The Traffic in Babies: Cross-border Adoption, Baby-selling and the Development of Child Welfare Systems in the United States and Canada, 1930-1960

The Traffic in Babies: Cross-border Adoption, Baby-selling and the Development of Child Welfare Systems in the United States and Canada, 1930-1960

The Traffic in Babies: Cross-border Adoption, Baby-selling and the Development of Child Welfare Systems in the United States and Canada, 1930-1960

The Traffic in Babies: Cross-border Adoption, Baby-selling and the Development of Child Welfare Systems in the United States and Canada, 1930-1960s

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Référence bibliographique [5517]

Balcom, Karen. 2002. «The Traffic in Babies: Cross-border Adoption, Baby-selling and the Development of Child Welfare Systems in the United States and Canada, 1930-1960». Thèse de doctorat, New Brunswick (New Jersey), Rutgers New Brunswick State University of New Jersey, Department of History.

Fiche synthèse

1. Objectifs


Intentions :
« This dissertation examines the cross-border adoption traffic as a critical juncture in the development of child welfare policy in Canada and the United States. » (p. 1)
« This is a study of borders and boundaries. It explores how these divisions divide and separate people and governments, and how they might be knit together again in formal and informal ways. » (p. 2)

2. Méthode



Type de traitement des données :
Analyse de contenu

3. Résumé


« This dissertation discusses efforts by professional women at the Canadian Welfare Council and the United States Children’s Bureau to control the cross-border ’traffic in babies’ from Canada to the United States in the mid-twentieth century. Between 1930 and 1960, several thousand white, Canadian-born infants - most the children of unwed mothers - were whisked across the border to adoptive placements in the U.S. Some of these adoptions were legal, some were illegal, and many took advantage of loopholes and weakenesses in Canadian and American child welfare, citizenship and immigration law.
These adoptions involved little or no attention to the social safeguards and careful investigations at the center of the new model of ’sound adoption practice’ promoted by child welfare professionals at the CWC and the USCB. As babies crossed borders, they slipped between legal jurisdictions and arenas of governmental responsibility. CWC and USCB leaders realized that controlling the cross-border traffic would require reaching beyond state, provincial and national borders to develop intertwined policies, agreements and legislative changes in the two countries. CWC and USCB staff also tried to involve the national agencies responsible for border crossings between the two countries - the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, the U.S. Consulates in Canada, and the Canadian Department of External Affairs - in the regulation of cross-border adoption. This project examines efforts to build transnational bridges between Canadian and American child welfare systems as an outgrowth of the personal and profesional links between Canadian and American child welfare leaders. This is a study of women’s networks and their effect of the development of welfare systems, as well as an exploration in the history of adoption in Canada and the United States. The dissertation works from three major case studies, each identified through a Canadian origin: the Ideal Maternity Home in Nova Scotia sending children to the northeastern U.S., the Child Welfare Branch of the Alberta Department of Public Welfare sending children to western U.S., and several Catholic child placement agencies in Quebec sending Catholic families across the U.S. » (pp. ii-iii)