Coordinated Care for Crippled Children in New York during the Infantile Paralysis Epidemic of 1916

by Laurel Iverson Hitchcock

Jan 1, 2009
In 1935, the federal government established a new program to meet the social and medical needs of crippled children. Unlike other federal child health programs from the 1920s and 1930s, Services for Crippled Children, Part 2 of Title V of the Social Security Act (SSA), provided federal dollars for medical and preventive care for children with crippling and physically disabling conditions. But organized efforts to treat crippled children in the US began in the late nineteenth century. During the first three decades of the twentieth century, many state and local governments and community agencies developed programs for children with crippling conditions resulting from diseases such as tuberculosis, rickets and polio. Services provided included orthopedic and medical treatments, home services, medical equipment and specialized educational services. Not only would these local and state programs inform the development of an important federal child health program initiated at the height of the Depression, they also represented the role progressive era reformers took in promoting the expansion of medical and social treatments for crippled children.
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