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Mental Health Services: Children and Young People

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 183141, tabled on 27 April 2023

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that children and young people are not placed in social care settings if mental health interventions are required.

Answered on

5 May 2023

Children’s and young people’s mental health interventions can take place in many contexts and will depend on the clinical needs of the child as to whether interventions are delivered in the community, whilst the child is in a placement, or in an inpatient setting. We are working with Department for Education and NHS England, to ensure that the needs of children in different settings are met fairly and equitably.

Our strategy is to reduce reliance on mental health inpatient beds and to have fewer young people being detained under the Mental Health Act. To support this, the model of inpatient care is being re-designed to enable the move to a more community-based provision of care, where children and young people can access appropriate mental health support in a timely, effective, and person-centred way, at home or close to home and in the least restrictive environment. We also recognise that for some children and young people, admission to hospital will not be the most appropriate way to meet their needs. This has been a focus of the transformation of children and young people’s mental health and continues to be a priority in the NHS Long Term Plan.

We are also working with key stakeholders including the Association of Directors of Children’s Services and the Local Government Association, to consider how we can better work together to deliver children’s social care and health services for children with the most complex needs.

A Task and Finish Group is examining the barriers to commissioning and providing joint care and health provision, and how we can support the sector to better deliver this in future through implementing the recommendations in Stable Homes Built on Love, the Government’s strategy for transforming children’s social care, and building on other ongoing programmes, such as the NHS Long Term Plan.