The Children's Protection Society was formed in 1903 by members of the Women's Health Association in order to campaign for better care of babies born to single mothers. The members of the Society went on to take up other campaigns which they believed would benefit children.
The formation of the Children's Protection Society was a response by the Women's Health Association to their disappointment with the 1903 Public Health Act. The members of the Association had hoped that the Act would provide for a system of inspection and advice giving to women who boarded the babies of single mothers. When it did not, the Association formed the Children's Protection Society to campaign for further legislation. In 1907, the new Infant Life Protection Act did contain those provisions in part because of the work of the Society.
Other concerns of the Society were legislation to further protect children and people considered to be 'feeble-minded' (a term used to describe mild intellectual disability), and to warn parents about the dangers of allowing their children onto the streets. In 1908, two members of the society, Frances Edwards and Alicia O'Shea Petersen, belonged to a committee formed by Frederick Seager, the Secretary of the Neglected Children's Department, to consider ways of broadening the Youthful Offenders, Destitute and Neglected Children's Act. In 1910, the Society lobbied for a curfew for street children. However, the press was unsympathetic and the campaign lapsed.
The Children's Protection Society ran Glen Dhu Babies' Home.
Sources used to compile this entry: Evans, Caroline, Protecting the Innocent: Tasmania's Neglected Children, Their Parents and State Care, 1890-1918, University of Tasmania, Hobart, 1999, 251 pp, http://eprints.utas.edu.au/14453/; Parry, Naomi, 'Such a longing': black and white children in welfare in New South Wales and Tasmania 1880-1940, University of New South Wales, 2007, https://www.unsworks.unsw.edu.au/primo-explore/fulldisplay?docid=unsworks_1369&context=L&vid=UNSWORKS&search_scope=unsworks_search_scope&tab=default_tab&lang=en_US.
Prepared by: Caroline Evans
Created: 8 December 2011, Last modified: 14 March 2014