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One Thousand Children Legally
(By R. W. Crouch, Inspector, Child
An event of considerable Importance to the State has just been recorded by the Child Welfare Department. For- malities were concluded recently whereby the number of children leg- ally adopted through the efforts of the Department reached 1000. As a successful effort in child welfare this Is something of which Western Aus- tralia may be justly proud.
This method of life protection has been pursued since 1907, when the Child Welfare Department was estab- lished. Legal adoption through the Adoption of Children Act, 1896, has afforded the best means of providing permanent homes for those unfortun- ate little ones who, through accident of birth, are apt to become wards for whose welfare society has to assume responsibility-a world problem which Western Australia so far has been able to solve.
These 1000 children, babies mostly, withdrawn from parents often desti- tute or lacking of parental love, have been welcomed into homes where love and happiness awaited them. Denied protection of natural parents, they gained legal parents willing and anxious to surround them with all the protection which real homes and affectionate hearts afford. But for adoption a number of them, through adverse circumstances surrounding birth and babyhood, assuredly must have perished.
Compared with such a fate the lot of these adopted children must be considered as truly fortunate. Some of these children have already reached maturity. The remainder are living in selected homes under conditions wholly favorable to th© proper devel- opment of their minds and bodies, and they, in due time, will take their place In the ranks of workers and reputable citizens* of this great State-a. valu- able asset surely. The least important benefit perhaps is the saving to the State, of the cost of maintenance and other ?expenses, which is estimated at approximately a quarter million pounds. \
The Adoption of ChUdren Act ls a very beneficent piece of legislation; lt encourages people In something they instinctively desired to do. It pro- vides that any person desiring to adopt a child may apply for an Order of. Adoption to a Judge of the Su- preme Court, who upon being satis- fied that the provisions of tv.e Act have been complied with may grant an Order. When the Order is made the child is deemed in law to be a child of marriage and acquires the status of a legitimate child. . The natural parent is required by !esal
deed to relinquish all rights in the I child and adopting parents are legally secured against any later claim to the child. All parties are properly protected.
The part played by the Child Wel- fare Department is to bring together the child and adopting parents-to link up the child which needs a home with the home that needs a child. The Department is in touch with the orphan and the homeless child. but adopting parents are not easily reach- ed, notwithstanding that these homes abound. Negotiations usually start with a letter of inquiry or a visit to the Department by applicants. Whilst the formalities are reasonable simple and easy, the greatest care is exer- cised in selecting applicants; only those who can be confidently expected to satisfy the Judge are recommend- ed. The Department seeks the simple virtues of industry, sobriety, and good living and home qualities which make a real home for the child. The man and woman adopting a child, besides rendering a very real service to the State-are at the same time **>iring a sure step towards securing for them- selves and for the homeless child true and lasting happiness.
The' Evangelistic Council of the Church of England has made arrange- ments for an open-air service to ba held on the lawn, near the Cottesloe
Surf Club's premises, at 9.15 to-night. The service will be conducted^ by the Revs. Stillwell, Harper and Priestly, the preacher being Rev. H. W. Bird. A robed choir will be present and well known hymns sung.