9 May 2018

Responding to the Education and Health and Social Care Committees’ report on the Government’s Green Paper on Child Mental Health, Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, said:

“Thousands of young people in desperate need of support with their mental health are being failed.  We want the Government to urgently bring forward new funding and to strengthen its plans to improve provision so that all children get the help they need.

“Under the current proposals many children would miss out because the proposed ‘trailblazer’ pilot schemes - in which mental health support teams would provide new help in schools alongside ambitious waiting time targets – may only roll out to about one fifth of the country.  Many more young people could be reached, quickly, if the Government committed to the provision of counsellors in all secondary schools and colleges.

“The Government’s plans do little to improve support for the most vulnerable groups of children, including those affected by sexual abuse and neglect, domestic violence and drug and alcohol misuse, those excluded from school and refugee children.  We would urge ministers to ensure that at least one of the proposed trailblazer schemes should be focused on the most vulnerable children.

“We also want the Government to make up the £2bn estimated shortfall in council children’s services funding to help ensure children get the support they need at an early stage and reduce the likelihood that their mental health will be affected.

“It is unacceptable that children are waiting on average nearly two months for an initial assessment by Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).   However, it is clear that more funding will be needed if the Government’s trial of a four-week waiting time target is to succeed.  

“There is more to do beyond waiting times however and through our own services we have seen the enormous benefits of mental health services providing support for children and young people up to the age of 25.  That’s why we are calling on the Government to make this extended support mandatory to help ensure that no child falls through the cracks between children’s and adult services.”