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Database to track Dutch from cradle to grave

Ministry of Health claims it will help transfer information between government agencies and ensure delivery of proper care to kids.

The Netherlands' Ministry of Health has announced plans to create an electronic database that keeps details on each child from birth until death.

The scheme, which will come into effect on Jan. 1, 2007, will compile and retain indefinitely details on individuals including their health, school, police and family situation records, with doctors and youth workers among those tasked with updating the dossier.

Once the system is in operation, all paper files relating to Dutch children will be digitized to create new dossiers.

These files will be coupled with a unique identifying number to make sure children cannot evade their dossier if they move, for example.

A number of government agencies will be able to access the files, according to the Netherlands government, although no private citizens or companies will be allowed to see the information they hold.

According to Dutch state secretary of health Clemence Ross, the dossier is designed to improve the transfer of information between various arms of the Dutch government and to ensure the country's children "can be offered the right care at the right time."

This, according to the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, will reduce juvenile delinquencies and help control other juvenile problems.

The health secretary has asked for an additional $30.5 million (25 million euros) to get the electronic file system up and running as soon as possible.

Jo Best of Silicon.com reported from London.