Community care has become an increasingly important topic for social policy and historical research. While recent work has stressed the diversity of experience, the variety of different groups involved, the long antecedents of the policy and its contested meanings, there is arguably still too much emphasis on the closure of long-stay mental health and learning disability facilities. This conference seeks to:

• Locate services for children within debates about institutional and community care (framed by the adult experience) over a much longer time-frame.

• Extend analysis to a range of physical and sensory disabilities alongside, and in comparison to, provision for children with mental health problems and/or learning difficulties.

• Contrast evolving institutional and community-based services for children with disabilities with statutory and voluntary sector provision for children in care because of family breakdown and/or childhood delinquency.

• Re-examine and integrate the now extensive literature on infanticide, child abuse and “mercy” killings, in relation to childhood disability issues.

• Evaluate midwifery and obstetric services, including the development of pre-natal screening and special care for premature babies.

• Assess the role the medical profession played in the diagnosis of childhood disability and the control of specialist services. Here special attention will be paid to the relationship between knowledge and practice.

• Develop an understanding of the relationship between knowledge and practice for nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and speech therapists.

• Emphasise the role community-based services play in leading people into, as well as out of, residential care.

• Draw together ideas about children in need to link efforts to maximise the opportunities available to children disadvantaged by poverty and/or disability, through an evaluation of the SureStart scheme.

• Acknowledge the contribution of the voluntary sector and self-help initiatives.

• Involve researchers and practitioners from a range of disciplines.

• Develop an international dimension to this research by inviting participants from abroad.

• Develop opportunities for the publication of selected conference papers.

Since its inaugural meeting in 1970, the Society for the Social History of Medicine (SSHM) has pioneered inter-disciplinary approaches to the history of health, welfare, medical science and practice. Consequently, its membership consists of those interested in a variety of disciplines, including history, public health, demography, anthropology, sociology, social administration and health economics. Membership benefits include: subscription to the journal “Social History of Medicine” and “The Gazette” which contains information about professional events, reduced registration fees at Society conferences, 30 per cent off titles in the Society’s Routledge series, 25 per cent off titles in Ashgate’s series “History of Medicine in Context”, as well as discounts on selected books from Manchester University Press. Bursaries are available for student members for travel and conferences.

Details on how to join the Society and information about further membership benefits can be found at: or are available from Lutz Sauerteig, Centre for the History of Medicine and Disease, Durham University, Queen’s Campus, Wolfson Research Institute, University Boulevard, Stockton on Tees TS17 6BH, United Kingdom.

Further details about the conferences and a booking form can be found at

All inquiries about the conference should be addressed to Pamela Dale ([email protected]).