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Guess what?

‘Farmed’: why were so many Black children fostered by white families in the UK?

The actual explanation doesn’t appear in the explanation.

After the second world war, it became commonplace for African immigrants establishing themselves in the UK to privately foster their children with white families. From the moment the first advert was placed by a Nigerian family in the childcare journal Nursery World in 1955, there was great demand. As a listing in a 1974 edition of the magazine read: “Pretty baby girl needs a new home.”

The following year, the magazine introduced a regular Homes Wanted section in the classified ads, and in the period between 1966 and 1970, 6,700 adverts were placed by west African parents seeking carers for their children. Though official figures on the number of approved agreements are hazy, a 1968 story in the Times reported that up to 5,000 children from west Africa were being fostered – or “farmed”, as it came to be informally known – in this way every year.

This is also known as “solving the servant problem.”

And given the racial make up of the UK at that time – perhaps 30,000 “blacks”, near all in the old port cities – there weren’t many black people to be such servants – outside the house nannies we might call them. So, whites did it.


Think on it, those Black African immigrants immediately post-war – this is a different story than the Windrush stuff -were the middle and upper middle class of the home societies, coming for university and so on. Why wouldn’t they expect outside the family help with child raising?

6 thoughts on “Guess what?”

  1. Rich colonists hire natives to tend their children.

    I’d love to hear the whinges if these complaints were made by white children looked after by blacks.

  2. I adopted, and we were asked if we’d consider adopting a black child, as they don’t have many black families looking to adopt. It’s a cultural issue, apparently – they just don’t want to raise other people’s children.

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