Excerpt from Improvement Era, Vol. 23: July, 1920
The juvenile courts arose as a protest against the view that a delinquent child should either be punished as a criminal or turned loose to become a criminal. The founders of the system contended that there was a middle ground, the ground of constructive and special education between the schools and the jails for those with criminal tendencies. It is assumed nu der such a theory that child welfare is a community responsi bility; that the responsibility rests first of all on the home, the school, the church and private welfare agencies; but that the state as guardian of all its children should safeguard the fail ures of those institutions and provide for them the training necessary to make of them good citizens, if that is possible.
The problem is clearly one of special education, and if the present school laws had been in Operation when the juvenile courts were established in our state, without doubt it would have occurred to the framers of the law that a great many of the tasks imposed on the Juvenile Courts were properly problems of educational administration. But at that period the law provided for compulsory education through the eighth grade only. Sixty per cent of juvenile offenders brought into the courts are between the ages of 14 and 18 years. Conse quently it was necessary for the state to create a new educational system apart from the school system to provide special training for youthful offenders. That system took the form of the Juvenile Court with its probation department, county detention homes, and the state industrial school.
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