§ Lord Shore of Stepney
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What arrangements they have made to fulfil the manifesto commitment to transfer responsibility for day care policy under the Children Act 1989 from the Department of Health to the Department for Education and Employment. [HL1285]
§ The Lord Privy Seal (Lord Richard)
The Government set out their intention to transfer responsibility for policy and the regulation of day care under Sections 18 and 19 and Part X of the Children Act from the Department of Health to the Department for Education and Employment before the election. The Government are able to announce today that this transfer will take place on 1 April 1998. We recognise that it is 263WA increasingly difficult to make a distinction between day care and education, and we must integrate the two if we are to meet fully the needs of young children and their parents. The Department of Health will retain responsibility for the provision of day care for children in need under Sections 18(1) and 18(5) as part of family support services, as well as other social care duties, such as child protection, outside these parts of the Act. This transfer of responsibilities between central government departments does not directly affect the way local authorities may organise their functions. The responsibility for services and regulation through the Children Act remains a function of the social services committee under existing statutory requirements but this may change as policy in this area develops.