Children who are Looked After (Children in care) and Care Leavers are more likely to have unmet health needs than their peers and as such require statutory health assessments whilst they are in care in order to help to meet these needs.
The Children Looked After Health Team (CLA) aim to promote the health and well-being of children, young people and Care Leavers who are looked after, this also includes unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. We are responsible for the allocation and completion of statutory health assessments in time for the child’s first CLA review meeting with their social worker or by the anniversary of the child’s last health review.
We care for our cohort of Children who are resident in Somerset or placed out of area and those hosted by us to help improve their health outcomes. We help them to reach their full potential and understand any extra needs they may have.
Initial Health Assessments for all children and young people are undertaken by a Paediatrician within 20 days of them coming into care. Thereafter, review health assessments are offered every 6 months for under 5-year-olds, or annually for over 5-year-olds. Some health assessments for those less complex children are allocated to our Public Health Nursing colleagues within Somerset County Council.
As a team we are available to CLA Children and Young People, and their carers, until they reach 18 years old. For those leaving care, we help with the transition to adult services providing a health summary and signposting to the NHS app. For our most complex Care Leavers, we can offer support as requested.
We are here for CLA to promote their health and to discuss health concerns they may have such as sexual health, drug use or emotional difficulties.
As required, we refer CLA to be seen by another NHS health service, hospital clinic or specialist health service.
We are responsible for a number of key performance indicators such as immunisations. We access data to assess uptake and encourage CLA to undertake the vaccination programme so they are protected against common conditions.
We give advice and information to foster carers on child development, emotional difficulties, diet, nutrition, common health problems and managing risk taking behaviours. We support allied professionals with health advice and provide training as well as attending any meetings within the Safeguarding arena.