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Lothrop chairs The Children’s Commission

MSPCC General Secretary Thornton 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.

CWLA is Formed

MSPCC aids in efforts leading to the formation of the Child Welfare League of America.

Grafton D. Cushing, MSPCC Board President

Grafton D. Cushing, MSPCC Board President, inspires the agency to change its operating philosophy from enforcement to 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..Read More

Boarding Homes Regulation

MSPCC and Boston’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..Read More

Exhibition of Children Banned

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.

First Prosecution of a Parent

The first known prosecution of a parent for mistreating a child in Massachusetts is the mother of Sarah Gambion who was brought to court and found guilty of beating her daughter.

MSPCC is Founded

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…”

New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals declares it cannot handle the load of cases involving children coming to them as a result of the Mary Ellen case.  The SPCA recommends forming a separate organization to deal with abused and neglected children. The New York Society for the..Read More

The Mary Ellen Case

The Mary Ellen case reaches court in New York: Etta Wheeler, speaks up and seeks help from the Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to stop the brutal treatment of Mary Ellen, a 12-year old girl in her neighborhood. This case marks the first legal gathering for children’s rights..Read More
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