Barnardos calls for immediate reform of CAMHS for children in care

Posted on Tuesday 24 January 2023 in Press Releases

24 January 2023: Barnardos is calling on Government to improve support for children in care experiencing mental health issues in response to the report by the Mental Health Commission which has highlighted significant deficits in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).
The Mental Health Commission’s report yesterday was extremely concerning. When children are refused CAMHS support, for example for failure to meet thresholds, there is often nowhere else appropriate for them to go to receive mental health support. Their mental health and wellbeing can deteriorate as a result. 
Freda McKittrick, Head of the Barnardos Guardians ad Litem Service said: “Nowhere is this more concerning than for children in the care of the State. Guardians ad Litems working with Barnardos routinely report that there is a failure of the current system to provide adequate mental health support to children in care, particularly in relation to CAMHS."
These children are often among the most vulnerable in the country. In addition to mental health issues they will often have experienced significant trauma and be suffering from additional adversities. The lack of a multi-disciplinary approach for children in care around mental health support jeopardises their mental health, as well as the care they receive for other needs they have, such as in relation to a disability diagnosis. A lack of adequate mental health can exacerbate their issues, further traumatise them, and lead to a deterioration of their health and wellbeing. In this way, the State can fail in their duty to protect these children, particularly concerning as their families and parents are not in a position to advocate further on their behalf. This needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency. 
The Barnardos Guardians ad Litem Service was established in 1997 – the service is based in Dublin and Cork, and covers all areas of Ireland.
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