BASW welcomes the publication of the Green Paper: Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Services.
As an association we have long pointed to deficiencies in the mental health system that let children, young people and their families down and hinder social workers from providing the high-quality support that they are trained to give.
Therefore, it is encouraging to see recognition by the Government that CAMHS is overburdened and that the under-resourcing needs addressing urgently.
But from a social work perspective, and based on a survey of BASW England’s membership, the Green Paper falls short in four key areas by failing to address the need for a holistic all-ages, full range of mental health health services.
Greater recognition and inclusion of the role(s) of the social worker in meeting the mental health needs of children and young people. Clearly defining the role of the social worker as part of the Green Paper and training and recruiting more social workers to work specifically in the new mental health support teams. Social workers need to be empowered to focus on child centred relationship-based social work which they are professionally trained to undertake.
The inclusion of Looked After Children at every stage of the Green Paper process, providing for their needs as part of the new proposals by including their need as a core part of the new training programs and implementing the recommendations of the SCIE Expert Working Group on Improving Mental Health Support for Children in Care.
Expand the remit of the mental health support teams to cover early years provision, providing incentives for nursery staff to undertake tailored mental health awareness training. This should be delivered against a backdrop of halting further closures to children’s centres and conducting a joined-up audit of where provision is currently falling short.
Provide ring-fenced funding for local specialist services to ensure that once a mental health problem is identified, the services exist to refer that child or young person to. The existing postcode lottery is unsustainable and unfair.
The full response can be viewed here.