UK to Launch Child Database

by Gopalan on  May 13, 2009 at 10:25 AM Child Health News   - G J E 4
 UK to Launch Child Database
A comprehensive child database is being launched in UK next week. It will feature details of every child in England and will be accessible for designated social workers, head teachers and health officials.

The Ģ224 million ContactPoint system is aimed at ensuring better protection of children and comes in the backdrop of several instances of child abuse. From next week, 800 people in 17 council areas will be trained to use it.

Though civil liberties organizations are expressing concern over privacy issues, Ed Balls, the Children's Secretary, said: "Over the past four months important and careful work has been going on to build ContactPoint. It is excellent progress and from next week the first frontline workers will be able to use the online directory, start to get the benefits from it and ensure we can continue to learn from their early experiences.

"If we are to do our best to make sure children are protected and that no child slips through the net, then it's crucial the right agencies are involved at the right time and get even better at sharing information."

Earlier trials of the system have already uncovered a series of errors. The latest setback emerged in March when council officers were asked to search the database for vulnerable children who needed to be "shielded''. They discovered that adopted children were listed both by their original and adopted surnames, leaving them at greater risk of being tracked down.

The Conservatives have already pledged to scrap the database, Telegraph reported.

Tim Loughton, the shadow children's minister, said: "Despite serious and widespread concerns about the security, integrity and necessity of this database, ministers seem determined to bulldoze it through.''

Source: Medindia

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