JUNE 28, 1945
HYDE PARK, Wednesday—Now that I am home permanently, one of the first things I wanted to do was to see again the State Training School for Boys at Warwick, New York, the institution in which I was much interested years ago during my husband's time in Albany. Yesterday I was able to do this with Mrs. Sidney Sherwood, who is a member of the Board of Visitors, and to observe the conditions that now prevail.
On the physical side, the plant has greatly improved. I remember the cottages as bare brick buildings; today the planting around them is lovely. There were practically no shops for vocational training or for work then. Today the most finished equipment is installed. Boys who work in these shops could learn a trade for use in their future lives.
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In talking to the dietician, however, I found that the children are fed on 40 cents a day. The boys I saw yesterday, I should judge, ranged in age from 12 to 16, with most of them apparently between 14 and 16. Some of them looked much older than their years; others are not so well developed physically. But few of the faces are youthful.
They run a farm, and so they grow some of their vegetables, and they have a glass of milk at breakfast and at supper. But I gathered that the cost of production is counted in on that 40 cents. Even if you had a family of between four and five hundred, and could buy wholesale, you would find that you could not do very well at 40 cents per day per head.
Sometimes I wish that the housewives of the state had a representative serving on budget committees which decide on what is to be spent in state institutions. I was firmly told by Dr. Williams that this allowance was in line with the allowances of other state institutions. Yet any mother of boys knows that they need more food than the average grown person.
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I was therefore not surprised to find, when I had a chance to talk to the boys, that they responded more quickly when I asked them what they liked to eat. They have meat on Sundays and fish on Fridays. Eggs or cheese or beans are the rule on the other days, I gather, with chopped meat occasionally thrown in. Even on Christmas last year they did not have ice cream, and most of us who have youngsters around a great deal know what a favorite dessert this is. You can do a lot with children through food, but it must be rather hard to do it on 40 cents per head. The staff gets an allowance of 80 cents, but some of this money is spent for service.
Those of you who have not been interested in your training schools for boys and girls in your state may want to go and visit them. After all, these boys are either going to be good citizens in the future, or else you are going to pay for them in penal institutions permanently. Tomorrow I'll tell you more about Warwick.