Devon chosen to be in one of the largest trials to improve mental health services for children

A group of children facing the camera, smiling and with their thumbs upThere will be an extra £11.5 million for hard-pressed children’s services. That’s a rise of over 9.4 per cent.

Posted on: 7 February 2019

Devon County Council is one of only nine local authorities chosen to be part of a trial that aims to improve the mental health of children across the UK.

It’s described by the Government as one of the largest trials in the world, and it will work with schools and services including Children & Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).

Up to 370 schools across the country will be involved, but in Devon the trial will focus on support specifically for children who are in the care of the local authority.

Details about the two-year trial have yet to be decided, but in Devon it’s expected to run in conjunction with CAMHS.

The purpose of the trial is to see what types of service are most effective in supporting children’s mental health and wellbeing, gathering evidence about what works best.

Aside from work in schools, the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families – which will lead the trial – will run pilots that will improve mental health assessments for children entering the care system.

Devon has around 740 children in its care.  An estimated half of all children in care meet the criteria for a possible mental health disorder, compared to just one in ten children outside the care system.

Dr Jessica Deighton from the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, said:
 
“We need to better identify the mental health needs of the most vulnerable children in society, particularly children in the care system, and an improved mental health framework will greatly help.”

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