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Fries, M.E. (1950). Children in Need: By Melitta Schmideberg, M. D. London: George Allen and Unwin, Ltd., 1948. 196 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 19:596.

(1950). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 19:596

Children in Need: By Melitta Schmideberg, M. D. London: George Allen and Unwin, Ltd., 1948. 196 pp.

Review by:
Margaret E. Fries

Dr. Schmideberg gives a vivid description of conditions in England since 1932. Her experience at the Institute for the Scientific Treatment of Delinquency gives authoritative validity to the conclusions she presents, the most essential being that regardless of how adequate institutions may be, home care of the child is always preferable.

Such postwar problems as the broken home in England, and what the community should do to try to sustain the home; the social and psychiatric needs of widows, unmarried mothers, children, etc., are presented. She has a very human approach in this scientific record; her material is presented simply yet very interestingly, i.e., 'Delinquency attracts more attention than a child's unhappiness. This is natural. The former damages society, whereas the latter only concerns the child.' Dr. Schmideberg urges timely help to prevent more serious conditions. She refers to the Home Makers' Service in America as one of the many expediencies that are constructive.

Case illustrations are interwoven throughout the text to illustrate each point. Unique are the autobiographical sketches by two males who revisited an institution where they had been brought up in their childhood. One, sixteen years old, wrote his autobiographical sketch after two and a half years of treatment. These are convincing evidence for those who need proof that institutional life is not so advisable as foster home placement.

Dr. Schmideberg's conclusions about the duty of postwar society emphasize the need for recognizing early deviations and providing adequate preventative treatment.

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