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NICE guidelines

The NICE guidelines for the delivery of health and social care services for Looked After Children (see https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ph28/chapter/1-Recommendations#influences-on-the-quality-of-life-of-looked-after-children-and-young-people)

state that “health and social care services [must] include dedicated services to promote the mental health and emotional wellbeing of looked-after children and young people” and these must be “integrated, preferably on the same site, and have expert resources to address physical and emotional health needs. These services should have links with universal services, be friendly, accessible and non-stigmatising”.

There should be provision for the “early identification and prevention of physical and emotional health problems” and providers must “Ensure the multi-agency 'team around the child' (including frontline staff and carers) has access to a consultancy service to support collaboration on complex casework”.

“Such a service could be designed and delivered by in-house experts, external advisers or child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS). This can contribute to children's needs being met and placements being more effectively supported”.

“Evidence suggests that early intervention to promote mental health and wellbeing can prevent the escalation of challenging behaviours and reduce the risk of placement breakdown. Flexible and accessible mental health services are needed that offer skilled interventions to looked-after children and young people and their carers”.

“Ensure that equal priority is given to identifying the needs of those children or young people who may not attract attention because they express emotional distress through passive, withdrawn or compliant behaviour”.

“Ensure that the services include training, support and access to specialist advisers for frontline practitioners, carers and other professionals in the multidisciplinary 'team around the child'”.

The guidance also states that local authorities must “Ensure that all looked-after children and young people have their physical, emotional and mental health needs assessed by appropriately trained professionals” and provide training for caregivers about child development, attachment and the impact of abuse and neglect.

Local Authorities must also make sure that placement choices and changes are supported by the best available information and regularly reviewed to see they are meeting the child’s needs. They must also ensure the quality of residential and foster placements.

BERRI and the associated services LifePsychol provide are uniquely able to address these needs.