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Mentally Handicapped Persons

Volume 885: debated on Thursday 30 January 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Socal Services if she will seek to define more clearly the responsibility of providing special facilities for mentally handicapped persons between the ages of 16 years and 19 years; and if she will make recommendations designed to improve the liaison between education and social services departments in respect of these people's needs.

Local education authorities have a duty to secure that facilities for full time education are available either in school or in an institution for further education—although not necessarily the alternative of the person's choice—for all young people between the ages of 16 and 19 who want to continue their education. When a mentally handicapped person leaves school it is the responsibility of the local social services department to provide facilities for training. Some mentally handicapped persons may require special care, and the responsibility for developing these facilities is decided services department and area health after joint discussion between the social authority.

Local education authorities and social services departments are aware of the need for joint discussion about the future needs of mentally handicapped children once they have left school.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will take steps to improve the identification of mentally handicapped adults who would benefit from training facilities.

Local authority social services departments, in collaboration with local education authorities, should be able to discharge their responsibilities for identifying mentally handicapped adults in need of training but if my hon. Friend has any suggestion for improving the identification I shall be happy to consider them.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she will take steps to expand facilities for mentally handicapped adults in respect of training and therapy.

Under a new procedure for the forward planning of local authority social services capital projects for the period 1975–78, local authorities are being given greater freedom to decide their own priorities. I have suggested to them that about 25 per cent. of the resources available might be used for mental handicap projects but it will be for them to decide the priority they give to the provision of facilities for metnally handicapped adults for training and therapy.