Calls for joint service plans to improve care of looked-after children

Children’s trusts should develop joint service plans for looked-after children spanning health, education and social care services, according to proposals announced by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (Nice).

The draft guidance, drawn up by Nice alongside the Social Care Institute for Excellence, aims to improve the quality of life for children in the care system.

It also calls for more training on looked-after children for professionals, primary carers and social workers as well as moves to ensure carers and their families receive high-quality ongoing support.

Other measures include continuing to support students throughout their time at university or higher education colleges, helping to promote a child’s personal identity and providing a choice of culturally appropriate placements for children from minority backgrounds.

The draft guidance is open to public consultation until 14 April with the final guidance due to be published in September 2010.

Professor Mike Kelly, public health excellence centre director at Nice, said: “We know a high proportion of looked-after children and young people experience emotional and mental health problems.

“This guidance, when it is published later this year, will aim to help more looked-after children achieve good emotional and physical health, and do well in their education.”

The draft guidance is available on the Nice website.