HC Deb 30 March 2001 vol 365 cc803-4W
Ms Oona King

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will issue guidance to local authority social services departments on the(a) residence and (b) family circumstances under which a local authority is financially responsible for a child whose mother has been murdered by his father. [156008]

Mr. Hutton

Under Section 17(1) of the Children Act 1989 the duty of every council with social services responsibilities is to safeguard and promote the welfare of children within their area who are in need; and, so far as is consistent with that duty, to promote the upbringing of such children by their families, by providing a range and level of services appropriate to those children's needs. Section 23(2) of the Children Act requires such councils to provide accommodation and maintenance for any child whom they are looking after by placing them with a family; a relative; or any other suitable person, on such terms as to payment as the council may determine. The Benefits Agency may have a role to play in providing financial assistance for a person caring for a child in such circumstances.

Ten volumes of guidance accompanied the Children Act. The "Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and Their Families," published in 2000, provides vital new guidance in assessing the development needs of children and the capacity of their families to respond to these needs in the short and longer term. This guidance was developed to assist councils with social services responsibilities to assess and provide effective services for children in need and their families.

It is not therefore anticipated that further guidance is necessary.

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