The conditions in which many children live and are brought up, as well as the parenting they receive in the context of their family and environment, have provoked concern and remedial action by philanthropists and governments from the mid-19th century to the present day. Late Victorian founders of charities, such as Dr Barnardo, were moved by the condition of pauper children. In a different vein, but no less important, are the campaigns against child labour by Victorian activists, such as the Rev. Charles Kingsley, reflected in his book The Water Babies, which was inspired by the appalling conditions endured by child chimney sweeps, forced to climb inside chimneys to clean them. Twentieth and 21st-century counterparts are UN and European conventions and laws, plus campaigns by organizations such as the Children’s Legal Centre, defending and promoting the rights of children. Finally, we have the many thinkers and practitioners who have contributed to the development of services — from playgroups and nurseries to elementary and primary schools — to educate and care for children and encourage their health development.
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