HC Deb 15 April 1930 vol 237 cc2737-8

I beg to move, That leave be given to bring in a Bill to make provision for the adoption of children in Scotland. What has just passed in this House made me think of the sequence of things in a biblical sense. After the fire and the tempest comes the still small voice, pleading for the children. The Bill which I am asking leave to bring in is identical with the English Act of 1926, except, of course, that, where necessary, provision has had to be made for the difference in legal machinery and practice in Scotland. I regret the necessity for bringing in this Bill, because it indicates that Scotland has lost the lead that she had over England at the beginning of the 18th century in respect of beneficent legislation. This Bill is for the legalisation, registration, and establishment in a definite way of the adoption of children in Scotland. It might be described as the adopted child's birthright and the foster-parent's charter of right and responsibility.

I only want to take time to indicate to the House the genesis of my bringing forward this Bill. In my constituency found that there had been a childless couple who had adopted a baby girl two years of age. Within four months of that adoption, the husband in that family died. Four months is a short time, but it was sufficient for that child to have woven herself very closely into the heartstrings of that home. Now the widow would not give up that child, and what I seek to do by this Measure is to enable that widow to have the provision of the extra allowance that is given to widows on this side of the Border in respect of adopted children as well as of children of wedlock. Since this Bill was drafted, I have found that other sections in the House have been 'working towards the same object, and I am hoping that, when the time comes for the Bill to go to Committee, I shall have their cordial co-operation in passing the Bill into law at the earliest possible moment. With the optimism of a new Member, I have stated in the Bill that it shall come into operation on the 1st July of this year. It is in that spirit of optimism that I ask leave to bring in the Bill.

Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. Mathers, Duchess of Atholl, Mr. Brooke, Mr. James Brown, Sir Samuel Chapman, Mr. Dickson, Sir Robert Hamilton, Mr. Hardie, Mr. Marcus, Mr. Duncan Millar, Mr. Sinkinson, and Mr. Westwood.