In New York City there is a committee called the Committee on the Physical Welfare of School Children. The word "welfare" was used rather than "condition" because the committee proposed to use whatever facts it could gather for the improvement of home and school conditions prejudicial to child welfare. The following programme was adopted:

1. Study of the physical welfare of school children.

a. Examination of board of health records of children needing medical, dental, or ocular care, and better nourishment.

b. Home visitation of such children, in order to ascertain whether their need arises from deficient income or from other causes.

c. Effort to secure proper treatment, either from parents or from free clinics or other established agencies.

d. Effort to secure proper physical surroundings of children while at school—playgrounds, baths, etc.

2. Effort to secure establishment of such a system of school records and reports as will disclose automatically significant school facts,—e.g. regarding backward pupils, truancy, regularity of attendance, registered children not attending, sickness, physical defects, etc.

3. Effort to utilize available information regarding school needs so as to stimulate public interest and thus aid in securing adequate appropriations to meet school needs.

The committee grew out of the discussion, in the year 1905, of the following proposition: To insure a race physically able to receive our vaunted free education, we must provide at school free meals, free eyeglasses, free medical and dental care. Thanks to the superintendent of schools of New York City, to Robert Hunter's Poverty, to John Spargo's Bitter Cry of the Children, hundreds of thousands of American citizens were made to realize for the first time that a large proportion of our school children are in serious need of medical, dental, or ocular attention, or of better nourishment.

Because physicians, dentists, oculists, hospitals, dispensaries, relief agencies, had seemingly been unconscious of this serious state of affairs, they had no definite, constructive remedy to propose. Their unpreparedness served to strengthen the arguments for the European method of doing things. France, Germany, Italy, England, had found it necessary to do things at school. Arguing from their experience, it was only a matter of time when American cities must follow their example. Why not, therefore, begin at once to deal radically with the situation and give school meals, school eyeglasses, etc.? Those who organized the Committee on the Physical Welfare of School Children realized the danger of trying to settle so great a question with the little definite information then available. If doing things at school were to be adopted as a principle and logically carried out, vast sums must be added to the present cost of the public school system. Complications would arise with private and parochial schools, whose children might have quite as serious physical defects, even though not educated by public funds. It would be difficult to obtain proper rooms for medical and dental treatment and meals, and perhaps still more difficult to insure proper food, skilled oculists, dentists, surgeons, and physicians.