HC Deb 03 April 1980 vol 982 cc397-8W
Mr. Rooker

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will set out the statutory duties of his Department in respect of children where a parent is unable to maintain the children of a family for any reason.

Sir George Young

The legislation concerning supplementary benefits, family income supplements, and other Acts which the Department administers in the social security field, provide cash benefits for families in a variety of contingencies that may affect a parent's ability to maintain the children. If the hon. Member is concerned about a particular aspect of these provisions, perhaps he would let me know.

So far as the personal social services are concerned, the Children Act 1948 places a duty on a local social services authority to receive into its care any child in its area whose parents are unable to provide for the child's proper accommodation and maintenance provided that the authority is satisfied that it is in the interests of the welfare of the child to do so. A local authority also has a duty under the Children and Young Persons Act 1963 to make available such advice, guidance and assistance as may promote the welfare of children by diminishing the need to receive them or keep them in care or bring them before a juvenile court. This duty includes the giving of assistance in kind or, in exceptional circumstances, in cash.