This chapter examines the ideas of earlier generations of practice, and outlines some of the twists and turns of policy, practice, and ideology that have contributed to how residential child care in Britain is currently constituted. It traces the history of how children were cared for over the centuries, from the pre-Reformation to the second half of the nineteenth century. The chapter looks at: the Elizabethan Poor Laws of 1601, which located responsibility for social welfare with parishes, as well as the establishment of Royal hospitals and industrial or ‘ragged’ schools; legislation relating to residential care, including the UK 1908 Children Act; residential child care within social work; training for residential child care; the concept of group care; the 1989 Children Act; and the 1995 Children (Scotland) Act.
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