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

By J. Keating

The background 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 law and reform within the Nineteen Thirties, with laws ultimately being enforced in 1943 amid problem approximately informal wartime adoptions.

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

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If he required any further conviction, let him consider that a servant who has an illegitimate child loses her situation, that the Board of Education suspends the certificate of a schoolmistress, that no hospital nurse or typist would expect for a second to keep her position … And the social stigma [of the illegitimate child] is an indefensible but quite real consequence of the degradation of the unmarried mother. 100 Eighteen months later Rebecca West herself became the unmarried mother of a son by H.

If an illegitimate person died intestate without spouse or issue their personal property, at least in theory, passed to the Crown. Under the Bastardy Laws Amendment Act 1872, the mother of an illegitimate child could obtain an order for maintenance against the putative father before the child was born. This also extended the father’s liability to support his child until the age of 16 and enabled Boards of Guardians to assist mothers in recovering maintenance costs. It fixed the maximum weekly amount payable under affiliation orders at five shillings a week.

48 Attempts to improve mothering skills led to an expansion of the health visiting system which had started in some parts of the country during the latter part of the nineteenth century, whereby mothers would be visited by women who were either working for charitable societies in a voluntary or paid capacity or employed as sanitary inspectors by the local authorities. These ladies gave the mothers instruction Setting the Scene 21 about how to improve the care and nutrition of their children and the management of their homes.

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