skip navigation


Abstract Database

Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

To download this abstract, check the box next to the NCJ number then click the "Back To Search Results" link. Then, click the "Download" button on the Search Results page. Also see the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 80064 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Nearly a Century Later - The Child Savers - Child Advocates and the Juvenile Justice System
Author(s): R B McNally
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 14
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Type: Historical Overview
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A comparative analysis of the historical development of the juvenile justice reform movement in the late 19th century with the activities of contemporary child advocates finds many similarities between the groups, particularly their reliance on Government intervention to solve social problems.
Abstract: The child saving movement which arose between 1865 and 1900 was spearheaded by white women from the middle and upper classes whose philanthropic work filled a void in their lives created by technological progress, affluence, and changes in social patterns. A growing concern with problems caused by industrialization and immigration resulted in child labor laws, compulsory education, and the Illinois Juvenile Court Act of 1899, the first statewide court for juveniles. It was not until the 1960's that the juvenile court system came under attack for the failure of parens patriae and not applying due process safeguards. The 1960's, like the 1870's, were characterized by great social turbulence and reform movements such as women's rights and child advocacy. While the 19th century child savers looked to Government for some type of control to supplant the family, the contemporary child advocates ask the Government to support alternatives to incarceration for juveniles. Both movements assume middle class values, and contemporary reformers have not challenged established institutions, but merely advocated an alternative form of social control. A review of the literature suggests that child advocates of the 1960's were primarily females with varying levels of formal education and belonged to lobbying groups with political clout. The child savers did make the public aware that children should not be treated as adults, but both movements have been self-serving and unwilling to take the risks necessary to effect real change. The failure of both reform groups is illustrated by a juvenile court which functions on an adversial model and the emergence of punitive juvenile codes in most States. Nearly a century later, the juvenile justice system is returning to its original form which processed and punished adults and youths in the same manner. The paper provides 17 references.
Index Term(s): Court reform; Juvenile justice system; Rights of minors; Youth advocates
Note: Paper prepared for the annual meeting of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, March 11-14, 1981.
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.