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Meg Munn MP - Sheffield Heeley's voice in Parliament | Welcome
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Meg Munn MP and new initiatives for privately fostered children

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Meg Munn, Labour and Co-operative Party MP for Sheffield Heeley, has today welcomed news that the Government is planning measures to improve the safety and wellbeing of privately fostered children as part of the Children’s Bill.

Meg said “Council approved foster-homes have to be registered, inspected and thoroughly approved on a very regular basis, but children who go to live with relatives or friends of their parents are not currently checked upon. As a consequence of the enquiry into the death of Victoria Climbie who was privately fostered, severely neglected and mistreated, the Government wants to ensure greater protection for children like her. They want to increase the resources to monitor children in private foster homes and to find out where they are as many are not notified to local authorities. By employing a dedicated worker, councils will be able to find these children and keep an eye on their welfare (one authority, Gloucestershire already has a worker and has identified many more children in this situation).

Children in private foster care can often be identified by talking to schools, health visitors and doctors.

Obviously the vast majority of privately fostered children are loved and cherished but the current system was letting a handful of children in need, slip through the net.

As a former Assistant Director of Children’s Services, I very much welcome this excellent initiative and believe it will go some way to ensure that we are learning the lessons from Victoria Climbie 's tragic death.”

Making the announcement, Margaret Hodge, Children’s Minister, said “These measures are about increasing the focus of local authorities on private fostering. They are about recognising the vulnerability of privately fostered children. They bring private fostering clearly within the vision for children’s services contained in the Green Paper, and the new duties and structures that it is proposed that the bill will create. They build on current local authority best practice, rather than creating a new system for private fostering. This approach shares the responsibility for finding private fostering arrangements and keeping the children in them safe across all the agencies they come into contact with.”

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