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Progress Report on Maternal and Child-Health Services: 1940



March 4, 1940

By Edwin F. Daily, M.D., Director,

Maternal and Child Health Division, Children’s Bureau, U.S. Department of Labor

Fifteen months ago the Advisory Committee on Maternal and Child-Health Services met with the Children’s Bureau and made several recommendations. The first recommendation was that the selection of personnel by the State health departments be made on the basis of qualifications only and that salaries be paid commensurate with qualifications required and services performed. Within the past 4 months 33 health departments have been working toward the establishment of a merit system of personnel administration which, among other things, requires the selection of personnel on the basis of qualifications only. The remaining 19 State health departments already were operating under civil-service laws.

The second recommendation of the committee was that physicians and nurses participating in prenatal clinics and child-health conferences under maternal and child-health programs be given special training for this type of service and that continued supervision and consultation be made available. Several States have now developed practical courses in prenatal care and the health supervision of well children for the physicians employed to conduct clinics and conferences. Other States are sending these physicians to special courses in nearby States. Eighty-three full-time pediatricians and obstetricians have been employed on State staffs to work with local physicians conducting clinics and conferences, advising them and observing whether or not a satisfactory type of service is being rendered. The American Academy of Pediatrics has taken an active interest and plans to have their members assist the State health agencies in systematically evaluating the services rendered in the child-health conferences.

The third recommendation of the committee related to specific qualifications of certain types of personnel. The recommended qualifications have all been adopted by the Children’s Bureau and approved by the State and Territorial health officers. Practically all of the State health agencies have used these recommendations as guides in setting up their qualifications for employment of personnel under these programs.

The fourth recommendation of the committee was that the Children’s Bureau assist in formulating standards for hospitals and homes accepting maternity patients. The Children’s Bureau has given to the States a list of important suggestions that should be considered in any new legislation on this subject and has urged the employment of qualified staff by the health departments to carry out the provisions of these laws. Five States have recently adopted rules and regulations for the conduct of hospitals and homes accepting maternity patients and several States have strengthened the existing rules and regulations on this subject. The health departments of 17 States and Hawaii now have the responsibility of licensing and regulating hospitals or homes accepting maternity patients.

Several members of the Advisory Committee on Maternal and Child-Health Services met in Washington with a committee of State and Territorial health officers last September for discussion of the amendments to the Social Security Act and the additional funds authorized by Congress for grants-in-aid to the States. The recommendations made at that time concerning the use of these funds for medical and hospital care have been most useful to the States in formulating their programs and to the Children’s Bureau in reviewing State plans prior to approval.

Source: Harriet M. Bartlett Papers. Box 4. Folder 35. University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Social Welfare History Archives, Minneapolis, MN.

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