HC Deb 19 May 2004 vol 421 c1067W
Mr. Dawson

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what(a) advice and (b) information he has issued to local authorities about the use of the trafficked children's resource operated by Integrated Care. [173796]

Margaret Hodge

I am aware that a new independent safehouse, run by Integrated Care Ltd., opened in April 2004. I understand it is open to referrals from local authorities throughout the UK. We have not issued any guidance about this resource.

It is for local authorities to decide how best to provide support and services for children in need in its area, including those who are the victims of trafficking. When a child enters the country alone and claims asylum or there are concerns that he or she may have been trafficked, the immigration service should immediately refer the child to the relevant local authority's social services department. The social services department will undertake a needs assessment and will provide services in the light of the outcome of that assessment. These services should be tailored to the individual needs of the child, just as they should be for any child in need.