Patron: The Queen. Founder: Mr. Allan Graham. President and Chairman of
Council: The Right Hon. The Earl of Aberdeen.
Objects of the Association
The general aim of the association is to obtain for the children the best possible medical treatment, a good education, and the means of earning their livelihood in the future. In order to carry this into effect, the association endeavours to provide every suitable applicant with a friend, who shall give, so far as circumstances will permit, unstinted personal service, doing and getting done everything that experience, common-sense, and kindness may permit.
Those who know something of the suffering endured, often most patiently, by many hundreds of little children revere the memory of the late Mr. Allan Graham, to whom this association owes its existence.
The association has a council, meeting four times a year, and an executive committee, partly elected and partly nominated including among its members several eminent surgeons and hospital sisters. This committee meets twice a week, to consider cases and to decide as to the steps that should be taken in each instance. At the present time there are about 8,000 current cases in London alone. These are all in the charge of visitors, each of whom undertakes to befriend one or more children. These visitors are grouped into districts and branches, of which there are now fifty-eight. The work of each district is controlled by a selected visitor, chosen for experience, organising ability, and, where possible, nursing knowledge. This visitor is styled a representative.
Representatives are requested to send in a report every quarter of all their children, and to furnish particulars, as soon as possible, of any new case referred to them.
Visitors, who undertake the supervision of one or more children, are asked to report on their progress and general condition at regular intervals to the representative of the district in which the children live. The great desire of the committee is that the visitors shall become the real friends of the children, and also bring into their lives interests beyond their own often limited horizon.
The following are a few points which visitors are asked to bear in mind:
1. In trying to help the child, never forget that it is one of a family, and that it will be true kindness to endeavour to strengthen the family tie, and expect the parents to take their share in everything that we do for the good of the child. (In 1909 over 1,000 was contributed by parents.)
Endeavour to strengthen the child's character, and help it to face the difficulties of life bravely, and to look forward to doing some work in the future.
The Charity Organisation Society will often co-operate in this.
The Need for Education
For a physically defective child, education is of the greatest importance, and if the child can go to school, you should see that it attends as regularly as possible.
If the child is unable to go to school, try to provide some home teaching, and get the child's relations or friends to carry this on between the visits.
2. Watch constantly the physical condition, and find out if the child is attending any hospital; if necessary, encourage the parents to take it regularly, and advise and help them in carrying out the treatment recommended, and if a medical opinion seems necessary, communicate at once with your representative.
If a surgical appliance has been provided, see that it is worn and kept in order, and report at once to your representative if it needs repair.
3. Visit regularly, and let the child feel that it can rely upon you. Disappointment is bad for a sick child, and we want, by example, to teach the value of a promise. When prevented from going at the appointed time, if possible let the child know. In some cases, however, it may be useful occasionally to visit the home when not expected.
4. Do not give money or other relief without first consulting your representative. This rule does not apply to small luxuries or personal gifts on special occasions.
When these payments are received by the visitor, it is very desirable, for the parents' sake, that the money should be collected weekly, and a careful account should, of course, be kept. Visitors should never make up deficient payments without consulting the representative.
Money collected should be paid to the representative before the end of every quarter, and any contributions obtained from friends for the benefit of a particular child should also be sent to the representative for transmission to the office.
It will be readily understood that to carry out this work efficiently the association must be in close touch with many other organisations, such as hospitals, convalescent and nursing homes, district nurses, and special schools, as well as with philanthropic agencies of all kinds.
The Charity Organisation Society is constantly asked to investigate cases where charitable relief is thought to be necessary, and, in its turn, sends numerous cases to the Invalid Children's Aid Association to be dealt with. Among other co-operating agencies may be mentioned the Hospital Sunday Fund, the Hospital Saturday Fund, and the Ragged School Union.
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children gives valuable assistance in cases where parents are guilty of wilful neglect, a visit from one of their inspectors often preventing the necessity of more drastic measures having to be taken, as our readers will have learnt from the account of the work of the N.s.p.c.c. on pages 262 and 413 of Every Woman's Encyclopaedia.
The association is in constant communication with the Poor Law authorities. Many cases not suitable for voluntary treatment are referred to the guardians, who have very extensive powers with regard to physically and mentally defective children. These powers are, unfortunately, permissive, and not compulsory, and are not universally adopted. The Metropolitan Asylums Board has established seaside homes for tuberculous children at Heme Bay, Margate, and Risington, and has schools for ringworm and ophthalmic cases, as well as for the feebleminded - with which latter the I.c.a A does not deal. Apart from homes and special schools, it is sometimes advisable to board out invalid children for a time in the country. Where this is done, the children are put in the care of a local committee, or of someone interested in such cases, who will visit them from time to time.
Where it is quite impossible for a child to attend even a special school, arrangements are made for a visitor to give it instruction in its own home, often with most happy results, and the peevish, fretful invalid becomes a bright, intelligent scholar.
Branches and Federated Societies
London itself has fourteen branches These are worked by local committess,but are in close touch with the centre. In many cities and provincial towns there are societies which undertake the charge of invalid children, in addition to other work. These are able to join in a federation (of which the centre is the London I.c.a A and thus obtain valuable advice and assistance.
Further particulars with regard to this work can be obtained from the secretary. 69, Denison House,vauxhall Bridge Road,