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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 83

Parental Control.—II

page 32

Parental Control.—II.

An "explanatory" and "supplementary" circular has been issued in reference to this subject. It is far from satisfactory, and we hear there is likely to be an understanding arrived at between the Managers of the training ships to give up their certificates rather than comply with these circulars. Other Managers decline to allow that any official circular can alter the Acts of Parliament, under which Reformatories and Industrial Schools are certified. The following is a copy of the circular:—

Office of Inspector of Reformatory and Industrial Schools, 3, Delahay Street, S.W.

Sir,—I am directed by the Secretary, Sir William Harcourt, to inform you that difficulties having arisen in giving effect to the circular of November 22nd, 1884, the Secretary of State desires it to be understood that it is not his view that a vicious or criminal parent should be permitted to exercise a veto on the disposal of a child who has been brought up in a Reformatory or Industrial School. But he is of opinion that before a child is so far removed from home, as must be the case where he is sent on sea or coast service, or emigrated, or enlisted in the army or the navy, notice should be given to the parents, if it is possible to do so, in order that they may have an opportunity of showing, if they are in a position to do it, that they are not unfit to have the charge of their children. It is desirable that in all such cases a careful inquiry should be made into the character of the parents and the condition of the home.

The Secretary of State therefore desires that before any application is made to him for the discharge of a boy from a Reformatory or Industrial School for sea or coast service, emigration, or enlistment in the army or navy, notice should be sent by the Managers to the parents where practicable, and the parents should be informed that any representation they have to make on the subject should be sent within a limited time to the Managers, who will submit the same to the Secretary of State for his consideration.

The Managers will, in the event of objections on the part of the parents, state their own observations on the case, in order that the Secretary of State may decide whether the objection is one which ought to be allowed to prevail. The same course of procedure should be adopted with regard to the discharge of girls for emigration.

This circular is to be read as explanatory of and supplementary to the circular of November 22nd, 1884.

I am, Sir,

Your obedient Servant,

W. Inglis.

H. M. Inspector of Reformatory and Industrial School. The Manager,—Industrial School.

The following is a Copy of a letter addressed to the Inspector by the Managers of Reformatories and Industrial Schools in Bristol:—

page 33
Bristol, To

Major Inglis,

H. M. Inspector of Industrial and Reformatory Schools.

Sir,—We, the undersigned, being Managers of Industrial and Reformatory Schools in Bristol and the neighbourhood, beg that you will lay before the Home Secretary the following statement of our views on his orders contained in your circulars of 22nd November and 31st January.

Although the explanatory communication of 31st January somewhat modifies the stringency of the order contained in the first circular, we are of opinion that the instructions will still greatly interfere with the work of these Schools.

By far the greater number of children committed to our care have parents who are totally unfit to have any control or influence over their disposal, and whose interference would be ruinous to their prospects. The circumstances of almost all the cases would thus have to be brought before the Home Secretary involving serious delay and a vast amount of correspondence with the Home Office.

We therefore hope that the Home Secretary will be satisfied with having conveyed to the Managers of Schools his opinion that only in eases where the influence of parents would injuriously affect the future of children should their wishes be disregarded, and that he will see fit altogether to withdraw the circular of 22nd November.

We are, Sir,

Yours faithfully,

Signed on behalf of the Managers,

Henry Fedden

, Hon. Sec., Bristol Training Ship "Formidable."

Mark Whitwill,

Chairman of Bristol School Board.

Wm. Raymond Garrett,

Hon. Sec. Clifton Industrial School.

Rosa E. Pease

, Hon. Sec. Girls' Industrial School, Bristol.

Edw. A. Leonard

, Hon. Sec., Park Row industrial School, Bristol.

Mr. and Mrs. Langford have been appointed Superintendent and Matron of the Islington Workhouse Schools in Hornsey Road.

In a recent debate upon the Budget of the London School Board, Sir E. H. Currie pointed out that the Roman Catholics formed but a small minority of the population of London, yet a full third of the children for whom the Board was paying in Industrial Schools were Roman Catholics.

A new Home for Working Boys has been opened—"Tyndale House," 29, Whitehead's Grove, Chelsea.

The Annual Meeting of the Reformatory and Refuge Union is to be held at St. James's Hall, Piccadilly, on Wednesday, the 29th of April, at three o'clock in the afternoon. The Earl of Shaftesbury has promised to take the Chair.