Announced by the then Health Secretary, Alan Milburn in October 2002, the idea of children’s trusts is to offer an integrated service for children. They would draw in social services, health, education, housing and other agencies to create a child-focussed service to meet children’s needs rather than parents having to negotiate fragmented services.
Trusts have the ability jointly to plan, commission, finance and deliver services for children.
The Department of Health is adamant that it does not want to dictate the shape of trusts. But while the original impression was that trusts would offer a comprehensive service for children, it is now the case that trusts can be set up to offer services for special group of children, for example those who are disabled, have special education needs, are in need of protection or are at risk, or require speech or language therapy. Trusts can also be based around child and adolescent mental health services and in areas where social care, health and education services need to work together.