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The following items are from Children & Parliament, summer 1998. Children & Parliament is an abstracting service based on Hansard and produced by the National Children’s Bureau. It covers all parliamentary business affecting children and is available on subscription via the internet (http://candp.ncb.org.uk). The Children & Parliament web site provides direct links to full text Hansard, government department sites, the sites of the Office for National Statistics, Ofsted, and other relevant organisations. For further details contact Lisa Payne, Editor, Children & Parliament, National Children’s Bureau, 8 Wakley Street, London EC1V 7QE, UK (tel: +44 (0) 171 843 6000; fax: +44 (0) 278 9512). (The Hansardreference is given in parentheses.)

• Measures promoted by the government in an attempt to reduce suicides among young people include the piloting of a telephone helpline for young men, restriction of paracetamol and aspirin pack sizes, increased public and professional education about mental illness and depression, and improving mental health services.

(24 Mar 98, Col 135.)

• In areas where road bumps have been introduced there has been a halving of road accidents, and injury to children has fallen by 57%.

(26 Mar 98, Col 249.)

• Of 2500 children currently thought to be available for adoption only 140 are infants under 1 year of age. The government does not regard the setting up of a national independent and accountable adoption authority as being in the best interests of the children.

(26 Mar 98, Col 1334–1336.)

• The government is to aid the expansion of out-of-school child care to the tune of £300 million. It has also introduced a new working families tax credit which includes a child care tax credit worth up to 70% of child care costs with a limit of £100 a week for one child and £150 for two. Child care providers will be supported.

(Mar 98, Col 673–674.)

• Greater protection will be given to child witnesses. An interdepartmental review of their needs will soon be completed.

(30 Mar 98, Col 390.)

• The local provision of short term respite care breaks for disabled people and carers is being assessed by the Social Services Inspectorate who are expected to produce a report during 1998.

(30 Mar 98, Col 8–11.)

• From 5 October 1998 children under 16 will need their own passports unless they are already included on their parents’ passports, in which case they will need their own once the current passport has expired. A main aim is to make child abduction more difficult.

(7 Apr 98, Col 173, 120.)

• Child care in local authority nurseries costs about £90 per week. The number of children in day nurseries in England was 29 800 in 1995 and 25 700 in 1996.

(6 April 98, Col, 128.)

• The Department for International Development is committed to promoting education for children in developing countries. It strongly supports key targets of equity for boys and girls in primary and secondary education by 2005 and primary education for all by 2015.

(6 April 98, Col 17.)

• Other priorities currently prevent the Department of Health and the National Health Service supporting research on the physiotherapy or occupational therapy needs of children in schools.

(2 April 98, Col 645.)

• Government figures indicate that girls under 16 are more than twice as likely to seek contraceptive advice from a family planning clinic than from a general practitioner. The main sources of advice are the Brook Advisory Centres, which are government funded.

(27 April 98, Col 49–50.)

• The European Community Parental Leave Directive, to be implemented by the government by December 1999, will entitle mothers and fathers to take three months’ unpaid leave on the birth or adoption of a child. It will also provide for time off for urgent family reasons.

(27 April 98, Col 26.)

• England and Wales have one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the developed world, exceeded only by the United States.

(28 April 98, Col 23.)

• National curriculum requirements mean that all primary school teachers and all secondary school science teachers will be trained in drug (including alcohol) education. Drug and alcohol education already forms part of science studies for 7–11 year olds.

(28 April 98, Col 106.)

• The Department for Education and Employment is to publish a review of published research findings on educational programmes for children with autism during the summer of 1998. The Written Declaration of the European Parliament on the Right of People with Autism will be taken into account by the government in reviewing provision for all children with special educational needs. The Local Government Association is also commissioning research on educational interventions in autism.

(5 May 98, Col 279.)

• Some £300 million of government money has been targeted to set up after school clubs and it is hoped that a further 30 000 such clubs will be established over the next few years.

(6 May 98, Col 718.)

• The government holds the view that recruiting children under 15 to take part in armed conflict is a war crime and it has lobbied to bring it within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.

(7 May 98, Col 83–84.)

• A sum of £35 million will go towards doing away with outside toilets in schools.

(7 May 98, Col 506.)

• The government is to consult on a proposal that it should be made illegal to sell gas lighter refills to children under 16.

(7 May 98, Col 934–940.)

• In 1995 the number of babies under 1 year adopted in the UK was 375.

(14 May 98, Col 133.)

• The Under Secretary of State for Health has been involved in discussions about the possibility of having a Children’s Rights Commissioner. The second UK report on the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is to be published early in 1999.

(11 May 98, Col 39.)

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