Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Make a Difference to Children Month: The Children's Bureau.

As July is Make a Difference to Children Month, it's fitting to remember the plight of young children that contributed to the establishment of the Children's Bureau in 1912.

1916 Children's Bureau Poster, Library of Congress

As this Children's Bureau poster from 1916 makes clear, a significant portion of deaths of children under age 2 was largely preventable. As Paul H. Stuart discusses in CSWE's Women and Children First: The Contribution of the Children's Bureau to Social Work Education, the bureau placed a high priority on initiatives involving maternal health and the health of the young child.

This concern is reflected in the 1919 film Our Children, commissioned by the bureau to promote children's health and shown in many rural areas in the United States.

Women & Children First,
ed. Alice Lieberman and
the late Kristine Nelson (CSWE Press)
Julia Lathrop,
first chief of
the Children's Bureau
(Library of Congress
In these remarks of April 9, 1962, on the occasion of the bureau's 50th anniversary, President John F. Kennedy noted the improvement in the child mortality rate when he stated that fewer than 3 babies out of 100 died in infancy (as compared to 10 in every 100 in 1912). In 2013, the rate was 6.05 deaths in every 1,000 births.

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