MSPCC and Child Welfare Milestones


In 2006, MSPCC and Children's Hospital Boston collaborated on a policy paper that has become the platform for a campaign to reform Children's Mental Health Services in Massachusetts.


In collaboration with more than 30 organizations and legislators, MSPCC releases "18 and Out: Life After Foster Care in Massachusetts," a policy paper that addresses the significant challenges faced by teens exiting the foster care system.


MSPCC hosts the 15th National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect. Approximately 2,300 individuals attended, taking part in roundtable discussions, seminars, experiential learning opportunities, poster and plenary sessions, and workshops.


MSPCC releases "Oral Health and the Commonwealth's Most Vulnerable Children: A State of Decay", a policy paper that highlights the poor oral health and lack of access to dental care faced by low-income and foster children in Massachusetts.


Marylou Sudders, former Commissioner of Mental Health for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, becomes MSPCC President and CEO.


MSPCC achieves its $15.5 million GoodStart Campaign goal designed to provide education and home visiting services to 4,000 families annually.


MSPCC launches the first statewide foster care contract, Kid's Net. Kid's Net trains and supports foster, kinship, and adoptive families in caring for children who have suffered major trauma and loss are currently in DSS custody.


Executive Director Strom serves on Massachusetts Governor Weld's Special Commission for Foster Care to study and make recommendations regarding the state's Department of Social Services and its policies and services relating to abused and neglected children and foster care.


The GoodStart home visiting pilot project receives the American Humane Association's National Model Program Award.


MSPCC celebrates 100 years of service to children and families.


MSPCC's Mulford chairs the Governor's Committee on Child Abuse, which leads to legislation in 1973 relating to the protection of children. Known as the "mandating reporting law," Chapter 119 requires professionals such as teachers, social workers, and law enforcement officials to report suspected cases of child abuse and neglect to the State Department of Public Welfare.


Robert Mulford, MSPCC General Secretary from 1947 -1979, leads the national effort to draft a new statement of "Standards for Child Protective Service" under the auspices of the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA). These standards became "quality control" guidelines for child welfare agencies across the world.


41 MSPCC Districts and Branches are active as the Society celebrates its 75th Anniversary.


The Third White House Conference on Children determines that prevention of factors that cause abuse and neglect must be a national priority in order for children to be able to remain in the home.


MSPCC General Secretary Lothrop is named by Massachusetts Governor Frank Allen to chair The Children's Commission, designed to investigate all state laws relating to children. The Commission returns 60 recommendations for legislative change, of which 37 are enacted into law.


MSPCC aids in efforts leading to the formation of the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA). C.C. Carstens becomes CWLA's first President the following year


Grafton D. Cushing, MSPCC Board President, inspires the agency to change its operating philosophy from enforcement more toward a prevention approach. Until then, MSPCC served as a supportive adjunct of the police and the courts. "Prevention of Cruelty to Children," had meant protecting abused and neglected children by taking them away from their families. MSPCC's new approach to work with troubled families to avoid children being removed created a sensation not only in Massachusetts, but throughout the nation. Other child abuse prevention agencies found this change in philosophy to be extremely radical.


The Society and the city's Board of Health succeed in passing legislation to regulate infant boarding homes. Common in the 1800's, these "Baby farms" were places where any unwanted child could be disposed of for a fee of about $25.00. Horrifying by today's standards, the "farms" exhibited high mortality rates and most did not die of natural causes.


Legislation is passed banning the exhibition of deformed children for money and shortly thereafter, a new law prohibiting the use of children in street entertainment and begging is established.


On April 23, 1878 the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children is incorporated "...for the purpose of awakening interest in the abuses to which children are exposed by...parents and guardians, and to help the enforcement of existing laws on the subject, procure needed legislation and for kindred work..." Prominent in the original incorporation are Sarah W. Thorndike and Kate Gannett Wells. John H. Dixwell is the Society's first General Secretary from 1878 - 1880.


Boston's first children's protective society is formed.


The SPCA declares it could not handle the load of cases involving children coming to it as a result of the Mary Ellen Case and recommended forming a separate organization to deal with abused and neglected children. NYSPCC is formed.


The Mary Ellen Case reaches court in NY: Mrs. Charles Wheeler, a church worker, sought help from SPCA to stop brutal treatment of 12-year old by her foster parents. This case marks the first legal gathering for children's rights and launches the national and international child protective movement.

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