Adoption UK will be responding to a government proposal for transforming children and young people’s mental health provision in England and Wales and invites members to contribute to its response.

In December 2017, the Department for Education and the Department of Health published a joint Green Paper entitled Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Provision. The consultation is open until 2nd March and Adoption UK is keen to collect the views of members before formulating a response.

Through this Green Paper, the government pledges to support local areas and schools to adopt an ambitious new approach to provide children and young people with an unprecedented level of support to tackle early signs of mental ill-health.

This consultation offers Adoption UK a fantastic opportunity to ensure the views of adoptive parents are considered by the government as they look to develop mental health provision for young people.

The three fundamental pillars of the proposal are:

  • the creation of new mental health support teams working in, and directly with, schools
  • training for senior designated mental health leads in every school and college to improve prevention work
  • a maximum four week waiting time for NHS children and young people’s mental health services

Some adoptive parents will be delighted to hear the government embracing a more joined-up approach to dealing with young people’s mental health issues, with one adoptive parent recently telling Adoption UK:

“An overriding feature of my family's battle with the system is that the three arms of the state needed to support our adopted child – social, health and education – do not join up. Our child needs coordinated help from all three services.”

The Green Paper highlights the link between mental ill-health and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). It also points to the greater prevalence of ACEs among looked after children and indicates that this is also the case with previously looked after children. This acknowledgement is welcomed given  Adoption UK’s recent work on ACE’s.

Through the work of Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission, the Green Paper identifies the difficulty schools face in accessing specialist support for children with social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs. This is particularly concerning given recent  research by Adoption UK found that nearly half (45%) of all adopted children have SEMH needs as their primary area of need.

There are many aspects of the Green Paper that Adoption UK welcomes, not least the explicit references to previously looked after children’s needs. The consultation presents Adoption UK and its membership with an excellent opportunity to advocate for more support for these children.

If you would like to contribute to Adoption UK’s response then please send your thoughts on the Green Paper to [email protected] by 26th February. Alternatively, you can respond to the consultation independently.