Agenda item

Annual Health of Looked After Children report

Report by the Director of Children’s Services


36.1     The Panel considered a report from Dr Katyoon Asfarpad Designated Doctor for LAC  and Linda Burgess, Designated Nurse for LAC. The report detailed the health needs of children and young people who are already in care or who are coming into care and the way in which these needs are managed. The Panel were informed that all Designated LAC professionals within the Sussex CCGs (Clinical Commissioning Groups) have contributed towards the report.


36.2     The Panel were updated on developments regarding the health of LAC and the health services provided for them for the 2018/19 period.  This update included details on:

·         Ofsted Inspections: the quality of Health assessments for LAC were positively highlighted by Ofsted in the East Sussex inspection and received an outstanding rating. 

·         Safeguarding standards: since April 2019 all CCG contracts for providing services for LAC must meet the requirements of the Sussex Safeguarding Standards which include having a named lead for the child or young person.


·         Initial Health Assessments: there is a multi-agency focus on improving meeting statutory timescales for Initial Health Assessments (IHA) for LAC.

·         Reporting requirements: there are plans moving forward to standardise and align reporting requirements for service providers across Sussex, this will allow for more accurate data comparisons and will aim to reduce variation in data collection methods.

·         Continuity of care: the Designated Doctor and Designated Nurses are working with health care providers across Sussex to ensure that key principles regarding medical records of children who are adopted are being applied. This includes, for example, ensuring that health records held by an organisation are managed appropriately to ensure continuity of care as the child moves from one health provider to another.

36.3     The Panel asked whether mental health support for LAC was being treated as a key priority and whether  joint working across services was ensuring that support was in place. In response, the Panel were informed that Designated Professionals are working closely with CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) to improve the waiting times for support for LAC.. One aspect of this work includes, for example, Designated Professionals holding regular meetings with the Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust to ensure that mental health services are  being treated as a priority. The Panel were also informed of a key development which means that all health professionals can now make a referral for LAC support from  CAMHS, whereas previously this could only be done by a child’s social worker.

36.4     The Panel discussed waiting times for mental health support for children and young people. In particular members were concerned about the impact of delays in support being provided for LAC. The Panel therefore agreed that a letter should be sent by Councillor Tidy to the Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust highlighting the  concern and asking what steps could be taken to reduce waiting times for this especially vulnerable group.


36.5     RESOLVED:

1) to note the report; and

2) Councillor Tidy to write on behalf of the Panel to the Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust regarding waiting times for mental health support for LAC.


Supporting documents: