LGA warns of children's mental health crisis
Councils are struggling to cope with 560 cases of children with mental health problems every day
Published on 2nd July 2019
Councils are struggling to cope with a surge in cases of children with mental health problems, the Local Government Association has warned.
Social services are seeing more than 560 cases of children with mental health disorders every day – an increase of more than 50 per cent in just four years, the Association said.
Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, Chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said: “Councils strive to make sure that every child gets the best start in life and is able to go on and live a healthy, safe and prosperous life.
“It is clear we are facing a children’s mental health crisis, and councils are struggling to provide the support young people so desperately need," she added.
There were 205,720 cases where a child was identified as having a mental health issue in 2017/18, compared with 133,600 in 2014/15 – up 54 per cent.
The LGA is warning of a “children’s mental health crisis” as councils struggle to cope with the huge demand for children with mental illness.
Council leaders are urging the government to inject desperately needed funding into children’s services, which face a £3.1 billion funding gap by 2025, in the Spending Review.
Early intervention services play a vital role in supporting children before problems become more serious later on but over the past decade, local authorities have been forced to strip back or end some of these services as a result of the number of children going into care.
There are currently 75,420 children in the care of councils, who since 2010 have also overseen an 84 per cent increase of children on child protection plans to keep them safe from harm. This level of care is a significantly higher cost for councils and funding pressures are so great that nine in 10 councils are being forced to overspend their children’s social care budgets.
The LGA says it is essential all these services are properly funded if councils are to give children the care and support they need, and prevent them from developing mental health problems.
Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, Chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, added: "Significant funding pressures in children’s services and public health mean many councils are being forced to cut some of the vital early intervention services which can support children with low level mental health issues and avoid more serious problems in later life.
“It is absolutely vital that the government adequately funds these services in this year’s Spending Review, so we can tackle this urgent crisis and make sure children get the help they need. It is the least they deserve and the consequences of not tackling this crisis now can be devastating for young people and their families," she concluded.
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