The place of children in Scottish society, as in other societies throughout the world, is a dilemma that has exercised the hearts and minds of politicians, professionals and the public down through the ages. The traditions of childcare work have a long history in the efforts of people such as William Quarrier and Thomas Barnardo. Many of these efforts at the turn of this century were directed toward emigration and a ‘better life’ in the ‘new world’. The consequences of these policies among others are much in evidence today and go some way to informing the thinking and actions of those currently involved in the care of children and young people.