By J. Keating
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Extra resources for A Child for Keeps: The History of Adoption in England, 1918-45
Dr Barnardo had begun his emigration operation in 1882, and by the beginning of the First World War this had arranged for over twentyfour thousand children to be sent to Canada. Joy Parr described a three-stage indenture system in operation for the Barnardo’s migrants (with similar arrangements in other organisations): younger children (six- to ten-year-olds) were boarded out with families for a monthly fee; eleven- to fourteen-year-olds received board and lodging but like similar age family members were expected to do a fair amount of work; after fourteen they were employed for wages.
60 Two years later what sounds like a minor piece of legislation but was in fact an important step in the campaign against baby farming and infanticide was passed – the Births and Deaths Registration Act which imposed fines for failing to report births (within 42 days) and deaths (within eight days). In 1897 a second Infant Life Protection Act raised the relevant age to five. This was incorporated into the Children Act 1908, which took the age of supervision for children kept for hire or reward to seven, and prohibited life insurance for children (a controversial issue).
The two societies she referred to were the National Children Adoption Association (NCAA) and the National Adoption Society (NAS). Other societies appeared during the 1920s but these were the first substantial ones whose sole purpose was adoption. 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.
A Child for Keeps: The History of Adoption in England, 1918-45 by J. Keating