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Guidance Clinics

During this time, the United States was beginning a new experiment in society in order to counter deviance.  In select cities around the country, social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists were coming together with the community in order to help young people.  The idea was that the community was to do as much as they could to help, but guidance clinics were set up in the event that there were not any trained social workers who could appropriately evaluate and treat the child. (Hankins 32)

What makes these clinics so unusual is the fact they dealt directly with children.  Most professionals at this time worked with parents and viewed child delinquents as victims of family problems.  However, these guidance clinics spent time with both the children and the parents, and recognized the children as individuals. Original support stemmed from the Commonwealth Fund, an organization which stated in 1922 that they believed, "that behavior was causal...that behavior and those behaving could be studied, understood, and the persons involved or the situations treated." (Hankins 30) They wanted to cure delinquency "to the point that eventually only a small number of children in the nation would become delinquent." (Hankins 31) The original demonstration clinics converted to permanent clinics if they had the appropriate private funding and support.

Philadelphia was the last demonstration clinic to be founded and did in fact have the necessary support to continue.  Originally called “All-Philadelphia Child Guidance Clinic”, it was shortened to “Philadelphia Child Guidance Clinic” upon becoming permanent.  (Hankins 5) It continued to serve the community until October of 1996, at which point it was absorbed by the Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania.