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Children in Care: Mental Health Services

Department for Education written question – answered on 4th February 2020.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what progress his Department has made on improving access to mental health assessments for children in care.

Photo of Michelle Donelan Michelle Donelan Government Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The Department for Education jointly commissioned with the Department for Health and Social Care an Expert Working Group to look at how the mental health needs of looked-after children, previously looked-after children and care leavers could be better met.

In November 2017, the group made a set of recommendations, including on improving assessment of the mental health needs of looked-after children.

We are taking forward a number of these recommendations through our £1 million mental health assessment pilot programme, which is testing improved approaches to the mental health and wellbeing element of the health assessment on entry to care.

We have appointed SQW Limited to carry out an evaluation of the pilot and fieldwork is currently underway. This will help inform our assessment of the changes needed to the mental health assessments of looked-after children.

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