1. The Government has been consulting over policy
on the care of looked-after children since the publication of
the Care Matters Green Paper in October 2006.
The consultation on the Green Paper led to the White Paper Care
Matters: Time for Change in June 2007,
and various working groups were then established by the Government
to shape proposals further. As part of this process, Children
and Young Persons Bill [Lords] was introduced earlier this session
to implement changes which required primary legislation.
In many ways this is an exemplary way for policy to be developed
and implemented, and the Government is to be congratulated for
a thorough and serious consultative process.
2. Following the creation of the Department for Children,
Schools and Families in June 2007, this Committee came into being
at the beginning of the current session. The focus of the new
department is to secure "integrated children's services and
Following the example of our predecessors on the Education and
Skills Committee, who did take a close interest in children's
services issues following the introduction of Every Child Matters,
we felt that it was important from the outset for us as a Committee
to look at the broad scope of children's issues for which the
new department has responsibility. We therefore decided that,
as the Bill had begun its passage through Parliament in the House
of Lords, it would be useful for us to examine the provisions
of the Children and Young Persons Bill in advance of its consideration
in the Commons. We also decided to hold a wider ranging inquiry
into the care provided for looked-after children, and we will
begin taking evidence in that inquiry shortly.
3. We are publishing this report and the associated
evidence in large part to assist the House of Commons in its consideration
of the Bill. In the following chapters we comment on a number
of aspects of the Bill, but we do not comment on every issue that
has been raised with us. We hope our colleagues will use both
the report and the evidence that informs it in debates on the
Bill in this House. References to clauses in the Bill are to the
Bill as amended in Committee (on recommitment).
4. We received 18 memoranda in this inquiry, and
held one oral evidence session with Kevin Brennan MP, Parliamentary
Under-Secretary of State for Children, Young People and Families
at the Department for Children, Schools and Families. We are grateful
to all those who contributed.
1 Care Matters: Transforming the lives of Children
and Young People in Care, Cm 6932, DfES, October 2006. Back
Cm 7137 Back
Children and Young Persons Bill [HL], HL Bill 8 (2007-08), introduced
on 14 November 2007. Back
HL Bill 32. Back