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Lucas County Children Services

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Early 1900s

ServicesThe School Building in 1915, a grass basketball court is in the foreground
The Trustees were discriminating in their admissions, refusing to take children who were physically handicapped, and hesitating to take in the feeble-minded. Referrals were often made to other institutions such as the county infirmary, the Blind Asylum, the Home for Feeble Minded in Columbus, and to church affiliated institutions like the Lutheran Orphans Home, St. Anthony's Home, and the Home of the Good Shepherd. During the early 1900s there was an increasing awareness of the problems of the underprivileged and many child welfare organizations were founded.

A change in Ohio law in 1913 required county homes to take children one year and older. Prior to this time, the Home had accepted only children at least two years of age.
These two girls were placed with foster parents in New York (circa 1914)
The focus of services remained on the physical care of children and the job of preparing them for the workplace. In addition to regular schooling, the Home instituted domestic science classes for girls and carpentry instruction for boys. Older boys were also taught the care of cattle and horses on the Home's farm, and each child, beginning at age nine, was taught to raise a garden. According to the Home's 1915 annual report, "A child with a sound, well kept body, and a mind filled with wholesome employment is a pretty good child to commence with. Add to the variety of employment already mentioned a generous amount of recreation and amusements and the child is growing into a good citizen before you realize it."

The trustees and superintendent of the Children's Home continued the emphasis on placing children in family-based care, and by 1912 there were more children in foster homes than in the Home (237 in foster homes, 180 in the Home). The same was true in 1915, with 237 and 160, respectively.

Through the first two decades of the 1900s, the Home would complete 30-40 adoptions annually. Children were placed into private homes on trial for 60 days, after which the adoptive parents had the choice of keeping or returning the child. For the year ending February of 1900, 12 of 42 children (30%) placed in private homes were returned by the adoptive parents; however, disruption rates for this era were typically lower (15-20%).

Finances
The Home was blessed with fertile ground, and during the early 1900s the farm brought $45 to $50 in annual income from excess produce. Still, the Home struggled against the high cost of living - the trustees were forced to pay $0.075 per pound for beef - and the uncertainty of support from the county general fund. Attempts were constantly made to collect support for the children.

According to minutes from July of 1914, the Superintendent was instructed "to call to the attention of some parents of the children in the Home the fact that they are keeping their children here longer than appears necessary to straighten out their tangled domestic affairs. It is the hope of the Board that a little judicious pushing of some fathers will move them to re-establish their own homes with their children about them." The Home's budget for 1915 was $44,720.63, with an average daily population of 185 children. About 30 employees worked at the Home at this time.

Facilities
In spite of financial difficulties the Home continued to expand. The new Riverside School building was completed in 1908, and a tax levy approved in November of 1915, resulted in the construction of a new administration building.