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Children's home changes announced

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Improvements are set to be made over health services for vulnerable children and young people in the secure estate after changes announced by the government.

Care services minister Paul Burstow said that responsibility for health commissioning in secure children’s homes and training centre is set to pass to the NHS, in order to ensure that people with complex needs are given the best healthcare. This will bring responsibility for such facilities in line with provisions for Young Offender Institutions.

Mr Burstow, left, said: “Everyone should get access to the right kind of care. Children and young people in secure settings often have far more unmet health and social needs than other children their age. These can include poor communication skills, mental health problems and learning difficulties.

“It is therefore vital that this group benefits from well-commissioned health services, particularly in mental health assessment and treatment. By transferring responsibility to the NHS, we can improve the health and well-being of these children and young people, potentially reduce rates of re-offending.”

Professor Louis Appleby, the national clinical director for health and criminal justice, said: “By ensuring these vulnerable young people are receiving health services delivered through the NHS, we can guarantee a consistently high level of quality across the entire secure estate for young people in England.

“It will also mean that, at times of transition such as when they pass back into community services or into adult services, there is continuity of care and people are not allowed to fall through gaps in the system.”

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