HC Deb 27 April 1976 vol 910 c185
15. Mrs. Chalker

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what plans he has to increase the numbers of mentally handicapped children who are fostered.

Dr. Owen

This is a matter for the local authorities and voluntary bodies concerned, but my Department encourages fostering schemes for children with special needs.

Mrs. Chalker

In view of the cash limits on local authority spending, will the Minister look again at the payment of attendance allowance to the foster parents of mentally handicapped children?

Dr. Owen

The hon. Lady will he aware from the debate on 14th April that my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State is looking again at the possibility of paying attendance allowance to foster parents looking after a handicapped child who satisfies the medical conditions for the payment of the allowance.

Mr. Carter-Jones

As the number of physically and mentally handicapped children needing the allowance is only 300, could we not have an urgent decision on this matter?

Dr. Owen

I know that my hon. Friend shares this anxiety, and we shall get a decision as soon as possible. It requires public money but it is not expensive. We all wish to encourage fostering schemes for these children and to give them a home environment, which they desperately need.