Supporting children and young people at risk of being restrained
The Government has published non-statutory guidance on how to support children and young people with learning disabilities, autistic spectrum conditions and mental health difficulties who are at risk of restrictive interventions. The new guidance aims to help education, health and care settings adopt a preventative approach an Ofsted will take account of this in their inspections. Full guidance
Social Media and Mental Health
Using the internet and social media is an important part of life for children and young people. It can be a positive opportunity to learn, to connect with friends and family and to have fun. However, internet use can also expose children to dangers, such as cyberbullying, online grooming and sexual abuse. At the same time, mental health conditions are on the rise with recent data showing that 1 in 8 children and young people between ages 5-19 in England have a mental health problem. Read more here:
Advocacy Services for Children and Young People
The Children’s Commissioner for England has published a new report on the provision of advocacy services to vulnerable children in England. The report, which builds on research carried out in 2016, takes stock of advocacy provided by local authorities three years on and highlights ongoing issues observed by the Children’s Commissioner’s Help at Hand service, which provides advice and help to children in care. It shows that a significant group of children are being denied access to advocacy despite having a statutory entitlement to it, with fewer than 75% of care leavers’ referrals for advocacy being taken forward in some local authorities.
The report which outlines what the law says about the provision of advocacy services, and includes examples of good practice and a series of recommendations, can be downloaded from the Children’s Commissioner website.
Explosion of older children in care
Over the last five years the children’s care model has transformed from one based on very young children living in foster homes, to one where more and more older children are entering care and needing more specialist homes. These are teenagers who are significantly more likely to have the following issues flagged up by social workers: child sexual exploitation (6 times more likely), going missing from home (7 times more likely), gangs (5 times more likely), trafficking (12 times more likely) and child drug misuse (4 times more likely).
Older children and teenagers who enter care also experience much higher levels of instability: they are around 80% more likely (compared to the national average) to experience two or more changes of home within a year. Read the full report here .
Preventative work to reduce entry into care
The What Works Centre have produce some research on the Intensive Family Preservation Services . The service generally seems to help prevent out-of-home placements for children at high risk of entering care. The risk of being placed in care was reduced by 49% for children involved in the service, compared to those who received usual services. Click here for more information