Mental health services are turning away too many children in care, MPs have been told.
Sarah Brennan, chief executive of children’s mental health charity Young Minds, warned the Commons Education Committee that services were not doing enough to help children in care.
She said that many of these children were “turned away because they do not fit the criteria of having a diagnosed mental health problem”. Professionals needed to do better understand the “common experience of trauma” among children in the care system, she added.
Dr Matt Woolgar of the National Association for Fostering and Adoption also spoke to the committee. He said that children moving from placement to placement could affect the likelihood that they will receive mental health treatment. Some services “will defer seeing a case on the expectation that the child will likely soon move on”, he claimed.
Minister for Mental Health Alistair Burt insisted the issue was a priority for him and said the government planned to spend around £1.4 billion on children’s mental health services by 2020.
The aim was for “every area of the country to plan how it will radically improve its youth mental health services”, he declared.
In October, the NSPCC claimed that as many as a fifth of British children do not receive mental health treatment even after they have been referred to the NHS.