HC Deb 25 March 1952 vol 498 c185
19. Mr. Carmichael

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many prosecutions were instituted in 1951 against guardians who had the care of children under the Children's Act; and what scheme operates to advise all local authorities of such prosecutions so that the guardians concerned will not be again entrusted with the care of children.

Mr. Henderson Stewart

There was no prosecution of the kind mentioned in Scotland in 1951. Local authorities are required to make the fullest inquiries about prospective foster parents and to consult the local authority of the area in which the foster home is situated. I do not think there is any risk of a child being boarded out with a guardian who has been shown, by a prosecution, to be unsuitable.

Mr. Carmichael

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that that is one of the finest answers that could possibly be given in this House, and a very great tribute to the guardians of thousands of children all over Scotland; and that I am not surprised by it, in spite of the fact that there have been so much talk about the ill-treatment of children? May I ask him to define much more clearly what steps his Department takes in the scheduling of homes, in order to see that guardians who have neglected a child can never again obtain a child from any other local authority?

Mr. Stewart

The Scottish Home Department receives from local authorities notifications of placings and removals of boarded-out children, and keeps a list of unsatisfactory foster parents. If a child were placed with a guardian whose name was on that list, the matter would be taken up with the local authority concerned. The Secretary of State can require a local authority to remove a child from the care of foster parents.