Rose Keller Home To Close
Lakeland, Fla., August 7, 1960: The Rose Keller Home, a haven here for dependent, homeless and unwanted children for 33 years, is closing its doors and fading from the Lakeland scene.
The home, located on Lake Morton Drive, is to be closed by Sept. 15 on the basis of a three-year study on the feasibility of maintaining the institution, D. H. Sloan Jr., president of the board of directors, announced yesterday.
"The children heretofore served by the Rose Keller Home will in the future be cared for by public agencies which have been established by the state legislature to provide care for dependent and needy children," Sloan said.
Foster Homes Take Over ...
"Most of this is being done today in foster homes, and the need for institutions such as the Rose Keller Home has decreased to the point where our facilities are no longer needed for this purpose."
Rose Keller Home, founded in 1927 as a gift from Drs. Rose and Fred B. Keller to the Children's Home Society of Florida, is one of the state's major institutions devoted to the care and protection of homeless and unwanted children. During its 33-year history, the home has provided care for more than 4,000 children.
The Home first was located at Pennsylvania Avenue and Riggins Street, then relocated in new buildings on Lake Morton Drive several years ago.
At present the home is caring for 14 children who are to be turned over to the child welfare division of the welfare department within the next six weeks.
Receiving Home To Be Closed ... .
Also to be closed at the same time as the Rose Keller Home is the Children's Home Society receiving home in Pensacola. A receiving home in Miami has already been closed, and a Jacksonville home now is caring exclusively for school-age children who may be referred to the Society for placement in permanent adoptive homes, Sloan said.
"The situation confronting Rose Keller Home and other similar private institutions throughout Florida reflects the changing pattern of child care in two directions," Sloan said.
"First, it shows the diminishing use of institutions for child care by both public and private agencies, and second, it reflects the trend for public agencies to assume more and more responsibility for the care of dependent and neglected children from broken homes.
Private Institutions Vanishing...
"Nationally, the day of the private institution for all temporary care is waning; it has almost vanished from the American scene in the field of temporary care of dependent children who come from homes which can be repaired and the temporary maladjustments corrected," he said.
"This signifies public and private concern with the basic need to keep families together wherever possible."
He said that the temporary care of dependent children formerly provided by the Rose Keller Home will hereafter be provided by the State Department of Public Welfare and the Polk County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, in accordance with their programs.
Society Work Will Continue...
"Although the Home, itself, is closing, the work of the Polk County Division of the Children's Home Society will continue," Sloan said.
"As the operating unit of the statewide adoptive program of the society, we will undertake to meet more fully the rising demands for accredited adoption agency services in Polk County."
A committee of eight members of the Rose Keller Home board of directors will work out plans for the future use or disposition of the Home property, Sloan said, and will make its recommendations to the entire board within three months.