution, a home, a society willing to receive it to a private or public hospital, or to the care of an industrial school, as he sees fit.  The societies referred to shall be properly accredited.  When a child is so placed the person or institution receiving it becomes in law its guardian.

When a child is charged with being delinquent, the bill says the court may commit it to the care of the probation officer or allow it to remain in its home subject to the visits and report of the officer.  Or the child may be boarded out in a private home or be committed to the industrial school, or to any institution organized for the care of delinquent children and properly accredited; but no child may be committed for a term beyond its minority.  The managers of the institution may parole the child so committed or the court may release it.

Other Provisions

Children under 12 years of age shall not be committed to jail.  Such children may be committed to the care of the officers of the county, of the court or of a humane society.

When any child is sentenced to confinement in an institution in which there are adult convicts, they shall not be confined in the same building yard or enclosure.

Children under 12 years charged with a misdemeanor in any court shall be transferred to the jurisdiction of the juvenile court.

The juvenile court is given power to compel by execution parents and guardians who are able to support their delinquent, neglected and dependent children.

The board of control is given supervision over the institutions to which the court may commit children.  In selecting these institutions the court is to give preferences to those representing the religious belief of the parents.

The theory of the act is to furnish for all children the care of a genuine home when possible.

Care has been taken not to emphasize in the title the fact that a juvenile court is intended to be created.  It is entitled: "A bill for an act to regulate the treatment and control of dependent, neglected and delinquent children."

Des Moines Register and Leader January 14, 1904.


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