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Change and continuity in children's services$
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Roy Parker

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781447322221

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447322221.001.0001

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Residential child care

Residential child care

an historical perspective

(p.19) Chapter 2 Residential child care
Change and continuity in children's services

Roy Parker

Policy Press

The expansion and persistence of institutional provision for children from the 1850s until the middle years of the last century is charted and explained in terms of the quest for control over certain classes of children through the imposition of discipline, religious instruction, training and education. The institutions also proliferated for economic reasons. Both the poor law and the many voluntary children’s societies that sprang up in the 1870s and 80s relied heavily upon them and in neither sector was the alternative of boarding-out much favoured. Little changed during the inter-war years for reasons that are explained and it was not until the 1980s that residential care began to decline, despite longstanding misgivings about standards of care and considerable government pressure to expand foster care. The reasons were complex but included the slow development of foster care, the low marginal costs of residential places and the long survival of the approved schools. The chapter ends by considering the likely future of the residential care system.

Keywords:   control, discipline, economics, symbolism, trends

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