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28/04/2016The Commons scrutinises access to mental health services for children in care

In a new report, the Commons Education Committee recommends that children in care should be given priority for mental health support.

Whilst children in care are four times more likely to have mental health difficulties, the report claims that the Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) ‘is failing looked-after children in too many areas and leaving vulnerable young people without support’. In the report, CAMHS were named for failing to identify mental health issues of children entering care, and on occasion denying treatment for looked-after children because of a new or unstable placement.

The government have committed to putting £1.4bn into children and young people’s mental health and recommends that a multi-agency approach is needed. They suggest that CAMHs and other specialist mental health services need to work more closely with partners across education, health and social care to ensure children in care do not slip through the net.

The government has also created an expert group to oversee attempts to boost support for children in care with mental health problems. It was recently announced that the group will be chaired by former president of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS), Alison O’Sullivan, alongside Professor Peter Fonagy, CEO of mental health charity the Anna Freud Centre.