Kids' groups split over delay of Green Paper

Emma Maier

There has been a mixed reaction by children's charities to the news that the Government's long-awaited Green Paper on children at risk is to be delayed.

The Green Paper, which sets out a framework for future policy based on a more holistic approach to children's services, was originally expected in spring this year.

However, the launch has been pushed back until after the summer parliamentary recess following a recent barrage of attacks on the new Minister for Children, Margaret Hodge, by the media.

The Government denies that the delay is linked to the controversy over Hodge, which relates to Islington Council's failure to investigate properly several cases of sexual abuse in the borough's care homes when she was council leader until 1992.

Barnardo's and the NSPCC have expressed regret at the delay. "The Green Paper came about partly in response to the death of Victoria Climbie, and we owe it to future generations to act as soon as we can to ensure that cases like this never happen again," said Chris Hanvey, UK director of operations at Barnardo's.

NSPCC spokeswoman Cath Drake added: "We are very disappointed that it has been delayed."

However, the National Children's Bureau is pleased that the Government is not rushing into a quick-fix solution. "This is an enormously complex piece of legislation, dealing with a very complicated issue," said spokeswoman Tracey Sands.

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