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Child rescue discourse, England, Canada and Australia, 1850–1915

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.

Shurlee Swain
and
Margot Hillel

for child welfare practice. Notes 1 Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission, Bringing Them Home: Report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families (Sydney: HREOC , 1997

in Child, nation, race and empire
A new approach
John Herson

. Myers, ‘Childhood migration and social integration in adulthood’, Journal of Marriage and the Family, 61 (August 1999), pp. 774–89; C. Hafford, ‘Sibling caretaking in immigrant families: Understanding cultural practices to inform child welfare practice and evaluation’, Evaluation and Program Planning, 33 (2010), pp. 294–302. 61 C. J. Calhoun, ‘Community: Toward a variable conceptualisation for comparative research’, Social History, 5:1 (January 1980), pp. 105–29; B. Deacon and M. Donald, ‘In search of community history’, Family and Community History, 7:1 (May 2004

in Divergent paths