Health of Looked After Children and Young People
Edited by Kathy Dunnett et al,
Russell House Publishing
STAR RATING: 4/5
This book is a bit of a curate’s egg, writes Elspeth Loades.
The early chapters on “The Wider Context” and “Everyone’s Business” attempt to analyse and resolve the obstacles to achieving good health for this most vulnerable group of children. But these sections are in the main heavy going – a reflection, perhaps, of the muddy waters that exist between the huge and disjointed organisations upon whose co-operation the health and well being of these children depends.
Later sections, however, offer excellent practice advice on sensitive and complex health issues.
Dunnett points out that while local authorities have prioritised improving the education of children in care, their health has not attracted the same attention.
There are highly readable and informative chapters on sexual health, a detailed guide to the delivery of meaningful drug education, an exploration of the complexities of providing good nutrition in the care environment, an informative guide on issues affecting unaccompanied minors, and an excellent chapter on the mental health needs of looked-after children.
For any council that has not yet established a designated health service for looked after children, this book is essential: for those that have, it offers a welcome guide to the what, how, and why of best practice.
Elspeth Loades is a local authority planning manager