Centennial Series: The Children's Bureau and Juvenile Court Standards (1922–1932)

The juvenile justice system we know today operates on a foundation that grew from the early efforts of the Children's Bureau. After its creation in 1912, the Children's Bureau's immediate work focused on maternal and infant mortality; however, investigating and reporting on juvenile courts was also part of its legislative mandate. The first Children's Bureau Chief Julia Lathrop and other early chiefs fought for a system of standards that recognized America's children were developmentally different from adults and deserved a chance at rehabilitation and treatment in lieu of punishment.

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