The Government has amended the Children & Social Work Bill to ensure that local authorities must always consider both the physical and mental health of children when carrying out their duties as corporate parents.
In a series of amendments yesterday, the Government also ensured that local authorities will be obliged to reach out to care leavers and offer them the extra support the Bill provides for, rather than care leavers having to request it.
Emma Smale, Head of Policy and Research at Action for Children and Co-Chair of the Alliance for Children in Care and Care Leavers said:
"We are very pleased that the government has listened to the many concerned voices calling for important changes to the Children and Social Work Bill, changes that will promote good mental health and emotional well being in children as they grow up in care and prepare to leave it.
Action for Children has been calling for stronger requirements on councils and the NHS to consider the mental health and emotional well being of children as well as their physical health when carrying out their duties.
As part of the Alliance for Children in Care and Care Leavers, and with the support of several medical colleges, Action for Children has been calling for stronger requirements on councils and the NHS to consider the mental health and emotional wellbeing of children as well as their physical health when carrying out their duties.
The Alliance was also concerned that responsibility for receiving the additional leaving care support outlined in the Bill lay with care leavers themselves rather than with local authorities.
By incorporating several amendments on these issues the government is helping to guarantee greater focus on supporting children to recover from the psychological impact of neglect and abuse. We urge the government to go further to ensure that children’s mental health needs are picked up on and addressed early.”
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