HC Deb 13 April 1961 vol 638 cc466-7
12. Sir B. Janner

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that children boarded out with foster parents cannot, under Section 17 of the Children Act, accompany such parents when they emigrate, but that the same section enables the children to be sent to institutions abroad; and if he will introduce legislation to remedy this anomaly and enable such children to accompany their foster parents on emigration.

Mr. Vosper

In some cases, emigration arrangements of the kind mentioned by the hon. Member would amount to taking the child abroad with a view to his being adopted, in fact if not in law, in circumstances that would contravene Section 52 of the Adoption Act, 1958. The foster parents' best remedy is to adopt the child before they emigrate, but my right hon. Friend recognises that that may not always be possible and he has noted the point for consideration when we next have an opportunity to legislate in this field. Where the emigration does not involve adoption, my right hon. Friend is free to consider applications under Section 17 of the Children Act, 1948, on their merits; and he is usually able to give his consent.

Sir B. Janner

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his promise to deal with this matter at a later stage, but how soon is that likely to be? As the section of the Act applies at present, it enables a child to be sent to an institution abroad without real knowledge of what the institution is, but it is not possible for foster parents to take a foster child abroad with them when they emigrate, although the child may have been with the foster parents for some time. This happened in the case of the Leicestershire County Council application, when the man had to go elsewhere to work. Has the right hon. Gentleman considered that case? In view of this, will he allow the child to be taken abroad by its foster parents?

Mr. Vosper

On the last part of the supplementary question, the hon. Gentleman will appreciate that my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has to give his consent. On the earlier part of his supplementary question, I should have thought that this could be incorporated in a Children and Young Persons Bill, which the Home Secretary has in mind.

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