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IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

Child Migration Programmes Investigation Report

The views of local authority Children’s Officers

55. The Children Act 1948, which sought to implement the key Curtis recommendations, led to the appointment of qualified Children’s Officers within local authorities.

56. Generally, these childcare professionals became unwilling to put forward children for migration, and in 1955 the County Councils Association confirmed that this was because they “...were not satisfied that Australian methods of childcare were comparable with those practised in Britain in the past few years”.[1]

57. The Overseas Migration Board (OMB), essentially a pro-migration lobbying body established in 1953, itself accepted that “[t]here was certainly some discrepancy between the form of childcare recommended by the Children Act and carried out by local authorities in the UK and that offered by the societies in Australia”. The position of the local authorities led to continued frustration by the Australian authorities.[2]

The reluctance by Children’s Officers to provide children for migration, because of concerns over the conditions of care the children were receiving, should have been afforded weight given their role as the emerging statutory childcare professionals.

References

Footnotes

  1. WM000005_031; EWM000096.
  2. Constantine 27 February 2017 143-150 and 10 March 2017 84-85; Lynch 9 March 2017 101-102 (on the views of Essex County Council’s children’s officer, Ms Wansborough Jones, who was later part of the Ross Fact-Finding Mission).
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