Health assessments trigger necessary support services for looked after children but they are carried out inconsistently across Scotland to the potential detriment of many young people, children’s charity Barnardo’s Scotland said today (Wed March 11).
Health Boards across Scotland were asked under FOI (Freedom of Information) to detail how they approached health assessments for looked after children and care leavers. The results have been published today in a report titled: Care In Mind: Health Assessments for Looked-after Children. It is the second report in a series by Barnardo’s Scotland which examines policies and practices across many different agencies to improve the mental health and wellbeing of looked-after children and care leavers.
The report makes a number of recommendations, including:
David Ferguson, Assistant Director of Policy and Influencing at Barnardo’s Scotland, said:
“We’re proud to be drawing attention to the mental health and wellbeing of looked after children and care leavers, which is too often forgotten among the many struggles that they face. As the Independent Care Review recently concluded, access to the right services at the right time can make all the difference. Health Assessment for looked after children can be the start of a journey of recovery, and it’s time Scotland’s policy and practice improved.”
Barnardo’s Scotland drew the report together with support from Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, Monica Lennon. Commenting on the report she said:
“All children deserve to grow up in a loving and nurturing environment – and the Independent Care Review, informed by those with lived experience of care, has outlined a way for that ambition to become a reality for all looked after children in Scotland.
“Worryingly, the findings of this research reveal a huge level of inconsistency and a general lack of data about the health and emotional wellbeing of looked after children. It’s clear we need to see significant improvements to ensure that our commitments to looked after children are delivered.
“I urge Scottish Ministers to act on the findings of the Barnardo’s Scotland report so that improving mental health outcomes for looked after children is made a reality.”
The full report can be read here.
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