All who are acquainted with the demands made upon the Public Charities by families which have the misfortune to have an idiot child, know how utterly inadequate is the provision made for this class in England. In the first place, there is a great mass of pauper idiocy. Undoubtedly, counties and boroughs are obliged by law to admit cases of idiocy and imbecility into workhouses and asylums in the same way as lunatics. It is not, however, necessary to prove that it is highly undesirable to mix this class with the insane in county asylums, or to retain them in workhouse infirmaries. It would be possible, indeed, to erect separate buildings exclusively for idiots on the grounds of the asylum, and this course may be adopted if no distinct provision for the training and care of idiots be provided, as was proposed a few years ago by the Charity Organization Society. We will, however, assume that such provision will be made for pauper idiots as shall meet the objection of mixing them with the insane, and that they shall receive the special kind of education which they require. There still remains a not inconsiderable number of idiots who belong to a class socially above a very poor and strictly pauper class. In many instances a small weekly payment could be made, and, indeed, nothing would be more painful to the parents of such a child than to have to seek relief and ask for the admission of their child into a pauper asylum through the relieving officer. For persons in this social grade, the charitable Institutions, Earlswood, the Royal Albert Asylum, Star Cross, &c., provide, but only to a very small extent, and everyone knows the extreme difficulty of obtaining votes by canvassing in order to procure admission. In short, the supply falls ridiculously short of the demand.
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