Child Protection then and now
19th Century:Child abuse was highlighted as a specific issue, in the latter part of the 19th century, by the medical profession. The British Medical Association was particularly active in the growing criticism of the practice of ‘baby farming' the permanent farming out to others for a fee or a one-off payment of new born children (Hayden et al 1999)
This prompted Charles Dickens to write what was later to become one of his best known works:"For the next eight or ten months, Oliver was the victim of a systematic course of treachery and deception. He was brought up by hand. The hungry and destitute situation of the infant orphan was duly reported by the workhouse authorities to the parish authorities. The parish authorities inquired with dignity of the workhouse authorities, whether there was no female then domiciled in "the house" who was in a situation to impart to Oliver Twist, the consolation and nourishment of which he stood in need. The workhouse authorities replied with humility, that there was not. Upon this, the parish authorities magnanimously and humanely resolved, that Oliver should be "farmed", or, in other words, that he should be despatched to a branch-workhouse some three miles off, where twenty or thirty other juvenile offenders against the poor-laws, rolled about the floor all day, without the inconvenience of too much food or too much clothing,"
“‘ I should like’ said the child, ‘ to leave my dear love to poor Oliver Twist; and to let him know how often I have sat by myself and cried to think of him wandering about in the dark nights with nobody to help him. And I should like to tell him’ said the child, pressing his small hands together and speaking with great fervour, ‘that I was glad to die when I was very young; for, perhaps, if I had lived to be a man, and had grown old, my little sister who is in Heaven might forget me, or be unlike me; and it would be so much happier if we were children there together.," (Dickens, C., first published 1834 as The Parish Boy’s Progress).
Any change? 21st Century: Pleas from Young Persons at Care Matters Conference 16.11.09 “We would like to have somewhere to store our things and not have to use black bin bags when we move from one carer to another. We would like to stay at the same school and not have to move school 3 to 4 times a year. When we have our annual assessments we would like the doctor to listen to us as people and not say we need CAMHS.”
The report CARE AND PREJUDICE is produced by the Children's Rights Director for