The U.S. Children's Bureau, the federal agency responsible for social policy for children in the early part of this century, delayed studying the problems associated with the institutionalization of juvenile delinquents for nearly twenty-five years. In the 1930's, the Bureau undertook several projects and studies related to training schools for delinquents which were designed to create reform in an area long recognized as harmful to children. This article traces the history of the Bureau's work in the institutional field from 1912-54, analyzes the reasons for the agency's initial reluctance and later activity in this area, discusses the results of these early reform efforts and suggests reasons for the Bureau's failure to achieve significant reform in the juvenile correctional field.

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