Jessie Taft, Children's Aid Society of Pennsylvania, Annual Report, 1921

The object of the routine examination is to determine by the giving of a variety of psychometric tests, something about the child’s general level of intelligence and something about his particular abilities or disabilities. It is a great saving both to the child and to the foster home as well as to the agency, if one can get beforehand some estimate of what may be expected from a given child in the way of progress and achievement. It is as great a mistake to place a very superior child in a home which cannot provide the suitable opportunities, as to place the mediocre child in the superior home which has set its heart on sending the child to high school and college. The child will be happy only if it lies within its ability to come up to what is expected of it by the foster parents.

Even the routine examination, however, does more than just measure intelligence. It enables the examiner to spend an hour and a half with the child watching his responses to external situations and often gives a clue to emotional disturbance which will cause trouble later if not understood.

When the social history indicates that the child’s behavior has been unusual in some way, peculiar, delinquent, troublesome or what not, then this department makes a much more intensive study of the problem. In the light of the history, the medical examination, the psychometric tests, and interviews with the child in which his confidence is gained if possible, a psychological interpretation of his behavior is worked out and placement recommended on this basis. . . .

The justification for the time and effort which one such child may require before a successful adjustment is made lies in the fact that without it, the child is lost and furthermore becomes increasingly a burden and expense to the agency and to society. For such children, society pays, either in early preventive care and education or later in the futile attempts to check the anti-social or unwholesome behavior.


Source: Children's Aid Society of Pennsylvania, Annual Report, 1921, Jessie Taft Papers, Box 2, Folder: “Department of Child Study—Annual Reports, 1918-1926 (Philadelphia),” Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University.

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