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BASW responds to Children’s Commissioner’s report

The Children’s Commissioner for England report on children with learning disabilities makes for uncomfortable reading

BASW has responded to this week’s publication from the Children’s Commissioner for England – ‘Far less than they deserve: Children with learning disabilities or autism living in mental health hospitals.

Anne Longfield’s new report says too many children are being admitted to secure hospitals unnecessarily – and reports that in some cases are spending months and years of their childhood in institutions when they should be in their community.

It warns that the current system of support for those with learning disabilities or autism is letting down some of the most vulnerable children in the country.

Among several findings, the report shows he numbers of these children identified in mental health hospitals is increasing – despite government targets to slash the numbers of people with a learning disability or autism in hospital.

Commenting on the report, BASW England professional officer, Gavin Moorghen, who leads on BASW’s children and families PPEG, said: “The report makes for uncomfortable reading.

“Children with learning disabilities and autism are some of the most vulnerable in society and the alienation of parents and family exacerbates the situation, not-least because the children may be left without someone who can advocate for their needs and rights.”

“Evidence tells us that we should be placing children in community-based placements close to their homes, where possible.

“It is, furthermore, essential that all children are treated as individuals and have personalised care plans which are reviewed in partnership with families and with the child’s journey at the centre of any services which are provided.

“BASW England welcomes any measures which are designed to improve the overall experience of these children and provides systems to challenge poor practice.”