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Children's trusts get pound;600,000 check-up

A pound;600,000 investigation will gauge the effectiveness of the new children's trusts, which bring together disparate public services for young people.

There are 35 "pathfinder" children's trusts around the country. The trusts aim to integrate services such as education, health, social care, youth offending teams, the police, the voluntary and community sector and others.

Researchers at the University of East Anglia and the National Children's Bureau will evaluate the pilots proposed in the Green Paper, Every Child Matters.

The university bid successfully for the research work, commissioned jointly by the departments for education and health.

Children's services are being overhauled following the Laming Report, which criticisedsocial services for failing to prevent the death of eight-year-old Victoria Climbie.

The research will look at the impact on children of how services are organised, analyse health statistics, hospital admissions, school attendance and attainment, as well as interviewing children. The team will also look at costs, how well services are being co-ordinated and how effectively staff from different areas work together.

The evaluation will take place over three years and, it is hoped, will back the Government's aims of setting up Children's Trusts in most areas by 2006.

A preliminary report will be published by the UEA in October.

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