Working Lives

Social Care

In the Forefront of Children’s Care since World War II

After leaving the WRNS at the end of the Second World War, the contributor began a career in social work at a time when aspirations were high that new social legislation would result in a much better world. Her personal journey leads us from a system making sense of the huge backlog of work arising from the war, the evacuation and the bombing to the social housing boom of the 1960s and the London homelessness issues of the 1970s. She describes her efforts as a childcare officer to give some kind of normal life to children in homes and foster care and her joy when children grew up to have fulfilling lives. She describes the changes in attitudes to taking children into care and how she helped to change public opinion towards what were regarded as failing families, whereas it was housing provision that was failing. Her work began in Essex and Suffolk and continued in East London and the South Bank. The interview is informative, thought-provoking and full of humanity.

Key words: social policy; Children's Act, foster homes; Poor Law Act; London County Council; East London; social housing; immigration; Morning Lane reception centre; Coin Street.

Post War children's care – the residential home

Out of the institution

Finding a roof for children

A damaged population

No room in London and the disastrous spiral of homelessness – Cathy Come Home

New estates and overspill

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