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Expert Working Group’s report, ‘Improving mental health...

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

“Local authorities are ambitious about improving outcomes for children in care. Key to this is ensuring that their emotional and mental health needs are adequately met. The all too familiar picture of unavailable and inaccessible mental health services, children and young people facing unacceptable delays and being refused help because of their placement is well known. This report helpfully describes key features of a system that works well to support the mental health and wellbeing of children in our care, and identifies areas of good practice. We welcome the EWG’s strong focus on children and young people being at the heart of the decisions made about their care.

“ADCS would support the creation of a Virtual Mental Health Lead, akin to the Virtual School Head, to champion for mental health of children in care and ensure their needs are met. A broader set of measures to sit alongside strength and difficulty questionnaires seems sensible and ADCS would be keen to understand who would be responsible for developing these. Supporting those working with, and caring for children in care through training and opportunities for development makes sense in principle but it remains unclear whether doing so for tens of thousands of professionals and carers would be feasible, who will deliver this or how this would be funded. It is disappointing that improving outcomes for young people with the highest level of need who require specialist in-patient treatment, otherwise known as Tier 4, does not feature strongly in this report. There are real challenges in accessing placements for these young people which must be urgently addressed.

“ADCS echoes the EWG’s call for urgent action to improve these services for children in our care. Government must set out a clear, child-focussed strategy on how mental health will be improved in the forthcoming Green Paper on children and young people’s mental health. This must consider the need for sufficiently funded services and result in transformative action on the ground, which has been lacking to date.”


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