School-led mental health care pledged

Children with social and emotional difficulties will be able to access more mental health support either in or through schools in the near future, the government announced last week.

The plans were contained in a report from the Treasury-led policy review of children and young people, which will inform the comprehensive spending review.

The report said that while capacity has increased in more acute children’s mental health services, community-based services needed “a greater focus” – especially universal services.

It also announced £13m over the spending review period – 2008-11 – for a “significant number” of pathfinders providing intensive and tailored support to families with multiple problems. The pathfinders will explore using lead professionals for whole families and dedicated multi-agency teams.

The report, which covers the review’s strands on supporting children and families, also announces the development of an electronic version of the common assessment framework to allow services, particularly universal ones, to quickly assess children they believe are at risk.

Craig Jones, campaigns director at children’s charity 4Children, said although the measures were welcome they were not enough to bring about the required “step change” for families most in need.

The final reports on the other two strands of the review, a 10-year youth strategy and support for disabled children, are due out this spring.

Further information
Aiming High for Children

Mental Health

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