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Child welfare administration under protection acts in British Columbia : its history and development, 1901-1949 Singleton, Anna Genevieve


This study traces the development of the Protection of Children Acts in British Columbia from the first Act in 1901 to the present day. The original legislation was modelled on the Ontario Protection Act, but various amendments have been added since, which have been influenced by British Columbia conditions. The basic purpose of the Act was to give authority to Children's Aid Societies to commit children as wards of the government; the study traces the increased participation of the provincial government in financing these societies. In order to give a detailed description of the changes that have taken place, Statutes, annual reports of the Children's Aid Society of Vancouver, annual reports of the Catholic Children's Aid Society of Vancouver, annual reports of the Superintendent of Child Welfare and other documents and reports have been studied. Information was also secured from interviews with people connected with the administration of this Act. The development is conveniently divided into periods. The first, (1901-1920), covers the period from administration under the Children's Aid Societies to the appointment of the Superintendent of Neglected Children for the province. The second, (1921-1943), traces the reorganization of the Children's Aid Society of Vancouver and the expansion of services to children by the provincial government. In the present stage, (1943-1949), developments are reviewed in terms of greater expansion of services. Changes in views on child care are revealed by the study. At first, the prevalent doctrine was that orphans and other children in need of protection should be placed in a Home. Later, emphasis was placed on foster-homes instead of institutions. As examples in the thesis show, modern practice recognizes there is a place for institutional care as well as foster-home care for wards end non wards. The importance of understanding the needs of the child and the type of care that is best for a specific child is discussed in some detail. The role of the social worker is emphasized.

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