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Juvenile Courts (Children Beyond Control)

Volume 652: debated on Thursday 1 February 1962

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many children, under the ages of 16 and 17 years, respectively, were found by juvenile courts in England and Wales to be beyond control, during the period 1st January to 30th June, 1961; and how many of these children, respectively, were brought before such courts as a result of proceedings initiated by their own parents.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department
(Mr. Charles Fletcher-Cooke)

As the Answer is somewhat complicated I propose, with permission, to circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Does not the Minister agree with recommendation No. 19 of the Ingleby Committee which states that a parent's power to bring his child before a juvenile court on the ground that the child is beyond control should be revoked? Does not he further agree that the use of Section 64 of the Children and Young Persons Act, 1933—whereby parents do this, which has become known as the "Sophie treatment"—should also be revoked?

The question of who should have the power in the future to bring children before a juvenile court is, of course, a matter of some controversy. My right hon. Friend is studying this with great care and he hopes to implement the main proposals of the Ingleby Report as soon as possible.

Following is the Answer:

Proceedings in respect of children considered to be beyond control may be brought under any one of several statutory provisions according to the circumstances of the case. Some cases are brought under Section 62 of the Children and Young Persons Act, 1933 (which relates to children in need of care and protection), but there is no means of knowing in how many of these the primary ground of the application was that the child or young person was beyond control. In the only proceedings for which separate statistics are available—those under Sections 64, 65 and 84 (8) of the 1933 Act—296 orders were made under these three sections during the six months to 30th June last in respect of children under 16 years of age; and of that number 274 were the result of proceedings brought by a parent or guardian under Section 64 of the Act. The remainder were brought by local authorities in respect of children or young persons in their care. In respect of children who had attained the age of 16 years but not yet 17, 129 orders were made, of which 118 resulted from proceedings brought by a parent or guardian under Section 64, and the remainder from proceedings brought by local authorities. It would not be safe, however, to assume on the basis of the figures for Sections 64, 65 and 84 (8) alone that the great majority of "beyond control" applications are made by parents.