Not a Fading Problem: Child Protection from the 1950s to the 1980s

Jennifer Rasell - Care of the State



This chapter from Care of the State: Relationships, Kinship and the State in Children’s Homes in Late Socialist Hungary looks at child protection in Hungary from the 1950s to the 1980s, arguing that the organisational structures of state welfare bolstered parent-child ties yet restricted sibling relations. I show that this period was characterised by an increasing moralisation of poverty and ever more state activity in relation to ‘proper’ parenting. Negotiations of the imagined boundaries between ‘family’ and ‘the state’ were required so that professional knowledge on education and childhood and the regulation of parent-child relations was not perceived by families as an undue intrusion into the private sphere. Outlining the forms of state support for families and children helps to understand the context of the case files and my interview material. I end with short biographies of the three main care leavers featured throughout the book.