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More cash needed to reduce offending

The Youth Justice Board’s push for child and adolescent mental
health services to help reduce offending rates will only be
achieved by increasing funding, a leading psychiatrist has
warned.

Dr Lynne Daly, consultant adolescent forensic psychiatrist at
Salford mental health services, told a conference on children with
complex mental health needs: “The Youth Justice Board is focused on
the reduction of offending rates and has clear expectations on
CAMHS to achieve that. Given their current resources and staffing
levels this is unrealistic.”

She added that the board was too focused on finding “bed-based”
solutions for children and young people with mental health problems
and placing them in in-patient secure psychiatric care.

“I challenge the view that this offers a solution to their
difficulties,” Daly said.

The social care secure commissioner for the NHS north west, Carol
Elford, told the conference, which was organised by the Harrogate
Management Centre, that national policy should emphasise prevention
and inclusion.

She said: “It has got to look at improving access and
responsiveness and move away from being about crisis response
because by that stage it is too late for many young people.”

Elford added that services need to measure positive outcomes for
young people, and ask them what they want, and not assume they will
be the same as for practitioners.

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