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Created by the Legislature in 1917, the Mothers Pension Commission was composed of nine women, three from each county, serving three year terms.1 The Commission’s purpose was to investigate family situations where mothers were incapable or unable to properly care for their children, specifically children under the age of fourteen. Any Trustee of the Poor, municipal council member, or friend or relative of a specific family could petition the Commission for aid. The Commission would then initiate an investigation, by a trained female investigator, the Commission issued warrants for funds to be payable to the mother. It was not required that the mothers be the natural parent, only acting in that capacity to a child under the age of fourteen.
In 1929, the age limit was raised to sixteen years and younger.2 The agency’s title was changed in 1943 to the Commission for Aid to Dependent Children,3 which itself was merged into the State Board of Welfare in 1945,4 became the Department of Public Welfare in 1951 and part of the Department of Health and Social Services in 1969. In 1983 many responsibilities dealing with children and their families were removed from Health and Social Services and placed with the newly created Department of Services for Children, Youth, and Their Families.

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1 29 DL, ch. 227.

2 36 DL, ch. 251.

3 44 DL, ch. 76.

4 45 DL, ch. 97.
jrf; May 8, 1989; May 9, 1989

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