Mental health services for children who have experienced abuse and neglect Analysis of local area plans for improving mental health services

Child sitting on the floor, looking out the windowWe know that children and young people who have been abused and neglected can develop a range of mental health problems (Norman, 2012; Independent Inquiry Into Child Sexual Abuse, 2017). So it’s vital that they are provided with appropriate support.

Since 2015 Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in England have been required to produce Local Transformation Plans setting out how they will improve children’s mental health in their area. These need to be refreshed annually.

In 2016 we analysed the first set of plans and found that many didn’t recognise and address the mental health needs of children and young people who have been abused.

This year we’ve looked at the refreshed plans to see what progress has been made.

Authors: Ben Sundell, Alana Ryan and Almudena Lara
Published: 2017

We examined the first round of refreshed Local Transformation Plans which were due in October 2016. In total 116 refreshed plans were due for publication but we were only able to access and analyse 98.

We found that, although there has been some improvement over the past year, the particular needs of children who have been abused and neglected are still being overlooked.

Key findings include:

  • 79 per cent of refreshed plans recognise that mental health issues can be attributed to abuse or neglect in childhood, representing an improvement on last year’s results (67 per cent)
  • 16 per cent of the refreshed plans reference an adequate needs analysis for children and young people who have been abused and neglected, in line with last year’s results
  • 29 per cent of refreshed plans do not mention services for children and young people who have been abused and neglected, representing a marginal improvement on last year’s results (34 per cent)
  • 86 per cent of refreshed plans mention services for looked-after children, consistent with last year’s results (85 per cent), but not all of these include references to children and young people who have been abused and neglected
  • plans continue to lack clarity over whether extra resources are being allocated to services for children who have been abused and neglected
  • 93 per cent of refreshed plans involved young people in service design.
About the NSPCC 3
Acknowledgements 3
Executive summary 4
Introduction 5
The impact of abuse and neglect on the mental wellbeing of children 6
Gaps in support 8
Analysis of Local Transformation Plans 10
Data analysed 11
Main findings 12
Best practice 19
Conclusion 22
Annex A 23
Annex B 25
Annex C 27

Please cite as: Sundell, B., Ryan, A. and Lara, A. (2017) Transforming mental health services for children who have been abused: a review of local transformation plans for children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing. Review of refreshed plans 2016/17. London: NSPCC.

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References

  1. Independent Inquiry Into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) et al. (2017) The impacts of child sexual abuse: a rapid evidence assessment: summary report (PDF). London: Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse