28 Apr 2016

Commenting on the House of Commons Education Committee’s report, highlighting how mental health services are letting down vulnerable children in care, Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, said:

“It is clear that some of the most vulnerable young people in the country are being let down by our overstretched and underfunded mental health services. When children come into the care system they are at their most vulnerable and yet, as this report shows, their mental health and wellbeing is too often overlooked until they reach crisis point.

“There is a way forward but urgent action is needed now – children in care must be guaranteed access to specialist assessments and the support they need to help them overcome trauma or mental health problems. Ongoing help must also be provided for older children leaving the care system, who often find themselves cut off from support.

“The Committee rightly recognises the importance of stability for children in care. We know that being moved around repeatedly can have a significant impact on a child’s emotional state as well as on their ability to maintain positive relationships with support services, friends and family. But instability in a young person’s life must never be used as a reason to deny them the help that they need.

“We urge the Government to take these recommendations seriously. It’s time that local mental health services stopped making excuses and did the right thing by vulnerable children.”

Media enquiries

For more information or an interview, please call The Children’s Society media team on 020 7841 4422 or email media@childrenssociety.org.uk. For out-of-hours enquiries please call 07810 796 508.

Notes to Editors

• The Education Committee's report, Mental health and well-being of looked after children, is available here.

• The Children’s Society runs advocacy programmes across England to provide support to children living in care, children leaving care and children with Special Educational Needs and/or disabilities. We offer these children independent advocates and are developing advocacy and participation practices to ensure that more children have a say in important decisions that are made about their lives. For more information see our website: http://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/what-we-do/helping-children/our-programmes/advocacy-services

• The Children’s Society is a national charity that runs local services, helping children and young people when they are at their most vulnerable, and have nowhere left to turn. We also campaign for changes to laws affecting children and young people, to stop the mistakes of the past being repeated in the future. Our supporters around the country fund our services and join our campaigns to show children and young people they are on their side.