SECTION 1. DEFINITIONS: (a) "Children's Aid Society" shall mean any duly organized society having among its objects the protection of children from cruelty, and the care and control of neglected and dependent children, such society having been duly incorporated according to the laws of the Territory of Oklahoma. (b) "Institution" shall mean any building or buildings, public or private, under the control of a competent Board of Managers, and used as a Home or place of detention, correction or punishment for dependent or delinquent children. (c) "Court of Summary-jurisdiction" shall mean and include any city court, justice of the peace, probate or district judge. (d) "Municipality" shall mean any county, city, town, or township. (e) "Parent," when used in relation to a child, shall include guardian and every person who is by law liable to maintain a child. (f) "Place of Safety" shall include any industrial school, or reform school for boys or girls, of any shelter or temporary home established by any children's aid society, orphan's home or other institution for the protection of children, duly incorporated under the laws of the Territory for the purposes of this Act. (g) "Street" shall include any highway or public place, whether a thoroughfare or not.
SECTION 2. ANY CONSTABLE, sheriff, police or other peace officer may apprehend without warrant, and bring before any court of summary jurisdiction as neglected, any child apparently under the age of fifteen, if a boy, of sixteen, if a girl, who comes with the following description, namely: (a) Who is dependent upon the public for support, or is found begging or receiving aims, or thieving in any street, thoroughfare, tavern, place of public resort, or sleeping at night in the open air. (b) Who is found wandering about at late hours at night, and not having any home or settled place of abode or proper guardianship. (c) Who is found associating or dwelling with a thief drunkard or vagabonds or other dissolute or degraded person, who by reason of the neglect or drunkenness or other vices of its parents or guardian is suffered to be growing up without salutary parental control and education, or in circumstances exposing the child to an idle or dissolute life. (d) Who is found in any house or illfame or in company with a reputed prostitute. (e) Who is found destitute, being an orphan or deserted by its parents, or having a single surviving parent who is undergoing imprisonment for crime.
SECTION 3. ANY CHILD apprehended under the next preceding section of this Act shall be brought before the proper court for examination within three days after such apprehension, and it shall thereupon be the duty of the court to investigate and ascertain whether such child is dependent and neglected as described in the next preceding section of this Act, its age and the name and residence of its parents, if they can be obtained, and the said court shall have power to compel the attendance of witnesses, and may at his discretion, request the attendance of the county attorney for such examination, and, if requested, it shall be the duty of the county attorney to attend accordingly. The parents, if their whereabouts are known, or persons having the actual custody of such child, shall be duly notified of such examination not less than three days before the day set for such examination. And if on such examination the court finds that any child is dependent or neglected within the meaning of the next preceding section, or so as to be in a state of habitual vagrancy, or ill-fated so as to be in peril of life, health, or morals, by continued personal injury or grave misconduct on the part of parents or guardians, he shall enter such findings by proper order to that effect, and shall order delivery of such child to such children's aid society, as in his judgement is best suited to deal with said child. The court shall deliver to such children's aid society, a certified copy of the order made in the case, which shall contain besides the said finding, a statement of the facts, so far as ascertained, as to the age of such child, name, nationality, residence, and occupation of parents or either of them is dead or has abandoned the child, in the meaning of section 2, of this Act, for any period of time, and in the case of examination of two or more children of the same family at the same time, separate copy of such finding shall be given for each child.
SECTION 4. TITLE TO CHILD. Any Children's Aid Society to the care of which any child may be committed under the provisions of this Act shall, subject to the provisions of section 6 of this Act, be the legal guardian of such child and all the powers and rights of the parents in respect of that child, shall vest in the said society, and it shall be the duty of the said Children's Aid Society to use special diligence in providing suitable homes for such children as may in this way be committed to their care; and such society is hereby authorized to secure for such children, legal adoption in such families, as may be approved by the said society, or a written contract providing for their education in the public schools where they may reside, suitable religious advantages, and Sabbath privileges, for teaching them some occupation, and for kind and proper treatment as members of the family where place, and for payment to them on the termination of such contract any sum of money provided for in said instrument. Such contracts shall cover the entire period of the said child's legal minority or such a portion of it as may be stipulated in the contract, and such contract shall contain a clause reserving the right to withdraw the child from any person having the custody of such child when, in the opinion of the Children's Aid Society placing out such child, the welfare of the child requires it.
SECTION 5. INTERFERENCE OF RELATIVES. No parent or guardian or other person who, by instrumental writing, surrenders or has heretofore surrendered the custody of a child to any Children's Aid Society, shall thereafter, contrary to the terms of such instruments, be entitled to the custody of, or any control of authority over, or any right to interfere with, any such child, and these same conditions shall prevail where the child is or has been delivered to such Children's Aid Society by action of any proper court.
SECTION 6. TRANSFER OF CHILDREN from institutions to Children Aid Societies. Notwithstanding the provisions of any by-laws, rules or regulations for the government or control of any institution, it shall be lawful for the trustees or governing body of such institution, and for the several boards of county commissioners to take advantage of section 4 of this Act by transferring, from time to time, children under their care to any Children's Aid Society operating in the locality of such institution or board of county commissioners, to be placed out by such Children's Aid Society in pursuance of this Act; in such case all legal claims to said child are transferred to said Children's Aid Society, and the child is to be placed out and supervised as any other child belonging to said Children's Aid Society.
SECTION 7. ILL TREATMENT OF CHILDREN. Any person over sixteen years of age, who having the care, custody, control or charge of a child, being a boy under the age of fifteen years, or being a girl under the age of sixteen years, who wilfully ill treats, neglects, abandons or exposes such child, or causes or procures such child to be ill-treated, neglected, abandoned, or exposed, in a manner likely to cause such child unnecessary suffering or serious injury to its health or morals, shall be guilty of an offense under this Act, and, on conviction thereof by a court of summary jurisdiction, shall be liable, at the discretion of the court, to a fine not exceeding one hundred dollars, or, in addition thereto, to imprisonment to a term not exceeding three months.
SECTION 8. PROCEDURE IN CASE OF ILL-TREATMENT. If it appears to any police, magistrate or justice of the peace, or any probate court, on motion made before him under oath, by any person, who in the opinion of the court is, bona fide acting in the interest of any child, that there is reasonable cause to suspect that such child, being a boy under the age of fifteen years or a girl under the age of sixteen years, has been or is being ill-treated or neglected in any place within the jurisdiction of such court, in manner likely to cause the child unnecessary suffering or to be injurious to its health or morals, such magistrate, justice of the peace or probate judge may issue a warrant authorizing any proper person named therein to search for the child, and if it is found to have been ill-treated or neglected in the manner aforesaid, to take it to and detain it in a place of safety until it can be brought before the proper court; and the court before whom the child is brought, may cause it to be dealt with in a manner provided for by section 3 of this Act. The magistrate or justice, before whom such child is brought, may issue a warrant, causing any person accused of any offense in respect of the child to be apprehended and brought before the proper court, and proceedings to be taken to punish such persons according to the section 7 of this Act. Any person authorized by warrant under this section to search for any child, and to take it and detain it in a place of safety, may enter, if need be, by force, any house, building or other place specified in the warrant and may remove the child therefrom. Where there is no superior officer of police, the warrant may be addressed to and executed by any policemen or constable approved for that purpose by the head of the municipality.
SECTION 9. INTERFERING WITH PLACED OUT CHILDREN. It shall be unlawful for any person to induce any child to leave the building or the premises or custody or control of any Children's Aid Society, or any duly incorporated boys' or girls' home, or orphans' home or asylum, or children's or infants' home, or to induce to attempt to induce a child to leave or quit a service or apprenticeship, or any place in which or where the child has been or may be lawfully placed for the purpose of being nursed, supported, educated, or adopted, or to induce or attempt to induce any child to break any articles of apprenticeship or agreement lawfully entered into by or with the authority of the trustees or directors, or governing body of any such home, children's aid society or asylum, respecting any such child, or to detain or harbor any such child after demand made by or on behalf of any officer of any such institution for delivery of such child; and any person who violates the provisions of this section, shall be liable, upon summary conviction before a justice of the peace or other court, to a fine not exceeding twenty dollars and costs, and, in default of payment thereof, to imprisonment not exceeding thirty days.
SECTION 10. COUNTY COMMISSIONERS may pay for children taken from off their hands. Any Board of County Commissioners having jurisdiction may, at their discretion, upon the application of any incorporated Children's Aid Society to whose custody and control a child is committed by said Board of County Commissioners or by the Probate Court of said county, make an order for the payment by the county to which the child belongs of a reasonable sum, not to exceed fifty dollars, for the expense involved on the part of the said Children's Aid Society, or institution temporarily caring for the said child, finding a home for it, and subsequent supervision of it, the county being exempt from all further responsibility and expenses of said child until it is of legal age. Any child shall be deemed to belong to the county in which said child has last resided for the period of six months, but, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, residence for six months in the county from which the child was taken into custody shall be presumed.
SECTION 11 WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS MAY BE DENIED. Where the parent of a child applies to any court having jurisdiction in behalf of said child for a writ or order for the production of the child, and the court is of the opinion that the parent has abandoned or deserted the child, or that he has otherwise so conducted himself that the court should refuse to enforce his claimed right to the custody of the child, the court may decline to issue the writ or make the order.
SECTION 12. FOREIGN CORPORATIONS. No Association which is incorporated under the laws of any other State than the Territory of Oklahoma shall place any child in a family home within the boundaries of the State or Territory of Oklahoma, either with or without indenture, or for adoption.
SECTION 13. COMPLETE RECORDS MUST BE KEPT. All Children's Aid Societies and institutions shall keep a complete record of such children, so far as can be obtained, giving the name, nationality, whose number of children in the family, name and age of parents, also maiden name of mother, when and where the parents were married, time and place of child's birth; also, whether either or both parents are living, and if so, where; also whether or not the parents are divorced, and if so when and where, and who was given the custody of this child.
SECTION 14. THIS ACT shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage and approval.
SECTION 15. ALL ACTS and parts of Acts in conflict with the provisions of this Act, are hereby repealed.
By paying a Benefactor Membership fee of $100 in a single payment, or $20 a year for five years, you secure good homes for two destitute children until of age.
By paying a Patron Membership fee of $50 in a single payment, or $10 a year for five years, you save a child, till grown.
By paying a Life Membership fee of $25 in a single payment, or $5 a year for five years, you become one of two who save a child, in a good family home.
One dollar cash ($1) makes you a Member for one year. Donations, any amount received.
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