The National Service Framework for Children and Young People is
an ambitious programme which puts children’s welfare at the
heart of the health service and formalises councils’
responsibilities for promoting children’s physical and mental
health. There are inevitably many questions about how such a broad
cultural change, as well as a large number of changes to actual
services can be achieved.
Detailed route maps will be needed, complete with implementation
deadlines. And where major changes in working practices are
required, money will be needed. It’s not just about whether
child-focused services cost more than organisation-focused
services. Change itself costs money and if the government is
serious about achieving the vision outlined in the NSF, it will
have to roll up its sleeves and get things moving.
One of the most radical points in the NSF is the responsibility
shared by everyone who has contact with children for their
well-being. “First, do no harm” should be the watchword.
Professionals can unintentionally do great harm to vulnerable
children with even a single throwaway remark.