Barnardo’s Scotland has published (11 March 2020) the second paper in the organisation’s Care in Mind series, which looks at particular mental health needs of looked after children and care leavers. This new paper investigates the provision of health assessments and, specifically, the way in which local Health Boards are carrying these out and the data that is collected nationally.
The paper highlights inconsistencies in how health assessments are carried out across Scotland, often to the detriment of children in care, and care leavers. It recommends that the policy framework around the delivery of health assessments for looked after children should be improved so that the NHS and Scottish Government guidance reference should complement each other; that any new policy framework should incorporate best trauma informed practice; and that more health data about looked after children should be collected at a local level to inform Health Boards and local authorities.
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.”