By J. Keating
The historical past of adoption from 1918-1945, detailing the increase of adoption, the expansion of adoption societies and contemplating the expanding emphasis on secrecy in adoption. Analyses adoption legislations from legalization in 1926, to rules and reform within the Nineteen Thirties, with laws eventually being enforced in 1943 amid difficulty approximately informal wartime adoptions.
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Additional resources for A Child for Keeps: The History of Adoption in England, 1918–45
Now the state was beginning to intervene. 64 Further legislation was pushed through by the NSPCC in 1894, making the penalties for ill-treatment more severe and empowering the police to remove suspected victims of child cruelty from their homes without a court order. Further child protection measures followed throughout the 1890s and they were incorporated in the Children Act 1908, which extended the law to cover not just ‘wilful’ cruelty to children but also that arising from negligence. Legal adoption began during this period, in the sense of the assumption of parental rights by the Poor Law Guardians to give them more powers to direct the fate of the children in their care.
Adoption work would also have offered her new challenges and interests at a time when she was facing the end of her busy wartime career which had absorbed her energy, organising skills and charitable urges. It is not known whether she had gained training or qualifications or had any private income but if not the opportunities for her as an unmarried middle-class woman in her late fifties were limited – thus she had to create them for herself.
Across the country there was an annual week of baby shows, parades, ‘mothercraft’ examinations and exhibitions, handicraft classes and competitions, cookery classes and lectures and later films on child welfare and hygiene. School children were regularly given half-day holidays to attend some of the events. ’52 In general the war years saw a great expansion of government expenditure on services for children53 and an accompanying increase in official control over the programmes being provided.
A Child for Keeps: The History of Adoption in England, 1918–45 by J. Keating