§ Earl Howe
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What resources have been transferred from local authority child protection services to the implementation of Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 in accordance with the directive entitled Refocusing Children's Services, issued by the Department of Health in 1996. [HL4558]
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: By definition, children in need of protection are children in need under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989.
The Department of Health launched the Refocusing Children's Services initiative to ensure that support for all children in need and their families was given proper consideration. A total of £700,000 was made available under the initiative for 43 different projects to pilot or promote new ways of supporting families with young children, especially children in need. The key message from the evaluation of these projects was that early intervention is important.
Evidence from the Refocusing Children's Services initiative projects about models of intervention that work well has been disseminated widely and used to inform the development of policy and related guidance such as Working Together to Safeguard Children (1999) and the Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families (2000).
All services provided by social services to children in need who are supported in their families or independently, including children who are the subject of child protection enquiries, are funded under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989. Only since 2000 have we been able to gather comprehensive information on needs activity and expenditure. However, information is not held centrally about changes to expenditure specifically in relation to child protection inquiries.