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Health Services: Children in Care

Volume 472: debated on Wednesday 20 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of looked after children in each local authority area received an optical check on an annual basis in the latest period for which figures are available. (179416)

[holding answer 16 January 2008]: I have been asked to reply.

Improving the health and wellbeing of looked after children is of paramount importance. Children in care are more likely to experience health problems, particularly mental health problems, than their peers and it is important that more is done to meet their needs.

Our White Paper “Care Matters: Time for Change” set out how this is a priority for the Government. It outlined a strong package of measures intended to ensure that we improve health outcomes for this vulnerable group of young people, including by ensuring better joint working between local authorities and health care bodies. For the first time guidance on promoting the health of looked after children will be put on a statutory footing for both local authorities and health bodies.

The available information about the health care of looked after children has been placed in the House Libraries.