I write this in response to Charlie Jackson’s (BACP) March 2017 report Working in the NHS the state of childrens services, that shows professionals in children’s therapeutic services perceive them to be inadequate, with practitioners not able to provide sufficient therapy and losing morale, and children needing to have extreme behavioural issues before they are even considered for help.
- Almost a third of participants currently working in NHS children’s services reported that their service would be downsizing and some participants also reported that their service was facing closure.
- Almost two-thirds of respondents stated that in their service the NHS banding (which dictates pay as well as complexity/seniority of job role) for counselling and psychotherapy roles had already or was planned to be downgraded.
- Participants saw worrying signs of declining services for children:
- 84 per cent of respondents reported that children have needed to have increasingly severe levels of illness in order to get help over the past five years.
- 76 per cent reported that the number of posts is currently inadequate to meet clients’ needs.
- 67 per cent reported that waiting times have got longer over the last 5 years
- 70 per cent reported that waiting times are currently inadequate to meet clients’ needs.
I have a Special Guardianship Order (SGO) for two children with complex psychological issues due to their traumatic early life. I wonder how they will cope as they move from childhood to adolescence and beyond, in a world where even the therapists feel the services they may access, if indeed they are even lucky enough to access those services, are inadequate for their needs.
My children’s future looks uncertain and this uncertainty increases when even the professionals feel their needs may not be met.
The lack of funding and planned cutbacks to children’s therapeutic services will create more expense in future, meaning savings made now will be wiped out with future need. Surely it is cost efficient to provide support and therapy for young children and their families, before the angst of adolescence sets in and problems begin to spiral out of control with more and more services being needed into adulthood?
Lack of therapeutic services may mean Special Guardians find it increasingly difficult to cope with their children’s behaviour and may have to place them back into Local Authority Care. The impact of these costs and, in the future, on Mental Health Inpatient Units and Prisons is surely massively reduced by providing traumatised children suitable therapeutic help in a timely manner before problems escalate.