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Report sets out new policy recommendations for children and families

Children’s Commissioner for England, Rachel De Souza, has released findings from her survey of more than half a million children aged four to 17 about their lives, including 3,800 children in care 97,000 children with a learning need and 13,000 people with a social worker.

Whilst it shows that 71% of 9-17 year olds and 94% of 6-8 year olds are happy with their lives overall children in care are more likely than their peers who are not in care to be unhappy with their mental health, family life and life at school.

De Souza has called on the government to make “urgent” improvements to support for children in care including more funding for children’s homes, targeted mental health support and reforms to Universal Credit for care leavers.”

Immediate policy recommendations for children’s health include:

  • A more rapid expansion of Mental Health Support Teams, achieved by better utilisation of the voluntary and charitable sectors.
  • A more consistent approach to digital counselling provision across England (it emerged during the pandemic that many children preferred digital counselling).
  • Community mental health hubs to provide children with an open‑access point for NHS services, for both advice and treatment.
  • An action plan to deliver on the goal of 100% of children accessing support when they need it, including the right support in place when children reach crisis point

The report also calls for an expansion of the Family Hubs network to provide an access point in local communities to provide help for families who need it whilst using Family Hubs as a catalyst to make existing public services more accessible, integrated, and efficient – reversing the trend away from investing in early intervention.

Reda the full report here