HC Deb 15 April 1954 vol 526 cc1319-20
14. Mrs. White

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many establishments are now in operation to which mothers charged with neglecting their children may be sent for training.

25. Brigadier Medlicott

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many homes now exist for the reception and training of mothers found guilty of neglecting their children; and which organisations have provided or are operating these homes.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Sir Hugh Lucas-Tooth)

Mothers placed on probation for child neglect may be required by the court to reside either at Mayflower, the Salvation Army's training home at Plymouth, or at Spofforth Hall, the Elizabeth Fry Memorial Trust Home, near Harrogate. A part of Birmingham prison is used for training women who have been sentenced for neglect of, or cruelty to, children.

Mrs. White

Has the hon. Gentleman's Department any intention of increasing, or helping to increase, the number of these homes? There must be a large number of women charged with neglect who do not receive this training; some are sent to prison. Would the hon. Gentleman not agree that ordinary prison sentences are useless in these cases and that this training is by far the best treatment?

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

The Mayflower has seldom been fully used since it opened in January, 1948. It has been full during the last few months, however, and if it continues so the position will, of course, be watched.

Brigadier Medlicott

Will my hon. Friend convey to the Salvation Army his appreciation of its valuable pioneer work in this important field and assure it of his support in whatever extension of this work may prove to be desirable?

Mrs. White

If the Mayflower Home is not fully used, is it because of the reluctance of magistrates to suggest that women should go there for training, to ignorance, or to what other reason?

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

I could not answer that; it is a matter of speculation. It may be that this Question and answer will bring the matter to the attention of the courts.