How Did Iowa Women Activists Lobby for the
Passage of the Juvenile Court Law, 1904?
In 1904, Iowa passed their version of the juvenile court law. This legislation was similar to legislation passed in several other states and was part of the national movement to establish juvenile courts during the Progressive Era. The champion of the bill in Iowa was Cora Bussey Hillis, an upper-middle class woman with years of organizing experience as an active member in the National Congress of Mothers. The juvenile court bill was just one of Hillis's reforms centered on children, but it was notable because the law demonstrated the influence of organized women in progressive reform.