The UK Department of Health has announced a £1 million investment in CareZone, an online initiative to provide range of secure online services for children in public care.

CareZone will offer a package of child-centred Information and Communication Technology (ICT) services developed by The Who Cares? Trust, a national charity working to improve the lives of children and young people in public care.

The £12 million project has initial funding by the Department of Health, the Department for Education and Skills through a Capital Modernisation Fund Grant and by the Community Fund. It is also supported by a wide range of organisations including charitable foundations and financial institutions.

CareZone will feature child-focused technology. This will include offering children with their own personal web-space. As children in care are moved around frequently and personal possessions are often lost. CareZone will provide a secure virtual space where these children can digitally store items of personal value.

CareZone aims to build trusted relationships with children over time, making it easier to ask for help if and when it’s needed. It will provide services that reduce the sense of isolation, as well as offering resources from a range of quality suppliers of information on health, being in care, well-being and education.

Another objective will be to create a community of care, including children, their carers and other allied professionals.

All of the features will be accessed through a high level of security, including biometrics and smartcard technology.

Jacqui Smith MP, said: “Schemes such as CareZone, developed by The Who Cares? Trust, demonstrate the power of modern technology to provide children and young people in care with important information on all aspects of care, health and well-being along with supporting their education.”

Susanna Cheal MBE, chief executive of The Who Cares? Trust, added: “If we want children in public care to take part in 21st century life we must help them to be literate and encourage them to be part of the digital age.”

Birmingham City Council and the London Borough of Hounslow will be the first local authorities to lead development of the site. The Who Cares? Trust is currently negotiating with 60 other local authorities about the roll out of CareZone throughout the UK.

The Department of Health and Department for Education and Skills have pledged funding over two years. The venture has also received funding from the Community Fund and a significant number of trust and individual donations.