HC Deb 21 November 1968 vol 773 cc1531-2
Q6. Dr. Gray

asked the Prime Minister whether he will transfer responsibility for those matters concerning the private fostering of children at present dealt with by the Secretary of State for the Home Department to the Secretary of State for Social Services.

The Prime Minister

I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave in reply to a supplementary question by my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr (Mr. Christopher Price) on 22nd October.—[Vol. 770, c. 1086.]

Dr. Gray

As, at local government level, not only children's officers but other officials, including those from the health and other social agencies, are all interested in the day-to-day welfare of these children, for whom homes are often found through private advertisements in newspapers, would it not be better to transfer responsibility for them from the Home Office to the Department of Social Services?

The Prime Minister

Transfer is one question, but I do not think that there is evidence that the private fostering of children is being held up because of the Government's inability so far to pronounce on the Seebohm recommendations. Quite the contrary. The fostering system started in Lancashire and recently I attended in my constituency the 21st anniversary celebrations of fostering. As hon. Members always are, I was deeply moved by the tremendous dedication of the private fostering parents. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary is including provision about the private fostering of children in the children's Bill he is to introduce.