Headlines: February 15th, 1999

Health Minister John Hutton criticised councillors for failure to fulfil their role as corporate parents for children in care. He made it clear that society has let these children down in the past and that the failures must not be repeated. Councillors have a duty to give high priority to ensuring that children are looked after and receive the best that society can offer. He called for the development of new and imaginative responses to meeting the needs of vulnerable children.Local authorities are required to submit a Quality Protects Management Action Plan to the Department of Health under the Quality Protects Programme launched by Health Minister Frank Dobson last Autumn. The programme sets out objectives for children’s services which for the first time require clear outcomes for children, and in some instances gave precise targets which local authorities are expected to achieve.