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Needy Children

Volume 229: debated on Thursday 22 July 1993

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make it his policy to secure that the children of homeless families are classified as children in need and gain access to services provided under the Children Act.

We have no plans to do so. The definition of "in need" in the Children Act 1989 is in terms of a child's health and development, including disablement. It is for local authorities to seek out the extent of children in need in their areas and to publish services available to help them and their families.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what monitoring has been undertaken by her Department into the definition of in need according to part III of the Children Act 1989 used in practice by local authorities; and what plans she has to introduce new guidelines.

The first report to Parliament of the working of the Children Act 1989—Cm 2144—was published in January 1993. We are keeping the position under review, but have no reason to believe that the guidance on this subject in "The Children Act 1989: Guidance and Regulations Volume 2 Family Support, Day Care and Educational Provision for Young Children", a copy of which is available in the Library, is in need of amendment.