History of Child and Youth Care Work

Topics: Charles Loring Brace, Orphan Train, Childhood Pages: 4 (1109 words) Published: April 25, 2015
Child and youth care through the ages
The importance of children and their protection may seem obvious to people in many societies today but 200 years ago this was most certainly not the case. The field of child and youth care has been a progressive development over a long period of time that still continues to grow even today. What we understand about Child and Youth Care today lies in the history of the field. There are many influences on how children are treated, including religion, race and largely the era being observed (Stuart, 2013, p.21). During the Middle Ages and Medieval times children were largely seen as sinful causing their parents to believe that they had to eradicate the evil out of their children (Stuart, 2013, p.23). This largely came about in the 16th Century due to the Puritan belief that implemented cruel practices in an effort to ‘tame’ the depraved children. These practices dressed children in uncomfortable clothing and enforced regular beatings (Berk, 2006, p.11). Simply, children were considered imperfect (Stuart, 2013, p.23). The beliefs of this time resulted in extremely high infant mortality rates as children were forced into 22 hour work days by the mere age of 7 (Cyc-net.org, 2015). This connotation between children and economic worth also triggered the practice of child theft only to be used workers (Stuart, 2013, p.25). During the 1700’s, people started moving into the larger towns and cities resulting in the industrialisation era. The growing cities needed more workers and children were a readily available resource for these harsh conditions (Cyc-net.org, 2015). However, in 1793, an English legislation was introduced which provided punishment to masters who mistreated their young apprentices. Sadly, many did not know about this introduction or were too scared to speak out (Cyc-net.org, 2015). Fortunately, the 1700’s also gave rise to the first orphanages which hired lay staff to work directly with the children (Askeland, 2006,...
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