Looking after looked after children: sharing emerging practice

Document type
Guidance
Author(s)
Bunting, Mary
Publisher
YoungMinds
Date of publication
1 February 2007
Subject(s)
Mental health services, Health Services, Social Work, Social Care and Social Services
Collection
Social welfare
Material type
Reports

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This publication aims to address the particular issues of how in practice to work with children and their carers to promote children’s positive mental health and to tackle more persistent difficulties. Rates of mental health disorder are between four and five times higher amongst looked after children compared to children in the general population. Children in care have less success in the education system than their peers and are far less likely to go on to university. Between a quarter and a half of rough sleepers have been in care, and around half of adults in prison spent some time in care as children. The reasons for this are complex, relating to children’s experiences before they enter the care system as well as to the trauma of separation from their families, and sometimes communities, whilst in care. It is known that improving the mental health of children also has a positive impact on their ability to form positive relationships with peers and adults, their success at school and a whole range of outcomes as adults.

This exemplar aims to illustrate some of the many examples of how child and adolescent mental health services working in partnership with children and their carers and other professionals can improve outcomes for children. There is no one model service but the examples aim to illustrate a range of evidence-based and creative approaches. These services recognise the challenge of meeting the diverse needs of children in care and the importance of working closely with foster carers, residential workers, social workers and teachers, as well as directly with children and young people themselves.

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