HC Deb 25 June 1956 vol 555 cc28-9
41. Mr. Hastings

asked the Minister of Health whether in view of the number of parents who abandon their children or leave them unnecessarily in the care of local authorities, he will publish a short leaflet to be given to the parents of all children when their birth is registered pointing out the incalculable value of the love and security that they can provide for their offspring.

Miss Hornsby-Smith

No, Sir. My right hon. Friend does not consider that this would be an effective way of dealing with the problem of the neglectful parent.

Mr. Hastings

Does the hon. Lady realise how important parental control of children is? Does she realise that much delinquency, mental disease and other troubles can be prevented by it, and yet parents do not appreciate this? Can something be done to ensure that parents realise the importance of parental control?

Miss Hornsby-Smith

I sympathise very much with the hon. Gentleman's desires in this matter, but, having regard to what is done by the vast majority of good parents, I do not think it would be advisable to circulate all parents on how to bring up their children, which I think would cause a great deal of resentment.

I think that the maternity and child welfare clinics provide adequate skilled knowledge and guidance to help any parents who might benefit from it. In the fifteen months from December, 1954, to March, 1956, 300 children were taken into the care of local authorities compared with 1,300 in the previous twelve months. This is a great tribute to the work done in the clinics.