HC Deb 07 April 1998 vol 310 cc195-6W
Mr. Kidney

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to amend guidance under the Children Act 1989 on care plans and reviews applied to children placed in respite care services, with particular reference to disabled children; and what recent research on such issues his Department has evaluated. [37673]

Mr. Boateng

The Children Act and guidance set out local authorities' responsibilities in respect of drawing up care plans for, and reviewing the care of looked after children, including disabled children. In August 1995 the Department announced easements to the Arrangements for Placement of Children (General) Regulations 1991 which govern a series of short-term respite care placements. The easements address the frequency of reviews, the timing of the first visit, and the number of placement days allowed in any 12 month period.

The safeguards review of children living away from home stresses the importance of care planning and review and emphasises the particular vulnerability of disabled children. The Government have established a Ministerial Task Force to consider issues raised by the report and will take account of current research on related areas.

The Department has received the following research studies relevant to care plans and reviews for disabled children: Robinson, C., Weston C. and Minkes J. (1995) Making progress: change and development in services to disabled children under the Children Act 1989, Bristol, Nora Fry Research Centre; Grimshaw, R. and Sinclair, R. (1997) Planning to Care: Regulation, procedures and practice under the Children Act 1989, London, National Children's Bureau; Morris, J. (1998) Still Missing?, London, Who Cares? Trust.

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