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Title: Chosen children? : the legalisation of adoption in England and its aftermath 1918-1939
Author: Keating, Jennifer E.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2704 6682
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2004
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This thesis looks at the development of child adoption in England in the interwar years. It considers the social historical factors contributing to the increasing interest in adoption after the First World War and discusses the campaign for legislation in the 1920s. It focuses in some detail on the two parliamentary committees (Hopkinson, established 1920, and Tomlinson, 1924) which were set up to consider legalising adoption, and on the process leading to the enactment of the first English adoption law. It discussest he consequenceso f the 1926 Adoption of Children Act, and the pressure which resulted in the setting up in 1936 of the Horsbrugh Committee to look into the operation of the adoption societies, and the subsequent legislation on this issue. A wide range of contemporary and secondary sources have been used, with a particularly close analysis of parliamentary and other official material. The central narrative of the thesis is informed by a series of key questions or debates. These include considering why legislation happened at this particular time; the way in which attitudes towards adoption altered during this period; the differing emphasis attached to the interests of those involved in adoption (ie birth parents, adoptive parents, and adopted children), and whether this changed; the reasons why secrecy was so important for many of those involved in adoption; and a discussion of the significance of adoption for women in the interwar years. The thesis argues that adoption in the interwar years cannot be understood without a full appreciation of the issues raised in these debates, and the concluding chapter, which sketches in the development of adoption since 1939, shows how many of these issues continued to dominate discussion about adoption throughout the post-war period.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available