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Mortimer L. Schiff Reports Jewish Board of Guardians’ Progress

Expansion in the work of the Jewish Board of Guardians along the lines of psychiatry, mental hygiene, firmer contacts with the public schools and growing confidence in the work of the Board are listed as accomplishments of the last year in the sixth annual report of the organization submitted to the State Legislature and Mayor Walker by Mortimer L. Schiff, president.

Progress was also reported toward a more highly trained staff of volunteer workers and better co-ordination between the various sub-divisions of the society, which is charged with the handling of delinquency problems among Jewish children. The Federation of Jewish Philanthropic Societies, of which the Board of Guardians is a constituent agency, contributed $225,681 toward its work and the City of New York $103,250, according to the report.

“Subject to the limitation of the financial support accorded to us,” Mr. Schiff said, “we are covering the ground without the confusion arising from the disconnected efforts of unrelated societies. We are cutting down the expenses and wasted effort of over-large activities, and since we are treating the matter of delinquency in its entirety, there is developing, as the years pass, a greater understanding of the characters of the unfortunates with whom we deal, as well as a more practical knowledge of what it is humanly possible to do for them.

“Since there is scarcely a case of wrongdoing or violation of law that is not invloved with other cases or with conditions that need correcting, it makes it obvious that the only way to deal with them is to take them as a whole and not as isolated problems. The problem of the delinquent boy, for example, may also be the problem of a broken home, and that of the wayward girl, the problem of incompetent parents. All the forces at our command must be turned to get at the underlying causes and to bring about a better showing in future years.

“From the mildly difficult child to the most hardened criminal,” he report continued, “our treatment will always have prevention in view. These departments deal with boys and girls between eight and sixteen who have not been in correctional institutions and are young enough to strengthen our efforts with a large measure of helpfulness.”

Contrary to general belief, the majority of children do not come from the Children’s Court. Only 10 per cent of the 422 new cases accepted last year came from the court, others being referred by parents, social agencies, the Board of Education and similar sources.

“During the year,” the report said, “934 boys and 528 girls were under supervision and on the last day of the year 447 boys and 223 girls were in the care of the committee. Of 745 cases closed during the year, 222 were closed with satisfactory adjustments and 76 were referred for continued service to other agencies. Most of the offenders are listed as ‘incorrigible’-there were 104 truants, 50 were referred because of improper guardianship, 21 were runaways, 31 were brought to the Children’s Court becaues of stealing, and 13 refused to work.”

The report discussed the work of the constituent agencies, especially the Hawthorne School for delinquent boys and the Cedar Knolls School for delinquent girls, with Mr. Borg as Vice Chairman of the joint committee for both and Mrs. Arthur Hays Sulzberger as Chairman of the Ceder Knolls subcommittee. At the end of last year Hawthorne had 216 inmates and Cedar Knolls 38. At the boy’s school 68 inmates were orphans or came from homes where parents were divorced or separated.

The Committee on Field Activities, of which Mrs. Sidney C. Borg is chairman, and Edward S. Greenbaum vice-chairman, with headquarters at 228 East Nineteenth Street, reported good results with preventative work.

Besides Mr. Schiff, the officers of the Board are Henry Solomon and Mrs. Morton M. Menken, Vice-Presidents; Sidney C. Borg, Treasurer, and Edgar J. Kobler, Secretary.

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