Local authorities get greater health role

Social services and children’s charities have welcomed new
Department of Health guidance that boosts the role local
authorities play in meeting the health needs of looked-after

Promoting the Health of Looked After Children sets out the
new statutory responsibilities that social services possess for
assessing looked-after children’s health needs and having an input
into how they are delivered.

It includes requirements for all councils to appoint a senior
social services manager to be responsible for the health of
looked-after children and liaise with other agencies such as child
and adolescent mental health teams, primary care trusts and

Every looked-after child now has to undergo a health needs
assessment on entering care, which is then reviewed regularly. This
will form the basis of a health plan that will feed into the
child’s overall care plan, with social workers ensuring all aspects
of it are carried out.

Jane Held, joint chairperson of the Association of Directors of
Social Services children’s committee, said that while councils were
already providing many of the services, making the requirements
statutory would increase their input and improve joint work with
health services.

“This will give more power to our elbow when dealing with PCTs and
health services,” Held added.

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