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New mental health measures implemented for children in care

Friday 15th June 2018
The government has unveiled a new scheme designed to enhance the quality of mental health support for children in care.
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The government has announced a pilot scheme that aims to ensure that children in care are receiving a higher standard of mental health support.

Up to ten pilots will be launched across the country to trial new high-quality mental health assessments, designed to ensure young people are assessed at the right time, with a focus on their specific needs as they enter care.

Around £240,000 will be shared between a group of organisations, led by the Anna Freud Centre, to work with Action for Children, the Child Outcomes Research Consortium, Research in Practice and the NSPCC to deliver the pilots over two years. The pilot areas will also receive a share of a £650,000 pot to deliver the scheme.

Specific areas of focus will include making sure that the right mental health professionals are involved in the assessment process, allowing best practice to developed that ensures the child's unique needs are at the centre of the process.

At present, 62 per cent of children in care are there due to abuse or neglect, which can have a lasting effect on their mental health and emotional wellbeing. As such, it is estimated that 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.

Nadhim Zahawi, the minister for children and families, 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."

Written by Angela Newbury

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