712 THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY
such aid cannot be regularly extended to private or sectarian asylums. And yet the counties evade the constitutional provi- sion and pay for boarding their dependent children in such insti- tutions. In Michigan the constitution requires a two-thirds vote of the legislature to extend such aid. At first it seems a just arrangement for the state to aid such charities and that by it the state would have much less to pay. But experience has shown that the experiment has in the end proved very expensive to the state and injurious to the children. This system has won- derfully increased child dependence and involves enormous expenditures. In whatever form this is done, whether by state appropriations or by counties boarding out their dependents, in such asylums the same result will be reached. It is the "let alone " and the " riddance " method combined. The state or county oflRcial may think his duty done when the child has been taken from want and boarded out. But the child remains dependent still, with continued expense to the public and the expense will continue longer, for it is for the interest of the private charity to detain the child as long as the public pays. The church asylum was the first in the field for children, and only words of commendation should be given when the charity is unselfish. But when it becomes semi-public, depending on pub- lic funds, then it ceases to be a charity. It becomes a public institution conducted by private parties for their own interest and seldom controlled by law as to admissions or discharges of children.
New York has always been noted for its unlimited public and private charities. Nowhere has private and public aid been so lavishly extended to dependent children. Many noble men and women have been noted for their devotion to the work in this state. And yet the rising tide of child dependence has been more than public and private work could control under the system in vogue — that of support in private and sectarian asy- lums by public funds. As an example of this system the evolu- tion of child saving in New York is interesting and profitable. The work began in alarm and for years has been continued in