§ Mr. Clifton-Brown
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what work the social exclusion unit has carried out in relation to child homelessness. 
§ Mrs. Roche
The Prime Minister has asked the social exclusion unit to make recommendations to reduce the number of young people running away and ensure that runaways' short and long term needs are met. Approximately 129,000 young people run away each year and one quarter sleep rough. Running away is also a strong predictor of later homelessness. The project will report its recommendations to the Ministerial Committee on Children and Young People at the end of the year.
The social exclusion unit report on rough sleeping published in 1998 found that there were very few rough sleepers aged under 18. None the less, it identified a range of measures specifically aimed at young people. Many of these have now been taken forward by the rough sleepers unit, set up in April 1999 as a result of the SEU report. Examples of this have been work on the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000 and the setting up, in partnership with the Department of Health and funded by the National Children's Bureau, of a 'Care Leaving Support Service'.
In addition, part of the SEU report on the national strategy for neighbourhood renewal—the Policy Action Team 12 on Young People—looked at how Government could improve co-ordination of policies affecting children and young people and improve services, developing them to help prevent social exclusion. This led to the establishment of the children and young peoples unit in July 2000, based in the Department for Education and Skills. This unit supports cross-Government work on child poverty and youth disadvantage, looking across the full 0 to 19 age range, and is also responsible for implementing and managing the children's fund.