The object of the routine examination
is to determine by the giving of a variety of psychometric tests,
something about the child’s general level of intelligence
and something about his particular abilities or disabilities. It
is a great saving both to the child and to the foster home as well
as to the agency, if one can get beforehand some estimate of what
may be expected from a given child in the way of progress and achievement.
It is as great a mistake to place a very superior child in a home
which cannot provide the suitable opportunities, as to place the
mediocre child in the superior home which has set its heart on sending
the child to high school and college. The child will be happy only
if it lies within its ability to come up to what is expected of
it by the foster parents.
Even the routine examination, however, does more than just measure
intelligence. It enables the examiner to spend an hour and a half
with the child watching his responses to external situations and
often gives a clue to emotional disturbance which will cause trouble
later if not understood.
When the social history indicates that the child’s behavior
has been unusual in some way, peculiar, delinquent, troublesome
or what not, then this department makes a much more intensive study
of the problem. In the light of the history, the medical examination,
the psychometric tests, and interviews with the child in which his
confidence is gained if possible, a psychological interpretation
of his behavior is worked out and placement recommended on this
basis. . . .
The justification for the time and effort which one such child
may require before a successful adjustment is made lies in the fact
that without it, the child is lost and furthermore becomes increasingly
a burden and expense to the agency and to society. For such children,
society pays, either in early preventive care and education or later
in the futile attempts to check the anti-social or unwholesome behavior.