MR. NORRRIS (Tower Hamlets, Limehouse)
asked the President of the Local Government Board. Why the principle of "boarding out" of pauper children is not more generally adopted;if his attention has been called to that part of the Report of the Local Government Board that whilst, in one case, the average weekly cost of children in the workhouse was found to be 3s. 7½as against 2s. 7¾in a "Home," and in another 4s. 0¼d. per child, as against 3s. 0¼d, he will recommend its further adoption where possible;and, whether the number of 56,291 children in the workhouses under 16 years of age, as given in the Report of the Local Government Board, as against 1,022 in the "Homes," provides opportunity for extending of the system of "boarding out" with advantage to the children themselves, and with a great saving on the local rates?
§ THE PRESIDENT (Mr. RITCHIE) (Tower Hamlets, St. George's)
The figures which are quoted in the Question will be found in a Report of one of the Inspectors of the Local Government Board. They do not refer to the relative cost of children maintained in a workhouse and of the se "boarded out";but to the cost of the maintenance of the adult inmates of a workhouse as compared with the cost of the maintenance of children in an establishment provided by the Guardians on the "cottage-home" principle. The cost of a child boarded out beyond the limits of the union is usually 4s. per week, exclusive of the cost of clothing, school fees, and medical attendance. The initiative as regards the adoption of the "boarding-out" system rests with the Boards of Guardians, and not with the Local Government Board. The Board are 360 always ready to entertain applications from Guardians for the adoption of the system where the circumstances of the union appear to be such as to render that system appropriate, and provision has been made for complying with the requirements prescribed by the order of the Board. I believe the figures given by my hon. Friend in the latter portion of his Question are correct;but I may say that a very large proportion of these children are only temporary inmates of the workhouse with their parents, whereas the "boarding-out" system is limited to orphan and deserted children.
§ MR. MUNDELLA (Sheffield, Brightside)
asked, whether the Local Government Board could not do something to promote the "boarding-out" system?
§ MR. RITCHIE
said that the Local Government Board were always ready and willing to consider any applications made by Boards of Guardians;but the right hon. Gentleman knew that the initiative must rest with Boards of Guardians. So far as he was concerned, he would do his utmost to assent to any proposition in that direction.
§ MR. MUNDELLA
Could not the right hon. Gentleman send out a Circular urging Boards of Guardians to adopt the system?
§ MR. RITCHIE
I think the Local Government Board have already made their opinion known to Boards of Guardians;but I will look into the question.