Select Committee on Health Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 220 - 239)



220 Do you feel to any extent that it was because the British Government at the time felt that following the war it had an obligation to Canada and Australia and if they needed additional people, it was valuable for us to be able to supply them?
(Canon Fisher) I think there is evidence certainly, and I cannot speak for Canada because that is outside my experience, but from the Australian point of view, I certainly think that there was a pull from Australia to repopulate. Was it the Prime Minister who said: "Populate or perish"? They had just been invaded by Japan and were very aware that their population was very small, that it was an inadequate population for the size of the country and they were doing everything they could to swell their population. I have an uncle in the family who emigrated to Australia and there was a big drive after the war for families to go to Australia with assisted passages at £10 per head to go to Australia, in which some of my family took part, so I do not think in those circumstances that the child migration was seen as anything unusual. In hindsight, we can see all the disadvantages that there were. I know you have had evidence, very emotional evidence, going back on to the past and the bad experience of being migrated, but conditions in England were not very good at the time. I was in a boarding school in England in 1948 and when I read some of the stories of the experience of migrants in the homes that they were in in Australia, I would not know which book I was reading. They were the same conditions in public schools in England at the time in terms of cold-water showers, a very inadequate diet, outdoor working in the fields and all the other things that went on, so I think we really have to look at the historical context of this and what we need to do today is to ensure that the agencies today are responding in an appropriate way.

Dr Stoate
221 I have listened very carefully to your views on whether there has been a cover-up or not and I take that on board, except frankly I am not sure how useful that is. We took some very emotive evidence last week and it really was very harrowing and I do not think there was a dry eye in the house and I think we were all shocked to hear what we heard last week. Sure, attitudes have changed towards child-rearing and that is understandable, and obviously conditions for some children in England would have been fairly brutal as well, but it is a matter of trust and if we are going to move forward, we have to tackle the matter of trust. There was a cover-up quite clearly. From the evidence we took last week, there was no doubt that there was a cover-up and there was the deliberate alteration and falsification of records, there was the deliberate destruction of records, and there were child-minders who said when their parents had gone back to collect them that the children had either been lost, adopted, they did not know where they were, they might have died and there was no way they could be traced, despite the fact that the sending agencies knew precisely where these children were and they sent them anyway. That was quite clearly prima facie evidence of a deliberate cover-up. Then we move on to what to do about this and that is the question I would like to ask really. What can the sending agencies now do to try and put back that trust? When we asked the migrants last week whether they would go back to the sending agencies to try and get records, they said: "We would not trust the sending agencies to deal with our cases sensitively. We cannot rely on them now to tell us the truth when they clearly didn't before." When we broached the subject of setting up a database of former child migrants, they said: "Fine, but it must not be in the hands of the sending agencies again because we cannot trust what they might do with the data, what data they might have and what data they might falsify". Now, if we are going to make progress in this inquiry in terms of what lessons can we learn and what we can now do, it is a matter of what the sending agencies can do to restore that trust and to rebuild that confidence so that the child migrants feel that their cases will be dealt with sympathetically. We have heard from the Child Migrants' Trust in previous sessions who clearly are trusted by the migrants as being an agency working on their behalf, but what they must now do is to see what can we do with the agencies, what can the agencies do really to convince the migrants that they are working on the same side so that we all make progress because until we have got over that barrier, it does not matter how you deny any cover-ups because they simply will not believe you. So what I would like to ask you all really is what can you now do not just to talk about the denial of cover-ups, but to make meaningful inroads into trust for the former Child Migrants?
(Mr Haynes) I accept that and I think that is a very positive lead forward. I am delighted that we are moving into the future rather than the past because that is the way it is going to work, but I think it is not just we, but I think there is also a recognition by the British and other involved governments that there are responsibilities in the historical sense and also, if you like, in an administrative and an enabling sense for the future. Quite a lot of us have all said that neither do we have the funds and nor, in our case, do we have the experience to move forward, however, we have the will and the commitment to do so. I believe that if you are going to move satisfactorily forward, then government action and funding is required to build the networks. Now, the detail of that can be got through. We have heard about reluctance from former migrants to approach, if you like, the sending agencies, and rightly so. If you are also dealing with the question of identity, and in many cases some of the Australian migrants still have not got past this, you have got to get statutory power in behind this. You have heard also about the business of, if you like, the enabling processes, and we would need access into government documents to speed up tracing and locating. We have also got the business of counsel and support. A government agency could be able to centralise that and enable the process, using all the sending agencies who have committed themselves to assisting as far as they can, but unless you take a lead both in terms of legislation and indeed co-ordination, then it is going to be extremely difficult for the disparate voluntary sector to do anything cogent. We could come together with you in a working force that would make it work and happen, but it has got to have the lead of a clearing sort of system which needs to be developed to get it to go.

Audrey Wise
222 I am going to be very unpopular with the witnesses because I am going to reopen the question of "That was then and this is now and everybody's attitudes are different" because I do not think that actually is the point. I was a child in 1948 and I can tell you that I did not belong to that stratum of society which sent children to boarding school and the sort of ethos which was prevailing in my stratum of society did not approve of separating children from parents and there was not such a big difference in the attitudes about normal child-rearing as is being made out. I have been feeling positively prehistoric, except that I know I am not prehistoric, but I am rather extremely contemporary. Furthermore, I was a mother long before this practice ceased and so I know from my own experiences that what is being said about: "This was all different then" simply is not true. I will tell you what I think and what I want you to comment on, that it is not a matter of different attitudes to child-rearing as much as it is a question of power relationships and I tell you and ask you to comment on the thing that it reminds me of. It reminds me of how my grandmother was fighting against the separation of elderly people when they went into the workhouse, husbands separated from wives at the door of the workhouse, which went on a long, long time and did not finish in fact until my absolute conscious life, and this separation of parents and children and the hiding of the situation, you could not do it with elderly people because they would know they were being separated, but the children did not know what had happened to their parents, nor the parents to their children, but I believe that it is exactly the same kind of power relationship that was being exercised then and that that is far more the case than different attitudes to child-upbringing. I would like your comments on that because that is of very contemporary significance because unless there is an acceptance of the need to alter the nature of these power relationships, then this kind of thing will be repeated in some other way and I am not convinced that there is an acceptance of this and I believe that it is being replicated and, as the questioning goes on, I will perhaps ask you about certain examples of that. The question also is reinforced, in my view, by some of the evidence given by Barnado's itself which says on page 4 that "child migration was historically seen as best practice, although there was some contemporary dissent". Now, I would dearly like to have that elaborated on because that is about the only reference I can see that disturbs this "Everybody thought it was wonderful", and the people to whom it was happening did not have a chance to express a view about whether it was, and neither did their representatives on local councils, etcetera. Then there is also, and I am grateful to Barnardo's for the honesty of their evidence, on page 2, paragraphs 2.25 and 2.26, a reference to children going to Canada and "while their lives were hard", so there is an acknowledgement that they were being sent to hard lives. Then in 1889 there was concern about abuse and someone was sent from Barnardo's to try and look at this question of abuse and it clearly included sexual abuse because one of the remedies being attempted was locks being fitted to bedroom doors. That is 1889. Now, I think that that is evidence of things going wrong early and we have not had evidence of adequate attention to it. That is one thing. It clearly did not work and an annual inspection was no adequate protection for those children, so I want to be extremely challenging about this. If the dangers were not seen, the next question is were not seen by whom? The people to whom it was happening did not have a chance to express a view and are you willing to accept that there is this power relationship difference and will you or do you accept that and alter your current practice? I will come on later to how I want to challenge you and say that it does not seem to me from your own evidence that you actually are.
(Mr Singleton) Could I perhaps take the post-war point that the Member made first of all? We have tried to put forward what the evidence shows us and I have to slightly break my own rule and be a little speculative, I think, at this point, but in trying to understand what you said from the agencies' point of view, the 1948 Children Act had an enormous impact on local government practice. I do not believe that it had a similar impact on the practice of some of the voluntary organisations who were involved in migration. I believe that that took some considerable time and I can elaborate on that if you wish, Chairman, but I will just move on for the moment. The evidence from Barnardo's is that views were mixed internally on the merits of migration post-war. A group of professionals in the organisation were clearly uneasy about it, but the senior management and the trustees were very keen on it and when in 1953 the man who was in my, as it were, chief executive position, retired and went to Australia, that was seen as an ideal opportunity to boost the whole of the child migration programme. It did not in fact happen, but that was the climate in which it was actually operating. I think outside the migration societies then, the Committee, I am sure, will be familiar with the debate in 1959, with the work of the Overseas Migration Board and the encouragement, which I think I have to say, that that Board gave to child migration, so that if you put together the varying attitudes with some legislative encouragement, and my recollection of the 1959 adjournment debate was that six MPs spoke and they all spoke in support of child migration, enabled, as it were, some people who believed it was right to continue to promote and practise it. If I can go back now into the history, the reference that was made about somebody going in 1889, that actually followed the discovery that a man running the Barnardo's receiving home in Canada was actually interfering sexually with girls. He was sent to prison under Canadian law and the particular initiative that you referred to was then undertaken. I am in no doubt that issues of sexual abuse, whenever they came to the attention of the management of the organisation, were rigorously dealt with. Matters of what we would today call physical abuse, I think, were seen much more in the context of a much rougher, tougher world that existed at the time and would be perceived far less seriously than we would perceive them now. My third comment is that I think I am slightly puzzled about what you are referring to in relation to contemporary work and power relationships, so I cannot comment at this stage.223 I will come on to it.

Mr Austin
224 I want to reiterate what others have said, that none of us here would claim that anybody who is giving evidence was responsible for what your agencies did at the time and I certainly do share the perspective which has been put forward by Audrey Wise about the changes and the fact that it is not just a question of changing perceptions today. John Gunnell, in his question, referred to the political and economic responsibilities that perhaps Britain felt to the dominions after the war. One of the key issues which has not been mentioned, or very rarely mentioned, is the basic racist nature of the whole migration policy and I think the Archbishop of Perth was fairly explicit in that, about populating Australia with "our own white stock to keep out the alien Asiatic hordes", so I think there clearly was a racist and post-colonial continuation of empire kind of philosophy behind the whole migration scheme. I wondered to what extent your agencies were not only aware of that and partly complicit in that, but to what extent, as child-care agencies, you were aware of what was happening to the children of the indigenous population of the countries where you were sending children?
(Mr Haynes) Could you clarify the question as to whether we were aware of what was happening to the indigenous children of the population?225 For example, the stolen generation of Aboriginal children.
(Mr Haynes) I am afraid I will have to take advice from people who were there at the time.
(Mr Singleton) If I can help in that, we have come across no evidence at all to indicate that there was any awareness of the plight of the Aboriginal children. I think, and I can say so from my own visits to Australia over a period of about 20 years, Australians themselves have only become aware of that relatively recently. On the racist point, unquestionably the Australian Government's all-white policy was rampantly racist, there can be no doubt about that, and insofar as, therefore, only white children were emigrated, yes, the agencies did collude with that policy. I have in fact here a schedule from the mid-1950s that lists the number of children who were being considered for migration and 49 who were being considered in 1954 were not proceeded with because, in the language of the time, they were referred to as "half-castes".
—Mr Austin: There is another point I wanted to come on to which is that we have had some suggestion about cover-up and I think it was Sir William Utting, when he was giving evidence to us about abuse in children's homes here, who said that he thought that there had been a period of ignorance which had been followed by denial. If there was not perhaps a cover-up, has there in a sense been a period of denial on the part of the agencies concerned or has it just not been high enough on your list of priorities? I think that Fairbridge were saying that the concerns of today's children dominate for whatever reasons over and above the concern for those who were previously the children. I picked up the point of the reference to sensationalism in television programmes and I notice that one of the witnesses said that it was because people felt it was untruthful. Witnesses have said they welcome this inquiry. They have also said that it has only recently become an issue, but from the evidence that other Members have mentioned here, for the children, now adults, who were migrated, it has been a life-long issue and we have just heard that there was contemporary dissent about the policy, so I think I would like to ask the question that the Chairman asked at the very beginning which was why has it only recently become an issue and does it not give the child migrants themselves some lack of confidence in your agencies when you say you welcome this inquiry, but then talk about sensationalised television programmes, and I think one of you referred to the "media hype" about this situation? I want to ask whether any of you think that this inquiry should be taking place today and whether there would be the current interest in the welfare of the child migrants if it had not been for what you have described as sensationalised reporting and media hype?

226 I think that is directed at you, Mr Haynes, because you made that point.
(Mr Haynes) If I could come back, you have heard evidence from former migrants which has obviously and rightly moved you and made you understand more fully the situation, but you have not actually drawn upon the majority of the child migrants, and I understand that you as a group will be going to Australia fairly shortly and will have a chance there to meet with the whole Fairbridge associations. I myself went there at the time of the film that came out and was met by a large number at the reunion who said: "Do you realise what this is doing to our lives because we have now integrated and settled," and the one I was talking to was a professor of English at Seoul University. He said his question now is: "Are we abused? Were we abused?" and we are perhaps neglecting the impact on the large number that are there whom I hope you will all meet. The question of whether it was a matter of urgency amongst the societies I think also turns back to the question of lobbying because Fairbridge in the late 1960s after the legislation that took place following the 1948 Act and indeed if you get a statutory framework, you must also look at the Empire Settlement Act of 1922 and then you must also look at the infrastructure set up by the Commonwealth Government and each state government that involved each child in its referral processes, you must then look at the weekly sums paid into each of the organisations by the governments, and you must look at what happened in after-care because there was a network of after-care within the agencies, certainly in Fairbridge, to visit every six months to satisfy themselves that the young people were being properly treated in welfare offices and that their after-care provision was in place. A loan fund was set up and is in place now, providing means for ex-Fairbridgeans to help them within their systems in finding work. Getting down to the business of abuse, we have one case of malpractice on the boards that we know of at the present moment and that is to do with the trust fund being appropriated for the use not designed for. Every migrant with us put money into a savings account which was given to them when they left their schools. I will turn also to the business that it is not fair to put it in context and I quote from an article published in The Guardian in 1987 written by a retired children's officer who refers to what were the alternatives at the time and goes into some considerable detail about how in this country children deprived were sent to Victorian workhouses in 1948 to be cared for by mentally-handicapped inmates and lists what was social practice at that time in this country. The last bit I would like to put about the Fairbridge children was that every child went with parental consent or consent received through another agency and we have tried to address the problems of access and the historical perspective as best we can within the resources we have available. I think we must return, must we not, to the future because what heartened me was the remit that this Select Committee has about building the future, not the past.
(Mr Lovell) I would like to try and pull a few points together. When I came into child-care in the early 1960s, the phenomenon of child sexual abuse was pretty well unrecognised and was poorly understood by the social work child-care profession, but gradually over a period of time, we have better understood that phenomenon and are able to address that issue, and I would like actually to relate that back to a point which Audrey Wise was making about power relationships. One of the issues, I think, in the slow recognition of that has been the issue about the extent to which we, as professionals, have been prepared to listen to children and to take seriously what they are saying to us, and I think we have got better at that in the social work profession and I think that is a cornerstone of practice today. If that is absent, then we are not doing our jobs. I think Audrey Wise is right actually to raise the issue of power relationships because children very often, and not just child migrants, but all children in the care system, are in a very powerless position with us as adults and I think we have to take that on board and recognise that in our practice and in the principles that we put together to underpin our practice. I think that that has been a very good issue. I sat here last week and listened to the stories of John Hennessey and his colleagues and, like you, I was visibly shaken by that and appalled by it and I do not seek to defend child migration. I acknowledge it happened and I acknowledge that my agency was involved in it. In trying to pull in this point about trust again, to bring it back to trust and how you build trust, I think part of that is about what I am doing today as somebody who was not involved in it, but I have a responsibility for it, about how I see the history and what my own interpretation is, what my approach to the history is, and if I am not able to do that and to share that with former child migrants, then trust will not build. That is an important element of that and I think the Committee is right to be exploring that with us because that is a key element of how you build trust again. One of the issues that I heard last week was clearly, and I understand that, that the Child Migrants' Trust operates on the basis, and you have heard from former child migrants, that they did not want anything to do with them, and I can understand that and there will be some and I think that in any arrangements about future services, that has to be recognised. What I would also want to say to you is that there are some former child migrants, as you may have heard and you may see when you go to Australia, who actually do want to come back to the sending agencies and I will say why. It is the same reason that anyone who has a complaint about a past service wants to come back, that they want to face us with it and they want to have it out with us because that is the only way that they can actually deal with it, and I think that we have a responsibility to be tough enough to sit across the table from somebody, to recognise the pain they have suffered and that is how they saw it and that, whatever our view about it, to recognise and to accept that is how they felt about it and to face them and have it out with them. I think there are lots of people at the moment who do want to come back to sending agencies for that reason and I think this is the plea for saying that in any arrangements about services, I do make the plea not to deny it and to give all former child migrants the opportunity and the choice to come back to the sending agencies because some of them will want to have it out with us, quite rightly, as part of their healing and cathartic process. There will be others who will not, and I understand that, and the provisions ought to accept that, but I think that you are right about power relationships and I think the core of it is the extent to which we are prepared to listen to people and to really hear what they have got to tell us and to be prepared, and to convince them that we are prepared, to listen to them and to address that, and that is the only way I know that you can build trust with people.

Mr Walter
227 Those who read our report when we make it and consider our conclusions, I think, will want to know that we asked the question why this happened. I would go back to the question that was posed by John Gunnell earlier on and lead on from that about whether or not the British Government was the driving force in this or whether the agencies themselves were the driving force, and perhaps extend it to the receiving countries who obviously were providing some form of financial assistance. I would like to pose the question to those of you speaking for the agencies, although obviously not speaking for your contemporary policies but who have access to your records, as to whether or not you think that much of what went on, particularly in the inter-war years and the post-war years, was done for financial reasons rather than just altruistic reasons, that in fact you had, as I think has been suggested, a lot of children in children's homes and orphanages, as they were called then, and that this was an easy way out, that there was money on offer for you to ship these children to Australia and New Zealand and, before the war, to Canada and whether you think that those financial considerations were the ones that were the driving force for your organisations?
(Canon Fisher) Just immediately responding to that, I think there was certainly something of that in there, but had government funding for child-care been adequate, the agencies would not have needed to take other options, so I think trying to sort of load the question and making it the responsibility of the sending agencies is a little bit unfair. It is also going back into the past about which we are very aware of the misguidedness of the whole scheme in hindsight. At the time, nobody was raising objections to it. As far as the inspection of homes in Australia was concerned, that was clearly the remit of the Australian Government, which they did on a regular basis. As far as the British Government was concerned, we have, I know they are considered to be personal, documents, but there are the Moss and Ross reports, neither of which raise any issues at all about bad treatment or anything which would raise our awareness that the children were experiencing anything less than we had been led to believe, so to keep coming back to the sending agencies as being responsible for what went on in the children's placements I think is a little bit unfair.228 Could I just perhaps rephrase it? I think the point I am trying to get at is whether or not in the eyes of your organisations that you represent, your predecessor organisations that you bring together, they felt that the balance of financial advantage was to take these children from this country and place them in Australia and New Zealand and previously in Canada and whether or not you feel that that was a significant factor in making that decision?
(Canon Fisher) I certainly think that it was thought at the time to be advantageous to the child to move to new, brighter circumstances. That is the way Australia sold itself, as you might say, to the agencies, that this was a land of opportunity, a land of growth. They were selling Australia to adults at the same time and 800,000 people left England for Australia post-war, so there was a big incentive to go to Australia. The fact that they sent children without parents is a regrettable part of our history which we all today would acknowledge. On the other hand, the children that were sent, Audrey Wise was suggesting that they should have stayed with their families, but these children were not in families, they were children alone in children's homes and parental consent very often could not be obtained because the parents had very often left those children for many, many years without any contact whatsoever. I would agree with Dr Stoate that may have occurred there at the time a cover-up in some instances and there were stories that "your parents have died" and we regret that. We are not trying to cover that up now. The cover-up took place at the time and probably many years afterwards. By today's standards, that was bad practice, but I have interviewed a nun, for instance, who was responsible for telling a story to a child and she said: "What do you say to a child? Do you say, 'Your parents have abandoned you?' What is more hurtful to the child at the time?" Today we would suggest tell the truth, but I am not sure that that would have been common social work policy at the time. We have got thousands of adoption records in my own Catholic Children's Society in Nottingham where we would say that the recording of the facts and information is, by today's standards, very inadequate, but it was certainly adequate or seen to be adequate at the time. Today we would say that it was very poor evidence. I would like us in a way to focus on the future and we seem to spend more of the time looking backwards.

229 Well, we have got many more questions to ask you, and we certainly intend to focus on the future and we absolutely understand that.
(Ms Abrahams) There was a question which was asked about how this happened and obviously it is a question we have asked ourselves. "How on earth did this happen?" is the question we have asked ourselves and I think from our point of view, as a charity, a number of factors came together in the post-war period. The first one was that the then principal of the charity was a very powerful man, to pick up on Audrey Wise's point, and he was a very strong advocate of child migration and, as we have said in our written evidence, it was his brainchild. He had gone to Australia in 1949, he had been impressed by what he had seen and he came back full of enthusiasm, and there was then quite a controversy within the charity, just as in Barnardo's, about whether this was a good idea or not. I think a number of reasons came together to swing the balance towards us actually going into it and the first was the fact that there were financial incentives. I think we did not do it for the money, as such, but I think what that probably did was to help legitimise the idea of it and those who opposed the idea of child migration were probably fighting a losing battle in that sense. But there were other issues too, for example, the fact that there were existing links with Methodist organisations in those other countries, so it was easy as those links were already there, and of course the point which has already been made about the relative austerity of post-war Britain and the lack of awareness and understanding about what children really needed. I think another point too, and this is a bit of Roger's speculative sort of point, is that to some extent there was a tradition of this already in our charity. We had done this since 1873 over periods of time and it did not suddenly start then, so maybe what was required were the adverse reports which then came back from our own staff who travelled with the children to make us see that actually the former tradition was not enough and that this had to stop.

Mr Syms
230 Would each agency explain, perhaps starting with Mr Singleton and working along, how they organised the monitoring procedures for migrant children when they arrived in the receiving country and do you accept that there was physical and sexual abuse on a reasonably large scale and would you also accept the charge from many of the children that they were in effect slave labour?
(Mr Singleton) I have forgotten the first point.231 The first point was monitoring procedure.
(Mr Singleton) Would it be helpful if we concentrate on the post-war period for that? The post-war provisions in New South Wales were that the New South Wales Government visiting arrangements had to apply. What Barnardo's did, in fact, it had a pattern of quarterly visiting, written reports and actually those written reports were copied back here and reviewed in England. On the physical and sexual abuse point, I have two pieces of evidence. One is that one man who ran one of the Barnardo's homes in the post-war years was subsequently convicted of sexual abuse on six children. The second evidence is softer and that is basically listening to what former child migrants tell us. There is a wide range of opinion and experience on that. Listening to that does not lead me to the conclusion that widespread would be a justifiable adjective. But on the actual extent of the abuse. I honestly do not know.

232 Canon Fisher?
(Canon Fisher) On the Canadian migration, there were regular follow up reports and regular visits from the United Kingdom by our agencies. On the post-war migration to Australia, monitoring arrangements were largely left to the receiving agencies and to social services in Australia on the basis that we received regular reports on children and some of those reports exist on children's files.233 You received reports on the children placed in Australia since the war?
(Canon Fisher) Where we received them they are filed with their records, yes.234 Obviously the evidence we have got, with respect, is the migrants felt nobody took any notice whatsoever of their situation. They had no-one to complain to and obviously we have no evidence from them of any procedures of checking whatsoever.
(Canon Fisher) Could I suggest in that though that you take a larger sample of evidence.235 We intend to do that. I am not talking about oral evidence, I am talking about written evidence we have received as well.
(Canon Fisher) As far as sexual and physical abuse is concerned, there is evidence. There has been a number of cases widely publicised regarding the activities of some of the Christian brothers. More recently there is evidence coming of certainly physical abuse by some of the sisters at Neerkoll in Queensland. Yes, we have to accept that. What scale, I am really not sure. We have had a lot of reports from Australia, obviously. There was litigation going on for many, many years by about 200 former migrants. Eventually the case settled on proven evidence from eight. I do not know what that says about the other 192, whether they were following a cause celebre or whether they were not able to prove the facts, I would not know that.236 Could I ask, Canon Fisher, in respect of the 1948 Children Act, and this Act applied to children in the post-war era within this country, there were requirements for children who were in care to be readily reviewed. From the information that you have just given—which I have found very interesting—your Agency would have received reports of inspections undertaken in Australia. Was there any kind of statutory requirement at the time by government or informal requirement by government that should happen in this scheme?
(Canon Fisher) No, not as far as I am aware.237 There was no requirement at all?
(Canon Fisher) Not as far as I am aware.238 Was there any concern at any time, that you are aware of, that perhaps some of these reports were not coming through? Okay, you might you have got some but not others. Was anybody sitting down saying: "Little Johnnie, we have not heard anything about him for two years," because this is an issue that I think the former migrants feel quite strongly about and they have put to us that: "Britain frankly abandoned us, forgot about us." You are saying: "No, that was not quite the case, there was some procedure there."
(Canon Fisher) There was some follow up. CCWE discussed not receiving regular reports. Again by today's standards we would be much more stringent. If I can speak in terms of adoption, for instance, post-adoption services today are very well provided by most of the voluntary agencies, if I may say so, way ahead of the statutory sector. We publicise the fact that we want to follow up and put people in touch with their roots and so forth. This sort of thinking was not even on the table in 1948 or 1950. Even in adoption, the fact of going back to your roots was considered quite an unhealthy thing to do. You had made a new life in a new family. Picking the skeleton out of the cupboard was not a healthy thing to do. Today our reasoning has totally changed, our history is part of our life.239 Could we pursue the answers from the other agencies through Mr Syms' question briefly.
(Mr Lovell) Thank you. I will deal with Canada first which was where the Children's Society had largely emigrated children to. The arrangements were that in London at the Children's Society headquarters there was both an emigration committee that made the decisions about which children would be emigrated and there was an emigration department that made the arrangements for that. In respect of Canada where the Children's Society had its own five receiving homes, the Children's Society also appointed its own Inspector, one Thomas Keeley, whose case records we still have in our archive section. He had the responsibility first to recruit other visitors and to send regular reports back to the education department in London about how the children were doing. There is some evidence in those records that the visitors would say that this placement was not working out, the child was not happy and there was some evidence and correspondence about making another placement. That was the situation in Canada. In Australia and the former Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, we placed children through other agencies but did insist that those other agencies sent us the reports on how children were getting on so there was a system in London for receiving regular reports and a system for considering those. In relation to abuse, I have no doubt that some abuse occurred. Like Roger I find it very difficult to know how widespread that would be.

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