Records of One Parent Families Scotland, welfare charity, Edinburgh, Scotland

Scope and Content

  • Meeting and sub-committee minutes 1970 - 1992
  • Ccampaign correspondence 1978 - 1993
  • Publications 1939 - 1990
  • Information literature 1973 - 1993
  • Policy and legal issue papers 1958 - 1990
  • Training materials 1974 - 1993
  • NCUMC annual reports 1961 - 1965
  • SCUMC 1967 - 1974
  • Research case studies 1971-1986
  • Referral lists 1961 - 1986
  • Mother and baby home files 1967 - 1988
  • Sitter service applications 1984 - 1992
  • Conference papers 1956 - 1973

Administrative / Biographical History

During the Second World War (1939-1945), pressing problems faced social workers with regard to the needs of children born out of wedlock. In 1940 , the first conference was held in Scotland to consider those problems, primarily arising from the sharp drop in the number of available foster mothers, the closure of some homes and the increase in the number of illegitimate births. Social workers met in Edinburgh under the auspices of the Standing Committee of the National Council of Social Service. A Scottish Committee for the Unmarried Mother & Her Child was then formed, and became in 1942 , the Scottish Committee of the National Council for the Unmarried Mother & Her Child, which had been working in England since the First World War. By 1945 , the Scottish Committee (with the approval of the National Council) decided it was time to develop into a Scottish Council for the Unmarried Mother & Her Child. It was accordingly set up in May 1945 , still affiliated to the National Council, but a distinct body appropriately, because of the differences between Scottish and English law and administration (a pamphlet entitled Some Points in the Law in Scotland affecting Unmarried Parents and Children whose Parents are not married to each other  had been issued in March 1945).

Five objects of the Council were set forth and adopted in the first year and a sixth added in 1948, viz.:

  • 1. To bring together for consultation all bodies in Scotland concerned with the well-being of children whose parents are not married to each other and with the guidance of those parents.
  • 2. To watch the trend of laws which affect such children in Scotland and to work for any adjustment that may be necessary for their welfare.
  • 3. To maintain the principle that wherever possible the mother should be encouraged and assisted to care for her own child and that the putative father should be required to assume a share of personal responsibility.
  • 4. To encourage the provision of adequate accommodation to meet the varying needs of these mothers and their babies throughout the country, with the special aim of keeping mother and child together.
  • 5. To act as a link between those needing advice and assistance and the organisation able to provide the guidance and help required.
  • 6. To arrange for the Training of Moral Welfare Workers in Scotland.

In 1947, a sub-committee had been set up to consider a possible training scheme for Moral Welfare Workers in Scotland, with the help and advice of the Social Study Departments of the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow. A booklet edited by Anne Ashley was published in 1955, entitled Illegitimate Children and Their Parents in Scotland.

1967 brought about change and expansion in the work undertaken by the Scottish Council by virtue of a grant from the Scottish Home & Health Department. It enabled the Council to become the recognised authority on unmarried parents and their children in Scotland. Miss Julie-Ann Macqueen was appointed Secretary and Social Worker for the Council on 1 February 1967 (later to become Director). In November 1973 , the Council changed its name to the Scottish Council for Single Parents (some apprehension was expressed that there might be a dilution of services, but on the whole, the change was made in response to changing needs; "Unmarried mothers sounded out of date and restrictive"). A research project started in 1971 resulted in the publication of Single Mothers: The First Year by Angela Hopkinson in 1976. The sequel to this book The Home That Jill Built was written by Judith Lamotte, in collaboration with Julie-Ann Macqueen, in 1981. In 1983, a Training Officer was appointed. The SCSP moved into providing more direct and more varied services. The total number of staff in 1984 was 35 plus those employed in special projects. On 1 April 1995 , the name was changed to One Parent Families Scotland, and under its new title continues at time of writing (2003) to ’provide vital help to thousands of Scottish lone parents through our national helpline, local services and publications.’’


The archive has yet to be formally arranged

Access Information

Please contact the Research Collections Manager in the first instance. Some material is subject to current data protection legislation.

Acquisition Information

One Parent Families Scotland: Summer 2001

Other Finding Aids

The material has yet to be formally listed

Alternative Form Available

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Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Research Collections Manager

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use & condition of documents

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 1847 procedures

Custodial History

Retained by organisation over the years


None expected

Related Material

GB1847 RSSPCC Records of Children 1st, children’s charity

GB1847 Records of The Association of Directors of Social Work


Angela Hopkinson, Single Mothers - the first year: a Scottish study of mothers bringing up their children on their own(Edinburgh, SCSP, 1976)

Judith Lamotte, The Home that Jill Built(Edinburgh, SCSP, 1981)

Additional Information

This material is original

Compiled by Elva McLean, 12 February 2003

Revised by Carole McCallum, University Archivist, 3 March 2003

Prepared for submission to the JISC Archives Hub by David Powell, Hub Project Archivist, March 2003

Geographical Names