Child Care History Network

First Meeting, held at

National Children’s Bureau, 8 Wakley Street, London

At 2.00 p.m. on Wednesday 27 February 2008

1. Present: Sue Bishop, Cynthia Cross, John Cross, Craig Fees, Nicola Hilliard (Nicola had to leave part-way through the meeting), Liz Hryniewicz, David Lane, Rosemary Lilley, David Millard, Angela Nurse, Maureen O’Hagan, Christopher Reeves, Charles Sharpe, Karen Taylor, Ian Wakeling, Susan Wightwick, Mel Wood

Apologies: Anna Brown, Vic Citarella, Toby Davidson, Roy Grimwood, Ian Grosvenor, Brian Littlechild, Lee Pardy-McLaughlin, Sian Roberts, Olive Stevenson, John Thain, Pauline Weinstein, Keith White, Val Wood

2. The Agenda was adopted, David Lane was agreed as Chair of the meeting, and Craig Fees agreed to take minutes.

3. Members present introduced themselves, spoke of their involvement in the field, why they had come to the meeting, and how, why and in what way they were concerned with ‘history’ and 'child care'.

3.1 From this discussion David Lane discerned four themes:

a) The need to record the history, and that much of the history of the work was not written down;

b) Isolation: There were few links among organisations, workers, institutions, researchers, and people were working in isolation from one another, as well as from the history of the field;

c) A concern for archives;

d) A need to interpret and use the history in understanding and influencing policy and practice today.

3.2 The question of archives was taken up, and a number of points were made:

a) There was a need for a mapping exercise

  1. to identify archives which hold relevant materials

  2. to identify and locate specific archive collections held in archives, in institutions, by organisations, and in private hands

  3. to identify the nature, extent and accessibility of the collections.

    1. Karen Taylor noted that the British Records Association was applying for funds to carry out a scoping exercise on the location of a sector of archives still to be identified. She suggested that this might be an appropriate sector.

b) The systematic and opportunistic destruction of records meant that the knowledge and memory of much work had been and was being lost. There was a need to get the message out: “Do not get rid of your archives”. But then where could they be kept?

c) All of which raised the question: For whom were archives being kept? Who did they serve, and for what purposes?

d) It was suggested that a specialist archivists subgroup be formed.

3.3  It was agreed that alongside a mapping exercise for archives, mapping exercises for research and for publications were also needed.  

4. It was agreed to form an organisation and to call it the Child Care History Network

5. In discussing the aims and objectives of the group, it was noted that a lack of interest in the past, and a lack of knowledge of work and experience that had gone on in the past, led to a form of re-inventing the wheel. In addition to the Aims, Objectives and Remit of the Child Care Network as suggested in the notes accompanying the Agenda, it was agreed that the organisation must have a function beyond an interest in the history of the field for its own sake. This function might be seen in terms of a pressure group, working for a proper appreciation and incorporation of history into the education and training of people for the field, as well as in policy making, and the development of practice generally.

6. It was agreed to form a Steering Group to carry forward on organisational questions. There were people not at the meeting who might wish to join, but those at the meeting who agreed to serve were:

  • Cynthia Cross

  • Craig Fees

  • Nicola Hilliard

  • David Lane

  • Rosemary Lilley

  • Angela Nurse

  • Maureen O’Hagan

  • Charles Sharpe

7. It was agreed to set the Steering Group the task of organising a conference, provisionally in September or October 2008.

8. As a Network of members, it was agreed in principle to have a subscription to support the work of the Network. It was agreed to set the Steering Group the task of looking at questions and sources of funding.

9. Craig Fees had circulated a paper outlining a proposed oral history project entitled “Therapeutic Living With Other People’s Children: Residential therapeutic child care c.1930-c.1980”, for which funding was being sought from the Heritage Lottery Fund. It was agreed that David Lane would write a letter of support on behalf of the Network, and that it was appropriate to circulate the details of the proposed project to members of the Network.

10. The first meeting of the Steering Group will be held at the National Children’s Bureau on Wednesday April 30th, 2008, at 1 p.m. Members who were not at the meeting are warmly invited to put themselves forward for the Steering Group.