Hello and welcome to another FIND YOUR VOICE. It has been a while since we posted an article in this series; in fact the first articles were published in Oct 15. These articles always make sober reading. Here are some extracts from a recent report.
Almost half of children in care have a diagnosable mental health disorder, the MPs heard, compared with about one in 10 children who are not in care. The Commons Education Committee says children fostered in England are sometimes denied treatment simply because they move placement too often. But the provision for children in care with mental health problems is poor in many parts of England, says the report.
A significant number of local authorities are failing to identify mental health issues when children enter care. In some areas children in care can be turned away because their conditions are not deemed severe enough to qualify for treatment.
"Given children in care may have unstable family lives and are frequently moving foster or residential placement, this inflexibility puts vulnerable children in care at serious disadvantage in getting the support they deserve," said Neil Carmichael, who chairs the committee.
The committee heard evidence from one 16-year-old girl in foster care who had waited for more than two and a half years to be seen. In her evidence, given last December, the girl told the committee she had not been seen because she had moved placement 13 times. Her foster carers told the committee the 16-year-old had been with her for 10 months and was still waiting for an appointment. This was in spite of official guidance that states: "Looked-after children should never be refused a service, including for mental health, on the grounds of their placement."
Too often, schools are left to try to help children with mental health problems with little support from other agencies, its report says. It also calls for more mental health support for young people leaving care, who are more than five times more likely than their peers to attempt suicide.
The Local Government Association's community wellbeing spokeswoman, Izzi Seccombe, said mental health services for children needed urgent improvement. She said it was wrong for any child to have to wait a long time for treatment, but for the level of support needed, there had to be a joint approach with every organisation involved in a young person's life, such as schools, carers and health services, as well as councils. If the government's vision to improve mental health services was to be realised, it needed to be backed with proper funding, she added.
Mental health issues will affect everyone in their lifetime, directly or indirectly so don’t stay silent please,