Dean Richards


            This article is about a solution to the adoption and foster care problem in D.C. that takes into account the history and perspective of those on the bottom. It argues, contrary to the solution promoted by the fiscal conservatives and adoption bureaucracy, for the elimination of adoption by significantly increasing indoor relief. Indoor relief can be increased by several measures, including, first, the return of the D.C. Occoquan facility to its original purpose, which was that of a workhouse. Second, indoor relief can be increased by the establishment of a prison nursery, and thirdly, by prolonged family visitation at prison facilities. The article will first outline the bottom's view about adoption and foster care reform, then summarize the history and relation of indoor relief to adoption. Thirdly, it will discuss the decline of obstacles to indoor relief and suggest a plan to overcome the obstacles and implement the bottom's reform ideas.

            The Bottom's Perspective. Those on D.C.'s bottom are the homeless, the retarded, those in unsafe housing and those with substance, criminal, mental and physical problems. The three percent (3200 children) of D.C.'s total child involved in the adoption and foster care system come from their families.[1] From their perspective adoption reform should be aimed at preserving their families and eliminating adoption. Indoor relief best serves their family preservation goals. Indoor relief means transitional family housing and residential substance and employment programs, which in earlier times were called workhouses, poor houses, poor farms and almshouses. D.C.'s indoor relief facilities serve about 300 families at any particular time.[2] One of the largest providers is the Community Partnership which starting in 1995 contracted to take over the homeless program (called D.C. Initiative) that had been run by the D.C. government. It has 121 housing units and yearly shelters some 2200 families for varying short periods of time at a cost of $11.5 million.[3]

            The essence of indoor relief is to give families in need of services a place to live and work. The opposite of indoor relief is outdoor relief, which consists of mothers' pensions (in the early part of the century), Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), public assistance (PA), foodstamps and Medicaid. Outdoor relief enables social service consumers to live in their own housing. Service consumers prefer the outdoor system. But for the three percent of children in families that are not able to keep a roof over their head by their own powers even with outdoor relief, the only way to stay together is by indoor relief.

            The bottom's view of reform is not in agreement with the fiscal conservatives in Congress, whose idea of reform, as reflected in the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, is to make adoption as speedy as possible.[4] The new law gives the D.C. government a $4,000 bonus per child from the federal government for each adoption that exceeds the previous year's level and $6,000 for the adoption of older children and children with special needs, such as emotional and physical disabilities. The new law also allows the D.C. government to look for adoptive families while still working to reunite birth families, it prohibits adoptions from being blocked because of geographic barriers across state lines, and, for children in foster care, it cuts from 18 to 12 months the period in which the biological parents are given to convince the government to give their children back before being put up for adoption.

            Indoor relief in DC serves only about ten percent of the families that need it in order to stay together. D.C.'s main focus is on outdoor relief, which is enormous in comparison with indoor relief.[5] In the past D.C.'s outdoor and indoor relief systems were not so much out of proportion to each other and families were not broken up by adoption. A look at its history will show how indoor relief got reduced and what has to be faced to restore it.

            History and Relation of Indoor Relief to Adoption. According to most accounts, 19th and early 20th century families were adept at using indoor and outdoor relief to keep their families together.[6] The common law did not recognize adoption.[7] Even after adoption was permitted in D.C. and elsewhere by statute, children who had living parents were not generally subjected to being adopted. Widows and single mothers who had no families or who were rejected by their families were able to avoid abandoning their children by raising them in the workhouse or poorhouse. Sick or lame fathers or those with substance problems were able to do likewise. Where there were two parents, the regulations at least in some cities required that both reside in the workhouse.[8] The men stayed in one section, the women in another and children above the age of two in another. Families were able to be together at all reasonable times. Parents with substance abuse problems were confined to the workhouse by the court and forced to observe curfews and work routines.[9]

            D.C.'s first poorhouse existed even before the city of Washington was incorporated in 1801. It was in Georgetown.[10] Starting in the 1500s in Europe and in the 1600s in North America, each county and city had its workhouse or poorhouse. Aside from Georgetown, D.C.'s first such institution was built in 1809 at 6th and M St. NW, which was then the city's northern rim.[11] It was called the Washington County Almshouse. In 1815 it was enlarged, renamed the Washington Asylum and functioned as both an almshouse and a workhouse.[12] An almshouse or poorhouse tended to be for those who could not work, such as young children, the elderly and the sick. A workhouse tended to be for those who could work and often was penal in nature. D.C.'s vagrants, prostitutes and drunks were confined to the Washington Asylum by the D.C. Circuit Court, which after 1862 was called the D.C. Supreme Court.[13] Workhouse residents were employed to do piece work, such as make shoes, to build public works such as roads and sewers, and to do building upkeep and farming. There was also contracting out of workhouse residents to private employers.

            Among the Washington Asylum's residents in the first half of the nineteenth century were military veterans of the American Revolution and War of 1812, some of whom came from out-of-town seeking pensions from Congress.[14] In 1843 a new Washington Asylum was built in the eastern part of the city at the far end of East Capitol St. This is where D.C. General Hospital, the D.C. Jail and the D.C. armory are currently located.[15] By the 1860s it housed some 1500, including 100 children whose average age was 13 years.[16] During nineteenth-century economic depressions, D.C.'s indoor and outdoor relief system helped keep large numbers of families together. In 1870, for example, half the D.C. population was unemployed and some 50,000 adults and children got indoor and outdoor public assistance.[17]

            As the city grew in the 19th century and its social services became more specialized, families on the bottom also had, in addition to the Washington Asylum, a number of orphanages. The specialization in services, at least in other cities, if not in D.C., was encouraged by laws seeking to prevent children from living in workhouses. It was felt that the adult workhouse residents were not a good influence on the children.[18] D.C. orphanages served several purposes. They were a place for children (ages 0 to 10), who were too young to be apprenticed and who had lost their parents and who had no relatives or friends to fall back upon. They were also a place where parents who were on hard times because of sickness, accidents or economic problems could temporarily board their children until they were able to take up their responsibilities or until the children were old enough to carry their own weight. D.C.'s first orphanage was the Washington Female Orphan Asylum, which opened in 1822.[19] Several years later it was renamed the Washington Orphan Asylum and served both boys and girls.[20] St. Ann's Home for Foundlings was established in 1860 and still later St. Joseph's Orphanage for Boys.[21] In Anacostia the German Orphan Asylum was established in 1876 for orphans and destitute children, aged 3-11. On the same grounds was a home for the elderly or poorhouse.[22]

            In the early 20th century D.C.'s workhouse and other social services expanded in pace with the population. The main workhouse was relocated in 1916 to Occoquan, Va., which is 20 miles south of the city. Until the 1970s the D.C. courts confined some 20,000 men and women there per year.[23] Occoquan borders the D.C. correctional facility at Lorton, Va. The workhouse included a brick and tile plant employing 190 people, a construction division employing 210 people, a foundry and furniture, sheet metal and textile factories that sold their products to the federal government.[24] Besides its industries Occoquan also employed its residents to run the facility itself. They worked at the kitchen, laundry, electrical shop, carpenter shop, machine shop, hospital, garden, power plant and boiler house. The workhouse offered formal training and on the job training in skills such as automechanics, plumbing, steamfitting, electrical wiring and wood working.[25] Part of the workhouse system was a farm that employed 140 people in its dairy, poultry unit, orchard, hog raising and wheat raising.[26] Occoquan operated joint projects with the federal government, such as Works Projects Administration (WPA) programs in 1935-1936.[27] During the 1930s more than half the Occoquan residents had been a year or more without employment before coming to the facility. For many on indeterminate sentences, especially seniors, Occoquan was a home: a place where they could stay sober, work and have a roof over their head. There were no guards, walls or cells.[28]

            The Occoquan workhouse was shut down in the 1970s because the correctional system needed the space and buildings to expand.[29] But the workhouse industries, such as furniture and textile, continue as part of the Lorton system. And those who were confined to the workhouse are still forced to do gainful employment but through work-release and other systems. For example, the paternity court now makes delinquent fathers who used to support their children at the workhouse, support them by working days in the community and sleeping at night in jail or one of D.C.'s 13 community-based half-way houses.[30] Likewise imprisoned parents convicted of the petty types of offenses that would have earlier landed them in the workhouse are now forced to work at a day release program run by Lorton's Minimum Security facility. They do remunerated maintenance, landscaping and housing restoration throughout the city.[31]

            The Decline in Indoor Relief and the Increase in Adoption. Indoor relief was significant in helping keep D.C.'s families together until the 1930s. However, during the Great Depression outdoor relief was greatly expanded. This was a victory for all bottom families except those that could not keep a roof over their head, even with outdoor relief. Indoor relief continued but its quantity and quality was at a decreased level. The main reason for this is that outdoor relief has been adequate for most families and indoor relief is more expensive. A 1970s study showed that outdoor relief (AFDC) ran less than $5 per day per child, while it cost $10 for foster care, $15 for an agency-operated boarding house, $20 for a group residence or large-scale institutional residence and $25 for a residential treatment facility.[32] Once a child is adopted, it generally costs the government nothing.

            Another reason indoor relief has not kept pace with the need is the adoption and foster care bureaucracy, which has grown in the 20th century in proportion to the decline in indoor relief. In addition to being cheaper, it is easier for social workers, lawyers and judges to deal with relatively affluent and docile foster care and adoptive parents than with families on the bottom, especially those that cannot make it on outdoor relief.[33] Many social workers, lawyers and judges, despite the problems, do make the effort and do help to preserve families. Many do not. Adoption agencies make money by marketing the children of poor families. Adoption unit social workers and adoption lawyers make comfortable livings doing their job.[34]

            The justification for breaking up families on the bottom which adoption advocates have given during most of the 20th century is "the best interests of the child." What this actually means, from the view of poor families, is the best interests of the social workers, adoption agencies, lawyers and judges.[35] The class bias of the "best interests" formula was pointed out by Justice James D. Heiple of the Illinois Supreme Court in the Baby Richard case:

If best interests of the child were a sufficient qualification to determine child custody, anyone with superior income, intelligence, education, etc., might challenge and deprive the parents of their right to their own children.[36]

            The "best interests" pressure against parents on the bottom starts prior to birth. Pregnant unwed teenagers in school, detention facilities, mental hospitals or receiving government prenatal services such as Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) are propagandized about the supposed bleak future prospects of themselves and their child if they do not relinquish it at birth. Perhaps one in a hundred does relinquish. Most consider such discussion an insult to everything that is valuable. Like any normal parent, they see the child and the family as a unity with there being only one "interest," best or otherwise, the family. Linda Gordon traces the history of "best interests" to early 20th century adoption agencies. They used it against women who headed families and who worked outside their home. Gordon comments:

The Children's Bureau adapted to increased women's employment by separating the interests of women and children. Its policies were increasingly justified by a conception of child welfare that removed women's own problems from consideration. The labor as well as welfare reform community adopted this strategic shift, and its results were visible in the courts and the legislatures.[37]

            In the early part of the century families which had migrated from rural areas and non-English speaking immigrants were especially vulnerable to "best interest" predation.[38] Malcolm X described the break up of his family:

Soon the state people were making plans to take over all of my mother's children. . . A Judge McClellan in Lansing had authority over me and all of my brothers and sisters. We were "state children," court wards; he had the full say-so over us. A white man in charge of a black man's children! Nothing but legal, modern slavery--however kindly intentioned. . . I truly believe that if ever a state social agency destroyed a family, it destroyed ours. We wanted and tried to stay together. Our home didn't have to be destroyed. But the welfare, the courts and their doctor, gave us the one-two-three punch.[39]

            Beginning in the 1920s the National Committee for Adoption, which was an organization of adoption agencies, started to lobby for legislation in D.C. and elsewhere that gave legal force to the "best interests" doctrine. This legislation protected adoptive parents from and kept adoptive children from their biological families.[40] Included in the legislation were court procedures to terminate the rights of parents in a speedy manner in order to assure early-age placement and permanence. There were confidentiality provisions to protect the "secret" of adoption. There were provisions for the issuance of a new birth certificate which read as if the child were born to the adoptive parents. The original birth certificate that listed the birth parents went into a sealed file. Members of the adoptive family and the birth family were denied access to these records. Adoption agencies customarily advised adoptive parents not to tell anyone, even the children, about the adoption.[41]

            A recent variant of the "best interest" doctrine is promoted by organizations such as the National Association of Black Social Workers. They want to restrict interracial adoption.[42] But this does not solve the problem. It only means that African-American families on the bottom can be plundered exclusively by affluent African-Americans.

            A Plan to Restore Indoor Relief. The fiscal conservatives in Congress have their version of adoption reform. Viewed from the bottom, this means breaking up their families as quickly as possible. Those on the bottom have their own reform ideas: preserving families and fighting the adoption bureaucracy. This means expanding indoor relief to keep pace with the need. In the next six months D.C.'s Occoquan correctional facility will become vacant due to the transfer of its residents to a privatized facility in Youngstown, Ohio. What is needed is the return of Occoquan to its original workhouse purpose. Families in danger of being broken up need a structured place where for shorter or longer periods, they can live, work and raise their families. From the perspective of those who need the structure of a workhouse, the real prison is the one in their head that leads to homelessness and adoption. Workhouses that put limitations on substance abuse and other problems, that give remunerative employment, shelter, respect, balanced meals, safety from crime and that preserve the family are liberating.

            In addition to restoring Occoquan to its original workhouse status, there are several other measures that would promote the bottom's reform ideas. These are the expansion of indoor relief by opening a prison nursery and by allowing prolonged family visitation for prisoners. In D.C. babies born to prisoners are immediately removed. Those not claimed by relatives end up in foster care and adoption, if they are lucky. Those that are HIV, have birth defects or are otherwise a problem, end up as "border babies," in public hospitals and nursing homes where they are at risk of death or permanent injury from lack of nurture.[43] On the other hand, for 90 years New York, Wyoming, Massachusetts, Virginia and some 10 other jurisdictions have or have had long-term nurseries as part of their prison systems.[44] New York's present prison nursery system was signed into law by then Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1930. By allowing them to keep their babies during their child's first year of birth, mothers and babies are able to bond. The mothers make constructive use of their time. The programs such as in New York include prenatal care and parenting classes on topics such as infant nutrition, immunization, sexually transmitted diseases, birth control and infant development. Baby-sitting is provided for mothers to attend academic, self-help, drug education and off-unit work activities. Mothers are frequently paroled with their babies after a year.

            Prolonged family visitation is another type of indoor relief that is an aid to the imprisoned in keeping their families together. California keeps furnished cottages where spouses, children, parents and other immediate family members can stay for two-day visits every three months.[45] The California program was signed into law in 1968 by then Governor Ronald Reagan. The emphasis is to help retain family ties. Allowing the prisoner a sexual outlet is secondary. Some countries (Mexico, Philippines, India, Pakistan) have penal or labor colonies where prisoners can live with their families throughout their sentence.[46]

            Conclusion. This article has looked at D.C.'s adoption and foster care problem from the bottom. From this perspective the solution is in increased indoor relief, the opening of a prison nursery and prolonged family visitation for prisoners. While this is the bottom's solution, it benefits almost everyone. It returns D.C. to its historic role as a model city, creates a cost-effective living memorial to earlier D.C. generations, preserves the area's most beautiful architecture and it upholds the rule of law. This article will conclude with a summary of these benefits.

            First, throughout most of its history, D.C. has been a model city, not only in politics but for its social and cultural services. People from around the world have come to study and work at D.C.'s Library of Congress, Galludet, Catholic and Howard Universities, the Smithsonian Institution, St. Elizabeth's Hospital, the late National Training School (for juveniles), the D.C. Reformatory (in the nineteenth century) and not least, the Occoquan workhouse. Restored to its original purpose, it along with a prison nursery and prolonged family visitation at prison, could once again be a model in helping families stay together. This would compare well with those nations that have enacted housing codes which prohibit the eviction of people with small children or families with invalids.[47] It would also compare favorably with the nations which have established a system of neighborhood-based boarding schools where children in need can stay during the week and return home on the weekend.[48]

            There is a second benefit to society in the bottom's solution to the adoption problem. It would be a cost-effective living memorial to D.C.'s rank and file majority who for two centuries have been keeping their families together during hard times. D.C. has plenty of monuments to military, political and other leaders. But nothing to those upon whom the system is built--the working people and their values.

            Most who now live comfortably in the suburbs descend from these people and are only a generation or two removed from ancestors or relatives who sometimes used indoor relief to help preserve their family. Indoor relief was cost effective in earlier times and it can still be cost effective. It is expensive for the D.C. government to maintain boarder babies at local hospitals for years on end. It would be cheaper for the government to let mothers keep and care for the babies born to them in prison. Similarly, it is expensive for the D.C. government to pay foster parents along with an army of social workers, lawyers and mental health professionals to keep children for years at a time. If Occoquan were restored to being a workhouse, children could stay with their families. In doing remunerative work in the workhouse, the parents would carry their own weight and that of their children. The U.S. Congress can enact predatory laws to speed the breaking up of families on the bottom, but as a practical matter, those families are stronger than Congress in keeping together. If Congress succeeds in its goal of doubling the rate of D.C. adoptions to 326 per year, this would still be only one percent of the 3200 children in foster care. Such is not cost effective. D.C. had some 73,000 D.C. residents (15%) living in families on the bottom in 1996. There were only 163 adoptions and many of these adoptions involved relatives (grandparents or aunts and uncles adopting grandchildren or nieces and nephews).[49] Bears have a reputation for not letting anything get between themselves and their cubs. Those on the bottom are similar. This did not start yesterday and the bottom's solution would be a cost effective living memorial.

            There is a third public benefit from the bottom's solution. This would be the preservation of D.C.'s most beautiful proletarian structure. Occoquan is like a medieval city. Generation after generation of workhouse masons, carpenters, roofers and architects have constantly added new structures and modified old ones. They use the red brick manufactured at the workhouse itself, which gives the facility a simplicity and unity of style. The buildings cover a large hill and are connected to each other by brick passageways and steps worn down in the middle from decades of use. The D.C. area is not so desperate for more shopping malls and tract housing that it has to knock down such an architectural wonder.

            There is a fourth and final public benefit to be gained from the bottom's solution to the adoption problem. D.C. law is on the side of family preservation. The majority that believes in the rule of law would have the opportunity to live according to their beliefs. The following section from the D.C. Code is illustrative of the city's honest dedication to family preservation and reunification:

If there is a supported report (of a neglected child), the agency responsible for the social investigation shall as soon as possible prepare a plan for each child and family for which services are required on more than an emergency basis and shall forthwith take steps to ensure the protection of the child and the preservation, rehabilitation and, when appropriate, reunification of the family as may be necessary to achieve the purposes of this act. Such steps may include but need not be limited to: (1) arranging for necessary protection, rehabilitation and financial services to be provided to the child and the child's family in a manner which maintains the child in his or her home; (2) referring the child and the child's family for placement in a family shelter or other appropriate facility; (3) securing services aimed at reuniting with his or her family a child taken into custody.[50]





Table 1: Wash. D.C. and U.S. 1996 Budget Expenditures and Income


D.C.($ mil)

U.S. ($ bil)

            Human Services

1,860 (36%)

(750) (45%)[52]


    (125; 8%)

    (13; 1%)[53]




                (Food Stamps)



                (Substance Abuse)



            Public Ed.

  800 (15%)

27 (2%)

            Safety & Justice


311 (23%)[56]



(25 U.S. & States)




            Public Housing




            Other (pub. wks., eco. dev.)


            Social Security









Expenditures (another approach)[59]


2,035 (39%)

            Pension & Benefits

  739 (14%)

            Debt Service, Bonds/Notes



  581 (11%)


            Public Assistance

  130 (3%)







            Income Tax

  684 (13%)

            Real Property Tax

  602 (12%)

            Misc. Taxes & Receipts


            Sales & Use Tax

  469 (9%)

            Water & Service Payment


            Fed. Grants


            Fed. Payment

  660 (12%)







Table 2:
Washington D.C., U.S. and World Population that Consume Social Services



U.S.                        World

Below Poverty Level


38 mil[61]                1.3 bil[62]


150,000[63] (27%)



 5 mil


10,000[65] (2%)

1 mil[66]

    (private prisons)



Social Security Pension


44 mil[67]

Those without health insurance

220,000 (40%)[68]

            (Child Care, self-funded)



Foster Care






Food Stamps


Substance Abuse


   (Illegal drugs)

290 metric tons

(costing $37 bil)[74]

Trade Unionists


13 mil(15%)[75]                 [76]

Capitalists & Management










Table 3: D.C. Population[77]

Year   Total

African-Am (slave/free)[78]

Foreign Born




1800    14,000

3200/800 (29%)


1810    24,000

5500/2500 (33%)


1820    33,000

6200/4000 (30%)


1830    40,000

6100/6100 (31%)


1840    43,000

4600/8400 (30%)


1850    51,000

3600/10,000 (26%)


1860    75,000

3100/11,100 (19%)


1870    132,000

43,000 (32%)

16,000 (12%)

1880    178,000

60,000 (34%)

17,000 (9%)[81]

1890    230,000

75,000 (33%)

19,000 (8%)

1900    279,000

87,000 (31%)

20,000 (7%)[82]

1910    331,000

94,000 (29%)

24,000 (8%)

1920    437,000

110,000 (25%)

29,000 (7%)

1930    487,000

132,000 (27%)

30,000 (6%)[83]

1940    663,000

187,000 (28%)

34,000 (5%)

1950    802,000

281,000 (35%)

39,000 (6%)[84]

1960    764,000

419,000 (55%)





1980    638,000[86]



1990    667,000[87]

400,000 (66%)


1997    550,000







Table 4:
Budget Expenditures as Percentage of D.C. and National Gross Product


D.C.($ mil)

U.S.($ bil)             World

Gross Product

7,200 (GNP)[89]  23,000[90]

Total Gov. Expenditures


1,350 (23% GNP)[91]

            (Human Services)

1,860 (36%)

608 (10% GNP)

            Profit (shareholder)



            Wages & Self-Employment Income




[1]In 1996 there were 3209 children in the D.C. foster care system out of a total D.C. population of 100,000 children. Of these, 163 were adopted. The average stay in D.C. foster care was 5.3 years. See District of Columbia, Indices: A Statistical Index to District of Columbia Services, 1994-1996 (Washington, D.C.: D.C. Office of Policy and Evaluation, 1996), vol. 11, pp. 190, 244, 246; D.C. Action for Children (D.C. Act), What's in it for Kids? A Report on the Fiscal Year 1996 Budget (Wash. D.C.: D.C. Act, April 1995), pp. 17, 19.

[2]D.C.'s indoor relief facilities include:

  a) Anacostia Family Apartments (Coalition for the Homeless), 1320 Anacostia Rd. SE, gives transitional rehabilitation housing and employment to eight families for four to six months.

  b) Demeter House gives housing and employment training to women recovering from substance abuse and their children.

  c) Conserve, 1012 14th St. NW gives case management, transitional housing and employment for 34 families.

  d) Family Shelter Program, 25 M St. SW.

  e) Hannah House (THEIRS), 610 M St. NW, gives transitional housing (average stay of one year), employment and substance program for five homeless families with children ages 0-10.

  f) Mary House, 4303 13th St. NE, gives up to 18 months of transitional housing to families with children younger than three.

  g) Lazarus House/Tabitha House (Samaritan Inn affiliate), 2523 14th St. NW, gives transitional housing for up to five years in its 76 room complex to families that have six months of proven sobriety at the time of entrance and whose children are five and younger.

h) My Sister's Place gives housing to female-headed households and their children.

  i) Partner Arms (Community Family Life affiliate), 935 Kennedy St. NW, gives two year transition housing and job placement to 14 homeless families that have been drug free for at least 6 months.

  j) Spring Road Family Apartments (Coalition for the Homeless), 1433-35 Spring Rd. NW, gives housing to 23 families.

  k) St. Martins Transitional Housing, 16 T St. NE, has a 12 month housing and employment program for women recovering from substance abuse and their children.

  l) Thea Bowman House (So Others Might Eat), 4065 Minnesota Ave NE, gives permanent, affordable housing to 12 formerly homeless families.

  m) Trinity Arms Housing 504 3rd St NW, (Community Family Life affiliate), 5620 Colorado Ave NW, gives two year transitional housing for 20 families.

[3]D.C. Action for Children, What's in it for Kids?, pp. 35-36.

[4]Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, Congressional Record, p. H 10776 (H.R. 867, Nov. 13, 1997), which amended the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980 (PL 96-272); Judith Haveman, "Congress Acts to Speed Adoptions," Washington Post (Nov. 14, 1997), p. A-17.

[5]For example, 73,000 or 15% of D.C.'s 550,000 population receive AFDC, which is now called TANF. Twice that number (150,000 or 27% of the population) receive Medicaid and food stamps. See District of Columbia, Indices (1996), p. 190.

[6]Eric H. Monkkonen, "Nineteenth-Century Institutions," in Michael Katz (ed.), The "Underclass" Debate: Views from History (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1993), p. 354; Judith Ann Dulberger, "Refuge or Repressor: The Role of the Orphan Asylum in the Lives of Poor Children and their Families in Late Nineteenth-Century America," PhD dissertation, Carnegie Mellon University, 1988, p. ii.

[7]Elizabeth Bartholet, Family Bonds: Adoption and the Politics of Parenting (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1993), p. 170.

[8]Joseph Robins, The Lost Children: A Study of Children in Ireland, 1700-1900 (Dublin: Institute of Public Administration, 1980), pp. 176, 183.

[9]William Novak, The People's Welfare: Law and Regulation in Nineteenth-Century America (Chapel Hill, N.C.: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1996), p. 168; Portland v. Bangor, 42 Me. 403 (1856), 404, 410 (case of Betsy Brown and her two-year old daughter); Daniel Davis, A Practical Treatise upon the Authority and Duty of Justices of the Peace in Criminal Prosecutions (Boston: Cummings, Hilliard, 1787), 255-261; William Blackstone, Commentaries on the laws of England (Philadelphia: Robert Bell, 1771-1772), 4:256; Acts and Laws passed by the General Court of Massachusetts, 1787 (Boston: Adams and Nourse, 1787), c. 54.

[10]Constance Green, Washington: Village and Capital, 1800-1878 (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1962), p. 219, 386. In having a poorhouse before it was incorporated, D.C. was not unlike colonial Massachusetts, which built its first workhouse at Salem in 1629 before the main body of the settlement had even arrived. In 1656 the Massachusetts General Court instructed each county in the colony to construct its own workhouse. See Adam Hirsch, The Rise of the Penitentiary: Prisons and Punishments in Early America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992), pp. 25, 27.

[11]Green, Washington: Village and Capital, p. 42.

[12]Ibid., pp. 75, 90.

[13]Ibid., p. 253. The Washington Asylum burned down in 1857 but was immediately rebuilt. See Wilhelm Bryan, A History of the National Capital: From its Foundation through the Period of the Adoption of the Origins Act: 1815-1878 (New York: Macmillan, 1916), p. 342.

[14]Green, Washington: Village and Capital, p. 90.

[15]Ibid., p. 218.

[16]Ibid., pp. 253, 364.

[17]Ibid., pp. 48, 326.

[18]Monkkonen, "Nineteenth-Century Institutions," in Katz The "Underclass" Debate, p. 354; Betty Mandell, Where are the Children? A Class Analysis of Foster Care and Adoption (Lexington, Mass.: Lexington Books, 1973), p. 35.

[19]Green, Washington: Village and Capital, p. 101.

[20]Ibid., pp. 132, 219.

[21]Ibid., p. 219.

[22]Louise Hutchinson, The Anacostia Story, 1608-1930 (Wash. D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1977), pp. 129-130.

[23]U.S. Prison Industries, The Prison Problem in the District of Columbia: A Survey by the Prison Industries Reorganization Office (Wash. D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1938), p. 7. In the 1930s the daily capacity at the workhouse was 1000.

[24]Ibid., pp. v, 7, 10, 22, 37, 63-67.

[25]Ibid., p. 27.

[26]Ibid., p. 22.

[27]Ibid., p. 55.

[28]Ibid., pp. 18, 20, 45.

[29]After the Correctional Dept. takeover, the Occoquan population increased its daily capacity to 1760. See Katya Lezin, "Life at Lorton: An Examination of Prisoners' Rights at the D.C. Correctional Facilities," Boston U. Public Interest Law J, 5 (1996), 167.

[30]The D.C. Dept. of Corrections runs four halfway houses. The Bureau of Rehabilitation, which is an independent contractor, runs four other halfway houses. In addition there are five other contractual facilities: Extended House (810 14th St. NE), EFEC, Hope Village, Trudie Wallace House and Discovery Manor.

[31]Lezin, "Life at Lorton," p. 168. Minimum's daily residential capacity is 950 men and 160 women. They do not wear uniforms and are not confined to cells.

[32]Mandell, Where are the Children?, p. 74. In LaShawn A. v. Kelly, 762 F. Supp. 959, (D.D.C. 1991) the D.C. federal district court stated that it cost the D.C. government (in 1987) an average of $5,000 to $6,000 per family per year for Department of Human Services preventive services (outdoor relief). It cost an average of $17,000 for foster care and group homes. Specialized foster care cost an average of $50,000.

[33]Betty Mandell, a veteran social service worker, comments in Where are the Children?, p. 44, "Child welfare professionals share at least one characteristic in common with family service professionals: they prefer to work with middle-class clients." See also, Richard Cloward and Irwin Epstein, "The Case of Family Adjustment Agencies," in Social Welfare Institutions: A Sociological Reader, ed. Mayer Zald (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1965), pp. 623-643.

[34]Typical is Sister Josephine Murphy, director of St. Anne's Infant and Maternity Home in Hyattesville, Md. When Congress's adoption reform bill was pending, she was frequently quoted in its favor. She does comfortably by the adoption system. St. Anne's gets $29,000 per year from the D.C. government for each child in its care. See LaShawn A. v. Kelly, 762 F. Supp. 959, (D.D.C. 1991). Betty Mandell in Where are the Children?, p. 65, comments on the problem of being bought off:

Social agencies, which are sponsored and partly funded by white affluent people, give a high priority to meeting the needs of white affluent couples for "perfect" white babies to adopt. The children whom the white middle class does not want to "own"--older children, children with handicaps, children of minority groups--stand a good chance of being left in foster care as the "unwanted surplus." The state pays as little as possible to maintain them, yet the state is reluctant to return them to their parents. The ideology of the professionals who see themselves as "better parents" prevents the children's return home. "Child welfare" is often a euphemism for control of the poor by the middle and upper class. Juvenile court judges and welfare agencies act as the arm of the state to achieve this control. The child welfare system has become a dumping ground for the children of the dispossessed. In child welfare as elsewhere, "the trend is toward the bourgeois-smug."

[35]Susan Tiffin, In Whose Best Interest? Child Welfare Reforms in the Progressive Era (Westport, Ct.: Greenwood Press, 1982).

[36]Justice James D. Heiple, quoted in Washington Post (9/9/94). See also, Mahrukh Hussaini, "Incorporating Thwarted Putative Fathers into the Adoption Scheme: Illinois Proposes a Solution after the Baby Richard Case," 1996 Univ. Ill. Law Rev. 189 (1996); Gerald W. Huston, "Born to Lose: The Illinois Baby Richard Case," 16 Northern Ill. U. Law Rev. 543 (Spr. 1996); Paige Kaplan, "Putting the Child First in Custody Battles Between Biological Fathers and Adoptive Parents," 35 Santa Clara Law Rev. 907 (1995). The U.S. Supreme Court similarly in Santosky v. Kramer, 455 U.S. 745 (1982) pointed out the problem of class bias in the adoption process:

Because parents subjected to termination of parental rights proceedings are often poor, uneducated, or members of minority groups. . . such proceedings are often vulnerable to judgments based on cultural or class bias.

As Bartholet, Family Bonds, p. 173, points out, the bottom sees adoption as one of the worst forms of exploitation of the poor by the rich, the blacks by the whites and the third world by the capitalist west.

[37]Linda Gordon, Pitied by not Entitled: Single Mothers and the History of Welfare, 1890-1935 (New York: Free Press, 1994), p. 99.

[38]Mandell, Where are the Children?, pp. 34-35.

[39]Malcolm X, The Autobiography of Malcolm X (New York: Grove Press, 1965), pp. 20-21.

[40]Bartholet, Family Bonds, p. 54; Arthur Sorosky, et al., The Adoption Triangle: Sealed or Open Records: How they Affect Adoptees, Birthparents and Adoptive Parents (Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor, 1984); Madelyn DeWoody, Adoption and Disclosure: A Review of the Law (Wash. D.C.: Child Welfare League of America, 1993); Marsha Riben, Shedding Light on the Dark Side of Adoption (Detroit: Harlo, 1988).

[41]Bartholet, Family Bonds, p. 54, 171.

[42]Valerie Hermann, "Transracial Adoption: Child-Saving or Child-Snatching," National Black Law J., (Spring 1993) 13(1), p. 147; Samella Abdullah, "Transracial Adoption is not the Solution to America's Problems of Child Welfare," 22 J. of Black Psychology 254 (May 1966); Joyce Ladner, Mixed Families: Adoption Across Racial Boundaries (Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor Books, 1977), p. 57. An earlier generation of clerical-dominated Catholic, Jewish, Lutheran and other adoption agencies had similar ideas. They wanted to put cosmetics on adoption by distributing the children to affluent Catholics, Jews and others.

[43]Vijaya Melnick, Boarder Babies and Drug Affected Children in the District of Columbia: A Case for Public/Private Partnership (Wash. D.C.: Comprehensive Planning and Control Series, 1993).

[44]Katherine Gabel, "Long Term Care Nurseries in Prisons: A Descriptive Study," in Katherine Gabel and Denise Johnston (eds.), Children of Incarcerated Parents (New York: Lexington Books, 1995), pp. 237-254; J. E. Grossman, Survey of Nursery Programs in Ten States (Albany, NY: Dept. of Corrections, 1982).

[45]Jules Burstein, Conjugal Visits in Prison: Psychological and Social Consequences (Lexington, Mass.: Lexington Books, 1977), p. 53-54.

[46]R. Cavan, "Marital Relationships in Prison in Twenty-Eight Countries," J. of Criminology, Law and Police Science, 133-139 (July-August, 1958).

[47]George Morris, USSR-USA Trade Unions Compared (Moscow: Profizdat, 1979), p. 106, describes the former Soviet housing system:

Evictions are virtually impossible. In the first place a person's inability to pay the rent plus charges is inconceivable, because there are no unemployed and this expense is about the lowest in a person's monthly budget. There are cases of tenants who make themselves obnoxious by disorderly behavior, drunkenness, noise and such. But such persons would present similar problems wherever they lived. It is better to handle such cases in court actions on charges of disorderly conduct. People with small children or families with invalids cannot be evicted under any circumstances. Such are the ethics surrounding the housing question where the "landlord" is a socialist government.

In addition to restricting evictions, the Soviets in their Family Code of 1918 formally outlawed adoption. This was a reaction against employers who had used adoption to obtain youth who could be forced to work for them without compensation. See Laurie Bernstein, "The Evolution of Soviet Adoption Law," J. of Family History (Apr. 1997), vol. 22, pp. 206-221.

[48]For parents who are young, have substance problems or are otherwise struggling to keep their heads above water, neighborhood boarding schools for their children are a way for the parents to complete their own education, and concentrate on making a living and establishing a household. At the same time their children had a healthy exposure to the educational process. See Max Figueroa Esteva, The Basic Secondary Schools in the Country: An Educational Innovation in Cuba (Paris: Unesco Press, 1974); Karen Wald, Children of Che: Childcare and Education in Cuba (Palo Alto, Cal.: Ramparts Press, 1978); Sheryl Lutjen, The State, Bureaucracy and the Cuban Schools: Power and Participation (Boulder, Col.: Westview Press, 1996), pp. 76, 98 (of Cuba's 2.6 million students, 600,000 are in boarding schools). In D.C. generally only the most wealthy can send their children to boarding schools, although the government does fund boarding schools for the severely handicapped. See Michael Hardman, et al, Human Exceptionality: Society, School and Family (Needham Heights, Mass.: Allyn and Brace, 1996), 5th ed. p. 29.

[49]District of Columbia, Indices (1996), p. 190; D.C. Action for Children (D.C. Act), What's in it for Kids? A Report on the D.C. Fiscal Year 1996 Budget (Washington, D.C.: April 1995), p. 17.

[50]D.C. Code, section 6-2107(b). Similar to the code, the rules for the D.C. Superior Court Neglect Proceedings (Rule No. 2), state that the court rules "shall be constructed to preserve family life to the maximum extent possible consistent with the child's right to safety, adequate parental care, permanence and continuity of relationship." In actuality the "service" often given by the government to those on the bottom is to break up their families. T. Berry Brazelton, M.D. in the Forward to Jan Blancher (ed), When There's No Place Like Home: Options for Children Living Apart from their Natural Families (Baltimore: Paul Brookes, 1994), p. x, describes the lack of family preservation services for those on the bottom:

Our resources are often too minimal to back up families with what they need--income support, food, nutrition, jobs, safe neighborhoods, schools, child care. The effort is still in the realm of lip services and band-aid-like pressures to remain together.

[51]Council of the D. of C., Budget Report (July 28, 1995), pp. 80-82.

[52]U.S. Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract, p. 330, no. 512, says $970 bil. in human services. House Committee on Ways and Means, Overview of Entitlement Programs, 1994 Green Book (Wash. D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1994), pp. 398-399, 1255, puts the Social Security pension budget at $270 bil. (20%). The U.S. Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract, p. 374, table no. 582, says $42 bil. (or an average of $697/month) is paid in Social Security, that is, Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance (OASDI). Ibid., p. 332, table no. 515, puts Social Security at $350 bil., that is, $228 bil. on income security; $178 bil. on Medicare; $121 bil. on health care; $54 bil. on education; and $37 bil. on veterans.

[53]House Committee on Ways and Means, Overview of Entitlement Programs, 1994 Green Book, pp. 398-399, 1255.

[54]District of Columbia, Indices (1996), p. 203 (an average of $181/month per family).

[55]District of Columbia, Indices (1994), p. 239.

[56]Discretionary defense spending. See House Committee on Ways and Means, Overview of Entitlement Programs, 1994 Green Book, pp. 398-399, 1255; U.S. Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract, p. 330, table no. 512 says the defense budget is $265 bil (21%).

[57]The Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness keeps 140 families in shelters and 10 times that number on waiting lists.

[58]Executive Office of the President of the U.S., Office of Management and Budget, Budget of the U.S. Government, Fiscal Year 1997 (Wash.D.C.: GPO, 1996); U.S. Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract, p. 330, table no. 512, says $1522 bil. Means-tested entitlements equal $191 billion (13% of the 1994 federal budget). Non-means-tested equals $644 billion (42% of the 1994 federal budget). See Gist, "Entitlement and the Federal Budget," p. 331.

[59]Mayor Marion Berry, D.C. Financial Status Report (2nd Quarter, Fiscal Year 1995).

[60]Mayor Marion Berry, D.C. Financial Status Report (Wash. D.C.: 2nd quarter, Fiscal year 1995).

[61]U.S. Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract, p. 472, table no. 730 (cash income  less than $7700 for one person, $14,000 for a family of four).

[62]International Labor Organization (1994).

[63]District of Columbia, Indices (1996), p. 190.


[65]Ibid., p. 311.

[66]There are 116,000 women in prison, 80% are mothers.

[67]The U.S. Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract, p. 374, table no. 582; ibid., p. 332, table no. 515.

[68]There are 10 million children in the U.S. without health insurance.

[69]District of Columbia, Indices (1996), p. 190. The D.C. foster care system costs $50 million per year. Children stay in it for an average of 5.3 years. See D.C. Action for Children (D.C. Act), What's in it for Kids? A Report on the D.C. Fiscal Year 1996 Budget (Wash. D.C.: April 1995), pp. 17, 19.

[70]Judith Haveman, "Congress Acts to Speed Adoption," Wash. Post, p. A-17 (Nov. 14, 1997). Nation-wide, some 13,000 children yearly leave foster care by aging out. Brendan Kearse, "Abused Again: Competing Constitutional Standards for the State's Duty to Protect Foster Children," Columbia J. of L. & Soc. Problems, vol. 29 (1995-1996), pp. 385-386 (offers lower estimates).

[71]D.C. Action for Children, What's in it for Kids?, p. 17.

[72]District of Columbia, Indices (1996), p. 190.

[73]District of Columbia, Indices (1994), p. 239.

[74]Barry R. McCaffrey, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (1995), quoted in the Washington Post (11/10/97) puts the figure at $57 bil., down from $91 bil. in 1988.

[75]U.S. Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract, p. 436, table no. 682.

[76]There are 100 million members of the Prague-based World Federation of Trade Unions.

[77]The data for the period 1800 to 1860 is from Constance Green, Washington Village and Capital, 1800-1878 (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1962), p. 30. The data from 1870 to 1950 is from Constance M. Green, Washington: Capital City, 1879-1950 (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1963), p. 89.

[78]The percentage is of the African-American in the total DC population.

[79]The foreign born included: 2300 Irish, 1500 German, and 100 Jews. See Francise Cary (ed.), Urban Odyssey: A Multicultural History of Washington, D.C. (Wash.D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1996), pp. 53, 136.

[80]The foreign born included 7200 Irish. See ibid., 56.

[81]The foreign born included 300 Italians. See ibid., p. 156.

[82]The foreign born included 1600 Germans. See ibid.

[83]There were 15,000 foreign and native-born Italians. See ibid., p. 166.

[84]There were 40,000 foreign and native-born Jews. See ibid., p. 113.

[85]There were 3000 foreign and native-born Asians. See ibid., p. 199.

[86]District of Columbia, Indices: A Statistical Index to District of Columbia Services, 1990 (Washington, D.C.: D.C. Office of Policy and Evaluation, 1990), p. 77.

[87]U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1990 Census of Population: General Population Characteristics, District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1992), p. 3.

[88]Ibid. There were 11,000 foreign and native-born Asians.

[89]U.S. Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract, 1996, p. 443, table no. 685.

[90]United Nations, Human Development Report (1996) ($18 trillion is produced in industrial countries).

[91]Executive Office of the President of the U.S., Office of Management and Budget, Budget of the U.S. Government, Fiscal Year 1997 (Wash.D.C.: GPO, 1996); U.S. Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract, p. 443, table no. 685.