Children Act 1908
Act of Parliament
Long titleAn Act to consolidate and amend the Law relating to the Protection of Children and Young Persons, Reformatory and Industrial Schools, and Juvenile Offenders, and otherwise to amend the Law with respect to Children and Young Persons.
Citation8 Edw. 7. c. 67
Territorial extent United Kingdom
Royal assent21 December 1908
Commencement1 April 1909
Other legislation
  • Middlesex Industrial Schools Act 1854
  • Reformatory Schools Act 1866
  • Industrial Schools Act 1866
  • Industrial Schools (Ireland) Act 1868
  • Reformatory and Industrial Schools Acts Amendment Act 1872
  • Prisons Authorities Act 1874
  • Middlesex Industrial Schools Act 1875
  • Prisons Authorities Act (1874) Amendment Act 1878
  • Elementary Education (Industrial Schools) Act 1879
  • Industrial Schools Acts Amendment Act 1880
  • Reformatory Institutions (Ireland) Act 1881
  • Reformatory and Industrial Schools (Manx Children) Act 1884
  • Industrial Schools (Ireland) Act 1885
  • Reformatory and Industrial Schools Act 1891
  • Reformatory Schools Act 1893
  • Industrial Schools Acts Amendment Act 1894
  • Reformatory and Industrial Schools (Channel Islands Children) Act 1895
  • Infant Life Protection Act 1897
  • Reformatory Schools Act 1899
  • Youthful Offenders Act 1901
  • Secretary of State for Scotland Act 1904
Status: Partially repealed
Text of statute as originally enacted

The Children Act 1908 (8 Edw. 7. c. 67), also known as the Children and Young Persons Act 1908, passed by the Liberal government, as part of the British Liberal Party's liberal reforms package. The Act was informally known as the Children's Charter and largely superseded the Industrial Schools Act 1868.

It established juvenile courts[1] and introduced the registration of foster parents, thus regulating baby-farming and wet-nursing and trying to stamp out infanticide. Local authorities were also granted powers to keep poor children out of the poorhouse/workhouse and protect them from abuse. The act also prohibited children, under the age of 16, working in dangerous trades, purchasing cigarettes, entering brothels, or the bars of trading pubs. Additionally, it prohibited the consumption of alcohol, for non medicinal purposes, before the age of five. The act also prohibited children from learning criminal "tricks of the trade" in adult prisons, where children were often sent to serve time if a crime had been committed. Instead the Children's Charter had allocated Borstals. It eventually led to many councils setting up social services and orphanages.


  1. ^ "1908 Children's Act was created to protect the poorest children in society from abuse". Intriguing History. 12 January 2012. Retrieved 14 June 2015.