The focus on mental health in the Queen’s Speech is a welcome step forward, but the Government is still overlooking the crisis facing services for vulnerable children. It also fails to say how young people’s interests will be protected during Brexit.
We urgently need a review of how the social care needs of vulnerable children will be met, alongside the consultation of adult care announced in the Queen’s Speech.
The Government continues to overlook the crisis facing children’s services. Demand is outstripping resource leaving thousands of children missing out on the help they need, including children in local authority care, children who have been abused and neglected, and young people with disabilities. Without additional funding, social care will become an emergency service – stepping in only when children reach crisis point.
Schools play a vital role in tackling the mental health crisis in our classrooms. We welcome the Government’s commitment to prioritise mental health alongside physical health in the NHS. But if we are serious about giving children the best possible start in life, we need an equivalent change to prioritise wellbeing in the education system, as well as academic achievement. Schools must have the resources they need to promote emotional wellbeing and bring in specialist support for a child should they need it.
So far the Government has said nothing about the likely impact of Brexit on children and young people. As we negotiate our exit from the EU ministers must act in the best interests of children and young people. This means continuing international cooperation to protect children from trafficking and sexual abuse. It also means that children living in UK shouldn’t be forced to leave if their welfare would suffer as a consequence.