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Children in Care: Death

Volume 461: debated on Tuesday 19 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will put in place arrangements for collecting centrally details of all fatalities of young people in (a) foster and (b) residential care that take place in England. (143861)

Both fostering service providers and the providers of children’s homes are already required to notify the Secretary of State of particular events, including the death of a looked after child in their care.

However, in order to monitor and investigate child deaths more effectively, the Government are putting in place new child death review processes which will be the responsibility of Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs). Reviewing deaths will become mandatory in April 2008 though LSCBs have been able to do this since 2006. These arrangements include children in foster care and residential care.

There are two elements to the child death review process: firstly, a rapid response by a group of professionals who are responsible for inquiring into and evaluating each unexpected death of a child; secondly, the review of deaths of all children in the local authority area through Child Death Overview Panels (CDOPs). CDOPs will identify any trends or patterns in these deaths. This information will be used by LSCBs to prevent or avoid such deaths in the future. It will inform local strategic planning for children’s services and policy at a local and national level. Detailed guidance on how these procedures work is set out in ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ (2006).