To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish the findings from the 1972 Houghton Report on adoption; and if he will make a statement.
8 March 2021
Following on from the debate in 2018, I can confirm that my hon. Friend, the former Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families and current Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Department of Health and Social Care, Nadhim Zahawi, met with the hon. Member for Wirral South on 24 October 2018. The meeting was attended by a number of women who had experienced these historical adoption practices. I understand it was a very difficult and moving experience to hear from women who gave up their children under historical adoption practices.
However, whilst we cannot undo the past, we now have a society that takes a very different attitude to single mothers and lessons of the time have been learned and have led to significant changes to legislation and practice.
Single parents are now supported to help ensure that families can stay together, and children are only removed permanently without the consent of the parents by a court if it is satisfied that the child is suffering significant harm or is likely to suffer significant harm.
NHS maternity services now have robust policy, guidance and processes in place to safeguard care for vulnerable women and babies.
I understand in the 2018 debate Minister Zahawi committed to making the 1972 Houghton Report available. I will ensure this is publicly available as soon as possible.