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Adoption UK responds to report on mental health and well-being of looked-after children

Published: 28.04.16

Hugh Thornbery CBE, Adoption UK’s chief executive, welcomed the Education Committee’s report but said its recommendations do not go far enough.
Adoption UK responds to report on mental health and well-being of looked-after children

The report, published on 28 April 2016, notes that a significant number of local authorities and health services are failing to identify mental health issues when children enter care.

Mr Thornbery said: “We have known about the issues facing looked-after children for some time so an acknowledgement of these problems is essential and long overdue.

“Adoption can be a hugely positive and transformative experience for looked after children but it is not a silver bullet. Adoptive families require ongoing support because the problems of children who leave care do not magically disappear overnight. This is why early intervention is critical for both children in care and those who have left care and are now in a permanent placement. A significant number of our members tell us the lack of adequate support they receive from Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) is a ‘major concern’. Their concerns relate to: the accessibility, timeliness, quality of services their children receive and the high thresholds required for treatment. There is an urgent need for mental health services to understand the particular requirements of adoptive children and their families.”

Mr Thornbery went on to welcome the recommendation within the report to train all new teachers on mental health and well-being and to create a ‘whole-school approach’ to the issues facing vulnerable children.

He said: “Any progress here would need to consider the needs of adoptive children alongside those of looked-after children. We urge the government and schools to work with us, and more importantly, adoptive families, on this.”

Adoption UK also backs the call for the government to return to funding ONS prevalence surveys on children and young people’s mental health on a five-yearly basis.

Mr Thornbery added: “There is a clear and justifiable need to invest in outcomes monitoring to better understand the challenges that children and young people face while in and when leaving the care system.”