Advertisement

Making and Breaking Families

  • Nell Musgrove
  • Deidre Michell
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of Childhood book series (PSHC)

Abstract

In this chapter, Musgrove and Michell present a microhistory of the Thomas family to show how nineteenth-century foster care systems understood the value of both parent–child and sibling relationships. The chapter argues that while welfare authorities made an effort to keep siblings together in foster care, the ultimate logic and smooth functioning of the system was more important. Also considered in the chapter is the state’s attitude towards reuniting mothers with their children through the stories of two of the Thomas sisters who fell pregnant while they were wards of the state. Finally, the chapter explores the meanings of familial relationships for people who grew up in foster care through more recent autobiographies and oral histories, and Australian governments’ slow progress towards supporting family reunion.

References

  1. “A Child Kidnapped by Its Mother.” Argus (Melbourne), 25 June 1894, 5.Google Scholar
  2. “A Paltry Charge.” Geelong Advertiser (Geelong, VIC), 14 January 1873, 3.Google Scholar
  3. “A Peculiar Case: A Mother Charged with Stealing Her Own Child.” Coburg Leader (VIC), 30 June 1894, 1.Google Scholar
  4. “A Scene at the Bush Inn.” Geelong Advertiser (Geelong, VIC), 31 October 1872, 4.Google Scholar
  5. “Alleged Child Abduction Case: The Charge Against Annie Thomas.” Argus (Melbourne), 28 June 1894, 6.Google Scholar
  6. Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Sexual Abuse, “Final Report,” 2017. https://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/final-report.
  7. Barbalet, Margaret. Far from a Low Gutter Girl: The Forgotten World of State Wards: South Australia 1887–1940. Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1983.Google Scholar
  8. Barnard, Jill, and Karen Twigg. Holding on to Hope: A History of the Founding Agencies of Mackillop Family Services 1854–1997. Kew, VIC: Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2004.Google Scholar
  9. Births Deaths and Marriages Victoria. “Birth, Death and Marriage Certificates of the Thomas and Anderson Families.” https://www.bdm.vic.gov.au/.
  10. “Child Kidnapped by Its Mother: Arrest of the Woman in the Chinese Quarter.” Argus (Melbourne), 25 June 1894, 5.Google Scholar
  11. “The Child Stealing Case.” Age (Melbourne), 28 June 1894, 6.Google Scholar
  12. Department for Neglected Children and Reformatory Schools, Victoria. Department for Neglected Children and Reformatory Schools: Reports of the Secretary 1887, 1893 and 1919.Google Scholar
  13. Encyclopedia of Melbourne Online. The School of Historial Studies, The University of Melbourne, 2009. http://www.emelbourne.net.au/home.html.
  14. “Extraordinary Case Under the Boarding Out System: Mother Charged with Stealing Her Own Child.” Age (Melbourne), 25 June 1894, 6.Google Scholar
  15. Fineran, Kerrie. “Helping Foster and Adopted Children to Grieve the Loss of Birthparents.” The Family Journal 20, no. 4 (2012): 369–75.Google Scholar
  16. Gargula, Amanda. “Cloudy Wishes.” In Recipes for Survival, edited by Deidre Michell and Priscilla Taylor, 55–64. Elizabeth, SA: People’s Voice Publishing, 2011.Google Scholar
  17. Gunstone, Andrew, and Sadie Heckenberg. The Government Owes a Lot of Money to Our People: A History of Indigenous Stolen Wages in Victoria. Melbourne: Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2009.Google Scholar
  18. Haskins, Victoria. “‘A Better Chance’? Sexual Abuse and the Apprenticeship of Aboriginal Girls Under the NSW Aborigines Protection Board.” Aboriginal History 28 (2005): 33–58.Google Scholar
  19. Hetherington, Penelope. Settlers, Servants and Slaves: Aboriginal and European Children in Nineteenth-Century Western Australia. Crawley, WA: University of Western Australia Press, 2002.Google Scholar
  20. Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. “Bringing Them Home: National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families.” Sydney: Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, 1997.Google Scholar
  21. “Inebriates.” Geelong Advertiser (Geelong, VIC), 12 July 1881, 3.Google Scholar
  22. Jackson, Louise. Child Sexual Abise in Victorian England. London and New York: Routledge, 2001.Google Scholar
  23. Jackson, David. “I Was Just Trying to Matter.” In Recipes for Survival, edited by Deidre Michell and Priscilla Taylor, 43–50. Elizabeth, SA: People’s Voice Publishing, 2011.Google Scholar
  24. Jacobsen, Walter. Dussa and the Maiden’s Prayer. Melbourne: The Law Printer, 1994.Google Scholar
  25. Kidd, Rosalind. Trustees on Trial: Recovering the Stolen Wages. Canberra: Aboriginal Studies Press, 2006.Google Scholar
  26. “Larceny.” Geelong Advertiser (Geelong, VIC), 2 February 1881, 2.Google Scholar
  27. “Latest News from the Metropolis.” Hamilton Spectator (VIC), 28 June 1894, 3.Google Scholar
  28. Long History of Foster Care Oral History Project. “Evie,” 2014.Google Scholar
  29. Long History of Foster Care Oral History Project. “Peter,” 2014.Google Scholar
  30. Mayne, Alan. “Big Notes from a Little Street: Historical Research at Melbourne’s ‘Little Lon’.” International Journal of Historical Archaeology 10, no. 4 (2006): 317–28.Google Scholar
  31. Meekins, Ki. Red Tape Rape: The Story of Ki Meekins. Adelaide, 2008.Google Scholar
  32. Memarnia, Nina, Lizette Nolte, Clare Norris, and Alex Harborne. “‘It Felt Like It Was Night All the Time’: Listening to the Experiences of Birth Mothers Whose Children Have Been Taken into Care or Adopted.” Adoption & Fostering 39, no. 4 (2015): 303–17.Google Scholar
  33. Michell, Deidre. “Two Mothers—Twice the Blessing or Was I Cursed?” Women-Church 31 (Spring 2002): 11–16.Google Scholar
  34. Michell, Deidre. “Putting Down Roots.” In Women Journeying with Spirit, edited by Deidre Michell and Jude Noble. Port Adelaide, SA: Ginninderra Press, 2010.Google Scholar
  35. Michell, Deidre. Ways of the Wicked Witch. Elizabeth, SA: People’s Voice Publishing, 2012.Google Scholar
  36. Michell, Deidre. “Systemic Familial Alienation and the Australian Foster Care System.” In Challenges to Living Together: Transculturalism, Migration, Exploitation, edited by Susan Petrilli. Italy: Mimesis International, 2017.Google Scholar
  37. Michell, Dee, and Claudine Scalzi. “I Want to Be Someone, I Want to Make a Difference: Young Care Leavers Preparing for the Future in South Australia.” In Young People Transitioning from Out-of-Home Care, edited by Philip Mendes and Pamela Snow, 115–33. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.Google Scholar
  38. Mitchell, Ellen. “The Place of the Natural Parents in a Foster Care Programme.” Australian Journal of Social Work 16, no. 2 (1963): 38–40.Google Scholar
  39. Mitchell, Monique. “The Family Dance: Ambiguous Loss, Meaning Making and the Psychological Family in Foster Care.” Journal of Family Theory & Review 8, no. 3 (2016): 360–72.Google Scholar
  40. Mitchell, Monique. “‘No One Acknowledge My Loss and Hurt’: Non-death Loss, Grief, and Trauma in Foster Care.” Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal 35, no. 1 (2018): 1–9.Google Scholar
  41. Mitchell, Monique, and Leon Kuczynski. “Does Anyone Know What Is Going On? Examining Children’s Lived Experience of the Transition into Foster Care.” Children and Youth Services Review 32, no. 3 (2010): 437–44.Google Scholar
  42. “Mother and Child: Strange Case of Kidnapping.” Weekly Times (Melbourne), 30 June 1894, 32.Google Scholar
  43. Murphy, Deirdre, and Hilary Jenkinson. “The Mutual Benefits of Listening to Young People in Care, with a Particular Focus on Grief and Loss.” Child Care in Practice 18, no. 3 (2012): 243–53.Google Scholar
  44. Public Record Office Victoria, VA 475 Chief Secretary’s Department, VPRS 4527/P0 Ward Registers.Google Scholar
  45. Public Record Office Victoria, VA 475 Chief Secretary’s Department, VPRS 3992 Inward Registered Correspondence III.Google Scholar
  46. Robinson, Shirleene. Something Like Slavery—Queensland’s Aboriginal Child Workers, 1842–1945. Melbourne: Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2008.Google Scholar
  47. Sen, Robin, and Karen Broadhurst. “Contact Between Children in Out-of-Home Placements and Their Family and Friends Networks: A Research Review.” Child & Family Social Work 16, no. 3 (2011): 298–309.Google Scholar
  48. Senate Community Affairs References Committee. “Lost Innocents: Righting the Record, Report on Child Migration.” Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia, 2001.Google Scholar
  49. Senate Community Affairs References Committee. “Forgotten Australians: A Report on Australians Who Experienced Institutional or Out-of-Home Care as Children.” Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia, 2004.Google Scholar
  50. Senate Community Affairs References Committee. “Protecting Vulnerable Children: A National Challenge.” Canberra, Australia: Commonwealth of Australia, 2005.Google Scholar
  51. Senate Standing Committee. “Children in Institutional and Other Forms of Care: A National Perspective.” Commonwealth of Australia, 1985.Google Scholar
  52. Serbinski, S., and Aron Shlonsky. “Is It That We Are Afraid to Ask? A Scoping Review About Sons and Daughters of Foster Parents.” Children and Youth Services Review 36 (2014): 101–14.Google Scholar
  53. “‘She’s My Sister and She Will Always Mean Something to Me…’ Report on the Inquiry into What Children Say About Contact with Their Siblings and the Impact Sibling Contact Has on Wellbeing.” Online: Guardian for Children and Young People, Government of South Australia, 2011.Google Scholar
  54. Smaal, Yorick, Andy Kaladelfos, and Mark Finnane, eds. The Sexual Abuse of Children: Recognition and Redress. Clayton, VIC: Monash University Publishing, 2016.Google Scholar
  55. Smith, Hazel. “The Need for Revaluation and Assessment of Australian Foster Care Programmes.” Australian Journal of Social Work 16, no. 2 (1963): 25–29.Google Scholar
  56. “State Children’s Council Regulations.” In State Records of South Australiam GRG 27/1 Correspondence Files (‘SCD’ Files): Attorney-General’s Department, Government of South Australia, 1887.Google Scholar
  57. “Stealing Her Own Child.” Advocate (Melbourne), 30 June 1894, 17.Google Scholar
  58. Swain, Shurlee. “Giving Voice to Narratives of Institutional Sex Abuse.” Australian Feminist Law Journal 41, no. 2 (2015): 289–304.Google Scholar
  59. “To the Editor of the Advertiser.” Geelong Advertiser (Geelong, VIC), 30 January 1868, 3.Google Scholar
  60. “Town Talk.” Geelong Advertiser (Geelong, VIC), 30 October 1873, 2.Google Scholar
  61. “Town Talk.” Geelong Advertiser (Geelong, VIC), 24 March 1881, 3.Google Scholar
  62. “Town Talk.” Geelong Advertiser (Geelong, VIC), 31 August 1883, 2.Google Scholar
  63. “Town Talk.” Geelong Advertiser (Geelong, VIC), 28 December 1883, 2.Google Scholar
  64. “Town Talk.” Geelong Advertiser (Geelong, VIC), 5 August 1884, 3.Google Scholar
  65. Wojciak, Armeda Stevenson, Bryan P. Range, Dumayi M. Gutierrez, Nathan A. Hough, and Casey M. Gamboni. “Sibling Relationship in Foster Care: Foster Parent Perspective.” Journal of Family Issues Online (2018): 1–25.Google Scholar
  66. “Young in Crime.” Geelong Advertiser (Geelong, VIC), 14 November 1876, 3.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Australian Catholic UniversityFitzroyAustralia
  2. 2.University of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia

Personalised recommendations