Background: The Children Act 2004 and National Service Framework for Children, Young People and Maternity Services require fuller integration of health, education and social services for children and young people in England and Wales. The UK government supported the establishment of 35 experimental children's trust pathfinders (henceforth called children's trusts) in England. Methods: A questionnaire was completed by managers in all 35 children's trusts a year after their start. Children's trust documents were examined. Census and performance indicators were compared between children's trust areas and the rest of England. Results Children's trust areas had demographic and social characteristics typical of England. All children's trusts aimed to improve health, education and social services by greater managerial and service integration. All had boards representing the three sectors; other agencies’ representation varied. Two-thirds of children's trusts had moved towards pooling budgets in at least some service areas. At this stage in their development, some had prioritized joint procurement or provision of services, with formal managerial structures, while others favoured an informal strategic planning, co-ordination and information sharing approach. The commonest priorities for services development were for disabled children (16 children's trusts), followed by early intervention (11) and mental health services (8). Conclusions: The diverse strategies adopted by these 35 children's trusts during their first year is due to their own characteristics and to the way government strategy developed during this period. Whilst some prioritized organizational development, joint financing and commissioning, and information sharing, others laid more emphasis on mechanisms for bringing front-line professionals closer together. Their experiences are of value to others deciding how best to integrate children's services.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-146
Number of pages10
JournalChild: Care, Health and Development
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2006


  • Care co-ordination
  • Child care
  • Health services research
  • Multidisciplinary
  • Professionals
  • Service evaluation
  • article
  • budget
  • child
  • child health care
  • controlled study
  • cooperation
  • demography
  • early childhood intervention
  • education
  • government
  • handicapped child
  • health care delivery
  • health care financing
  • health care management
  • health care organization
  • health care planning
  • health service
  • human
  • information dissemination
  • law
  • manager
  • medical documentation
  • medical information
  • mental health care
  • National Health Service
  • population research
  • priority journal
  • questionnaire
  • social support
  • teamwork
  • United Kingdom
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child Health Services
  • Preschool
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated
  • Disabled Children
  • Education
  • England
  • Financial Management
  • Health Care Costs
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Policy
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Questionnaires
  • Social Work
  • State Medicine

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