The Fostering Network welcomes the publication of Achieving Emotional Wellbeing for Looked After Children, a recently released report produced by the NSPCC. The report explores the causes of poor mental health among looked after children and considers how services in local areas can work together to ensure a care system that prioritises good emotional wellbeing for looked after children.
Madeleine Tearse, policy manager at The Fostering Network, said ‘This important report from the NSPCC draws attention to a critical issue facing many children in care. The fact that looked after children are four times more likely to have a mental disorder than children in the general population means that this is an area of need which cannot be ignored. Working with almost 60,000 foster carers we know that promotion of good emotional wellbeing is crucial for placement stability, educational outcomes and overall quality of life. Foster carers need more support to address the wellbeing of the children in their care through improved access to specialist services and professional support mechanisms. We also need to ensure foster carers are given consistent training in issues relating to wellbeing and mental health.'
Based on fieldwork with four local authorities and literature-based research, the NSPCC and its local authority partners identified five priorities for change, which would improve support for the emotional wellbeing of children in care. These are:
- Embed an emphasis on emotional wellbeing throughout the system.
- Take a proactive and preventative approach.
- Give children and young people voice and influence.
- Support and sustaining children’s relationships.
- Support care leavers’ emotional needs.