A Study of Withdrawn Foster Home Applications in the Suffolk County Department of Public Welfare

Jean K Gordon, Fordham University


Generations ago relatives and friends felt it their moral obligation to open their homes to the children left without parents or whose parents could not provide for them. As civilization progressed the community assumed this responsibility. There has been an evolution in the system of caring for these dependent children. In the beginning all children were placed in institutions. By the early nineteenth century there was initiated a system termed indenture which was "an organized system of industrial apprentice-ship, which usually meant for dependent children a permanent substitute for the home, at least until the child was grown." The results of indenture are not gratifying. However, this system was the beginning of the recognition that a child matures to a happier, better adjusted adult when he has been reared in a family home. In 1869, agencies first paid board to the families who took children. Now that we could pay board we needed homes; therefore, the need of a homefinding program naturally followed. The White House Conference on Dependent Children, held in 1909, gave homefinding its first great impetus. Homefinding may be described as a specific service in the child placement field, developed to select and evaluate the homes that will substitute for a natural home. Without foster homes a child placement agency cannot meet its obligation to the dependent child and the community. As we have become more identified with the child and have learned more of his needs, the more we want in a foster home. Homefinders not only must have homes but homes that can work with the agency for the benefit of its children, at the same time receiving help for some needs of their own which brought them to apply for this service. The foster parents must be secure financially and emotionally and have a capacity to give affection to a child who is unable to return this affection and to share these children with their families. These requirements may appear high, but homefinders know that many people, because of their own needs, can give to children without much recompense. The process, therefore, involves not only a study of the child’s particular needs but also the needs of the foster parents so that in selecting a home for a child the homefinder sees to it that the needs of one complement the needs of the other.

Subject Area

Public administration|Health care management|Social work

Recommended Citation

Gordon, Jean K, "A Study of Withdrawn Foster Home Applications in the Suffolk County Department of Public Welfare" (1952). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI30509602.