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Children In Care

Volume 979: debated on Tuesday 26 February 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will issue a circular to local authorities concerning the treatment of children in care, particularly regarding the age of consent.

No. Responsibility for promoting the welfare of children in their care rests with local authorities. I would expect them to act as a good parent would do, but do not think it appropriate for me to offer them detailed advice.


asked the Secretary of State for the Social Services if he is satisfied that provisions of current legislation adequately ensure that children taken into care are returned to one or both parents as appropriate subject to the necessary supervision if required, as soon as there is no longer any reason for keeping them away from home; and if he will make a statement.

I am satisfied that the current legislation ensures that children are not kept in care unnecessarily and also safeguards children against premature discharge from care. Local authorities have a statutory duty to review the case of each child in care at six-monthly intervals and, if the child is in care under a care order, to consider in the course of the review whether to seek the discharge of the order. Courts have a statutory duty not to discharge a care order unless satisfied that the child will continue to receive the care or control that he needs, and they have the option to make a supervision order if they consider this appropriate.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the cost to public funds of keeping a child or young person in a community home.

The average weekly cost to local authorities in England of maintaining a child in a community home during 1977–78—the latest year for which full information is available—was £92. This figures includes capital charges. Administration and field social work costs are excluded, and parental contributions are not deducted, because centrally held financial information does not enable these items to be attributed to specific services.