HC Deb 26 July 1999 vol 336 cc35-6W
Mr. Barry Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what initiatives he has announced to enhance the care and treatment of children. [92439]

Mr. Hutton

A number of major initiatives have recently been announced. The "Sure Start" project is aimed at developing partnerships and local services for young children and their families in areas of disadvantage to ensure that the health, educational, social and emotional needs of children aged under 5 years are met, and that they arrive at school ready to thrive. In England £452 million has been committed to the development of the Sure Start project over the next three years.

On child and adolescent mental health services, specific targets have been set in the National Priorities Guidance 1999–2002—which reflects the unevenness and inequality in the current pattern of these services, recognises our commitment to service improvement and features an additional investment of £84 million over the next three years.

On 13 July the Department and the Department for Education and Employment Ministers wrote to chief executives of local education authorities offering funding to support local healthy schools programmes to safeguard and improve the physical and mental health and well being of pupils and teachers as a factor in improving school standards. The budget for this programme in 1999–2000 is £4 million.

Last May we announced the introduction of Diana Children's Community Nursing Teams, to help families in the community with children suffering from life threatening illnesses, the budget for which is £4.2 million over the next three years.

The "Quality Protects" programme, which is funded at £375 million over the next three years, was announced last September. This initiative will transform the management and delivery of children's social services and provide better life chances for children in the care of local authorities and children in need.

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