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Comment: OCC report on spending on children’s mental health

Charlotte Ramsden, Chair of the ADCS Health, Care and Additional Needs Policy Committee, said:

“Poor mental health and wellbeing can have a devastating and lifelong impact on the lives of children and their families so it’s crucial that they receive the right support, in the right place, at the right time. Yet all too often children experience difficulties in accessing services, wait months for support and reach crisis point in the process. This report fills a gap in what we know about how much is being spent by local areas on mental health support for children and young people who don’t meet the threshold for statutory services. However, this is not the whole picture and the report itself acknowledges data limitations. The report finds that total reported spend in this area has increased each year between 2016/17 and 2018/19, but this masks local and regional variances in spend per child – more work is needed to understand the reasons for this. The report states that a greater proportion of the total spend across all three years came from local authorities, via children’s services and public health budgets, as opposed to CCGs despite councils facing huge reductions in our funding and rising need for services. This is simply unsustainable. We welcome the government’s focus on improving children’s mental health and wellbeing but if we are to truly transform the system in the way that vulnerable children so rightly need and deserve there must be investment in both specialist services for children and young people as well as services that prevent mental health problems from escalating and becoming entrenched in the first place.”


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