Chapter

* The State as a Parent: The Children Act 1948 in Retrospect

STEPHEN CRETNEY

in Law, Law Reform and the Family

Published in print December 1998 | ISBN: 9780198268710
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191683565 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198268710.003.0009
* The State as a Parent: The Children Act 1948 in Retrospect

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The declared objective of the Children Act 1948 was to ‘provide a comprehensive service for the care of children deprived of the benefit of a normal home life’. Local authorities were to receive such children into their care and to stand as a parent to them, exercising their powers so as to further the child's best interests. The Act has long been seen as a landmark law in the history of the public child care in the United Kingdom, and as a major element in the creation of the post-World War II welfare state. There are some curious features about the Act and the events which led up to it. The reality—as this chapter shows—is that the background to the legislation is much more complex than is often assumed; and the response to the pressures for change is reflected in various ways in the provisions of the Children Act and in the omissions from it.

Keywords: United Kingdom; Children Act 1948; children; welfare state; child care; law

Chapter.  28362 words. 

Subjects: Family Law

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