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IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

Child Migration Programmes Investigation Report

The Women’s Group on Public Welfare (WGPW) report, 1951

41. The Women’s Group on Public Welfare was a philanthropic women’s organisation founded in the late 1930s which focused on the improvement of social conditions by investigating perceived problems and publishing reports about them. The WGPW conducted a review of child migration in light of Curtis principles “as a matter of social conscience”.[1]

42. The WGPW report stated that professionally qualified social workers and those with a first-hand knowledge of the conditions in the countries receiving children should be involved in the selection of child migrants. They suggested that the selection process should not ask “whether the child is suited for emigration, but whether migration is best suited to the child’s particular needs”.[2]

43. The report recommended that:

a. siblings should be kept together;

b. there should be better preparation of the children for migration;

c. children should be housed in cottage homes and have access to mainstream education;

d. there should be careful selection and training of staff and aftercare officers; and

e. detailed records about the children should be sent with them and maintained in their new country.

Overall, it was said that “...the sending agencies cannot divest themselves of responsibility for that child’s subsequent welfare”.[3] 

44. The WGPW report was not official, and did not have any statutory or quasi-statutory status. However, it was the work of a body of respected childcare professionals, including representatives from the National Association for Mental Health, the Church of England Moral Welfare Council, the Women’s Liberal Federation, the Family Welfare Association, the Young Women’s Christian Association, and the British Federation of Social Workers.

45. The sending agencies clearly knew about this report. Not only was it reported in the press, but the Council of Voluntary Organisations for Child Emigration (CVOCE) actively discussed its recommendations. The view of Professors Constantine and Lynch was that this report was taken seriously by the Home Office.[4]



  1. EWM000005_71 (para 5.4.1); Child Migration, a Study made in 1948-50 by a Committee of the Women’s Group on Public Welfare, National Council of Social Service, London, 1951, pp. 6 and 33-60.
  2. This followed high standards on selection being set out in the Doyle Report, the Bondfield report and in the 1947 Home Office memorandum.
  3. Constantine 10 March 2017 85-91.
  4. Constantine 10 March 2017 85-91; Constantine and Lynch 21 July 2017 142-146.
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