At-risk children to be tracked under new UK-wide initiative

Minister for children and young people John Denham has set out how
the £600m for the children’s fund and the government’s
children and young people’s unit, announced in the comprehensive
spending review, will be spent. The cash is available for three
years from April 2003.

At a meeting with local children’s fund partners in Trafford, he
said partnerships should use the money to develop effective
identification, referral and tracking procedures for every child
and young person at risk of offending, drug-taking and teenage

“We will also require local agencies to co-operate on providing
services for children at risk and will be working with the Local
Government Association, NHS Confederation and the Association of
Directors of Social Services on the most effective means of
ensuring better co-ordination and prevention,” he said.

The children’s fund will continue to tackle social exclusion and
poverty and the funding will enable small grants to be provided
through the local network fund for projects helping children and
young people up to 19 years old at risk of social exclusion. The
cash will also support the work of the unit promoting youth
participation in government.

“The children’s fund has shown its worth in its first 17 months of
existence, and is joining up work with children in the areas most
in need through partnerships between statutory, voluntary and
community sectors,” Denham said. But he warned that a review of
children at risk had identified the failure of agencies to share
information as a significant barrier to providing effective
services to help young people at risk.

Bolton, Knowsley in Merseyside, Sheffield and the London Boroughs
of Camden, Kensington & Chelsea and Lewisham will each receive
up to £1m to pilot the initiative.

The children and young people’s unit is due to publish A
Strategy for Children and Young People
later this year.

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