HL Deb 05 March 1992 vol 536 c29WA
Lord Hylton

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will issue guidance to schools, medical and social workers etc. concerning the cultural, psychological and mental health needs of refugee children and their families.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health (Baroness Hooper)

Health and local authorities are responsible for meeting the assessed mental health needs of people, whatever their origin. Action by the department over recent years to make health services more accessible and acceptable by refugees and other people from ethnic minorities has included the central funding of a campaign to promote the use of link workers to overcome cultural and linguistic barriers. The emphasis now is on ensuring that the needs of ethnic minority people are taken into account in the planning and delivery of all health and personal social services. The department continues to fund the Race Equality Unit to advise social services departments on race equality and to disseminate good practice.

In addition, a good practice guide is being prepared which will inform those involved in the provision of care services to unaccompanied refugee and asylum-seeking children. A training pack is also to be provided to support the practice guidance.

Responsibility for responding to the cultural and background educational needs of ethnic minority pupils, including refugees, rests primarily with individual local education authorities and schools. The arrangements made will vary according to local needs and circumstances.

Refugee voluntary agencies and community groups are also able to offer advice to service providers on the cultural needs of refugee children and their families.