Today I read this shocking article in Children and Young People Now about the number of neglected children in mental health wards who have been denied access to professional support services during lockdown.
In the numerous children act cases in which I have been instructed during my family law career, the involvement of specialist child experts has been an invaluable help and resource for not only the children themselves but for the Judges and lawyers assisting the various family members involved.
Most shocking of all is that there has apparently been a 67% fall in the number of advocates visiting children who are detained. It is hard to imagine the isolation for them in an already hugely challenging environment. Let's hope that the highlighting of this issue by the Children's Commissioner Anne Longfield will raise awareness and result in some major steps to address this very soon.
Children in mental health wards 'missed-out on support during lockdown' Joe Lepper Thursday, October 22, 2020 Children detained in hospital mental health wards during lockdown struggled to access family therapy and advocacy support, the children’s commissioner for England has warned. Anne Longfield warns that children 'may have needed to have their concerns heard more than ever'. Picture: Alex Devrill Children’s commissioner Anne Longfield says visits to children on mental health wards from outside professionals, such as therapy and advocacy, have “dropped alarmingly”. While some of these services have adapted to working remotely, to adhere to social distancing guidelines, “online support will often not be an adequate substitute for engaging with children experiencing severe difficulties”, said Longfield.