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Children and young people

In the news

Key issues and topics of interest to nurses working with infants, children and young people 

The mental health needs of young people with learning disabilities are overlooked despite an increased risk - new report

Children and young people with learning disabilities are much more likely to develop mental health problems yet their needs are too often overlooked warns a new report by the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition.

Overshadowed finds that children and young people with learning disabilities are more than four times more likely to develop a mental health problem than average. This means that 14% or one in seven of all children and young people with mental health difficulties in the UK will also have a learning disability.

See: Overshadowed. The mental health needs of children and young people with learning disabilities 

Disabled children

The Disabled Children’s Partnership has identified a £434 million funding gap for social care support for disabled children and their families. The survey of 3,400 parents found:

  • only 4% of parents say they receive the right support to care for their disabled children safely
  • 53% of parents have been forced to give up a paid job to care for their disabled child
  • more than a third (37%) of parent carers say their disabled child has missed school or college because the staff or services are not available to support them
  • a third (33%) of parents/ carers say their disabled child has been in unnecessary extra pain because the right equipment, doctor or health service hasn’t been available.

See: Give it back - a film clip produced by the Disabled Children’s Partnership.

Blended diet

The number of children and young people receiving liquidised food via a gastrostomy is on the increase. The general position statements from the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPHGAN) and the Association of UK Dieticians (BDA) is that this is not recommended due to lack of published research to support its use.
 
The BDA has created a practice tool kit to help enable UK based clinicians to support their patients and provide practical recommendations on the use of liquidised foods via gastrostomy tubes. This will help to reduce variation in clinical practice nationwide and improve clinical effectiveness, minimise risks, improve patient outcomes and make recommendations for further research.
 
Blended diets for children and young people via a gastrostomy tube are a new and developing area of practice and as such organisations providing care to this groups of people need to undertake a robust risk assessment, have a clear agreed policy in place approved by clinical governance team/Director of Nursing and for staff to be appropriately trained in any new technique so that they have the required knowledge, skills and competence.

See: Practice toolkit liquidised food via gastrostomy tube

Air pollution

One in ten child asthma cases 'linked to traffic pollution'. Polluted air is also putting an estimated half a million children in the UK at risk of having a potentially life-threatening asthma attack. This needs to change (BBC News, 2019).

Knife crime

The UK and Wales are often seen as two of the areas in the world where crime is not all that high, but since the start of 2018, crime and especially knife-related crimes have been increasing particularly amongst young people (iNews, 2019)

A recent research report published by Ofsted highlighted the role education could play in addressing. Recommendations include:

  • local community safety partnerships should involve schools in developing and implementing strategies to address serious youth violence
  • the Department for Education (DfE) should collect data about the managed moves of children between schools
  • safeguarding partners should involve schools in assessing and responding to local needs
  • schools should share full information with one another when children move between education settings
  • and schools should consider how their personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE) curriculum reflects local issues, including knife crime. 

There are both national and local strategies in place:

Gang violence 

The Children’s Commissioner for England has published a report looking at children and young people in England who are members of gangs. The report is based on findings from a 12 month engagement programme with children, their families and professionals, analysis of data, learning from serious case reviews, and research. It estimates that: 313,000 children and young people aged 10-17 know a street gang member and 34,000 children who have been the victims of a violent crime in the past 12 months either are a gang member, or know a gang member.

The report looks at:

  • the characteristics of children involved in gangs
  • the children most at risk of being groomed and exploited by gangs
  • how those responsible for safeguarding children responded to the rise in gang violence
  • the Government’s response
  • and how children and young people can be kept safe from gang violence.

Recommendations include: the Government needs to be clear that child criminal exploitation is a national priority, and lay-out expectations for all the organisations working with children, including the police, schools, children’s services and NHS bodies. See: Children's Commissioner report - Who are they? Where are they?

Children and young people locked up

A new study by Anne Longfield, the children’s commissioner for England, shows that there were 1,465 children in England securely detained in 2018. An estimated 873 of these children were held in youth justice settings, 505 were in mental health wards and 87 were in secure children’s homes for their own welfare. This costs the public purse around £300m a year, Ms Longfield calculated – although this excludes what is spent on ‘invisible’ children whose settings the state does not have information about. Medium Secure Mental Health Settings are the most expensive form of provision, at £1,611 a day or £588,015 a year. Secure Children’s Homes have an estimated cost per child of £210,000 per year, with Secure Training Centres at £160,000 a year and Young Offender Institutions at £76,000. The commissioner’s research also found 211 children whose Deprivation of Liberty has been authorised by a court but whose whereabouts in the system is invisible because they do not fit into any of the categories for which there is published data.

Page last updated - 31/05/2019