Musgrove, N J. (2016). Abuse of foster children in nineteenth-century Australia: Why did it happen then, and why does it matter now?. History of Education,45(4), 460-476. United Kingdom: Routledge. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1080/0046760X.2016.1177608
A three-year-old boy, born in Melbourne, Australia, in 1892, lived the final months of his life in an abusive foster home. His death barely made a ripple in the press, and the system proved unable or unwilling to deal with much of the most disturbing evidence about the perpetrators of abuse. This article argues that cases like this one are more than just historical curiosities. They expose abuse that so often lay hidden from the public gaze, and reveal important information about how and why it was allowed to occur. Such cases demand the historian’s attention, not because they are scandalous stories, but because they are sites of historical injustice. They also provide opportunities to understand why systems intended to protect children can fail them so badly, a question that remains pertinent today.
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