HC Deb 08 March 1999 vol 327 c87W
Mr. Dawson

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if, following the review of safeguards for children living away from home, he will ensure that children in all forms of foster care are protected from corporal punishment. [75156]

Mr. Hutton

Corporal punishment is not permitted by law, with the exception that a parent or someone acting in loco parentis is entitled to administer corporal punishment that is reasonable in all the circumstances. Legislation prohibits corporal punishment in children's homes, foster care and registered care homes.

Current legislation does not prevent the use of corporal punishment by private foster carers. Children Act guidance on assessing the suitability of private foster carers states that social workers should explore the (private) foster carers' views on discipline, including their preparedness to accept that corporal punishment is inappropriate for children who are privately fostered. A consultation document will be issued shortly on how the law can be improved in order to better protect children.