Gloucestershire has been named as a Pathfinder authority by the Government for supporting children and young people at risk of or experiencing emotional or mental health needs.
That means that Gloucestershire County Council and Gloucestershire Primary Care Trust (PCT) working together will get additional funding from the Government to support these vulnerable children through their schools. This will be £325,000 for 2008/09, £222,000 for 09/10 and £155,000 for 10/11.
Improving the emotional health and wellbeing of children and young people is a key priority in the Gloucestershire Children and Young People’s Plan. This funding will help implement our Emotional Health and Wellbeing Strategy, which has just been agreed by all the main organisations working with children (January 2008).
Gloucestershire will be targeting four groups of schools, selected on the needs of children in the area – one group in Gloucester, one in Cheltenham, one in the Forest of Dean and one in Cirencester. The project will be evaluated during its second and third years to find out whether it’s been successful and whether it could be extended to the rest of the county.
The Pathfinder funding will help schools develop existing services which have an impact on children and young people’s emotional health and well-being, including healthy schools, work to tackle bullying and a primary mental health worker for schools. It will also build on services already delivered successfully for children and young people by organisations working together, including implementing the Emotional Health & Wellbeing Strategy, services provided by Youth Offending Service (YOS) and health and social care professionals working together to support vulnerable children in care.
General services will be aimed at the whole school community, with more targeted services for children with greater needs and support aimed at vulnerable groups, including children with disabilities and Black & Minority Ethnic children.
It’s hoped the project will have an impact on:
- Reducing persistent absence from school
- Reducing permanent exclusions
- Reducing referrals to social care and CAMHS (Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service)
- Reducing re-referrals to social care and CAMHS
- Increasing the number of children choosing healthy lifestyles
- Raising the educational attainment of children
- Increasing the number of children who are ‘happy’ or ‘quite happy’ most of the time
Cllr Joan Nash, Cabinet Member for Schools, said: “I am delighted that Gloucestershire County Council has been awarded this status. This will build on the good practice already going on in the county’s schools to promote the importance of good mental health. This funding will enable relevant services to target those children and young people who are most in need of prevention and intervention. This will not only impact on their mental wellbeing, but will also improve their overall health and ultimately, their educational attainment.”
Jan Stubbings, Chief Executive of Gloucestershire Primary Care Trust, said: “The award of Pathfinder status is testament to the effective joint working and co-operation that exists between the NHS, County Council and a range of other community partners in Gloucestershire. This extra funding and the opportunities we now have to develop existing services means we can do even more to support vulnerable children and young people and lead on developing best practice which will benefit other areas of the country.”
Gloucestershire is one of 25 council areas named as Pathfinders for the Targeted Mental Health in Schools project.
Source: Gloucestershire County Council