Googled terms: child welfare + 1940s, child protection services, foster care + 1940s, child abuse + 1940s, social workers, foster care, society's attitude towards abuse + 1940s, etc. Plus I poked around in the tags on this community. Perhaps I just haven't come up with the right search terms but I'm a little stuck.
The deal with my story is that I have a young boy taken in by an unmarried man; there are rumours of sexual relations/abuse, which are exacerbated by the boy sometimes missing school/showing up with injuries and his caregiver's distinctly unparental attitude (very carefree and fun-loving, not known for responsibility or any other similar qualities). If someone said something, could it provoke inspection by social services or other people/get the boy taken away from his guardian? Who would people say something to- would they contact the police or social services or what? Could the boy end up in foster care? Is it plausible for this sort of thing to be reported, considering the time? If it helps any, his guardian is incredibly well known in the city they live in and is therefore under the constant eye of the upper class/newspapers/everybody else.
Basically, my goal is to get the boy taken away from his guardian under the suspicion (not 100% fact, though it should pretty much seem that way) that he is being abused. My research has shown me that social services was in somewhat more early stages in the 1940s than it was today; I don't want to make the mistake of assuming that modern procedures for this sort of situation were used in that time period.