HL Deb 26 June 2002 vol 636 c1349
Baroness Walmsley

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What measures are in place to ensure that Connexions personal advisers are able to deal with children who are suspected to be at risk of abuse.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Baroness Ashton of Upholland)

My Lords, besides their existing professional qualifications, Connexions personal advisers receive additional training to deal with children at risk, including discussion of child protection issues and referral protocols. This covers how best to work with other agencies working with children at risk, such as social services.

Baroness Walmsley

My Lords, I thank the Minister for that Answer. Does she agree that all Connexions personnel and the managers of Connexions partnerships should be obliged to undertake training in child abuse—in particular how to recognise signs of abuse and neglect since most of their clients are very vulnerable children? Can she give the House a date by which all Connexions partnerships should have a child protection policy and a designated individual with responsibility for child protection in place?

Baroness Ashton of Upholland

My Lords, the partnerships are operating in such a way to ensure as much training as possible for personal advisers but are working with social services so that each vulnerable young person has a designated individual. That may not be the Connexions individual. For young people leaving care, for example, it could be the person already designated as their key worker. One of the most important factors, I am sure the noble Baroness will agree, is to ensure that Connexions develops links between the seven government agencies and departments involved so that each young person who is vulnerable is assigned an individual, not necessarily the person concerned. Training is taking place. I cannot give the noble Baroness a precise date. I shall write to her if I can obtain that information.

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