Better mental health support for children in care

Minister for Children and Families Nadhim Zahawi has announced that up to 10 pilots across the country will trial new high quality mental health assessments for children in care.

Aiming to ensure that young people are assessed at the right time, with a focus on their individual needs as they enter care, the Department for Education has awarded £240,000 to a group of organisations to deliver up to 10 local pilots over two years, with the pilot areas also set to benefit from a share of £650,000 to deliver the scheme.

Statistics show that 62 per cent of looked after children are in care due to abuse or neglect, which can have a lasting impact on their mental health and emotional well-being. At present, approximately half of all children in care meet the criteria for a possible mental health disorder, compared to one in ten children outside the care system.

The news follows the publication of the government’s Children and Young People’s Mental Health Green Paper in December 2017, which, with the help of £300 million in funding, intends to improve access to mental health services for children and young people through designated mental health leads in schools and by reducing waiting times for mental health services.

Zahawi said: “Children in care are some of the most vulnerable in society and have often experienced traumatic events, so it is vital they receive care and support that is tailored to their needs. We want to improve support for every child in care and these pilots will help to provide high-quality mental health assessments when children enter the care system and make sure the right support is in place.”

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