Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Texas Youth Commission:

An Inventory of Youth Commission Dependent and Neglected Children's Records at the Texas State Archives, about 1894-1991, undated, bulk 1936-1980



Overview

Creator: Texas Youth Commission.
Title: Youth Commission dependent and neglected children's records
Dates: about 1894-1991, undated
Dates: bulk 1936-1980
Abstract: The Texas Youth Council (later Commission) was assigned the responsibility for providing services to delinquent youths between 10 and 21 years of age through programs and facilities that administered constructive training for rehabilitation in 1949. The agency had the responsibility for state-run institutions for dependent and neglected children and management of delinquent youth and children in the county juvenile probation subsidy program. These records primarily document the academic and medical progress of residents at three state facilities created by the Texas legislature to support, educate, and care for orphan, dependent or neglected children: the Corsicana State Home, the Waco State Home, and the West Texas Children's Home. According to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, the transferring agency for these records, a few resident files from the Gatesville State School for Boys are also included, most likely within the Waco State Home resident files. Records present include admission and intake documents, legal and court documents, psychological and medical records, school records, correspondence, administrative documents, foster home and adoption service records, fingerprints, and photographs. Dates covered are not inclusive and span about 1894-1991 and undated, bulk 1936-1980. The records are all microfiche; the paper copies no longer exist.
Quantity: 3.03 cubic ft. (about 20,000 sheets of microfiche)
Language: These materials are written predominately in English with some documents in French and Spanish.
Repository: Texas State Archives

Agency History

The Texas Youth Commission (TYC) was created in 1983 (Senate Bill 422, 68th Texas Legislature, Regular Session) by changing the name of the Texas Youth Council (Senate Bill 303, 55th Legislature, Regular Session, 1957). The duties of the commission included providing services to delinquent youths between 10 and 21 years of age through programs and facilities that administer constructive training for rehabilitation. TYC initially had the responsibility for state-run institutions for dependent and neglected children, as well as for children in the county juvenile probation subsidy program. This responsibility was subsequently passed on to the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission created in 1981 (House Bill 1904, 67th Legislature, Regular Session) and in 1992 to the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services (House Bill 7, 72nd Legislature, First Called Session). In 2003, the department was renamed the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) (House Bill 2292, 78th Legislature, Regular Session). As of July 2014, DFPS continues to serve the state’s children (including foster care and adoption services), youth, families, and people who are elderly or have disabilities.

Juvenile corrections efforts by the state began in 1887 with the passage of legislation for a House of Correction and Reformatory (House Bill 21, 20th Legislature, Regular Session), which later became the State Juvenile Training School. This correctional facility for boys began operation in 1889 in Gatesville. In 1913, the Girl's Training School was created (House Bill 570, 33rd Legislature, Regular Session), a correctional facility for girls in Gainesville. It began operation in 1916. Between 1887 and 1920, separate boards of directors managed each of these schools and reported directly to the governor. In 1945, the legislature approved the establishment of the State Training School for Delinquent and Dependent Colored Girls (Senate Bill 46, 49th Legislature, Regular Session). Located in Brady, the school began operation in 1947.

Additional 1887 legislation established facilities to care for dependent and neglected children. The State Orphan Asylum (later known as the Corsicana State Home) began operation in 1889 in Corsicana (Senate Bill 261, 20th Legislature, Regular Session). Further legislation in 1887 created another home (House Bill 445, 20th Legislature, Regular Session) located in Austin, known as the Deaf, Dumb and Blind Asylum for Colored Youth (later named the Texas Blind, Deaf and Orphan School). A third home - the State Home for Dependent and Neglected Children (later known as the Waco State Home) - was established in Waco in 1919 (House Bill 112, 36th Legislature, Regular Session). The state homes, as with the schools for delinquent children, were initially managed by the Texas State Board of Control (Senate Bill 147, 36th Legislature, Regular Session) from 1920 to 1949.

The board was composed of three members, serving six-year overlapping terms, appointed by the governor with concurrence of the senate. It served as the purchasing agent for state departments, institutions, and agencies, approving requisition orders, purchasing supplies, contracting for printing, and transferring supplies between agencies. The board also had control and supervision of the state eleemosynary institutions (state schools, hospitals and sanatoriums, orphanages, juvenile training schools), the Alabama-Coushatta Indian Reservation, and the State Cemetery.

Over the years, many of the duties of the Board were transferred to other agencies. In 1939, welfare and assistance responsibilities of the board were transferred to the Texas State Department of Public Welfare (Senate Bill 36, 46th Legislature, Regular Session). Management of the Waco State Home also passed to the same department that year. In 1947, the State Training Code Commission (Senate Concurrent Resolution 34, 50th Legislature, Regular Session) was created. It was composed of seven members appointed by the governor to study the state schools for delinquent children and examine the problem of juvenile delinquency. Its chief responsibility was to determine changes that would improve the administration of the schools and enable them to more neatly accomplish their broad social objectives. The commission's report resulted in the creation of the Texas State Youth Development Council in 1949 (House Bill 705, 51st Legislature, Regular Session). As a result, control of all eleemosynary institutions, including the Corsicana State Home, the Texas Blind, Deaf and Orphan Home, and the Waco State Home, was transferred to the Texas Board for State Hospitals and Special Schools (House Bill 1, 51st Legislature, Regular Session). In 1953, the Board of Control was reorganized yet again (Senate Bill 77, 53rd Legislature, Regular Session) and eventually abolished in 1979 (House Bill 1673, 66th Legislature, Regular Session). Its duties and responsibilities were transferred to the newly created Texas State Purchasing and General Services Commission (known as the Texas Facilities Commission as of July 2014).

The Texas Youth Development Council was composed of six "influential" citizens appointed by the governor with the consent of the senate, and eight ex-officio members. The governor appointed the chair. The purpose of the council was to coordinate state efforts to help communities develop and strengthen all child services. It was also directed to administer the state's correctional facilities for delinquent children by providing a program of constructive training aimed at the rehabilitation and successful reestablishment of these children into society. The council took over control of the correctional schools previously managed by the State Board of Control.

The Youth Development Council became the Texas Youth Council in 1957. It was composed of three members appointed by the governor with consent of the senate, to six-year overlapping terms, and the members elected the chair. The members were citizens recognized in their communities for their interest in youth. The size of the commission increased to six in 1975 (Senate Bill 278, 64th Legislature, Regular Session), with the same qualifications applying to the new members. The Youth Council had the same duties as the Youth Development Council with the additional mandate to provide parole supervision for certain delinquent children until their discharge. The legislature also directed the Youth Council to operate institutions for dependent and neglected children (Corsicana State Home, Waco State Home, and the Texas Blind, Deaf and Orphan School). During the 1970s, the Youth Council initiated a county juvenile probation subsidy program that was transferred to the newly-created Texas Juvenile Probation Commission in 1981 (House Bill 1904, 67th Legislature, Regular Session). The name of the Texas Youth Council was changed to the Texas Youth Commission in 1983. In 2011, the existing Texas Juvenile Probation Commission (TJPC) and Texas Youth Commission were abolished. Their operations were transferred to the newly-created Texas Juvenile Justice Department (Senate Bill 653, 82nd Legislature, Regular Session). The department works in partnership with local county governments, courts, and communities to promote public safety by providing support and services to any individual who is at least 10 years old but not yet 17 at the time he or she committed an act defined as "delinquent conduct" or "conduct in need of supervision," from the time of initial contact through the end of supervision.

(Sources include: Guide to Texas State Agencies, various editions; General and Special Laws, various years; website of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department; website of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services; Laurie E. Jasinski, "Texas Youth Commission", Handbook of Texas Online, all accessed on January 14, 2015; and the records themselves.)


Scope and Contents of the Records

The Texas Youth Council (later Commission) was assigned the responsibility for providing services to delinquent youths between 10 and 21 years of age through programs and facilities that administered constructive training for rehabilitation in 1949. The agency had the responsibility for state-run institutions for dependent and neglected children, and management of delinquent youth and children in the county juvenile probation subsidy program. These records primarily document the progress of residents at three state facilities created by the Texas legislature to support, educate, and care for orphan, neglected or dependent children: the Corsicana State Home, the Waco State Home, and the West Texas Children's Home. According to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, the transferring agency for these records, a few resident files from the Gatesville State School for Boys are also included, most likely within the Waco State Home resident files. Records present include admission and intake documents, legal and court documents, psychological and medical records, school records, correspondence, administrative documents, foster home and adoption service records, fingerprints, and photographs. Dates covered are not inclusive and span about 1894-1991 and undated, bulk 1936-1980. The records are all microfiche; the paper copies no longer exist.

The types and extent of information present varies with individual files. Often earlier records tend to include handwritten records, while later years include typewritten and printed materials as well. Records of an individual resident may include the records of his or her siblings if they were also residents at the same home.

Admission, intake and discharge documents include physical, familial, medical, religious, academic and psychological information about an incoming child. While the breadth of information present in an individual file varies in richness, common topics covered include name of child, date of birth, information on biological parents and siblings, addresses when known, a social history, personality and behavioral traits, assessment of a child's individual needs, reasons for placement, a child's legal status, level of family involvement, the reaction of family members' to placement at a state home, intake studies, and evaluation of an application.

Legal and court documents typically include copies of birth certificates; general offense reports, commitment summaries and offender classification notices created by law enforcement agencies; agreements between the home and foster parents; agreements between the home and referring agency; court judgments and orders; social security documents; financial transactions and tax returns; fingerprints; and affidavits.

Psychological and medical records typically include case review and counseling notes; psychological evaluations; information about the personality and attitude of the resident; scheduled individual counseling records; student survival skills assessment; youth diagnostic profile; immunization history; a record of illness; treatment plans; physical description; laboratory test results; dental records; and physician's records.

School records typically include grades and transcripts; transfer records; withdrawal forms; disciplinary records; photographs; individual educational plans; attendance reports; and intelligence and achievement test results.

Correspondence consists of letters between the superintendents and staff members of individual homes with family members of wards in their custody; the resident once he or she has been discharged from the facility; prospective employers; case workers; attorneys; law enforcement agencies; adoptive or foster family members; and other government agencies at the state, county and national levels. Topics discussed include authorizations, rules and policies, especially regarding visitation, phone calls, and travel; contact information and character endorsements of former residents; and the academic, medical and behavioral progress of residents.

Administrative documents typically include office memoranda; arrival and departure checklists; State of Texas purchase vouchers; discharge reports; incident reports; escape and apprehension reports; grievance and grievance resolution reports; official receipts for withdrawals from trust funds; consent forms; furlough notification and schedule; leave of absence awards; conference records; chronological records by year; photographs; and orientation documents.

Foster home and adoption service records include applications for home placement; a record of payments rendered by the home to the foster parents; pre-placement visit documentation; discharge plans providing the name of child, date, circumstances of discharge, name and address of people being discharged to, case number, and reason being discharged; temporary home trial agreements between the Texas Youth Council and natural family members; home visit reports; and adjustment summaries.

Photographs, when present, are typically of the residents and often span a number of years. A small number of files contain photographs of adults or couples, presumably parents or family members.

When a microfiche sheet is dedicated to an individual, it will display the last, first and middle name of the resident. However there are instances when a sheet is dedicated to multiple siblings and in those cases, the names of all siblings are printed. Researchers are advised that names are often misspelled. The sheets for Corsicana State Home and West Texas Children's Home also include the case number when known. The sheets for Waco State Home attempt to classify the kinds of information contained within them into two broad categories - medical and student, and this categorization is printed on top of the sheet.

The records also include two master lists, one containing the names of residents of the Corsicana State Home and West Texas Children's Home combined, with the other containing the names of residents of the Waco State Home. Names are listed alphabetically by last name with no indication of the years spent at any of the three homes. It was not uncommon for residents to be transferred from one home to another, and it is possible that files in one series may include files of residents from a different state home. A number of files are missing for individuals included on the master lists, with no information on which files were lost or when. The master list is not available electronically. Please contact Archives staff for more information about the list.

In order to estimate the span of years documented in these records, staff at the State Archives conducted a random sampling of records to arrive at a representative time period. Researchers are therefore advised that the extent of years is an estimate and not inclusive.

To prepare this inventory, the described materials were cursorily reviewed to delineate series, confirm the accuracy of contents lists, provide an estimate of dates covered, correct obvious misfiles, and determine record types.


 

Organization of the Records

These records are organized in the original order as maintained by the transferring agency, Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD). Records of residents of the Corsicana State Home and West Texas Children's Home are interfiled in boxes one through nine. Records of the residents of Waco State Home are in boxes 10 through 14. A number of files belonging to residents of the Corsicana State Home and West Texas Children's Home can be found in the Waco State Home resident files series, and vice versa. Occasionally files of a resident at one home will include records from different homes, especially if he or she was transferred. According to TJJD, a few resident files from the Gatesville State School for Boys are also included, most likely within the Waco State Home resident files. Files are arranged alphabetically by last name in no particular chronological order. Items within an individual file are also not necessarily organized chronologically. Files for residents who were formally adopted are arranged according to their new acquired last name, and not according to the last name of their biological parents. The names of all residents within these records are confidential and therefore not listed in the finding aid. The detailed description section of the finding aid specifies the box numbers in which last names that fall within a given range of the alphabet can be found. Researchers are advised to determine the box numbers pertinent to their interest based on the starting letter of the last name of the resident whose files they wish to gain access to. If there is uncertainty regarding which facility a child was a resident of, researchers are advised to check the list of boxes of both groups.
The records are organized into two series:
Corsicana State Home and West Texas Children's Home resident files, about 1894-1984, undated, bulk 1936-1980, 1.95 cubic ft.
Waco State Home resident files, about 1922-1991, undated, bulk 1942-1978, 1.08 cubic ft.

Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

These records are confidential and primarily available to former residents or their families. Family members need to provide proof of their kinship to the former resident whose file they are requesting. Acceptable forms of proof include a birth certificate, marriage license or other documentation demonstrating the relationship with the resident. If the person whose file is being requested is deceased, their family members will need to provide either a copy of his or her death certificate or obituary. If the former resident is still living, a copy of his or her driver's license or legally-issued identification card will need to be provided, in addition to a personally-signed letter granting family members permission to view the records. Once proof of kinship has been suitably established, family members may also gain access to the records of residents' siblings (if any) in the home at the same time. Requests to view the records and copies of proof may be submitted by mail (Texas State Library and Archives Commission, P.O. Box 12927, Austin, TX 78711), via email (archinfo@tsl.texas.gov), or in-person in the Archives Search Room.

If a researcher, other than a family member of a former resident, wishes to request a file for legal or law enforcement purposes, he or she will need to submit a subpoena that authorizes the release of the records.

Because of the possibility that portions of these records fall under Public Information Act exceptions including, but not limited to, law enforcement records and files concerning a child and information stored, by electronic means or otherwise, concerning the child (Texas Family Code, Section 58.007(c)); a report of alleged or suspected abuse or neglect, the identity of the person making the report; and the files, reports, records, communications, and working papers used or developed in an investigation (Texas Family Code, Section 261.201(a)); any personally identifiable information about a victim or witness under 18 years of age (Texas Family Code, Sections 261.201(k) and 261.201(l)); names, home addresses and other identifying information of juvenile offenders in the agency's juvenile delinquent system and of dependent and neglected children in any facilities operated by the Texas Youth Commission (Texas Family Code, Section 58.005); photographs where individual children in Youth Commission facilities can be identified unless the child granted permission to allow the photograph to be taken (Texas Family Code, Section 58.005); psychological or psychiatric reports and evaluations (Texas Health and Safety Code, Mental Health records, 611.002); social security numbers (Texas Government Code, Section 552.117 for government employees, 552.147 for any living person); account numbers, access device numbers (Texas Government Code, Section 552.136); biometric identifiers (Texas Government Code 560); medical records (Texas Occupations Code, 159.002 (Mental Practice Act)); confidentiality and disclosure of returns and return information (Texas Government Code, Section 552.101, in conjunction with 26 U.S. Code §6103); and military discharge records (Texas Government Code, Section 552.140 [military discharge records]); an archivist must review these records before they can be accessed for research. The records may be requested for research under the provisions of the Public Information Act (Texas Government Code, Chapter 552).

The researcher may request an interview with an archivist or submit a request by mail (Texas State Library and Archives Commission, P. O. Box 12927, Austin, TX 78711), fax (512-463-5436), email (director.librarian@tsl.texas.gov), or see our web page (http://www.tsl.texas.gov/agency/customer/pia.html). Include enough description and detail about the information requested to enable the archivist to accurately identify and locate the information. If our review reveals information that may be excepted by the Public Information Act, we are obligated to seek an open records decision from the Attorney General on whether the records can be released. The Public Information Act allows the Archives ten working days after receiving a request to make this determination. The Attorney General has 45 working days to render a decision. Alternately, the Archives can inform you of the nature of the potentially excepted information and if you agree, that information can be redacted or removed and you can access the remainder of the records.

Materials do not circulate, but may be used in the State Archives search room. Materials will be retrieved from and returned to storage areas by staff members.

Restrictions on Use

Most records created by Texas state agencies are not copyrighted. State records also include materials received by, not created by, state agencies. Copyright remains with the creator. The researcher is responsible for complying with U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S.C.).

Technical Requirements

Microfiche readers are available in the Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives and Library Building. Please contact Archives Staff for exact locations.


Index Terms

The terms listed here were used to catalog the records. The terms can be used to find similar or related records.
Corporate Names:
Corsicana State Home.
West Texas Children's Home.
Waco State Home.
Gatesville State School for Boys (Tex.).
Texas Youth Council.
Texas Juvenile Justice Department.
Texas. Dept. of Protective and Regulatory Services.
Texas. Dept. of Family and Protective Services.
Texas. State Board of Control.
Texas. State Department of Public Welfare.
Texas. State Juvenile Training School.
Subjects:
Dependents--Texas.
Public welfare--Texas.
Orphanages--Texas.
Asylums--Texas.
Reformatories--Texas.
Children--Institutional care--Texas.
Child abuse--Texas.
Child mental health--Texas.
Juvenile delinquency--Texas.
Juvenile justice, Administration of--Texas.
Academic achievement--Texas--Testing.
Places:
Corsicana (Tex.)--State institutions.
Pyote (Tex.)--State institutions.
Waco (Tex.)--State institutions.
Document Types:
Birth certificates--Dependents--Texas--about 1894-1991, undated
Medical reports--Dependents--Texas--about 1894-1991, undated
School records--Dependents--Texas--about 1894-1991, undated
Correspondence--Dependents--Texas--about 1894-1991, undated
Legal documents--Dependents--Texas--about 1894-1991, undated
Memorandums--Dependents--Texas--about 1894-1991, undated
Progress reports--Dependents--Texas--about 1894-1991, undated
Photographs--Dependents--Texas--about 1894-1991, undated
Fingerprints--Dependents--Texas--about 1894-1991, undated
Microfiche--Dependents--Texas--about 1894-1991, undated
Functions:
Documenting dependent wards of the state.
Managing public institutions.
Administering public welfare.

Related Material

The following materials are offered as possible sources of further information on the agencies and subjects covered by the records. The listing is not exhaustive.

Texas State Archives
Texas Youth Commission, Morales case files, 1949-1990, undated, bulk 1969-1989, 37.6 cubic ft.
Texas Youth Commission Records, 1886-1892, 1902, 1909-2003, undated, bulk 1949-2000, 19.72 cubic ft.
Texas State Board of Control (?), Payrolls, Home for Dependent and Neglected Children, Rusk State Hospital and the State Orphan's Home, 1928-1930, fractional. [There is no finding aid available for this unprocessed collection. Call number is 2-10/857, folder 10.]
Texas State Board of Control building records and contracts, 1854, 1885, 1909-1949, 1967, undated, bulk 1920-1928, 6.44 cubic ft. [RESTRICTED]
State Board of Control board members files, 1885-1890, 1917-1953, undated, bulk 1920-1953, 40.06 cubic ft. [RESTRICTED]
Texas State Board of Control, Records, 1854, 1885-1890, 1909-1979, undated, bulk 1935-1953, 103.47 cubic ft. [RESTRICTED]
Secretary of State, Statutory Documents Section, Deed files, 1848-1994, undated (not inclusive), bulk 1928-1963, 9.12 cubic ft.
McLennan County scholastic census records, 1930-1970, 62.93 cubic ft.
Blueprints and drawings collection, 1854-1984, undated, bulk 1936-1938, 41.21 cubic ft.
Texas Commission on Services to Children and Youth, Minutes, 1973-1974, 1978, fractional
Texas Juvenile Probation Commission, Executive correspondence and meeting files, 1986-1996, 5 cubic ft.
Texas Juvenile Probation Commission, Minutes, 1986-1994, 0.71 cubic ft.
Texas Juvenile Justice Commission, Records, 1941-2011, 66 cubic ft. [RESTRICTED][This is an unprocessed collection, accession number 2014/044. Refer to box # 6, 13, 18 and 21 for records pertinent to the Corsicana State Home, West Texas Children's Home, Waco State Home, and Gatesville School. These files are restricted. Contact Archives Staff for assistance.]
Legislature, House of Representatives, Committee to Investigate Certain Training Schools [Gainesville and Gatesville], Records, 1937, fractional [RESTRICTED]
House of Representatives Committee to Investigate State Reformatory Institutions reports, 1937, fractional [RESTRICTED]
Legislature, House of Representatives, Committee on Juvenile Crime and Delinquency, Minutes and witness affirmations, 1967-1971, fractional [RESTRICTED]
Legislature, House of Representatives, Committee on Youth, Minutes and witness affirmations, 1969-1971, fractional [RESTRICTED]
Legislature, Senate, Committee on Youth Affairs, Records, 1969, 2 cubic ft. [RESTRICTED]
Legislature, Senate, Select Committee on the Juvenile Justice System, Records, 1988-1989, 2.4 cubic ft [RESTRICTED]
Legislature, Senate, Youth Affairs Committee, Records, 1969, about 2 cubic ft. [RESTRICTED] (Investigation of alleged brutality.)
Publications
We Were Not Orphans, Stories from the Waco State Home, Sherry Matthews, University of Texas Press, February 2011
Who Gets a Childhood? Race and Juvenile Justice in Twentieth-Century Texas, William S. Bush, University of Georgia Press, September 2010
Public School Laws of the State of Texas, Bulletin 143, pp. 225-228, Department of Education, State of Texas, January 1922
Annual or biennial reports of the Board of Control and of many of the eleemosynary institutions can be found in the Texana Collection of the Texas State Archives. Check the card catalog (most of these are not in the library's online catalog) for the name of the institution and call numbers.
Texas State Training Code Commission. A Youth Development Program for the State of Texas, 1949 (This is a report to Governor Beauford Jester and the 51st Legislature that resulted in the creation of the State Youth Development Council.)
Texas Legislature, State Investigative Committee, 1902 [includes an investigation of the State Orphan home in Corsicana (Corsicana Children's Home)] (The Texas State Library and Archives Commission does not hold records of the committee, just the publication.)

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

(Identify the item and cite the series), Texas Youth Commission dependent and neglected children's records. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Accession Information

Accession number: 2014/103

These records were transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission by the Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD) on May 2, 2014. These records were transferred to TJJD (formerly known as the Texas Youth Commission) by the Texas Protective and Regulatory Services in about 1989. Prior to that, the records were transferred among several unspecified state agencies, including the Texas State Board of Control and the Texas Youth Council (Commission).

Processing Information

Processed by Aditi Worcester, July 2014


Detailed Description of the Records

 

Corsicana State Home and West Texas Children's Home resident files, about 1894-1984, undated, bulk 1936-1980,
1.95 cubic ft.

The Corsicana State Home and West Texas Children's Home were created by the Texas legislature to support, educate, and care for orphan, neglected or dependent children. The Texas State Board of Control took over management of the homes in 1916. Management was then transferred to the Texas Youth Council (later Commission) in 1949. These records primarily document the academic and medical progress of residents at these homes. The records of residents of both homes are interfiled, and files of an individual resident may include those of his or her siblings if they were also residents at the same home. A small number of files of residents from the Waco State Home may also be present. Types of records present include admission and intake documents; legal and court documents; psychological and medical records; school records; correspondence; administrative documents; caseworker records; foster home and adoption service records; fingerprints; and photographs. The types and extent of information present varies with individual files. Often earlier records tend to be handwritten and consist of fewer documents, while later years include typewritten and printed materials, and are more voluminous. Dates covered are not inclusive and span about 1894-1984, and undated, bulk 1936-1980.
These records are all microfiche; the paper copies no longer exist. Each microfiche sheet is dedicated to an individual resident and is labeled according to his or her name and individual case number when known. Files are arranged alphabetically by last name. When the case number is unknown, the files are marked "N/A." Some files contain more information than others and may consist of multiple microfiche sheets. Such files are numbered to reflect the total number of sheets.
The records also include a master list containing the names of residents of the Corsicana State Home and West Texas Children's Home combined. Names are listed alphabetically by last name with no indication of the relevant home or the span of years spent. Researchers are advised to consult with the list of boxes in both series if there is uncertainty about which home a resident may have resided in. The master list is not available electronically. Please see Archives staff for more information about the list.
In order to estimate the span of years documented in these records, staff at the State Archives conducted a random sampling of the records to arrive at a representative time period. Researchers are therefore advised that the extent of years is an estimate and not inclusive.
Corsicana State Home History
The Corsicana State Home, originally known as the State Orphan Asylum, was created in Corsicana in 1887 (Senate Bill 261, 20th Texas Legislature, Regular Session) to support, educate, and care for orphan or dependent children. In 1899 the name was changed to State Orphan Home. This name was used until 1957 when the Legislature created the Texas Youth Council and changed the name to Corsicana State Home.
The home housed 54 children the first year. In the late 19th century, it had an extensive farming operation, and in 1900, the campus included a broom factory, a canning factory and a sorghum mill. There were 400 students at that time. The first administration building was a two-story structure, but was razed to build a new building in 1918. There were many other large two and three-story buildings named for those who resided there - Baby Girls' Building, Big Boys' Building, Middle-sized Girls' Dormitory, etc. During the depression years, the population of the home increased rapidly. In 1932 the home reached a peak enrollment of 890. Enrollment however began to decline in the 1940s, and by 1945 the facility housed only 443 children.
By 1948 the home had 21 brick structures and a number of small frame cottages, barns, and outbuildings on 417 acres. In its early years, the home operated its own independent school district with a grade school, junior high, and high school. In addition to academic subjects, the school offered courses in various vocational fields, including cosmetology, mechanics, printing, agriculture, home economics, and business. Until the 1960s the institution also operated its own farms, dairy, creamery, laundry, cannery, store, power plant, bakery, kitchen, and hospital. Older children worked part-time in these operations and received practical training.
For many years the home was considered a "local resource" by Navarro and surrounding counties. In 1963 an internal study revealed that 53 percent of the children in the home were from counties within 100 miles of Corsicana. The home was integrated in the mid-1960s. Although state law permitted the home to accept children as young as three years, it was the policy for many years to not accept pre-school children, and most elementary-age children were placed in foster care. In 1982 the home was changed to a residential treatment center for emotionally-disturbed youth and the population was reduced to 50.
(Source: James W. Markham and William T. Field, "Corsicana State Home", Handbook of Texas Online, accessed on January 14, 2015.)
West Texas Children's Home History
In 1961, the Texas Youth Council initiated a state-financed system of parole, and in 1967 the first two halfway houses were opened in Houston. The third, the West Texas Children's Home (WTCH) of Pyote, was opened on September 1, 1966 at the same location where the Rattlesnake Bomber Base was located during World War II. It served children between the ages of three and 16 who were classified as Dependent and Neglected (D&N). The home completed its first year of operation with a budget of $358,478, a population capacity of 116, and 48 staff members. The average daily population the first year was 76, with a total of 123 children being served. Residents attended school in Monahans, Wink, and Grandfalls, and church in Monahans and Pyote. By 1976, the Air Force barracks had been replaced by 11 modern brick cottages, a new administration / infirmary / cafeteria complex, a recreation building, and a large maintenance / warehouse / fire station. In 1976, Children in Need of Supervision (CINS) or Status Offenders also began to be admitted. Each student's progress through the program was monitored using a points system where students earned points and privileges for positive behavior. This was eventually replaced with a levels system.
In 1977 efforts began to transition the home into a training school for delinquent youth. Beginning in 1978, students were placed with parents when possible, or in other Texas Youth Council-operated or contracted placements. Youth committed as delinquents began arriving at WTCH in mid-1979. By 1980, alternate placements had been arranged for all remaining D&N and CINS students, and only a few senior high school students remained. Only 46 male students were in residence at the end of August 1980. This was the lowest population (and the first time girls were not in residence) since the home's first year of service. The population was lowered to facilitate an accelerated training program for staff and allow stabilization of the new program. In 1983, the home operated under a budget of $4.2 million and had 168 students. A total of 472 youth were served. The campus again became coeducational with the opening of two girls' dormitories. The name was changed to West Texas State School in 1990.
(Source: Julia Cauble Smith, "West Texas State School", Handbook of Texas Online, accessed on January 14, 2015.)
Arrangement
These records are arranged in the original order as maintained by the transferring agency. A number of files are missing for known residents, with no information on which files were lost or when. Records of the Corsicana State Home and West Texas Children's Home are interfiled in boxes one through nine, although a small number of files belonging to these residents may be found in the Waco State Home resident files series as well. Files are arranged alphabetically by last name in no particular chronological order. Items within an individual file are also not necessarily organized chronologically. Files for residents who were formally adopted are typically arranged according to their newly-acquired last name, and not according to the last name of their biological parents. The names of all residents within these records are confidential and therefore not listed in the finding aid. The detailed description section of the finding aid specifies the box numbers in which last names that fall within a given range of the alphabet can be found. Researchers may not be able to view the microfiche. Documents may contain information about other residents not related to the individual in question. Researchers are advised to determine the box numbers pertinent to their interest based on the starting letter of the last name of the resident whose files they wish to gain access to. If there is uncertainty regarding which state home a child was a resident of, researchers are advised to check the list of boxes of both series.
Preferred Citation
(Identify the item), Corsicana State Home and West Texas Children's Home resident files, Texas Youth Commission dependent and neglected children's records. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Restrictions on Access
These records are confidential and only researchers with proper verification may be granted access. Family members will need to provide proof of their kinship to the former resident whose file they are requesting. Acceptable forms of proof include a birth certificate, marriage license or other documentation demonstrating the relationship with the resident. If the person whose file is being requested is deceased, they will need to provide either a copy of his or her death certificate or obituary. If the former resident is still living, a copy of his or her driver's license or legally-issued identification card will need to be provided, in addition to a personally-signed letter granting family members permission to view the records. Once proof of kinship has been suitably established, researchers may also gain access to the records of the resident’s siblings (if any) in the home. Requests to view the records and copies of proof may be submitted in the mail (Texas State Library and Archives Commission, P.O. Box 12927, Austin, TX 78711), via email (archinfo@tsl.texas.gov), or in-person in the Archives Search Room.
Because of the possibility that portions of these records fall under Public Information Act exceptions including, but not limited to, law enforcement records and files concerning a child and information stored, by electronic means or otherwise, concerning the child (Texas Family Code, Section 58.007(c)); a report of alleged or suspected abuse or neglect, the identity of the person making the report; and the files, reports, records, communications, and working papers used or developed in an investigation (Texas Family Code, Section 261.201(a)); any personally identifiable information about a victim or witness under 18 years of age (Texas Family Code, Sections 261.201(k) and 261.201(l)); names, home addresses and other identifying information of juvenile offenders in the agency's juvenile delinquent system and of dependent and neglected children in any facilities operated by the Texas Youth Commission (Texas Family Code, Section 58.005); photographs where individual children in Youth Commission facilities can be identified unless the child granted permission to allow the photograph to be taken (Texas Family Code, Section 58.005); psychological or psychiatric reports and evaluations (Texas Health and Safety Code, Mental Health records, 611.002); social security numbers (Texas Government Code, Section 552.117 for government employees, 552.147 for any living person); account numbers, access device numbers (Texas Government Code, Section 552.136); biometric identifiers (Texas Government Code 560); and medical records (Texas Occupations Code, 159.002 (Mental Practice Act)); an archivist must review these records before they can be accessed for research. The records may be requested for research under the provisions of the Public Information Act (Texas Government Code, Chapter 552). Refer to the overall restriction statement for instructions on requesting access through the Texas Attorney General.
Technical Requirements
Microfiche readers are available in the Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives and Library Building. Please contact Archives Staff for exact locations.
Box
Microfiche Box (2014/103-1) A-B
Box
Microfiche Box (2014/103-2) C-D
Box
Microfiche Box (2014/103-3) E-Ham
Box
Microfiche Box (2014/103-4) Han-J
Box
Microfiche Box (2014/103-5) K-Mon
Box
Microfiche Box (2014/103-6) Moo-Pot
Box
Microfiche Box (2014/103-7) Pow-Sha
Box
Microfiche Box (2014/103-8) She-V
Box
Microfiche Box (2014/103-9) W-Z



 

Waco State Home resident files, about 1922-1991, undated, bulk 1942-1978,
1.08 cubic ft.

The Waco State Home was created by the Texas legislature to support, educate, and care for orphan, neglected or dependent children. The Texas State Board of Control took over management of the home in 1916. Management was then transferred to the Texas Youth Council (later Commission) in 1949. These records primarily document the academic and medical progress of residents at the Waco State Home. A small number of files of residents at the Corsicana State Home and West Texas Children's Home may also be found. According to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, the transferring agency for these records, a few resident files from the Gatesville State School for Boys are also included, most likely filed within this series. Files of an individual resident may include those of his or her siblings if they were also residents at the same home. Types of records present include admission and intake documents; legal and court documents; psychological and medical records; school records; correspondence; administrative documents; caseworker records; foster home and adoption service records; fingerprints; and photographs. In addition, there are two groupings of files at the end of the series: Miscellaneous and Old Medical Records Student. While there are no records within the latter category, the kinds of files that can be found under Miscellaneous include employee's miscellaneous papers, oaths etc. (signed documents by employees stating that they have received a certain document or that they are not a member of the Communist Party, etc.); invoices; magazines and bulletins, newspaper, and literature subscriptions; miscellaneous legal and medical documents; letters to Ben Peek (superintendent in 1943); miscellaneous school records; student records; files for unidentified individuals; files from the Office of Dependency Benefits - War Department; printing requests; statement of accounts and inventory of goods; telegrams; and transfers. The types and extent of information present varies with individual files. Often earlier records tend to be handwritten and consist of fewer documents, while later years include typewritten and printed materials, and are more voluminous. Dates covered are not inclusive and span about 1922-1991 and undated, bulk 1942-1978.
These records are all microfiche; the paper copies no longer exist. Each microfiche sheet is dedicated to an individual resident and/or, when relevant, siblings sharing the same last name and who were residents at the same facility at the same time. Some sheets also specify the kind of information contained within them by categorizing contents into either "medical" or "student." This information is typically recorded on the top of the sheet when present. Some files contain more information than others and may consist of multiple microfiche sheets. Such files are numbered to reflect the total number of sheets.
The records also include a master list containing the names of residents of the Waco State Home. Names are listed alphabetically by last name with no indication of the time period. The master list is not available electronically. Please see Archives staff for more information about the list.
In order to estimate the span of years documented in these records, staff at the State Archives conducted a random sampling of the records to arrive at a representative time period. Researchers are therefore advised that the extent of years is an estimate and not inclusive.
Waco State Home History
The State Home For Dependent and Neglected Children was created in Waco in 1919 (House Bill 112, 36th Texas Legislature, Regular Session). A tract of 95 acres was purchased for the site of the institution, and a board of trustees, made up of three citizens, was appointed by Governor William P. Hobby. Its name was changed to Waco State Home in 1937 (House Bill 909, 45th Legislature, Regular Session). Management of the Waco State Home was initially the responsibility of the Board of Control beginning 1920 and eventually passed on to the Department of Public Welfare in 1939 (Senate Bill 36, 46th Legislature, Regular Session).
In 1945, the maximum capacity of the home was 364 children and there were 276 boys and girls enrolled at the time. Children between four and 16 years of age, adjudged by district courts to be dependent or neglected, were admitted to the home for care, education, and training, with "preference to those children of tender age," according to law. Admission was denied to any child who was known to have violated the law habitually. Children with mental or physical challenges were also not accepted. Care of indigents was free, while transportation, clothing, and a charge of not more than $5 per week were required of children having sufficient estates or persons legally liable for their support who were financially able to pay. All admissions and discharges were handled through a sociologist. Adoptions from the home were permitted. Educational, religious, and physical training was given to the students. The home lay within an independent school district, and its school was conducted on the grounds with the support of the state school apportionment. Upon completion of the eight grades taught at the home, children entered Waco High School. The older boys assisted with farm, garden, and dairy work, and the older girls with laundry, housekeeping, and dining room. Children were permitted to earn small sums of money and were allowed personal ownership. A complete medical history of each child was kept.
In addition to the original tract purchased, the home leased a 235-acre farm, and had modern equipment and buildings, including a separate hospital. Management of the home was transferred to the Texas Board for State Hospitals and Special Schools in 1949 (House Bill 1, 51st Legislature, Regular Session). The home was then placed under the administration of the newly-created Texas Youth Council (TYC) in 1957 (Senate Bill 478, 55th Legislature, Regular Session). On August 31, 1965, the multiservice program of the home was caring for 288 children. Of this number, 239 were in residence at the home, 10 were in paid foster homes, and 38 were either with relatives on temporary home trial placements, or in preadoptive placements, free foster homes, job placements, or college. In 1970 there were 300 children in the home, and those of scholastic age attended Waco public schools on an annual contract basis, rather than attending school on the grounds.
During the early 1970s, Texas moved toward an increased use of foster care and community-based alternatives for dependent and neglected youth. Fewer orphans and dependent and neglected children were placed at the large state institutions. Consequently, TYC transferred the Waco State Home to the Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation in 1979. The Department reorganized the facility into a treatment center for emotionally disturbed children and the name was changed to the Waco Center for Youth.
(Sources include: James W. Markham and William T. Field, "Waco State Home", Handbook of Texas Online, accessed on January 14, 2015.)
Gatesville State School for Boys History
The Gatesville State School for Boys was the first juvenile training and rehabilitation institution in the southern United States. It was established in 1887 as the House of Correction and Reformatory (House Bill 21, 20th Texas Legislature, Regular Session) to serve as a penal institution for boys under the age of 16 years in the state prison system with an unexpired term of five years or less. After successfully fulfilling their term, the boys could get all legal rights restored to them by the governor. The board of trustees of the facility included three members to be appointed by the governor for two-year terms. They were to create rules and regulations for the facility, having in view the reformation, education, and discipline as well as the profitable employment of the inmates. The inmates were to be taught habits of industry and sobriety, some useful trade, and to read and write. The trustees were also to establish some mechanical industries so that the inmates could be placed at such work at the discretion of the superintendent. White and black inmates were to be kept, worked, and educated separately. Direct management of the facility was to be by a superintendent appointed by the governor, who was to report to the trustees. The superintendent's duties were to enforce rules and regulations made by the trustees, and manage and control the inmates. He was also to serve as a financial agent, being responsible for purchasing materials and supplies, disbursing moneys appropriated, and selling products raised and manufactured at the institution.
In 1909, the name of the institution was changed to the State Institution for the Training of Juveniles (Senate Bill 201, 31st Legislature, Regular Session). This legislation increased the board of trustees to five members, who appointed the superintendent with the approval of the governor for a two-year term. The superintendent, with the approval of the board chairman, could grant inmates a conditional "Leave of Probation." The inmate and his employer were required to send a report at the end of each month and thereafter for a period of six months to the superintendent as to the habits and demeanor to the parolee. If the reports were favorable then a full release could be granted. If not, the parolee could be sent back to the institution, forfeiting his parole.
In 1913, the name of the institution was changed to the State Juvenile Training School (House Bill 27, 33rd Legislature, First Called Session). The size of the board of trustees was increased to six, with staggered terms. Another piece of legislation (House Bill 99, 33rd Legislature, Regular Session) directed the institution to receive boys under the age of 17 years (previously under the age of 16) for no more than five years and they were not to be kept past the age of 21. In 1919 the Texas State Board of Control (Senate Bill 147, 36th Legislature, Regular Session) was created and took over management of the facility, abolishing the board of trustees. The school was renamed the Gatesville State School for Boys in 1939 (House Bill 742, 46th Legislature, Regular Session). In 1949, the State Youth Development Council (later named the Texas Youth Council) took over management of the school (House Bill 705, 51st Legislature, Regular Session).
In 1971 a class-action lawsuit, Morales vs. Turman, was brought against the Texas Youth Council on behalf of juvenile defenders. This led to sweeping changes in the Texas juvenile justice system. The presiding federal judge, Judge William Wayne Justice, ordered the closing of the state schools at Gatesville (boys) and Gainesville (girls). The Gatesville State School for Boys closed in 1979.
(Sources include: James W. Markham and William T. Field, "Gatesville State School for Boys", Handbook of Texas Online, accessed on January 14, 2015.)
Arrangement
These records are arranged in the original order as maintained by the transferring agency. A number of files are missing for known residents, with no information on which files were lost or when. Records of the Waco State Home can be found in boxes 10 through 14. A small amount of files belonging to residents of the Gatesville State School for Boys, Corsicana State Home and West Texas Children's Home can be found in this series, and vice versa. Files are arranged alphabetically by last name in no particular chronological order. Items within an individual file are also not necessarily organized chronologically. Files for residents who were formally adopted are typically arranged according to their new acquired last name, and not according to the last name of their biological parents. The names of all residents within these records are confidential and therefore not listed in the finding aid. The detailed description section of the finding aid specifies the box numbers in which last names that fall within a given range of the alphabet can be found. Researchers are advised to determine the box numbers pertinent to their interest based on the starting letter of the last name of the resident whose files they wish to gain access to. If there is uncertainty regarding which state home a child was a resident of, researchers are advised to check the list of boxes in both series.
Preferred Citation
(Identify the item), Waco State Home resident files, Texas Youth Commission dependent and neglected children's records. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Restrictions on Access
These records are confidential and primarily available to former residents or their families. Family members need to provide proof of their kinship to the former resident whose file they are requesting. Acceptable forms of proof include a birth certificate, marriage license or other documentation demonstrating the relationship with the resident. If the person whose file is being requested is deceased, their family members will need to provide either a copy of his or her death certificate or obituary. If the former resident is still living, a copy of his or her driver's license or legally-issued identification card will need to be provided, in addition to a personally-signed letter granting family members permission to view the records. Once proof of kinship has been suitably established, family members may also gain access to the records of residents' siblings (if any) in the home at the same time. Requests to view the records and copies of proof may be submitted by mail (Texas State Library and Archives Commission, P.O. Box 12927, Austin, TX 78711), via email (archinfo@tsl.texas.gov), or in-person in the Archives Search Room.
Because of the possibility that portions of these records fall under Public Information Act exceptions including, but not limited to, law enforcement records and files concerning a child and information stored, by electronic means or otherwise, concerning the child (Texas Family Code, Section 58.007(c)); a report of alleged or suspected abuse or neglect, the identity of the person making the report; and the files, reports, records, communications, and working papers used or developed in an investigation (Texas Family Code, Section 261.201(a)); any personally identifiable information about a victim or witness under 18 years of age (Texas Family Code, Sections 261.201(k) and 261.201(l)); names, home addresses and other identifying information of juvenile offenders in the agency's juvenile delinquent system and of dependent and neglected children in any facilities operated by the Texas Youth Commission (Texas Family Code, Section 58.005); photographs where individual children in Youth Commission facilities can be identified unless the child granted permission to allow the photograph to be taken (Texas Family Code, Section 58.005); psychological or psychiatric reports and evaluations (Texas Health and Safety Code, Mental Health records, 611.002); social security numbers (Texas Government Code, Section 552.117 for government employees, 552.147 for any living person); account numbers, access device numbers (Texas Government Code, Section 552.136); biometric identifiers (Texas Government Code 560); and medical records (Texas Occupations Code, 159.002 (Mental Practice Act)); an archivist must review these records before they can be accessed for research. The records may be requested for research under the provisions of the Public Information Act (Texas Government Code, Chapter 552). Refer to the overall restriction statement for instructions on requesting access through the Texas Attorney General.
Technical Requirements
Microfiche readers are available in the Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives and Library Building. Please contact Archives Staff for exact locations.
Box
Microfiche Box (2014/103-10) A-D
Box
Microfiche Box (2014/103-11) E-I
Box
Microfiche Box (2014/103-12) J-M
Box
Microfiche Box (2014/103-13) O-S
Box
Microfiche Box (2014/103-14) T-Z