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Children in Care

Volume 475: debated on Wednesday 7 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what his most recent estimate is of the number of children in care in each local authority area (a) in total and (b) as a proportion of all children in the local authority area; and if he will make a statement. (201190)

Information on the number of children in care in each local authority area (a) in total and (b) as a proportion of all children in each local authority area has been placed in the House of Commons Library (table LAA1).

Table LAA1 is taken from the Statistical First Release entitled “Children looked after in England (including adoption and care leavers) year ending 31 March 2007”, which is located at:

http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/SFR/s000741/index.shtml

and table LAA1 can be found within the first set of 10 additional tables supplementing SFR27/2007 on the website.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) how many cases of self-harm were diagnosed in children in care in each of the last 10 years; (203593)

(2) how many children in care were identified as gifted and talented in each year for which data is available;

(3) how many children in care had been separated from their siblings in each of the last 10 years.

Data on (a) the number of cases of self-harm that were diagnosed in children in care, (b) the number of children in care who were identified as gifted and talented and (c) the number of children in care that have been separated from their siblings are not collected centrally by the Department.

Local authorities have a legal duty to safeguard the children they look after and to promote their welfare. Discharging this duty includes making a full assessment of each individual child’s needs and ensuring that provision is put in place via the child’s care plan to meet those needs. This includes in relation to education and to mental health issues.

Local authorities are required by law to make arrangements for a looked-after child to live with their relatives (including siblings), so long as it is reasonably practicable and consistent with the child’s welfare to do so. Authorities are also required to promote contact between the child and their siblings, unless it is not reasonably practicable or consistent with their welfare to do so.