The Fatherless Children of France was organized in the spring of 1916. Its object is the relief of needy French children under sixteen years of age, whose fathers have been killed in the war.
An essential feature of this plan is the maintaining of these children in their own homes. In no other way can the French tradition, threatened with total extinction by the present desperate situation, be preserved. It is therefore provided that each child shall be brought up by its own mother, or other qualified guardian, in the religion of its father and under conditions approximately normal.
There are at the present time fifty-four French Orphan Societies affiliated with our Society. These societies having applied to and been approved by our Paris Committee, have the privilege of submitting to our Paris Committee lists of needy children eligible for support under our rules. These names are then verified and catalogued by our Paris Committee and sent to the National Executive Committee in New York, which in turn distributes them among our various committees throughout America. Lists of the French affiliated societies and of the American committees will be found in the body of the report.
On December 31st, 1917, there were one hundred and twenty-eight American committees; at the date of the issuing of this report, May 1st, 1918, the number is one hundred and eighty.
The funds collected for the adoption of these French children by American adoptors are remitted direct by the local American committees to Messrs. J. P. Morgan and Co. in New York ; by that firm the money is transmitted through its Paris office to our committee in Paris and by it is distributed to the orphans through the French post office.
The Committee in Paris, having had returned to them the list of names of children who have been adopted, together with the names and addresses of the American adoptors, with a statement of the length of time for which this care is pledged, as soon as practicable notifies the child, or its mother or guardian. The mother or guardian must then obtain from the mayor or other official in the district a certificate of life, and forward it to the Paris office.
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