STATE WELFARE HOME
AN ACT to Authorize, Empower and Direct the State Old Age Welfare Commission to Acquire Land and to Erect or Cause to be Erected Thereon a State Welfare Home for the Care and Support of Indigent Persons Resident in the State of Delaware; to Define the Powers and Duties of Said Commission for This and Other Purposes; to Appropriate Funds Out of the State Treasury for Carrying Out the Purposes of This Act; to Provide for the Maintenance of the Said Home and the Care and Support of the Inmates, and for Other Expenses, Out of Public Funds, Supplied in Part by the Counties and in Part by the State; to Abolish Existing Alms Houses and Transfer Certain Inmates of Said Houses to Said Home; to Dissolve the Trustees of the Poor; and to Prescribe Penalties for the Violation of the Provisions of This Act.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Delaware in General Assembly met:
Section 1. The State Old Age Welfare Commission is hereby authorized, empowered and directed to acquire the necessary land, in a suitable location in the State of Delaware, and to erect or cause to be erected on said land a State Welfare Home, with all the required appointments and equipment, for the proper care and support of indigent per- sons, resident in said State, as hereinafter provided. The said Commission shall enter upon its duties under this Act within ninety days after its approval by the Governor.
Section 2. The members of the Commission, before entering upon their duties under this Act, shall be severally sworn or affirmed, to faithfully and diligently perform the duties devolving upon them. They shall serve without salary, but shall be entitled to receive a fee of Five Dollars ($5.00) for attending each meeting of the Commission, on the business and affairs of the Home, and in addition, a reasonable allowance for expenses incurred in the performance of their duties.
Section 3. The Commission shall have full jurisdiction and control over said Home and its inmates. It may adopt and enforce rules and regulations for the exercise of its powers and the performance of its duties. It may appoint a Treasurer and such other subordinate officers, agents and servants as may be found necessary, fix their compensation, and dispense with their services at any time. The Treasurer shall give bond to the State, with surety approved by the Commission, in such sum as it may prescribe, for the faithful and diligent performance of his duty and the true and correct accounting for all moneys coming into his hands, which bond shall have a warrant of attorney attached to confess judgment thereon. The Commission shall cause the ac- counts of its Treasurer to be examined and verified annually, or oftener, if the Commission shall deem it necessary.
Section 4. The Commission shall have power to acquire land, in the name of the State, by purchase or otherwise, upon which to erect the said State Welfare Home. Whenever the Commission cannot agree with the owner or owners of such land for the purchase thereof, the Commission may, after due notice to said owner or owners, apply to the Resident Judge of the Superior Court for the County in which said land is located, for the condemnation thereof, and the said Resident Judge shall thereupon make such order, or orders, respecting such condemnation as he may deem right and proper. The said Commission shall also have power to enter into contracts, in the name of the State, for the erection of said Home and for its appointments and equipment. No member of said Commission, and no person holding a position under said Commission, shall have any pecuniary interest, directly or indirectly, in the purchase or condemnation of land and the erection of the Home thereon, with its appointments and equipment.
Section 5. The sum of Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($500,000.00) is hereby appropriated out of the general funds in the State Treasury for the acquisition of the necessary land and the erection of the State Welfare Home thereon, with its appointments and equipment. The said sum shall be expended under the direction of the Commission. The State Treasurer shall make payments from said sum, from time to time, upon the presentation by said Commission of vouchers duly verified and approved.
Section 6. Any person, man or woman, having a legal residence in the State of Delaware, who has been unable to obtain employment, or is unable to work, who has no property or income sufficient to provide the necessities of life, who has no permanent place of abode, and no relatives or friends to care for him or her, may be admitted for the time being to said Home, on the written order of any member of the Commission, in the interim of the meetings of said Commission, or by order of the Commission when in session, upon the presentation to said Commissioner, or to the Commission as a whole, of a statement in writing setting forth the facts in his or her case, attested by two credible witnesses, and verified under oath or affirmation. In every such case the Commission shall cause diligent inquiry to be made into all the facts and circumstances, and, upon ascertainment that the statement submitted is just and true, may make such further order respecting such person as the facts and circumstances may warrant. The Commission may, in its discretion, and in cases of extreme emergency, or upon the order of any Court having competent jurisdiction in such cases, admit other persons to the Home. If an indigent person requiring public relief, including medical and surgical treatment, should not be or cannot be removed to the Home, any member of the Commission may grant him or her outside relief until the Commission meets, when such person shall be provided for by the Commission either by the continuance of such outside relief or by removal to the Home; and the cost of such outside relief shall be a proper charge against said Home, as much so as if said indigent person were an inmate thereof, and shall be included in the cost of the maintenance of said Home and the care and support of its inmates. In the event of the death of an indigent person, whether an inmate of the Home or dying outside of the Home, he or she may be buried at the public expense, on the order of the Commission, or any member thereof, but in no case shall the expense of the burial exceed One Hundred Dollars ($100.00).
Section 7. No insane or vicious person, or a person having a criminal record, unless such person by thorough reformation shall have acquired a good reputation, shall be admitted to the Home. Any inmate of the Home who shall be guilty of the violation of any law of the State of Delaware Dismissal shall be dismissed from the Home and placed in the custody of the proper authorities. Any inmate of the Home who shall become incorrigible shall be dismissed. Any inmate of the Home who shall marry shall be dismissed.
Section 8. If an inmate of the Home shall be found to own property, such property shall be liable for the expense fur expense incurred in the care and support of such inmate. If a husband, without sufficient cause, separate from his wife, or a father or mother desert his or her children, so that such wife or children shall be admitted to the Home, the property of such husband, father or mother shall be liable for the expense incurred in the care and support of such wife or children. In all such cases the Commission shall take legal proceedings to seize the property to pay said expense. The parents, grandparents, children or grandchildren of an indigent person, an inmate of the Home, shall be liable, in the order named, for the expense incurred in the care and support of such person, provided they shall be found able to pay such expense. The Commission shall take legal proceedings to enforce this liability, if warranted by the facts and circumstances.
Section 9. Any person who by wilful false statements, or misrepresentation, or other fraudulent devise, obtains or attempts to obtain, or aids or abets any other person to obtain admission to the Home, when such person is not en- titled to admission under the provisions of this Act, or any person who disposes of any property, or aids or abets in the buying or in any other way disposing of the property of a person applying for admission, or who has already been admitted to the Home, without the knowledge or consent of the Commission, which property is liable for the expense incurred in the care and support of such person in said Home, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction there- of shall be sentenced to pay a fine not exceeding Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00), or to undergo imprisonment not exceeding three years, or both in the discretion of the Court.
Section 10. The Commission shall conduct said Home to conduct Home and provide for the care and support of the inmates with due regard for their comfort and well being. The inmates shall be classified and grouped, as far as may be feasible, according to their color, their mental and physical condition, and their previous occupation, with a view to their mental and physical betterment. They shall be assigned to such work, when physically able, as will interest and en- courage them. Facilities shall be afforded them for educational improvement, edifying and inspirational entertainment and healthful recreation. Such methods in general shall be employed by the Commission as will provide good order, fraternal relations, and self respect among the inmates, under humane and helpful regulations, with special reward for meritorious service and gentle reproof or reason- able restraint for misbehavior, as each particular case may warrant. No member of said Commission, and no person holding a position under said Commission, shall have any pecuniary interest, directly or indirectly, in the purchase of supplies of any kind for said Home and its inmates, or in expenditures authorized by said Commission for any purpose in connection with said Home and its inmates.
Section 11. The cost of the maintenance of said Home and the care and support of its inmates, including the necessary expenses of the Commission, shall, on and after the date of the opening of said Home, be a charge against the Counties of the State, apportioned according to the number of inmates from each County. The Commission shall annually submit to the Levy Court of each County an estimate of the cost and expenses chargeable against such County. The Levy Court of each County shall include the amount of said estimate in the taxes laid for that year, and the same shall be credited by the Treasurer of the County to the said Commission, subject to its order. The Commission shall, at the close of each month, furnish the Treasurer of each County with a detailed, minute and accurate account of the cost and expenses during the month chargeable to the County, the amount of which account shall be paid to the Treasurer of the Commission, who shall disburse the same in the payment of claims against said Home, as the same shall have been verified and ordered by the Commission to be paid.
Section 12. The State shall semi-annually reimburse each County to the extent of one-half the amount expended by said County for the cost of the maintenance of the Home and the care and support of its inmates, including the necessary expenses of the Commission. Claim for such reimbursement shall be first approved by the Commission and thereafter be presented by the Treasurer of each County semi-annually, in January and July, to the State Treasurer. Before payment of said claim shall be made it shall be duly verified by the State Auditor, who shall certify the correctness thereof to the State Treasurer. The State Treasurer shall thereupon pay the amount of such claim to the Treasurer of the County presenting the same. The estimated amount of said claims shall be included in the annual appropriations made by the General Assembly. If, at any time, there would be a deficit in the funds required to be provided by the Levy Court of each County for the cost of the maintenance of the Home and the care and support of its in- mates, including necessary expenses of the Commission, as aforesaid, chargeable to said County, such deficit shall be paid out of the State Treasury upon requisition of the said Commission and shall be deducted by the State Treasurer from the amount to be paid to said County in reimbursement of the amount expended by it, as hereinbefore provided.
Section 13. When the Home, with its appointments and equipment, shall have been completed and is ready for occupancy, the inmates in the several Alms Houses in the State, who come within the classification of such persons as may be admitted, shall be transferred to said Home, and the Almshouses as such shall be abolished. At the time of the transfer the Trustees of the Poor shall deliver to the Commission all papers and records relating to the inmates transferred to the Home. All insane inmates of the Alms Houses shall be committed to the Delaware State Hospital at Farnhurst.
Section 14. When the Alms Houses shall have been abolished as hereinbefore provided, the jurisdiction and control over the properties, including all lands, buildings and improvements, and all personal property of every kind and description, shall forthwith pass to the respective Counties in which said Houses were located. The Trustees of the Poor in each County shall execute and deliver such conveyances, or other instruments of writing, as may be required to effectuate the transfer to the said County of such jurisdiction and control.
Section 15. When the Alms Houses shall have been Poor to settle with Levy abolished and the jurisdiction and control of the properties Courts shall have passed to the respective Counties in which said Houses were located, the Trustees of the Poor in each County shall make a full and complete settlement with the Levy Court of such County and shall cause all funds in their possession, or under their control, to be paid to the Treasurer of the County, who shall credit said funds to the Commission, subject to its order. The said Trustees of the Poor, as a corporation, shall then be dissolved, and the terms of repealed office of the members thereof shall terminate; and thereupon all the powers and duties of the said Trustees of the Poor shall cease and determine and all laws in relation thereto, including Chapter Fifty-four of the Revised Code, shall be and are hereby repealed.
Section 16. Any person who violates any provision of this Act, for which no penalty is specifically prescribed, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof shall be sentenced to pay a fine not exceeding Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00), or to undergo imprisonment not exceeding three years, or both in the discretion of the Court.
Section 17. The Commission shall annually, within ninety days after the close of each 'calendar year, make a full report of its proceedings to the Governor and to the Levy Court in each County, including detailed information regarding the Home and its inmates and a Statement of receipts and Expenditures.
Section 18. This Act shall be named and cited as the State Welfare Home Act of the State of Delaware.
Section 19. All Acts or parts of Acts inconsistent herewith are hereby repealed.
Approved April 29, 1931.