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This paper examines the complicated history of child care service and advocacy in Toronto between 1942 and 1953. It reviews how and why the State reorganized and closed down child care centres and in so doing, how public policy and practices stigmatized child care services. The paper seeks to explain how and why different women participated in this process of reorganization, arguing that instead of seeing such women as 'dupes' or 'sell outs', they were constrained by their institutional positions and affiliations. This story has implications for thinking about the limits and possibilities of contemporary child care organizing.