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Children (Departmental Responsibilities)

Volume 974: debated on Wednesday 21 November 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list his Department's responsibilities relating to children and the statutes from which these arise showing which branch or division within his Department and which Minister deals with each of these responsibilities; who is responsible for co-ordinating the various responsibilities relating to children within his Department; and who is responsible for co-ordinating his responsibilities for children with those of other Departments.

Several of the Department's responsibilities, such as immigration, licensing laws, and safety regulations, affect children as well as adults. Those which primarily concern children and the main statutes under which they arise are as follows:

Constitution powers and procedures of juvenile courts—
Children and Young Persons Acts 1933, 1963 and 1969.
Setting up and management of junior attendance centres—
Criminal Justice Act 1948.
Guardianship, affiliation and matrimonial proceedings in magistrates' courts—
  • Guardianship of Minors Acts 1971 and 1973.
  • Affiliation Proceedings Act 1957.
  • Matrimonial Proceedings (Magistrates' Courts) Act 1960.
  • Domestic Proceedings and Magistrates' Courts Act 1978.
Enforcement of maintenance orders in Commonwealth countries and South Africa—
  • Maintenance Orders (Facilities for Enforcement) Act 1920.
  • Maintenance Orders (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act 1972, Part I.
Processing of maintenance claims with certain United Nations countries—
Maintenance Orders (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act 1972, Part II.
Implementation of the Domestic Proceedings and Magistrates' Court Act 1978 and parts of the Children Act 1975.
Magistrates' courts legislation relating to children and young persons.
The Criminal law in relation to offences by or against children.
Precaution at sea and airports to prevent the unlawful removal abroad of children.
These matters are all dealt with in the criminal justice and policy departments which come under my general responsibility. In addition, the prison department is responsible for borstals and detention centres in which young persons under 17 years may be detained and for the allocation of those detained under section 53 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933. The responsibility for co-ordination varies according to the particular matters at issue.