During the Child Emigration Scheme (called now British Home Children
), between 1869 and the early 1930s, over 100,000 children were sent to Canada, Australia and New Zealand from Great Britain. According to the British House of Commons
Child Migrant's Trust Report, "it is estimated that some 150,000 children were dispatched over a period of 350 years—the earliest recorded child migrants left Britain for the Virginia Colony
in 1618, and the process did not finally end until the late 1960s." Though it was widely believed that all of these children were orphans, it is now known that most had living parents, some of whom had no idea what had happened to their child after they were left in care homes.
One of the most famous placement agencies was established by Dr. Thomas Barnardo, and Barnardo homes is often used generically to describe all home children. However, many different religious and secular organizations became involved in the emigration scheme over the years.
Some children were welcomed into loving homes, others were exploited as cheap agricultural labour and others were further victimized. In cases of victimization, home children were often denied proper shelter and education, and were often not allowed to socialize with native children. It was common for home children to run away, sometimes finding a caring family or better conditions to work under.
Child Emigration stopped only for economic reasons during the Great Depression of the 1930s and finally was terminated in the 1960s.
- "Heaven on Earth (1987)" Canadian film (based on a true story) regarding 125,000 Welsh Home Children shipped to Canada
- "The Leaving of Liverpool (1992)" Australian film regarding UK children shipped to Australia following World War 2