NO SUBSTITUTE FOR PARENTS
"IT should be our earnest endeavour to see that no policy or legislation on our part should favour or make easier the neglect of children," said Archbishop Godfrey of Westminster Iasi week in an address to the annual general meeting in London of the National Society for the Preven tion of Cruelty to Children.
" With all respect to social workers, it would be a great error to give the impression to parents that only the experts know how to handle children," the Archbishop continued. No activity of the welfare officer • could ever be an adequate substitute for the love of parents, however necessary it might be at times for help to be given.
Well trained social workers would not make this mistake "They will know that the wise method of approach is, wherever possible, to train parents and help them to discharge a duty which belongs naturally to them.
"The Christian State is not a supplanter, trampling on the rights of parents, but a helper in time of need. recognising always that the parents are by divine right the possessors and guardians of their offspring, for whose care they, and not the State, will be responsible to the Creator, whose instruments they are."
Again, in the ordinary circumstances, women should not be encouraged to leave home for the workshop or factory, "leaving their little ones in the professional care of those who, however kind and good. can never meet the need of the child for the love of those who brought it into the world".
Although day nurseries might often meet a need, he wondered whether money would not be better spent in helping those mothers widows, maybe to stay at home and give their children the benefit of "wholesome family life".
Earlier Archbishop Godfrey pointed out that the prosecution of negligent parents formed a very small part indeed of the work of the Society. "I am informed that less than one per cent. of the cases taken up result in prosecution," he said.
"It is to be expected that prosecutions will find their way into the news, whereas the painstaking care of the Society's officials to help or reinstate parents and children will be known only to a limited circle."
At the beginning of his address, the Archbishop recalled that in 1889, it was to his predecessor Cardinal Manning to whom it was made known by Queen Victoria's secretary that the Queen had consented to be a Patron.