Identifying and addressing the mental health needs of children in care

The questions below were posed to a mixed audience of practitioners, carers, researchers and care leavers at Rees Centre webinar, 3 June 2015.
Recording link (54 mins) mp4 file 
Slides from webinar presentation.

Please add your own responses to the comments to the box below.

1.Which aspects of ‘ordinary care’ can influence young people’s mental health? Which of these can you influence?

Responses from webinar participants included managing contact well, how birth parents are talked about by carers, knowing (or not) what is going to happen in the future, family values and expectations. Integration of a looked after child into a foster home and sense of equity with foster siblings.

2. At the time of primary/secondary school transition, how can we ensure that intervention effects carry across contexts (e.g. between placements or home to school)?

How can we improve the evidence to help commissioners make the best decisions when choosing interventions?

Responses included the need to value foster carers as a full and vital part of the professional team, very close working between carer and school so that what happens at home is communicated to (and appropriately responded to by) school and vice versa and the need for consistent use of LAC reviews to make sure everyone knows what they should be doing.

Projects linked to mental health of looked after children

The presentation and discussion were led by Dr Nikki Luke (Rees Centre) and Helen Drew (University of Sussex) and linked to two mental health projects involving the Rees Centre:

What works in preventing and treating mental health in looked after children? is an NSPCC/Rees Centre report looking at the strength of the evidence for a range of interventions in this area.

Key Messages from this report

Supporting the mental health of looked after children across the primary to secondary transition is a current research project between the Universities of Sussex, Surrey, the Rees Centre at the University of Oxford, Sussex Partnership NHS Trust and Virtual Schools and schools across England.



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