HC Deb 27 March 2001 vol 365 c560W
Mr. Baker

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he takes to ensure that the basic needs of young asylum seekers are met, with particular reference to the duties of social services departments. [155933]

Mr. Hutton

Local authority social services departments have a duty under the Children Act 1989 to provide services for children in need in their area. The definition of a child in need is set out in section 17(10) of the Act including for example disabled children. If a young asylum seeker falls within that definition, social services departments have the same responsibilities to provide services to them as to other children who are also in need.

This means that local authorities must ensure that the welfare of all relevant children are safeguarded and promoted. They must assess the needs of each individual child and provide services as appropriate to meet the assessed needs. Our £885 million Quality Protects programme is designed to improve the management and delivery of children's social services and ensure that our objective of improving the life chances of children in need is met.