Homeless children overlooked by health service, says Keeble

1 Nov 01
Children placed in bed and breakfast accommodation because their family is homeless are missing out on important health checks, the government told local authorities this week.

02 November 2001

Housing minister Sally Keeble said she was concerned that too many babies and young children were being overlooked and not receiving the services they were entitled to for ensuring their health and development.

'Homeless families are especially vulnerable,' she said. 'It is essential that young babies and children in temporary accommodation, especially in hostels and bed and breakfast, are followed up by community midwives and health visitors.'

Problems arose when families were housed outside the area they had lived in and then faced repeated moves, she said. Robust procedures were required to make sure health visitors were kept informed of where young children were living.

Keeble pointed to Sheffield's multi-agency team as an example of a local authority notifying primary health services, organising visits by health professionals and monitoring children.

Guidance will be issued to councils on the need for joint working between housing, social services and health authorities.

Inspectors will also be asked to check that the different services are liaising as required during Best Value reviews.


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