Children’s Commissioner for Wales: ‘Major change needed’ in mental health and wellbeing care for vulnerable children

Some of Wales’ most vulnerable children are being bounced between services who cannot agree who is responsible for their care, according to a new in-depth report published today (23 June) by the Children’s Commissioner for Wales.

According to the Commissioner, in most areas of Wales children experiencing distress with mental health, emotional wellbeing and behavioural issues are not getting the help they need. She said that as the nation slowly and carefully begins to plan its recovery from the pandemic it is more important than ever to ensure services come together to provide tailored help that meets their individual needs, and avoids them having to navigate complicated systems and multiple sources of help.

The Commissioner said getting support should be a simple and smooth process and that no child should be told that they are at the ‘wrong door’ when they ask for help. The Commissioner wants every part of Wales to take action towards a ‘no wrong door’ approach, learning from the practical examples from across Wales which are highlighted in her report and from the positive changes that have emerged in services as a result of the pandemic.

The report sets out a series of recommendations for all Regional Partnership Boards around their duties, and for the Welsh Government, including the need for robust accountability mechanisms and to ensure funding, support and monitoring of work towards long-term strategies. The Commissioner has committed to meeting with every Regional Partnership Board again in 2021-22 in order to check up on and evaluate their progress against her recommendations. Young people will be invited to accompany the Commissioner at these meetings.

Professor Holland said: “We can and must completely change how some of our most vulnerable children’s needs are responded to. Too often, I hear of situations where health, social care and other professionals are, sometimes literally, arguing over the heads of children with complex needs; when they cannot agree who is responsible for their care. As one young person told me during this work: We need to unite to un-complicate.”

Read more about the report