27 Oct 2017

Responding to the Care Quality Commission’s report on child and adolescent mental health services Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, said:

“This report paints an all-too familiar picture of the shocking state of children’s mental health. Despite increased attention and investment, services remain fragmented and are increasingly overstretched, and too many children are suffering as a result.

“Vulnerable children in desperate need of help are facing agonising waits for treatment, in many cases without anyone checking in on them to make sure their condition isn’t deteriorating, leaving families at crisis point with no-one to step in and help. Even worse, many children struggling with their mental health do not even make it onto the waiting list. The Children’s Society’s own research has found that 30,000 children are being turned away from mental health services every year, and not receiving any support or treatment whatsoever.

“The report also sheds light on how children are still being let down once they do get treatment. The CQC found that 2 in 5 community services are inadequate or require improvement to effectively respond to children’s needs and that unacceptable numbers of services are unsafe. Our own analysis has found that children missed 157,000 mental health appointments last year and that many missed appointments were not followed up by health professionals to check that the children concerned were safe and well. This unresponsive and unsafe system must reform.

“Poor quality children’s mental health services cannot be allowed to continue – there is too much at stake. The government needs to set maximum waiting times, action needs to be taken to reduce missed appointments and when children do miss appointments they must be safeguarded. The current investment focussed on transforming these services for our children comes to an end in 2020 but the Government needs to start thinking now about more, long term investment, beyond 2020, in order to solve some of these intractable problems.”

Media contact:

The Children’s Society media team on media@childrenssociety.org.uk or 0207 841 4422 (office hours) mobile: 078107 96508 (24 hours).

Notes to editors
• 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.