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Children in care to be supported by new mental health assessments

Children entering care in Staffordshire could be supported by new mental health and wellbeing assessments, after the county council successfully bid to be part of an important pilot project.

Staffordshire is one of nine areas that will pilot the new assessments, which aim to ensure children going in to care have access to the right support that responds to their individual needs.

Funded by the Department for Education (DfE), The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, along with a consortium of partners including Action for Children, Research in Practice and the Child Outcomes Research Consortium (CORC) will work with the county council over a period of two years.

The pilot will initially focus on supporting 35 young people entering care and will run from July 2019 until June 2020.

County Councillor Mark Sutton, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People said:

“Children entering the care system have often already faced many challenges, and it is important that we have a full understanding of their needs, so we can offer the right support.

“We want all children and young people in care to have good opportunities, so that means ensuring they get the appropriate help where needed.  This pilot will put the child at the heart of these assessments, ensuring they get the best support, and that those working in their best interests are aware of their mental health needs.”

Sheila Redfern, Head of Service, Specialist Trauma and Maltreatment, Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families.

“We’re excited to begin working with sites on this important project. A new assessment framework is to be introduced, with the child or young person at the heart of these assessments. The approach will be more relational, include the young person’s carer, and bring together views of those around the child. The aim is to increase awareness of the level of the young person’s mental health needs and create a shared understanding of these needs across the important people in the child’s network.”