§ (1) Where an order has been made that a defective be placed under guardianship the judicial authority which made the order, or any other judicial authority, or, 224 where the original order was not made by a judicial authority, any judicial authority may, on application being made for the purpose by the guardian or by the Board or by the local authority, and on being satisfied that the case is or has become one unsuitable for guardianship, order that the defective be sent to an institution.
§ (2) A person appointed to be guardian of a defective may, on the application of the local authority or of the Board or of any other person who appears to be interested, be removed from his office by any such judicial authority as aforesaid, and where a person appointed to be guardian of a defective dies, or resigns his office, or is removed from his office, such judicial authority as aforesaid may, on the like application, appoint a suitable person to act in his stead.
§ (3) An order under this Section shall not be made without giving to the relative or other person who presented the original petition and to the local authority an opportunity of being heard.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
I beg to move, to insert, at the end of the Clause the following Sub-section:—(4) Any order made under the preceding Sections shall cease to have effect and be deemed to be cancelled if the parents or guardians of the person with respect to whom the order was made withdraw in writing their consent to such order, unless the board can show to the satisfaction of the judicial authority that the parents or guardians are not fit and proper persons to have charge of the defective.I want to add this fresh Sub-section (4) to this Clause, which deals with variation of orders, that is to say, the judicial authority can vary the orders. This new Sub-clause is really a complement to the parental control in the preceding Clause, and I am particularly anxious that this should be added, so that, if the parents change their minds, or more particularly if their children are being ill-treated in these homes, they will have the power of withdrawing them from the homes, so that they will not be committed, at the age of five, six or seven years, to be kept there until they are twenty-one. Under this, if the parents think their children are being ill-treated, and if the parents themselves are decent parents, and fit and proper parents, they will have an opportunity of 225 getting these children back. If the House gives the parents this power, they will be more ready to send the children to the homes, in the first place, and if the homes are decently carried on, to keep them there. If the parents have the right of taking back their children, you will find that these homes will be carried on upon much more humane and satisfactory lines. The managers of these institutions will do their best for the children, if they feel that the parents can take them away if they are badly treated, or do not get on, or are unhappy. Therefore, I hope this Amendment may go in, and that we may complete the parental control which we have given earlier in the Bill, by giving the same parents the right to reverse their consent if at any time they find their children unhappy or ill-treated.
§ Mr. McKENNA
I hope my hon. Friend will not press this Amendment. Under Clause 11 there is very ample power of discharge.
§ Mr. McKENNA
Oh, yes. My hon. Friend has not really quite mastered either the intention or the actual machinery of the Bill. You can hardly allow a parent, who has given his consent, to cancel his consent at any moment, and to withdraw the child, absolutely at his own discretion. If he were to do that this would be a measure entirely different from the present Bill. We pre-suppose here that, since a parent has given his or her consent, and the child has entered an institution, that it should be in the institution, unless it is discharged by the representatives of the Board of Control, by the visitors, or by the cancellation of an Order. To try to work the Bill upon a compulsory basis, and, at the same time, to allow a parent, any day, and every day, to withdraw the child and put it back again, would be to render such working impossible. My hon. Friend will see that, in Clause 11 at the end of the first year, the parent can withdraw the child if the Board of Control are satisfied that the parent has the means of looking after it.
§ Mr. McKENNA
Not in Clause 11. Clause 12 deals with a child under age. 226 In Clause 11 there is ample power in the first year, the second year, or at any time, and the parent of a child in an institution has only to write to the Board of Control and say: "My circumstances are such that I have the means to look after it," and the Board of Control would instantly consider the case, and release the child. But that is not quite the same thing as to ask that the parent who may be a fighting parent, shall be allowed the right, every week, to withdraw the child, and then to put it back again. That would render the whole thing unworkable. I hope the hon. Gentleman will be satisfied after my explanation.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
No, I shall not be satisfied. This seems to me to be the vital part of the Bill. Clause 11 says nothing about the parent, and gives him no rights. There is nothing in it to say that the parent has any right to reclaim the child, once the child has gone to the institution—
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
Clause 12 deals with where a parent voluntarily sends a child. Clause 11 deals with cases where a judicial authority sends a child to an institution. It is with such cases where the judicial authority—
§ Mr. McKENNA
My hon. Friend is not correct. Clause 12 provides that until the visitors do not discharge the defective, there comes in the appeal above, under which the Board of Control may consider the appeal.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
But the appeal to the Board is after the Report has been made by the medical officer of the institution.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
The whole point is that, in Clause 11, the only thing that is taken into consideration is whether the child is or is not defective, and not whether the parent wishes him back or not. What is considered, in Clause 11, is the re-examination of the state of health of the defective. The parents may say a defective is not a defective, and they may appeal on that line, but they cannot appeal and say, "now we are able to look after the child; previously we were not able to look after the child. We are afraid it is being unkindly treated, and 227 we want it at home, to treat it kindly." That does not come in at all. The only thing considered is the state of mental health of the child itself, and if it is unhappy, its state of mental health is not likely to be improved. Just as you have given the parent the right to say whether or not the child should be sent to these places, so, on absolutely analogous lines, you ought to give him the right to withdraw his child, if he thinks it is not being kindly treated. Every human right which gives the parent the right of veto on having his children sent away at first is every bit as strong in favour of giving him the right to recover his children in later years. I hope some other hon. Members will vote for this Amendment, as well as myself. I certainly shall go to a Division. I regard this as one of the most important parts of the Bill, and by passing this Amendment you will take away one of the things that will be most complained of in after years, and which will give rise to most dis-
§ satisfaction to people who come afterwards.
§ Dr. CHAPPLE
Might I point out that there is a still easier way of accomplishing this object? Under Clause 24 "any Commissioner shall have power to discharge at any time any person detained in a certified institution or certified house, or under guardianship under this Act," so that if a child were unkindly treated, all a parent would have to do would be to persuade one of these Commissioners—and some of them are women—to discharge the child, and that Commissioner would have power to do it. That would be a simpler way than-under Clause 11. It is difficult enough to get them in the home, as the machinery of the Bill is very cumbersome, but they can get out by any one Commissioner visiting-one of the institutions, and if he finds that the child is neglected, that Commissioner can discharge it.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 18; Noes, 166.229
|Division No. 218.]||AYES.||[1.52 a.m.|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Bennett-Goldney, Francis||Goldsmith, Frank||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Greene, Walter Raymond||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University)||Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Clive, Captain Percy Archer||Hogge, James Myles|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Horner, Andrew Long||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Wedgwood and Mr. Martin.|
|Denison-Pender, J. C.||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)|
|Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)||Dawes, James Arthur||Hazleton, Richard|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Delany, William||Henry, Sir Charles|
|Adamson, William||Devlin, Joseph||Higham, John Sharp|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbartonshire)||Dickinson, W. H.||Hills, John Waller|
|Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Doris, William||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E.|
|Arnold, Sydney||Duffy, William J.||Hodge, John|
|Baird, J. L.||Duncan, C. (Barrow-In-Furness)||Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothian)|
|Barnston, Harry||Duncan, J. Hastings, (Yorks, Otley)||Hughes, Spencer Leigh|
|Barton, William||Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.)||Illingworth, Percy H.|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Jessel, Captain H. M.|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Elverston, Sir Harold||John, Edward Thomas|
|Benn, W. W. (T. Hamlets, St. George||Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Jones, Henry Kaydn (Merioneth)|
|Boland, John Pius||Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexlord, N.)||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)|
|Bowerman, Charles W.||Essex, Sir Richard Walter||Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)|
|Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)|
|Brace, William||Ffrench, Peter||Joyce, Michael|
|Brady, P. J.||Field, William||Keating, Matthew|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward||Kelly, Edward|
|Brunner, John F. L.||Fitzgibbon, John||Kilbride, Denis|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Flavin, Michael Joseph||King, J.|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Gibbs, G. A.||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Gilmour. Captain John||Lardner, James C. R.|
|Cawley, H. T. (Lancs., Heywood)||Gladstone, W. G. C.||Levy, Sir Maurice|
|Chancellor, H. G.||Goldstone, Frank||Lewis, Rt. Hon. John Herbert|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)||Lewisharn, Viscount|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Griffith, Ellis J.||Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)|
|Clough, William||Gulland, John William||Lurdon, Thomas|
|Clynes, John R.||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Lynch. A. A.|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Hackett, John||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)|
|Crumley, Patrick||Hamilton, C. G. C. (Ches., Altrincham)||McGhee, Richard|
|Cullinan, John||Harcourt. Robert V. (Montrose)||Macpherson, James Ian|
|Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds. West)||MacVeagh, Jeremiah|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Hayden, John Patrick||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Hayward, Evan||Marks, Sir George Croydon|
|Meagher, Michael||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||Sutherland, John E.|
|Meehan, Patrick J. (Queen's Co., Leix)||Pryce-Jones, Colonel E.||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Millar, James Duncan||Reddy, Michael||Taylor, Thomas (Bolton)|
|Molloy, M.||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Tennant, Harold John|
|Morgan, George Hay||Redmond, William (Clare, E.)||Thome, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Morrell, Philip||Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)||Thynne, Lord Alexander|
|Muldoon, John||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Munro, R.||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Murray, Captain Hon. Arthur C.||Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Nolan, Joseph||Robinson, Sidney||Webb, H.|
|O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Rowlands, James||White, Sir Luke (Yorks, E.R.)|
|O'Doherty, Philip||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|O'Dowd, John||Samuel, Samuel (Wandsworth)||Wiles, Thomas|
|O'Grady, James||Sanders, Robert Arthur||Williams, John (Glamorgan)|
|O'Malley, William||Sanderson, Lancelot||Williamson, Sir Archibald|
|O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)||Scanlan, Thomas||Wing, Thomas Edward|
|O'Shee, James John||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Parker, James (Halifax)||Seely, Rt. Hon. Colonel J. E. B.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.— Mr. G. Howard and Captain Guest.|
|Parry, Thomas H.||Sheehy, David|
|Peto, Basil Edward||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||Stewart, Gershom|