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Children's database launched despite access fears

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A government database with the details of every child in the country has been launched in an attempt to improve information sharing between professionals who work with them.

ContactPoint holds the name, age, address and other information for 11 million youngsters in England and the details will remain on the site until their 18th birthday.

It was decided that the £224m system would be created following the death of Victoria Climbie, who was abused by her great aunt and her boyfriend.

Technicians will train 800 practitioners including social workers on how to use the database, which has been delayed due to security concerns.

The pilot database will be tested by 17 local authorities in the north west of England and the national voluntary sector partners - the charities Barnardo’s and KIDS - as part of a trial run.

The identities and information of 51,000 children will be shielded after fears were raised about unauthorised access to data.

But ministers argue that ContactPoint will enable services for children to be more co-ordinated, freeing up more time for care.

Children’s minister Delyth Morgan said: ‘Under current arrangements if a practitioner believes that a child is at risk they may have no way of knowing whether other services might already be in contact with that child.’

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