For the Children: Family Day Care Services, 1851-2001


180 pages
Contains Photos
ISBN 1-894584-08-2
DDC 362.7'09713'541




Reviewed by Ashley Thomson

Ashley Thomson is a full librarian at Laurentian University and co-editor or co-author of nine books, most recently Margaret Atwood: A Reference Guide, 1988-2005.


Toronto’s Family Day Care Services is an agency that provides licenced
day care in individual homes to hundreds of families in the Metro
region. (This is the third “paradigm of child care” provided by the
agency: from its establishment in 1851 to 1930, it ran a series of
orphanages; and from 1926 to 1971, it found and trained caring foster
parents who looked after underprivileged children.) Although remarkably
informative, this book, published in honor of the agency’s
sesquicentennial, bears all the marks of an insider job. Instead of an
introduction providing much-needed background, the author opens the book
with an anecdote about a child found on Toronto’s streets in 1850.
Similar anecdotes appear through the text, and while most are moving,
it’s not clear if they are based on fact or Cooper’s fertile
imagination. By the same token, none of the statements in the book is
documented, and even more annoying, many of the interesting pictures
lack captions (no one but an insider would know what they are about).
Despite its flaws, For the Children tells an important story that would
be of considerable interest to anyone who cares about social services.


Cooper, Robert., “For the Children: Family Day Care Services, 1851-2001,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed February 24, 2024,