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‘Social work and social care in times of Austerity’ – a historical overview Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley, Department of History NUI Galway.

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Presentation on theme: "‘Social work and social care in times of Austerity’ – a historical overview Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley, Department of History NUI Galway."— Presentation transcript:

1 ‘Social work and social care in times of Austerity’ – a historical overview Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley, Department of History NUI Galway

2 “Cruelty Man” or “Children’s Man”? : The NSPCC in Ireland, ‘The Society differs in its aim from all other Societies seeking the welfare of unhappy children, in that, whilst others seek to house and provide for the wanderer, homeless, destitute, it seeks to punish those worthless parents who make children wanderers, homeless and destitute, and to render other provision than their own home less necessary.’ Annual Report of the Dublin Aid Committee,

3 Classless??? Child protection workers viewed the mistreatment of children through their own cultural lenses Focus did not expand to include investigations of institutions (State and voluntary/charitable), child prostitution, child abuse and neglect in upper- class homes (and in most instances middle-class homes) and excessive corporal punishment in schools Many neglect cases were as a result of poverty

4 Legislation from – Children’s Act 1907 – Notification of Births Act (Britain) 1910 – gradually extended to Ireland (Dublin). Dublin Corporation used it as a way to target poor mothers – corporations health visitors did not call to middle-class and upper-class mothers Women’s National Health Association (WNHA)– set up baby clubs WNHA – had 155 branches, 18,000 members

5 1911, The National Insurance Act – had to be altered to Ireland. 1918, The Midwives (Ireland) Act 1906 – Provision of School Meals Act in Britain. 1914, compromise act the Education (Provision of Meals) (Ireland) Act 1926 – School Attendance Act 1927 – The Report of the Commission for the Relief of the Sick and Destitute Poor 1931 – Legitimacy Act 1941 – Children Act 1944 – Children’s Allowances 1952 – adoption legalised

6 Democratic Programme of the First Dáil (1919) ‘It shall be the first duty of the Government of the Republic to make provision for the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of the children, to secure that no child shall suffer hunger or cold from lack of food, clothing, or shelter, but that all shall be provided with the means and facilities requisite for their proper education and training as Citizens of a Free and Gaelic Ireland.’

7 Industrial Schools Artane Industrial School, Dublin Baltimore Industrial School, c.a.1900

8 Charity and proselytising... Barrier to cooperation and alliance between ‘competing’ groups I was maybe nine at the time. We were very poor. And she was sick, and really there was no food or anything. And we went to the St. Vincent de Paul for help. But we had a clean home, and they thought if your house is clean, you’re well off. So, St. Vincent de Paul wouldn’t help us. So we went to the Salvation Army – and they gave us help. She took us down to the Salvation Army on a Sunday morning. And, you know, that was against our religion. And the Legion of Mary (members) were walking up and down saying, ‘please don’t bring your children in there.’ Well we were only going in cause they gave you a parcel of food. But you had to wait for the (semi- religious) service – which was terrible. And my mother was very upset, I remember, and she was crying... She was a very religious woman.

9 Positive changes Focus by philanthropists, the state, the churches etc. Compulsory Education introduced, mass schooling Labour laws tackled to prevent children working Laws regarding age of consent, smoking, drinking alcohol, cruelty to children, child neglect, incest Raising the age of consent, age of criminal responsibility Where to now???


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