Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 29, 1961

Another Fort Smith "Orphan" Home Closes

Cecil B. Douthitt, Fort Smith, Arkansas

Men of science once thought that whiskey was the best medicine for snake bite. But they learned that their remedy was more harmful than helpful. They stopped giving whiskey for snake bite. They changed and apparently were not ashamed of the change.

For centuries the best doctors in the land thought that bleeding the patient was the best remedy for many ailments. That George Washington's death was hastened by bleeding him is generally known now in medical circles. He needed all the blood he had and more. Instead of draining the veins of their patients today good doctors give transfusions of blood.

A doctor today who would drain the blood from the body of a sick man, or give whiskey to a snake-bitten victim would be considered about as stupid as the old Indian witch doctor.

Only a few years ago the best trained social and welfare workers thought that the best things that could be done for a homeless child was to send it away somewhere to an orphan asylum. They are learning better now. Many of them know now that children in such institutions are being denied throughout all the days of their childhood some of the essentials to which all children have a God-given right, and which they could receive if better judgment and more wisdom and understanding were exercised by welfare workers. Therefore, these institutional "Orphan Homes" are closing down fast.

On the front page of the Fort Smith SOUTHWEST-TIMES RECORD of May 21, 1961, a news article states that one of these "Homes" will close down on June 1.

"Rosalie Tilles Children's Home, Inc., a Fort Smith institution for 60 years, will be closed June 1, 1961," says the article. The following is a further quotation from the newspaper article:

"The home will cease to operate because of changing practices in care for homeless children, according to Mrs. C. A. Lick, Jr., president of the Board of Managers.

"Increasing numbers of homeless children are being placed in foster homes rather than in institutions. Also the reduced number of children in the home has made it unfeasible to maintain such a large institution, she added. The closing has been considered for nearly two years.

"Through the State Welfare Department, the board, and the matron of the Home, Mrs. Prince Lawrence, the few children presently residing at the Home are being placed in foster homes or with relatives.

"Most of the funds to operate the Home came from Sebastian County and the local Community Chest."

During the past few years these "changing practices in care for homeless children" have been going on in the welfare departments of cities and states throughout the nation. The best trained workers in these welfare departments are becoming more and more aware of the fact that these "Orphan Homes" are "unfeasible," and they are placing "homeless children" in "foster homes rather than in institutions," which they should have done before and without the establishment of "such a large institution" Dozens of families are pleading with outstretched arms for every available child. Why not let these families take these children into their homes where they are loved and made to feel that they belong to the family circle?

How long is it going to take the institutional orphan home fanatical hobby riders in some of the churches to get their eyes open to the fact that it is wicked and cruel to snatch up little homeless children and cart them away to an institution when so many families are pleading for the opportunity to take them into their homes and make them a part of the family?

If something should happen to you, how would you like for your children to be sent away to an orphan asylum? That very thing might happen, if you and yours are members of a church under the influence and control of "Orphan Home" hobby riders. If you are in one of those "liberal" institutional supporting churches, for your own peace of mind and the future security of your children, I advise you to "move your membership" at once.

Only a few weeks ago a widowed mother told me she was worried over what would become of her children, if she should die. Someone had told her that the church of which she was a member cared nothing for orphans, and if she should die nothing would be done for them.

I told her if she were a member of one of the liberal churches and ever became unable to support herself and her children, that the orphan home hobby riders in that church probably would try to persuade her to get a job, support herself, and let them place her children in an orphan asylum. Or, if she died and left her children in the hands of the advocates of the cruel and heartless doctrines of institutionalism, her children would be placed in an orphan asylum, if the advocates of the orphan home hobby had their way about it. She said she certainly did not want her children sent to an orphan home. When I told her what would be done by the elders of the church of which she is now a member, if either she or her children should become objects of charity, she decided to stay away from churches under the oversight of institutionally minded elders.

"The college in the church budget" is bad enough; but that is not cruel and inhuman. "The orphan asylum in the church budget" is worse, because such is both inhuman and cruel toward homeless children. In the light of well known facts pertaining to the care of homeless children, it is just plain stupid to contribute to the building and the maintaining of "Orphan Homes."

If the blind advocates of the orphan asylums heresy who cry out, "Show us a better way to do it," would board a bus for Fort Smith, Arkansas, and "come and see," both the Park Hill Church and the welfare department of the City would show them "a better way to do it."