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Fire and Rescue Service (Working with Children and Young People)

Volume 450: debated on Tuesday 24 October 2006

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
(Angela E. Smith)

The Department has today published a “Strategy for the Fire and Rescue Service Working with Children and Young People”.

Children and young people are particularly vulnerable to death and injury by fire, especially in deprived households. Fire-related crime, including arson, hoax calls and attacks on firefighters, and anti-social behaviour are disproportionately committed by children and young people, especially disadvantaged young people. Early and effective intervention, diversion and education can reduce crime, improve life chances, develop better citizens and safer communities and make the difference between life and death.

The fire and rescue service has a strong track record in this area. It has particular strengths in supporting vulnerable and disadvantaged young people and reducing risks to them and to their communities. But in the context set by the Government’s commitment to better services for children and young people, the service has many challenges to meet in common with many organisations that work with young people.

At the centre of the Children and Young People’s Strategy is a new approach. This involves a new commitment to involving children and young people, joint development and delivery with partners, comprehensive evaluation and review of impact, and high quality professional development for those involved in working with young people. We believe this is the path to provision for children and young people which is focused on effective risk reduction, is targeted on the disadvantaged and tailored to individual needs, and is a mainstream activity for the service. Copies of the strategy are available in the Libraries of both Houses.