A Child for Keeps: The History of Adoption in England, by J. Keating

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By J. Keating

The heritage 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 legislation from legalization in 1926, to legislation and reform within the Thirties, with laws ultimately being enforced in 1943 amid situation approximately informal wartime adoptions.

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Extra info for A Child for Keeps: The History of Adoption in England, 1918–45

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This measure was contested by a number of the children’s charities as they used fostering and boarding out for some of the children they looked after and feared that they would lose their ‘nursemothers’ if they were subject to inspection and regulation. The Children Act also raised the age of children protected by the boarding-out regulations to seven and dealt with the whole spectrum of children’s care as well as infant life protection: cruelty and neglect of children and young people; reformatories and industrial schools; the establishment of a separate system of juvenile courts; juvenile smoking; and miscellaneous provisions mainly dealing with children and intoxicating liquor.

73 This clause was abolished in the Children Act of 1908, which also established the principle that homes where just one child was being looked after for payment should (except in a few exempted situations) be inspected by local authorities. This measure was contested by a number of the children’s charities as they used fostering and boarding out for some of the children they looked after and feared that they would lose their ‘nursemothers’ if they were subject to inspection and regulation. The Children Act also raised the age of children protected by the boarding-out regulations to seven and dealt with the whole spectrum of children’s care as well as infant life protection: cruelty and neglect of children and young people; reformatories and industrial schools; the establishment of a separate system of juvenile courts; juvenile smoking; and miscellaneous provisions mainly dealing with children and intoxicating liquor.

The NCAA was particularly influential in publicising the idea of adoption, and successful at fundraising for its activities. 14 She was born in May 1862 into a professional family in Exeter; her father Thomas was then High Bailiff of the Exeter County Court and subsequently an official at the Board of Trade, and her brothers Sidney and Henry became respectively a solicitor and surgeon. 15 It is unclear what exactly she did in the decades after that but she appears to have devoted herself energetically to ‘good works’ and committees.

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