The Lenehan Review – These Are Our Children
Working with children and young people with challenging behaviour: changes needed at every level of the system
Last summer the then Minister for Social Care asked me to undertake a review of the system to understand why it continued to fail children and young people with a dual diagnosis of mental health needs and learning disabilities. It wasn’t about individual children or services but a look instead at the wider framework in which they sit.
Three key points became apparent:
- That we need to have national accountability and ownership of this group—of Our Children. They have to be championed, with their human rights protected by Government at every level and by the key professional groups who work with them. It is imperative that clinicians from a range of backgrounds come together to ensure that the knowledge, skills and expertise needed to work with this group are supported and celebrated
- That at a local level we need a clear joint commissioning approach which recognises what is needed at the earliest stage of intervention; that supports children and families to live within their families , communities and schools; and that understands that costs spent on early intervention and support will be expensive , but will be less expensive than institutionalised care and should provide better outcomes
- That families must be recognised as partners in their children’s care and supported at every stage of their child’s journey through the system.
And lastly…. That we need a change to the dynamic for our group of children, one that moves us away from a belief that some sort of institutionalised care away from home is almost inevitable to one which develops new models of care and support, which builds on the fantastic resources on the Paving the Way website, and champions the lives and aspirations of the children and young people themselves.