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Statement on Plans for a White House Conference on Child Health and Protection.

July 02, 1929

AT THE press conference at the White House on Tuesday, July 2, 1929, the President said:

"I have decided to call a White House conference on the health and protection of children. This conference will be comprised of representatives of the great voluntary associations, together with the Federal and State and municipal authorities interested in these questions. Its purpose will be to determine the facts as to our present progress and our future needs in this great field and to make recommendations for such measures for more effective official and voluntary action and their coordination as will further develop the care and protection of children.

"The conference will not be assembled for another 9 months or a year in order that there may be time for complete and exhaustive advance study of the facts and forces in progress, of the experience with the different measures and the work of the organizations both in voluntary and official fields.

"In order that these determinations may be effectively made and intelligent presentation given at the conference, a series of committees will be appointed from the leaders in different national organizations and will be assisted by experts.

"The subjects to be covered embrace problems of dependent children; regular medical examination; school or public clinics for children; hospitalization; adequate milk supplies; community nurses; maternity instruction and nurses; teaching of health in the schools; facilities for playgrounds and recreation; voluntary organization of children; child labor; and scores of allied subjects.

"To cover the expenses of the preliminary committees and the conference and follow-up work which will be required to carry out the conclusions of the conference, a sum of $500,000 has been placed at my disposal from private sources.

"This will be the first national conference held in review of this subject since the conference called by President Roosevelt in 1909. That conference resulted in a great impulse to social and protective activities in behalf of children.

"It is proposed to include in the interested groups, the educational associations so far as education bears upon health and protection of child life. It is not the purpose of such efforts to invade or relieve the responsibilities of parents but to advance those activities in care and protection of children which are beyond the control of the individual parent.

"I have communicated with a number of the larger voluntary bodies and public officials throughout the country and find they are unanimous in the belief that such a national review is urgently needed in order to establish a new platform for further advance, and they are in agreement with me in the necessity for exhaustive examination of the whole situation and the preparation of material before such a conference is called if we are to secure effective results from the conference.

"We as a nation are fundamentally concerned with reinforcement of the equality of opportunity to every child, and the first necessity for equal opportunity is health and protection.

"The work of the conference will be under the direction of Secretary of the Interior, Dr. Ray Lyman Wilbur, with the cooperation of the Secretary of Labor, James J. Davis. Dr. Harry E. Barnard, formerly State Health Commissioner of Indiana, has been selected as Executive Secretary of the conference and a small preliminary committee is in process of appointment which will expand its own membership and will determine the special subjects to be investigated by special committees outlined above and make recommendations for their personnel."

Herbert Hoover, Statement on Plans for a White House Conference on Child Health and Protection. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/211106

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