560 child mental health cases every day

The Local Government Association has revealed that local social services are seeing more than 560 cases of children with mental health disorders every day.

Latest figures show that there were 205,720 cases where a child was identified as having a mental health issue in 2017/18, compared with 133,600 in 2014/15 – an increase of 54 per cent. This has prompted council leaders to warn of a ‘children’s mental health crisis’ as local authorities struggle to cope with enormous levels of demand for children with mental illness.

There are currently 75,420 children in the care of councils, who since 2010 have also overseen an 84 per cent increase of children on child protection plans to keep them safe from harm. The LGA is therefore calling for the government to inject desperately needed funding into children’s services, which face a £3.1 billion funding gap by 2025, in the Spending Review.

Anntoinette Bramble, Chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said: “Councils strive to make sure that every child gets the best start in life and is able to go on and live a healthy, safe and prosperous life. It is clear we are facing a children’s mental health crisis, and councils are struggling to provide the support young people so desperately need.

“Significant funding pressures in children’s services and public health mean many councils are being forced to cut some of the vital early intervention services which can support children with low level mental health issues and avoid more serious problems in later life.

“It is absolutely vital that the government adequately funds these services in this year’s Spending Review, so we can tackle this urgent crisis and make sure children get the help they need. It is the least they deserve and the consequences of not tackling this crisis now can be devastating for young people and their families.”