JUNE 22, 1959
DENVER—I have a letter from a worried mother which points up a problem that has been put before me a number of times. It is the problem of providing free facilities for the care of children who suffer some emotional disturbance—or who have suffered a brain injury of some kind—and who should be in an institution to receive special care and such training as it is possible to give them.
The writer of the letter I have in hand today tells me that she and her husband have a child who had a brain injury which stemmed from an attack of encephalitis at the age of six. It has been recommended that she go to the Woods School in Langhorn, Pennsylvania, where the tuition is $7,200 a year. But the mother who writes me happens to have a husband in the Federal government employ whose income is somewhere around $5,000 a year. She is looking for some way of getting help to put this child of theirs into the Woods School, or some similar institution.
Actually, her appeal is the appeal of many mothers who are in much the same situation. They want their children to be given the kind of care and training which may educate them, particularly so they may take care of themselves and even perhaps earn their living and be useful citizens. Yet these parents cannot possibly meet the high cost of this care and training. It seems as though our states and our Federal government would have to consider subsidizing such care and training for families where, without public aid, the child will be for the whole of its life a burden upon society.
I well realize that the area in which government takes over responsibility is constantly being widened. As a result, all the people of our country have to take on this responsibility, because government revenue comes from general taxation. Yet I think it is evident that research and the care of certain types of illness must for a long time be assumed by our people as a whole through their taxes, and therefore the people will have to make it clear that they recognize and accept these responsibilities.
I do not happen to follow newspaper comic strips with care, but during this month of June I would like to congratulate Mr. Allen Saunders on the 20th anniversary of his very successful comic strip, "Mary Worth." This is really not a comic strip but a continuous story which interests many thousands of readers. Mr. Saunders was once a college professor, and in this comic strip he tries to—and often does—solve many problems for both young and old. In Toledo, Ohio, where he lives, he has taken an active part in many community activities. This is of course the result of his interest in people, which comes out in the continuous story of "Mary Worth."
The drawings for this strip are done by Ken Ernst, and these two men make a good team. Anyone who has the interest of people at heart will be handed plenty of problems to try to solve, and Mr. Saunders does as well as anyone can do in pointing out possible solutions to their own particular problems.