Improving local mental health services for children who have experienced abuse or neglect

Last updated: 09 Aug 2019 Topics: Mental health

Children and young people who have been abused or neglected can develop a range of mental health problems (Norman, 2012; Independent Inquiry Into Child Sexual Abuse, 2017). So it’s vital that they are provided with appropriate support.

Between 2015 and 2021 Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in England are expected to produce and annually refresh Local Transformation Plans (LTPs). These plans set out how local services will invest resources to improve children’s and young people’s mental health.

The NSPCC checks the plans to identify whether they:

  • assess the level of need for groups most vulnerable to mental health problems in their local population
  • provide services for these children informed by the needs assessment.

We have also created a toolkit to help commissioners, local authorities and other stakeholders understand how their plans can better meet the mental health needs of vulnerable children.

Assessing local mental health plans

Analysis of Local Transformation Plans for children’s mental health services

Every year the NSPCC examines the extent to which Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in England are taking into account the increased vulnerability of certain groups of children and young people (including those who have been abused or neglected) when planning local mental health services.

Each CCG’s Local Transformation Plan is given a rating based on how well it captures the needs of children:

  • Red means the plan contains no recognition of the increased vulnerability of some children and young people (including those who have been abused or neglected) to mental health problems.
  • Amber means the plan includes some recognition of increased vulnerability of groups of children and young people to mental health problems. It may include data from service provision and Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA).
  • Green means the plan makes explicit use of data from service provision and JSNA about children and young people vulnerable to mental health problems. The plan also uses data to assess local need and inform service provision.

Key findings from Transforming mental health services for children who have been abused: July 2019.

In 2019, we examined the fourth round of mental health service plans. Almost all of the 195 Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in England were covered by a Local Transformation Plan. The most recent report found some positive steps have been taken since the previous rounds of assessment, with more CCGs recognising the particular needs of children who have been abused and neglected.

Key findings:

  • There have been improvements in the way local partners consider the needs of the most vulnerable. 18% of areas are covered by green rated plans, the highest figure so far.
  • The percentage of CCGs with red rated plans has fallen from 37% in 2015/16 to 2% this year.
  • However there is still inconsistency in the way the needs of children who have been abused are taken into account in mental health commissioning.

Download the report

We recommend NHS England, commissioners and local partners should prioritise the needs of children who have experienced abuse and commission services with a commitment to ensuring that those who have been abused benefit from specialist mental health provision.


Citation

Please cite as: NSPCC (2019) Transforming mental health services for children who have been abused: July 2019. London: NSPCC.


Download full report

Transforming mental health services for children who have been abused: July 2019 (PDF)

Toolkit

Toolkit

Developing a Local Transformation Plans toolkit

Our analysis shows much room for improvement in the way vulnerable groups of children are considered in child mental health service design. So in 2017 we held a series of interactive workshops to share best practice about planning mental health provision for these vulnerable children. The toolkit was developed from these discussions.


Contents of the toolkit

The toolkit includes guidance and examples of best practice on:

  • recognising that some groups of children are more vulnerable to mental health problems than the wider population, including children who have been abused and children in care
  • carrying out a needs analysis of vulnerable groups using a range of sources
  • providing evidence-based services for vulnerable groups
  • engaging with children and young people
  • collaboration and information sharing between Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and other stakeholders
  • outcomes and indicators to measure progress.

Citation

Please cite as: NSPCC (2018) Local Transformation Plans toolkit: guidance on how best to design and deliver services for children who have been abused and neglected. London: NSPCC.


Download the toolkit

Local Transformation Plans toolkit: guidance on how best to design and deliver services for children who have been abused and neglected (PDF)

References

Local Transformation Plans reports

NSPCC (2018) Local Transformation Plans toolkit: Guidance on how best to design and deliver services for children who have been abused and neglected. London: NSPCC.

NSPCC (2019) Transforming mental health services for children who have been abused: July 2019. London: NSPCC.

NSPCC (2018) Transforming mental health services for children who have been abused: July 2018. London: NSPCC.

NSPCC (2017) Transforming mental health services for children who have been abused: a review of local transformation plans for children and young people's mental health and wellbeing: review of refreshed plans 2016/17London: NSPCC.

NSPCC (2016) Transforming mental health services for children who have experienced abuse: a review of local transformation plans. London: NSPCC.

References

Independent Inquiry Into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) et al. (2017) The impacts of child sexual abuse: a rapid evidence assessment: summary report (PDF). London: Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

Norman, R. E. et al (2012) The long-term health consequences of child physical abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect: a systematic review and meta-analysis. PLOS Medicine 9(11).

Further reading

For further reading about the mental health needs of children and young people who have experienced abuse or neglect, search the NSPCC Library catalogue using the keywords "Child abuse" and "Psychological effects".

If you need more specific information, please contact our Information Service.