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Martha and Mary Children's Home : an analytical study of a Lutheran children's home in Poulsbo, Washington, and its possibilities of change in function Erickson, Frank Wellington

Abstract

This is an evaluation study of a small children's institution in Poulsbo, Washington, during a period in which changes in its functions were being considered. The Home is part of a Lutheran fellowship of congregations, and is of particular importance to this Church, since it is the only remaining children's home on the North American continent being supported by the Church. The study was made at a point at which the institutional population had greatly declined. The Board of Directors were concerned with this situation, and several Board meetings were called to discuss the problem. The writer attended these meetings. Also a member of the staff of the School of Social Work of the University of British Columbia conferred with members of the Board. The development of children's institutions is examined analytically, followed by a review of some of the guiding principles of these institutions today. A classification of children for whom institutional care is suitable is set out, as a background for a population study of admissions to the Home for the past three years. After a brief discussion of the origins and development of Martha and Mary Children's Home, its present program is evaluated in terms of standards which have been laid down in the State of Washington, i.e., plant, grounds and equipment, program, governing body and administration, financing, and personnel. The fact that the institution's population has been declining seems to point up the need for a revised function and organization. It is clear from the population study that, on the whole, the Home gets children who are not suitable for foster home placement. Accordingly, an observation and treatment institution for emotionally disturbed children is suggested as its possible future function. A more realistic goal for the present time, however, seems to be a residential home for adolescents. Recommendations are also made with regard to staff, program, and Board of Directors.

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