§ 3. Mr. Keeling
asked the Minister of Labour to what extent charitable voluntary organisations responsible for homes and other institutions for the care 1577 of children are obliged to consult representatives of his Ministry or juvenile advisory committees before placing in employment children under their care; whether he is satisfied that there is no exploitation of these children and that their after-care when in work is satisfactory; and whether he will consider empowering juvenile advisory committees or other impartial agencies to supervise the placing of all such juveniles in work and to investigate and supervise the conditions in which such work is carried out.
§ Mr. Bevin
There is no legal obligation on these organisations to consult my local officers or juvenile advisory committees before placing in employment children under their care except in so far as the engagement of boys and girls under 18 is governed by the Undertakings (Restriction on Engagement) Order which requires all persons entering employment in some of the main war industries to be engaged through the Ministry's local offices. I have no evidence of exploitation of these children. These institutions normally have arrangements for aftercare in varying degrees of detail and, although there may be difficulty in keeping these arrangements up in war-time owing to other calls on the time of voluntary helpers, my present information would not justify me in proposing special action such as is suggested in the last part of the Question.
§ Mr. Keeling
Would my right hon. Friend consider any proposals that may be made for protecting these defenceless children from unscrupulous employers?
§ 16. Mr. Keeling
; asked the Minister of Health, how many homes and institutions run by charitable voluntary organisations are subject to inspection by his Ministry; how many inspectors are employed for this purpose; how many visits were paid to these homes and institutions by these inspectors in 1943; how many public assistance homes and institutions include children; and how many children under the age of 17 years they contain.
§ Mr. Willink
Two hundred and twelve homes and institutions run by charitable voluntary organisations are recognised by my Department as certified schools for 1578 the reception of children sent by public assistance authorities. They are subject to inspection by my inspectors, but I cannot readily state the number of visits paid to them in 1943. These visits are part of the duties of a staff of 45 inspectors who are not specially employed for this purpose. There are 571 homes for children provided by public assistance authorities in England and Wales in addition to 388 institutions, most of which include nurseries, and many of which admit older children for short periods. The total number of children under the age of 16 in receipt of poor-law institutional relief is about 30,000.
§ Mr. Keeling
Do the inspectors of my right hon. and learned Friend's Department report their visits to him? If so, could he let me have figures?
§ Mr. Willink
Reports are, of course, made, and are placed in the appropriate files, but the actual number of visits is not really a very important consideration.