Headlines: April 18th, 2007

PROPOSAL TO JOIN UP CHILDREN’S CARE SERVICES RAISES FEARS

 

The majority of some 12,000 young people in care who were consulted on the Green Paper ‘Care Matters’ expressed anxiety and fear about the proposal to explore a multi-disciplinary approach to share information. The proposal would allow schools and health services to use information to provide a more joined up approach in supporting children

The general reaction to the proposal was that the more people who were aware of the child or young person’s background, the more likely it was that they would be stigmatised or bullied. Many children expressed the view that teachers did not always respect their desire for confidentiality, or else labelled them troublemakers when they found out that they were in care. One respondent said: “A teacher blew my confidentiality in front of 20 kids.”

Young people were concerned that information would be shared about them without their permission. They felt that their right to control their private information should be respected and that it should be up to the individual to decide who has what information about them. Most young people supported the idea of teachers and health professionals having better knowledge of the care system more generally, but not of the children’s individual case details.

Professionals generally shared the views of the young people. They could see the need for better information-sharing but thought that extension of the Integrated Childrens System was not the best way to achieve this. This was because of rights to privacy and the amount of detailed, sensitive information on the ICS which it would not be appropriate to share with individuals such as teachers and doctors.

Other key conclusions from the consultation on the Green Paper are that local councils should make a series of promises to those in their care and social workers should have more time to spend with children.

A White Paper taking forward the next steps in the Government’s plans for children in care will be published later in the year.