New PDF release: A Child for Keeps: The History of Adoption in England,

By J. Keating

ISBN-10: 0230517889

ISBN-13: 9780230517882

A baby for Keeps? considers the history to the expansion in approval for adoption in Britain within the early 20th century and analyzes the crusade for adoption laws. It discusses the wholesale progress of unregulated adoption after the 1st legislations was once handed and the sluggish strain for safeguards and secrecy in adoption.

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Additional info for A Child for Keeps: The History of Adoption in England, 1918-45

Sample text

Mental defect provided both a convincing biological explanation for the plight of these women – their mental defect left them with no restraint over their sexual instincts and unprotected against abuse by 34 A Child for Keeps men – and a powerful justification to place then under protection and control in refuges and houses. 91 Steve Humphries interviewed an old lady who had spent most of her life in a local mental hospital. She had been placed there from the workhouse where she had gone after becoming pregnant following rape.

Even destitute children had received little help. Under the old Poor Laws (the first major one was passed in 1597), children who were without effective parents or guardians to take care of them became the responsibility of the parish. How they were treated depended largely on the local board, and the individual officials who dealt with them. The Poor Relief Act of 1601 obligated those responsible for the care of deprived children – churchwardens and parish overseers – to take measures to set the children to work or bind them as apprentices.

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. It was an extension of the policy of ‘boarding out’ workhouse children and involved substantial numbers by the turn of the twentieth century. 65 The Poor Law Amendment Acts of 1889 and 1899 gave Guardians the right to assume parental rights and responsibilities over a child in care until he or she was eighteen, in effect the right to ‘adopt’ certain boys and girls.

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A Child for Keeps: The History of Adoption in England, 1918-45 by J. Keating


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