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Treatment Of Pauper Children In Ireland

Volume 90: debated on Thursday 7 March 1901

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I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that the Local Government Board for Ireland have issued an order compelling boards of guardians in Ireland to supply out-nursed children with clothing; whether he is aware that there are boards of guardians who out-nurse children, and make arrangements with the foster parents to clothe and rear these workhouse children with their own children, with the view of removing the taint or appearance of pauperism; whether he can say if it is the intention of the Local Government Board, under the new rule, to compel out-nursed workhouse children to wear poorhouse suits when attending schools which they attend: and whether he will request this rule to be withdrawn by the Local Government Board.

The order referred to in the first paragraph requires guardians to provide suitable and sufficient clothing for orphan and deserted children placed outside the workhouse with foster parents. So far from it being the intention of the Local Government Board to compel these children to wear pauper uniform, the order expressly requires that the clothing shall not be of such shape or colour as may denote connection with the workhouse; and, moreover, with a view to avoid uniformity in the clothing, it was further pointed out that particular care should be taken that the materials, shape, and colour should not be alike in all cases. The Board are not aware of any case in which foster parents arrange with guardians to clothe the children. Any such arrangement involving payment to the foster parents by the guardians would be contrary to the regulations.