Yesterday saw the publication of the Independent Review into Children’s Social Care’s final report. I’m pleased that it recognises the crucial role played by kinship carers and the need for the to be eligible for better financial and legal support.
I particularly welcome its recommendation for family members to be involved in decision making before children are put into the care system, with a view to placing them with extended family whenever possible.
While the report does mention mental health, this needs to be given higher priority. CAMHS (Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services) is now at breaking point and can’t support the record numbers of children being referred. Mental health problems are rife among young people seen by Social Services, and Looked After Children are 4 times more likely to have a mental illness diagnosis than those who haven’t spent time in care.
‘Siloed’ thinking is a major barrier to securing comprehensive mental health support for children who have suffered trauma early in life. I have called on the Children’s Minister to work closely with the Department of Health to ensure this issue is tackled cross-departmentally and that children can get the help they need.