Responding to a Barnardo’s study which reveals that two thirds of care leavers identified as having mental health needs were not receiving any help from a statutory service, Cllr Richard Watts, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People Board, said:
“Children come into care in the most difficult circumstances, and giving them the best opportunities to overcome these and get a good start in life is a major focus for councils. This is particularly true as they move from care into adulthood.
“Whilst this research rightly highlights that care leavers are more likely to experience poorer mental health than the general population, we must do more to ensure that all children and young people are able to access emotional health and wellbeing support whenever they need it. With one in 10 children and young people affected by mental health issues, councils are working hard to help those that need care and support to receive it.
“Government must support this vital work by ensuring that the promised £250 million for mental health and wellbeing services is released in full, with greater transparency in how mental health funding is spent.
“Urgent action is also needed to plug the growing funding gap for wider children’s services, projected to reach £2 billion by 2020. Mental health needs are often associated with other factors in a child or young person’s life, and it’s important that councils have the funding available to support families with any other issues that may be impacting upon a child’s wellbeing.”