Skip to Main Content
My Library Banner

British Home Children: Overview

British Home Children were impoverish youngsters between infancy and 18 years of age who were sent to British Colonies by philanthropic groups. British Home Children were sent to Canada between the 1860's and the 1940's. .

Ontario Curriculum Connections

Canadian History, Identity and  Culture -

Canada Since 1867 -

Setting the Context;

Interactions and Interdependence;

 Diversity and Citizenship 

Life of British Home Child Part 1

Part 2 British Home Children in Canada - Link to Story

Frequently Asked Questions about British Home Children

Question:  Who were the British Home Children?

Answer:  British Home Children were impoverished or ophaned children living in Great Britian who came into the care of philanthropic agencies.  Due to the large number of children under care in these agencies, eventually they were sent to British Colonies including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Rhodesia and Canada.

Question:  How many children came to Canada and how old were they when they arrived.

Answer:  Approximately 130,000 unaccompanied children came to Canada between the 1860's and 1940's were between the ages of 3 and 18.  These children became known as British Home Children.

Question:  What did they do when they came to Canada.

Answer:  They worked as indentured servants in Canadian homes and farms until they were 18 years old.

Question:  Why was there little information available about the British Home Children up until the late 20th Century?

Answer:  There was a stigma attached to being a British Home Child and so many people never talked about it.  It is generally the children and grandchildren of British Home Children who have discovered this part of their family story.

British Home Children Playlist (Teacheringram)

British Home Child Who Came to Canada - Photos: Library and Archives Canada

Library and Archives Canada Information

General Information on British Home Children

Canada Clause

The Canada Clause was an insertion to the agreement between the institution taking the child into care and the parent/guardian of the child.  It enable the institution to send the child to Canada without having to notify the parent/guardian beforehand.  It is recorded how many of the parent/guardians didn't understand the meaning as they returned to take their child home when conditions got better and were told of their child being in Canada.  No further contact between the child and the parent/guardian was generally allowed to occur.

Source: Canadian British Home Children website- Immigration process


Contact the Learning Commons Informationist

Gr. 9-12: Ask Us/Demande Moi

Gr. 7-8: How do I find out about my topic?