Reforms for the young

The Liberals introduced three acts to help children:

  • Education (Provision of Meals) Act, 1906
  • Education (Administrative Provisions) Act, 1907
  • Children’s Act (The Children’s Charter), 1908

Education (Provision of Meals) Act, 1906

Details and successes

  • free school meals were to be provided by local authorities for all
  • this publically funded welfare service replaced charity involvement
  • local authorities were given grants from Treasury to fund 50% of cost of meals
  • school meals rose from 9 million to 14 million in 1914

Limitations

  • by 1914, many local authorities were still not providing school meals
  • it was not made compulsory until this date
  • researchers found the growth of children slowed and body weight often declined during school holidays
  • this reform was costly for the government

Education (Administrative Provisions) Act, 1907

Details and successes

  • medical inspections introduced for school children
  • school boards could act against parents who sent children to school in ‘verminous condition’
  • free medical treatment given to school children after 1912

Limitations

  • medical inspections did little to solve any problems they uncovered
  • it was not until free medical treatment became available in 1912 that the situation could get better
  • education authorities largely ignored the provision of free medical treatment for school children

Children’s Act (The Children’s Charter), 1908

Details and successes

  • child begging was outlawed
  • penalties imposed on shops for selling tobacco or alcohol to children
  • juvenile courts and borstals were set up
  • this helped to separate juvenile and adult offenders
  • death sentence abolished for children

Limitations

  • limited success with alcohol and tobacco
  • did little to deal with causes of juvenile crime