When General Charles Gordon lived at Gravesend in the 1860s, he turned himself into a child rescuer. This book contributes to understandings of both contemporary child welfare practices and the complex dynamics of empire. It analyses the construction and transmission of nineteenth-century British child rescue ideology. The book aims to explain the mentality which allowed the child removal policy to flourish. The disseminated publications by four influential English child rescue organisations: Dr. Barnardo's (DBH), the National Children's Homes (NCH), the Church of England Waifs and Strays Society (WSS) and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), are discussed. The gospel of child rescue was a discursive creation, the impact of which would be felt for generations to come. The body of the child was placed within a familiar environment, rendered threatening by the new social, religious and moral meanings ascribed to it. Ontario's 1888 Children's Protection Act required local authorities to assume maintenance costs of wards and facilitated the use of foster care. Changing trends in publishing have created an opportunity for the survivors of out-of-home care to tell their stories. The book shows how the vulnerable body of the child at risk came to be reconstituted as central to the survival of nation, race and empire. The shocking testimony that official enquiries into the treatment of children in out-of-home 'care' held in Britain, Ireland, Australia and Canada imply that there was no guarantee that the rescued child would be protected from further harm.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in this book. The book aims to explore and explain the mentality which allowed child removal policy to flourish. It studies the emergence of this mentality through the publications disseminated by four influential English child rescue organisations, founded in the second half of the nineteenth century. The four organisations include Dr. Barnardo's (DBH), the National Children's Homes (NCH), the Church of England Waifs and Strays Society (WSS) and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC). By the middle of the nineteenth century, the potential of the child as citizen had been clearly articulated, although that status had still to be secured in law. The development of more specialised services for children, and, in particular, the introduction of board schools in most urban areas, addressed many of the needs which the Union had seen as its own.