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I CHILDREN TO BE REMOVED FROM WORKHOUSES. t New Local Government Board Order. I Ledbury Board Favour Idea of Cottage Home. At the forbnightly meeting of the Ledbury Board of Guardians, held on Tuesd ay last Mr W L PritchetC (chairman), presiding, a lengthy and important discussiom took place on the report of the Boarding-Out Com- mittee with reference to the stepd to be taken in pursuance of the new Local Govern- ment Board Order, that all children over I three years of age are not to be kept in Workhouses. I COMMITTEE FAVOUR COTTAGE HOME. Alderman Riley, who is Chairman of the Boarding-Out Committee, submitted the report of the Committee, which was to the the following effect: —"The Committee recom- mend that the present system of boarding- out with foster-parents be continued, and for those children who are not suitable or eligible for boarding-out or for whem homes cannot be found the Committee recommend that a cottage home be provided. They also recommend that a house in the first place be rented, not purchased, not in Ledbury, but if possible to find, a suitable one outside." In submitting the report Alderman Riley said they would remember that the Clerk was instructed^) make inquiries as to what was going to be done by neighbouring unions in this matter, and the Committee had these replies before then. In no case did any Board inform them that they bad combined or intended to combine with other Unions and have all the children in one place. Even if that had been the case he doubted whether that course would have recommended itself to them. Tue Committee first of all recom- mended that children now boarded-out be continued to be boarded out. They now had to deal with children they had not had to deal with before as regards boarding-out. In cases where one or both the parents were alive it was quite impossible to board those children out, as the parent would be going to look at the child and complain of the foster- parent probably. They bad difficulty always in getting homes for children, and they bad often had to wait five or six weeks for a home for a child, so it was not likely that they would be able to find homes for a much larger number of children. When they considered this matter there were only five children in the House, but since then ten children had come into the House which would have to be provided for. That showed the numbers were very fluctuating, and the average number of children in tbe House other than those boarded-out had been something like 14 or 15. The Committee recommended, they should provide a home for those children who would not under the present rule be eligible to be boarded out at all. If they could find a house to contain ten or twelve children they thought it would be sufficient. The Com- mittee were very strongly of opinion that the house for tbe cottage home should not be in Ledbury. The difficulty was the schooling. If they pot ten or twelve additional children into a school in most of the parishes in this Union they would cause the local managers to suffer, as the Education Department would come down upon them and compel them to enlarge their school. He thought when they came to look into it there would be a very small choice of parishes for them to select from. The Committee- was unanimous in making tbe recommendation of the course to be proceeded with, and he hoped the Board would adopt the recomeaendation. Mr Davies What will be the cost of this home ? It will not only be providing a house and food but a matron aud a servant to wait upon her and perhaps again a subordinate servant. It is a great difficulty created for us by faddists. There is no necessity at all for it in this district. It is most foolhardy i to try and make a little district go in for a scheme like this, which ia. totally unneces- sary. It may be quite necessary in a big- centre, but not in a small community like this. It is a big expense for nothing. Mr Parry Will the nurse we appoint to- day be told she is expected to look after these children ? The Chairman The nurse we shall appoint to-day is for sick nursing. The present children's caretaker will be eligible for this post. We have no choice iJ1 this matter at all. It is the Local Government B:¡ard Order and we shall have to obey it. The Committee have very fully considered this question and Mr Riley has placed the case before us and we shall have to advertise for a house. Mr W S Lane: What rental will you expect to pay to get a house to take ten or twelve people ? The Chairman We shall have to have at least five bed rooms. Mr Davies: If all rural boards refuse to carry it out will the Local Government Board carry it out ? Mr Thompson Yes, and charge us with it. And it will cost a good deal more. Mr Davies Yes, but they will have a job on to do tbe lot. The Rev A H Knapp said he was a member of the Committee and be came to the conclusion that they must do as they were told. He did not think it would do any good protesting, and he was afraid they could do nothing in that way. Thev must do their best, and there were great difficulties in the way. The parishes were limited and they would have difficulty in providing a home, but at the same time they would do their best for the children. He seconded the adoption of the report. The Rev-W P P Matthews paid they had no time left to see what other Boards of Guardians were doing. He agreed with Mr Da vies altogether. If they could wait a little bit they would see what other Boards of Guardians were doing, and he suggested they wait until they saw what the Local Government Board would do. The Chairman Other Boards of Guardians in the county have adopted this course, and in every case are doing so. The Rev Matthews: After that we must do something. Mr W S Lane: Could not an effort be made to board out these children and so reduce the quantity ? The Chairman: You propose to board out all children you can, don't you, Mr Riley ? Mr Riley agreed. Mr Lane said it would bo better to pay double what they were paying now rather than have another institution. It would cost £200 to Z300 a year. The Chairman The difficulty is that the number of children fluctuates. A fortnight ago we only had five children in and since then we have had ten come in. You can't find a cottage home at a moment's notice. Mr W S Lane I offer no objection to the scheme, but I was trying to criticise in tbe hope of getting at the best way of carrying the thing out. Mr Davies: It would be better to give foster-parents more rather than have a cottage home with which we should have establishment charges to pay. Mr Thompson hoped they would accept the recommendations of the Committee. Mr Weston asked the Committee to keep in view the necessity and advantage of having this home in the country and the rural district. The support of the children and the Workhouse came largely from the rural district, and he thought these children should be kept in the country and have an opportunity of taking part in rural life. I They knew the disadvantage now, as people were all for the town, and it was the proper thing to have these children brought into the country. Mr Davies said he would propose an amendment that they find out what the Hereford Board would take their children at per week. Hereford was a bigger place than Ledbury and the Hereford Union had more children to deal with. The bigger the place and the more children the less cost per bead it would be. He proposed that they ask the Hereford Board what they would take their children for. It might be that they would only have three children to send to a cottage home, and then they would have a great cost for upkeep if they bad a cottage home of their own. If they could make some arrangement with a larger place like Here- ford they would benefit. Before they fixed up this Hoheme of a cottage home they should first 8Q"" ain, if it was not possible to board out wii i, Hereford and save money. M:iss Holland said she believed in scattered h6mes (boarding-out) for as many children as they could get homes for, and thought they could get more such homes if they paid more per week. Mr Thompson said that was a suggestion to bear in mind, but he hoped the Guardians would accept the report. If more homes could be found by paying more they should do so. He thought the question of whether they should establish a cottage home or board out with another Board was a question the Committee could consider later. Alderman Riley, in reply to the criticisms, said they could not tell' what a cottage home was going to cost until they knew what they could get a house for. They could not look out for a house unless the Board gave them sanction to do so. The members of the Board knew just as much as he did about it, and they knew just as well as be did what it was likely to cost in feeding children. As regards the payment for boarding-out, if they went on increasing the eost much more they would find it much more expensive and they would find that a lot of people would take the children for the sake of gain. With a low rate of pay it was a sign that persons took the children and looked after them for the sake of the children, and they had bad two or three children adopted by the foster- parents after the children bad reached the age of 14 years, and that showed that they had been successful with the children in the earlier years. He should be very much against any question of a higher rate of pav. Mr Davies said that was not his idea at all. His meaning was to board out all those possible and those they could not board out to deal with through another Board. He would withdraw his amendment and suggest that the Committee should find out what a home was to cost, what a matron was to cost, and the upkeep, of the home, and then find out what they could board out their surplus children at. The Chairman That will be their duty— to find out what they can do it for. They are bound to report to this Board. Mr Holds said as this was a trial scheme and the obligation of the Guardians might not be infringed for more than twelve months, he thought it was an excellent idea and in the long run the cheapest scheme to adopt. The report was unanimously adopted, and it was decided that the Board should advertise in the local newspapers for a honse.