Ancestry UK

Boarding Out Regulations, 1921

Below are one Board of Guardians' rules regarding the duties and conduct of foster mothers in its cottage homes, issued in 1921.

General Regulations for the Management of Homes and Instructions to Foster and Relief Mothers

1. The Guardians in drawing your attention to your responsible position in the Home, remind you that they expect you to carry on the duties of the house, and provide for the children, as in a workman's home.

2. Whilst you are allowed a large amount of liberty in the management of your home, and are responsible for its control, yet the Superintendent and Matron are expected to supervise its management, and any instructions from them must be implicitly obeyed, as it is their duty to convey to you all the orders of the Guardians, and to see that their wishes are carried into effect.

N.B.—Appeal to be allowed to the Committee.

Admission of Children.

3. If upon admission to your home you find any child in an unsatisfactory condition, it is your duty immediately to report the matter to the Superintendent or Matron.

4. Each child is to have its own numbered outfit, and upon no consideration must it be allowed to wear a garment of another child's number. The closest attention must be given by the Foster-Mother to this matter, so as to avoid the spread of disease.

Discharge of Children.

5. When a child is to be discharged the mother will be informed thereof from the Superintendent's office. She must satisfy herself that the said child is in a perfectly clean condition. The child must be then sent, with as little delay as possible to the Receiving Home, whence it will be discharged. The outfit worn by the child will then be returned to you for washing and repairing. When clean, and in a state of thorough repair, it is to be sent to the Store until needed for another child admitted to your home.


6. You are not to inflict corporal punishment on the children, or shut them in a dark room, or deprive them of food. Any other allowable form of punishment (such as substituting bread and water for one meal, sending to bed, &c.), shall be reported to the Superintendent or Matron upon their next visit to the Homes. A good example, with kind and firm treatment will be found the best mode of management. Do not irritate the children, but when you cannot get obedience report the matter to the Superintendent.

Missing Children.

7. You must satisfy yourself at each meal that no child is missing. The absence of any child must immediately he reported to the Superintendent or Matron, by the Mother.


8. Before being sent to school you must see that each child is clean and tidy in person and clothing. All children must assemble in line at 8-20 a.m. prompt, for the Superintendent's Morning Inspection. The Mother will be held responsible for the punctuality of the children. If any child appears too unwell to attend school, it must be reported at the office, not later than 8-0 a.m., when the Superintendent will inform the School Authorities in writing of the sickness of such child.

9. Each child is to be bathed at least twice each week, in the presence of the Foster-Mother; or if she be absent, in the presence of the Relief Mother. The water in the bath must first be tested by means of a thermometer, and must never, except by orders of Medical Officer, exceed 95 degrees. fahrenheit. Great care must be taken to thoroughly dry the children after washing, especially round the ears, or much unnecessary suffering may be caused by the ear cracking and tearing.

Heads and Feet.

10. Special attention must be paid by the Mother to the children's heads. She should herself comb them each day, to ensure freedom from vermin. This is an easy matter if attended to frequently, but one which will brook no neglect. The feet must also receive close attention, the nails in all cases being kept short and clean. The children are required to brush their teeth both night and morning and the Mother must pay particular attention thereto. The Superintendent and Matron will make frequent examinations of the children, and satisfy themselves that these instructions are carried out.


11. The supply of towels must be a liberal one, and never be allowed to get below the number allowed to each child. They must be changed never less than three times each week. Each child's towels are to bear the same number as its outfit, and it must be taught to use only its own, as by an indiscriminate use of towels skin disease may be conveyed from child to child.

Sudden Illness.

12. Any case of sudden illness occurring either amongst children or officers, is immediately to be reported to the Matron, whether it be during the day or during the night. She will at once visit, and satisfy herself as to the seriousness of it.


13. No child is to be kept from work in the Boot-maker's Shop or on the Farm, without the consent of the Superintendent or Matron.

Clergy and Ministers.

14. Clergy and Ministers of all denominations will be afforded access to the Homes and given every facility for visiting either officers or children who are members of their Church. No child is to be kept from Sunday School, Church, or Day School, without the consent of the Superintendent or Matron.

Household Work.

15. It is your duty not only to instruct, but to assist the children in the work of the house, and it is their duty to take their part in the work of the house, as they would do in an ordinary home. Children must always use the kneeler and working clothing when scrubbing or engaged in any other kind of dirty work, as it is injurious to health and clothes to do otherwise. All children who are capable must be taught to make their beds and do their part towards leaving the room in good order.


16. With the help of the children it is your duty to keep your home neat, clean and tidy, having everything in such a state as a good housewife would be pleased to show any visitor. Impress upon the children that there is a right place for everything, and that everything must, after being used, immediately be returned to its right place.

Making and Mending of Garments.

17. You are expected to make and repair the clothing used in your home, but as Girls grow old enough it is most important that they be taught to make and mend their own clothing, under the supervision of the Mother. It is hoped that the Mothers will realize the importance of this, as much of the Girls' success in after life depends upon it.

Condemning of Clothing.

18. The day for the Condemning of Clothing will be Thursday, when the Mothers of the Boys' Homes must attend personally at the Store between the hours of 9 a. m. and 12 noon, with their supply of worn-out clothing for the Matron's inspection. The Mothers of the Girls' Homes must attend personally at the Stores from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., for the same purpose. The supply of cottons, buttons, tapes, &c., required for the week must be taken at this time, as nothing will be issued on any other day.


19. The Superintendent will report to the Guardians, the quantity of light and coals used in your home, also breakages of crockery, &c., and it should always be your aim to conduct your home as economically as is consistent with the health and happiness of the children. No broken articles are to be thrown away, but are to be sent to the Store together with all worn-out articles. No new article will be supplied unless the useless one be sent for the Matron to condemn at the Store. In food-stuffs you are only to requisition what is required for actual consumption. If you have a quantity of any particular article left over from one week's supply, it is to be deducted from the following week's requisition, but on no account are the children to be kept short of food. Extravagance only must be guarded against. All requisitions are to be sent to the offices by 8 a.m., and all baskets to be at the Store by 8-30 a.m. on Monday.


20. You are to take your meals with the children. The meals are to be well-cooked and the bread properly cut. The children must be taught to set out the table nicely, giving it an attractive appearance, by the use of such ornaments or plants as are at your disposal. Always insist upon the children washing and coming to table perfectly clean and tidy.

Alcoholic Drinks.

21. Whilst the Guardians do not insist on total abstinence from alcoholic drinks, they think such abstinance furnishes a valuable example to the children. If, however, you do take such liquors, the supply must at all times be kept in your own room.


22. With permission of the Superintendent the elder children may be sent on suitable errands, but under no circumstances whatever shall they be sent for alcoholic drinks. snuff or tobacco.


23. You must not retire to rest leaving a large fire burning, nor should even a small one be left without a fireguard. You must rise with the children in the morning, and no child must ever be sent down in its night-gown to light the fire. It is desirable that you be present when the fire is lighted. In the interests of life and property no child should carry matches. When the chimney becomes foul and in danger of firing, report it to the Superintendent.


24. You must give notice to the Superintendent in writing of any repairs needed in your home.


25. The Superintendent and Matron will be in the office each morning at 9 a.m., to receive complaints or requests.


26. The officers are allowed the visits of Female friends, but, with the exception of Fathers, male visiting is not generally allowed. Should, however, any special occasion arise it is left to the discretion of the Superintendent or Matron to admit a male relative of any officer to the Home. It must be distinctly understood that it is not to be encouraged frequently. The husband of any married friend visiting the officers may be admitted in the evening by the sanction of the Superintendent or Matron, to escort his wife home. The passes provided for visitors must in all cases be sent up for signature at the office.


27. The Guardians provide uniform for the officers, cotton dresses for morning wear, and serge for afternoon. It is expected that by 2-30 p.m. each officer will be attired in her serge dress, with clean apron, cuffs and collar. It is also expected that upon any occasion of assembling together, she will appear thus dressed. The serge dress is also to be worn when walking out with the children.

Leave of Absence.

28. Each officer will be allowed:—

One half-day per week from 2 till 10 p.m.
One evening per week from 6 till 10 p.m. or
one afternoon per week from 2 till 4-30.
Every alternate week an additional half-day.
SUNDAYS.—Morning from 10 till 1 p.m. or evening
from 6 till 10 p.m. on alternate Sundays.

The Mothers are allowed to occasionally take a whole day in lieu of the two half-days, when this can be arranged without inconvenience.

One officer from the Girls' Homes and one from the Boys' Homes to attend Church each Sunday morning in turn to supervise the children.

Late leave till 11 o'clock is allowed on one evening per month. (Officers on late leave to report to the Superintendent's house upon return.)

No Mother is to be absent from the premises, for however short a period, without the knowledge and consent of the Superintendent or Matron, and in all cases a signed pass must be obtained before leaving. All applications for leave of absence are to be sent to the office not later than 8 a. m.

Officers desiring a friend to stay the night must obtain the sanction of the Superintendent, and if for a longer period than one night, they must give the Superintendent due notice in order that he may obtain the sanction of the Committee thereto.

The time for rising for yourself and the children shall be as follows:—Summer, not earlier than 6 a.m. nor later than 6-30 a.m. Winter, not earlier than 6-30 a.m. nor later than 7 a. m.

No child is to be kept out of bed later than 8-30 p.m. in the winter, and 9 p.m. in the summer. All lights to be out by 11 p.m.

When a Relief-Mother takes up duty in any Home, she is to continue the work of the Home as though the Mother were present. When not on relief she will be employed as the Matron may direct, in the workroom, knitting, sewing, making outfits, etc.