HC Deb 11 November 1954 vol 532 cc1397-8
50. Brigadier Medlicott

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, in view of the serious increase in the numbers of children taken into public care as the result of the break-up of families, he will consider introducing legislation to enable local authorities to provide funds for family case work directed towards this growing social problem.

Major Lloyd-George

While local authorities already possess some powers to undertake social case work with families, the ways in which existing methods might be improved are being kept under review in consultation with the Departments concerned. I have no evidence to indicate that there is a serious increase in the numbers of children coming into public care because of break-up of families.

Brigadier Medlicott

While appreciating the valuable work done by those engaged in the adoption of children, may I ask whether it is not a fact that over many years there has been a large increase in the proportion of children who pass out of the care of their parents although both parents are still alive? Ought we not, therefore, to be careful to pay as much attention as we can to the maintenance of family and home life?

Major Lloyd-George

I entirely agree with the last part of my hon. and gallant Friend's supplementary question, but I can only say that my advice at the moment is that there is no evidence of any serious increase in the number of children coming under public care because of the break-up of families.

Mr. Hector Hughes

Does not the right hon. and gallant Gentleman realise that this is a serious matter which should be dealt with in a comprehensive way to ensure that innocent people are not penalised?

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