1970 to 1990
By the last quarter of the twentieth century social attitudes had changed considerably from those which were prevalent when Edward Rudolf set up The Children's Society:
- abortion and lone parenting were viewed differently and contraception was more readily available
- fewer children were entering children's homes or being placed for adoption by voluntary agencies as local social services departments increased their activity in this area.
The Children's Society made two major changes to the way it worked:
- it closed many children's homes
- it moved away from adoption and fostering and focused on helping young people solve their own problems.
In 1969 The Children's Society opened its first day-care centre, Foulkes House in south London. It offered support for single-parent families and those affected by illness, stress or severe poverty.
The centre was successful and The Children's Society opened more across the country, often on the sites of its former residential nurseries.
Gradually, more and more purpose-built family centres were opened, often in partnership with local social services departments. One of the ways in which The Children's Society celebrated its centenary in 1981 was through the opening of 12 new family centres, situated on large housing estates. In addition, during these years The Children's Society opened toy libraries and soft play areas and set up information services offering help with welfare rights. Adult education was offered, as were regular, organised day trips.
In 1986 community and Diocesan development teams were set up, drawing on The Children's Society's link to the Church of England. Their aims were similar to those of the family centres: to help people identify problems in their locality and to find solutions. For example, mothers with young children who were concerned about a lack of play space in their village might be supported in forming an action group.