In the Media

Children in custody | @guardianletters

PUBLISHED December 2, 2013

Sarah Wollaston's account of the state of mental health provision for children is correct ? it's patchy and in some cases appalling (Report, 28 November). According to a report by Lord Bradley in 2009, police custody was the least developed in the offender pathway in terms of engagement with health and social services, and yet it provides the greatest opportunity for early intervention and change. We had similar concerns about the variance and quality of care received by the 10,000 children and young people being held in secure settings such as young offender institutions and secure children's homes. So earlier this year we published new standards to improve their healthcare. All children have a right to a high level of healthcare and for these young people ? some of the UK's most vulnerable ? it is crucial. We urge the government to set new standards to ensure that any child in police custody receives high-quality care at the right place and right time. Dr Hilary Cass President, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health

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