APRIL 15, 1953
NEW YORK, Tuesday—People have been so very kind in realizing that Miss Thompson's death was a great loss, not only to her family but to all of my family, too, and I want to say a word of thanks for the many messages and thoughtful telegrams that have come to me in the past few days.
One day last week I attended a meeting that was sponsored by the Citizens' Committee On Children and planned for organizations interested in children's services in New York City. We had been told to wait until the budget came out before we tried to do anything in regard to preventing the cutting of necessary services for children. So we waited and then found that a great deal of work analyzing the budget had to be done in a short period of time.
It is quite evident that these budgets are not drawn up so that the average person can quickly get a good idea of the finances of the City of New York. It takes an expert to fathom the details, and this meeting was for the purpose of bringing together the people really interested in children and giving them some of the facts that our analysis in the Citizens' Committee On Children had brought out.
New York City faces a financial crisis. Economies must be made but they are not made where those affected can make a fuss about it. They are made where those affected are children, and only the children and their parents and the few organizations really interested are going to insist on being heard.
The noise will not be very great and perhaps not many votes will actually be affected—at least that seems to be the reasoning of the politicians. As a matter of fact, I think this crisis may be the beginning of the awakening, on the part of the average voter in New York City, to the need for real business management in the government and for an appreciation of where economies can be made that will count. Those interested are determined that reduced funds now must not affect the health and well-being of future generations because the children of this generation are neglected.
Here are some of the examples of the wrong kind of economy:
The cuts in the Health Department will be particularly harmful to children. Positions were cut out at key spots, even though the saving to the city was comparatively small since the state paid 50 percent of the cost. The explanation, of course, was that most of these positions were filled by "provisionals." In the District Health Division five officers, who were provisionals, were cut out only because no examinations had been given for some time. In the Bureau of Dentistry it had been necessary to fill positions with provisionals because no dentists were willing to accept the low pay on a permanent basis. Payments to physicians in child health clinics totalled $20,600 and in the day-care unit the total cost was $13,938.
These savings thus brought about will not save the financial situation of the city, and they will do grave harm to the health of the children.
The day-care unit is responsible for inspection, supervision and licensing of nursery schools, day-care centers and play groups for children under six years of age. The cut simply means that the law requiring licensing of all centers cannot be enforced.
If only the public could be aroused, perhaps we could get greater efficiency in government here and more fairness in Albany to New York City.