FEBRUARY 28, 1941
WASHINGTON, Thursday—Today I shall tell you a little about the work of the United States Committee for the Care of European Children, which I visited yesterday. I wonder if people realize that these children, even when they are in the homes of foster parents, are watched over by agencies in various parts of the country, chosen by the United States Children Bureau. Sometimes these agencies are state agencies, sometimes they are private ones, but they always come up to a high standard set by the Children's Bureau and our guests from overseas are safe in their care.
No matter how careful they are in a choice of a home, however, a child does not always adjust and there is friction between the members of the household. In that case, the agency tries to find another home in which a happier adjustment can be made. Occasionally, people undertake a responsibility without realizing quite what it means when they face it day in and day out. Financial changes occur, problems arise within the family and necessitate changes. All these are part of the responsibility assumed by the United States Committee.
The United States Committee in many cases assumes financial responsibility for the children and must keep a skeleton staff and continue to raise a steady income. For the time being, no effort is being made to bring over children from England, but there are children arriving on various steamers, sometimes entirely unaccompanied. The United States Committee is notified, meets them, and arranges for reception care until they are placed in a home in this country. It may be possible to bring some children from Lisbon. These children are either now in Lisbon awaiting passage, or agencies hope to bring them over in small groups. They are largely refugee children of many nationalities from unoccupied France.
I was surprised to learn the other day that there are still five hundred children with their parents in concentration camps in unoccupied France. The Red Cross is trying to help these children. Some of them may eventually find their way to our shores, as well as others who can no longer be cared for in France by individuals and groups there. It seems to me that every child saved is just one more life for which to be thankful. I hope that the United States Committee for the Care of European Children will continue to do its work with the same success that it has had so far.
I lunched with Dr. Dearborn, some of the faculty of New York University Extension Service and some of the educational people from the CCC camps in the corps areas in New York City yesterday. Their reading clinic of the University has conducted an experiment in one of the CCC camps in this area which reveals uncorrected eye defects in a great many of these boys and certain facts about their reading ability which point to some needed changes in our educational system. I was very much interested in the reading clinic and think many of us would profit by a course taken there.