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Timpson new Minister of State for Vulnerable Children & Families

Edward Timpson, previously the Minister of State for Children and Families, has been announced as the Minister of State for Vulnerable Children and Families.

Edward Timpson, previously the Minister of State for Children and Families, has been announced as the Minister of State for Vulnerable Children and Families. This new role comes with the responsibility of making improvements to children’s mental health.

In addition, Timpson has been granted charge of the National Citizen Service (NCS), which is a government social action programme open to those aged 16 and 17 in England. The NCS has recently been allocated £1.2bn in an attempt to engage with approximately 300,000 young people by 2020 when the initiative ends.

The YoungMinds Perspective

Marc Bush, chief policy adviser to YoungMinds, said: "'YoungMinds welcomes the bringing together of a Ministerial portfolio on vulnerable children, which includes early intervention in young people's mental health, the building of children's resilience, and improvement in children's social care and Special Educational Needs.

We hope that this new Ministerial portfolio reflects the Department's commitments to mainstreaming mental health support and securing quicker access to Child & Adolescent Mental Health services (CAMHS) in schools. The Minister must now ensure closer collaboration with the Department of Health to implement Future in Mind, as well as appoint a new champion for children's mental health to fill the vacancy left by Natasha Devon's departure.

The renewed focus on vulnerable children and families is important. Around 1 in 3 adult mental health conditions directly relate to adverse childhood experiences. The Government's Future in Mind and the NHS' Five Year Forward View on Mental Health place an emphasis on meeting the mental health needs of these children, however progress on the ground has been slow - especially from education and children's social care.

Many children in care, care leavers, young carers, those have witnessed domestic violence, or have been neglected are still struggling to get their full needs recognised and met by local services. Their behaviour is too quickly criminalised, pathologised, or medicated. Without a clinical diagnosis, these children are unable to access mental health support and their needs inevitably and unnecessarily escalate to crisis. This is why, for example, children with behavioural, emotional and mental health needs are significantly more likely to be excluded from school than any other group.

Every local area in England is transforming children's mental health services. Schools, children's services and families must be equal partners in these new models of support. The Minister, along with his officials at the Department for Education, must meet existing commitments to promote greater emotional wellbeing, and the building of resilience, in schools.

To this end, our recent 'Beyond Adversity' report focusing on childhood trauma recommended that the Department of Health and Department of Education urgently establish a national expert group exploring the commonalities across all childhood adversities and build a consensus on models of care and practice. We believe that this would building on the progress secured for looked‐after children and care leavers, and establish a greater legacy for the Minister's time in office.'

All details regarding ministerial remits have been published by the Department for Education.

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