LEGALLY distinct from the University and supported by a small, separate appropriation, yet administratively part of the University because it is under the control of the Board of Regents acting as trustees, is the Michigan Child Guidance Institute, which was established by a special legislative act, the Palmer-Flynn-Martin Bill, in 1937 (P.A., 1937, No. 285).
Created to inquire into the causes of child delinquency, to study methods of improving treatment of such cases, and to co-ordinate the work of public and private agencies in examining and caring for such children, the Institute was the outcome of a number of different influences working in the same general direction for several years. As early as 1932 President Ruthven had directed the attention of the Department of Sociology and of the School of Education to the need of studying the adjustment-status of boys treated at the University Fresh Air Camp. Out of this came a local co-ordinating council in Ann Arbor, the President's treatment planning committee, and later, through Dr. Ruthven's influence, a privately financed educational activity connected with the Department of Sociology, the Michigan Juvenile Delinquency Information Service, which for several years circulated a monthly Delinquency News Letter to several thousand officials and community leaders throughout the state. As a result of this interest, when the vice-chairman of the State Crime Commission, the late State Senator Herbert P. Orr of Caro, asked for technical assistance in 1934 in drafting a plan for providing clinical advice for juvenile courts in the state, the late Dr. Albert M. Barrett and other faculty members collaborated in preparing a plan which, with a few modifications, became the Palmer-Flynn-Martin Bill.
Under this act the Institute was set up as a research, educational, and organizing agency to study the causes of juvenile delinquency in individual children and in communities, and to carry on experimental research to improve methods of treatment and the efficiency of community organization. The first director, Lowell Juilliard Carr ('20, Ph.D. '24), Associate Professor of Sociology, was appointed November 1, 1937, and the Institute began examining cases March 1, 1938. By December 1, 1940, it had examined 995 cases from 35 counties and had assumed continuing responsibility for the ultimate adjustment of 271 of those cases, mainly in Oakland, Monroe, Montcalm, and Shiawassee counties, where local leadership had been organized to co-operate; and its educational and organizing activities had reached into 81 communities in 51 counties in all parts of the state. In its program for educating local leadership to assume responsibility for controlling delinquency at home the Institute was unique in the United States, and in its combination of research, education, and community organization to discover and prevent delinquency before it reached the courts the Institute was performing a function no other agency in the state was touching.
During its first three years the Institute staff consisted of twelve full-time persons and one or two part-time graduate assistants. The full-time staff included, in addition to secretarial assistants, a psychiatrist, a psychologist, a field sociologist, a field research man, and two (later, three) social workers.
Page 330In a report published early in 1941, the Institute estimated that 73 per cent of its cases under treatment had either made satisfactory adjustments or were showing improvement.