The rural almshouse population in Missouri
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Not since 1904, when Dr. C. A. Ellwood published a study of Missouri almshouses, has any serious attempt been made to examine these institutions and her inmate populations. With the organization in the state of new systems of care for the aged, for dependent children, the unemployed, the insane and feeble-minded and other groups, it would seem appropriate to take some stock of the almshouse to see where--if at all--it fits into the picture. Statements are often made that the almshouse no longer has a function, that it has become largely an institution for the indigent aged who will in the future be cared for under the old age assistance program. It is also claimed that the poorhouse is largely peopled by the insane and feeble-minded who can better be cared for in state hospitals. These local institutions are criticized as inefficient and expensive and are said to have no place in modern systems of public care for the dependent. The wisdom of such assertions can only be tested when the facts are available. The time seems particularly ripe for careful study and evaluation of the county almshouses. The data contained in this study should be of considerable significance to both state and county officials who are charged with responsibility for the administration of Missouri's public welfare program. They should also be of interest to the general public which has a stake in the efficient and economical administration of county government and county institutions. It is with this objective in mind that these facts are made public. The study specifically aims to describe the general characteristics and types of rural almshouses and their inmates in Missouri. It is intended to point out some of the significant features regarding present systems of operation and control and to show the size and composition of the inmate population. Introduction.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- Administration and control -- Personnel and management -- Almshouses and almshouse inmates -- Eligibility of inmates for old age assistance -- Consolidation of almshouses -- Suggested recommendations -- Appendix.