University of Sussex Media Release.
. Fifty Years of The Children's Act Ushered In at Sussex University

15 October 1998
For immediate release

The Centre for Social Policy and Social Work at Sussex University is celebrating fifty years of the Children's Act next week. In an event jointly organised with East Sussex Social Services, the Act will be commemorated with an archive exhibit featuring documents and photographs which have never been displayed before. There will also be speeches from several luminary figures, most notably Prof. Olive Stevenson, CBE and Joan Cooper CB.

Prof. Stevenson is Emeritus Professor of Social Work at Nottingham University, and her involvement with the Children's Act has included a role in the Maria Calwell tribunal in the case which shocked Brighton twenty four years ago. Joan Cooper's involvement with the Act stems from its inception, as she was the first Children's Officer appointed to East Sussex County Council's Social Services Department, in 1948.

According to John Jacobs, senior lecturer in Social Policy at Sussex, the Children's Act represented a "big break from the past" by "putting children at the front of LEA services rather than scattering resources around". Prior to the Act, there was no one body in social services with responsibility for children deprived of a normal home life, and the provision of specific services revolutionised the ways in which children in need were cared for.

The archive exhibit will commemorate both national and local aspects of the Children's Act. The local display will feature aspects of the work done by East Sussex's Children's Department, including the minutes of the first ever meeting, and the national display will examine the history of childcare since 1948.

The event will take place in Essex House on Tuesday October 20th between 6.00pm and 8.00pm. Also attending will be the University Vice Chancellor and the Deputy Director of East Sussex Social Services.

Notes to Editors: You are invited to send a reporter/photographer to this event.

For further information please contact Sally Hall, Information Office, University of Sussex, Tel. 01273 678888, Fax 01273 678335, email, or John Jacobs, Cultural and Community Studies, Tel. 01273 678240.

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