§ Dr. Twinn
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on progress made in implementing the Children Act 1989.
§ Mr. Yeo
I am pleased to be able to announce that my right hon. Friends the Secretary of State and the Secretary of State for Wales have today submitted our first joint report to Parliament on the Children Act in operation in England and Wales. Copies of the report have been placed in the Library.
The report, which contains a full description of the operation and achievements of the Act, highlights a number of striking and encouraging features. Overall, local authorities are to be commended for their generally positive response to their new duties under the Act and in particular for the way in which their child care interventions have become more sharply focused, with more children remaining at home with their own families.
In line with the intentions of the Act, I can report that:
- (i) almost 3,000 or approximately 50 per cent. fewer emergency orders were made in the first year giving authority for the removal of a child at home;
- (ii) there has been a substantial fall in the number of children entering compulsory care. Some 1,600 were subject to a compulsory care order under the Children Act in the first year compared with nearly four times as many under similar orders previously;
- (iii) some 5,000 or 10 per cent. fewer children were being looked after by local authorities at the end of March compared with a year before.