Background: The UK Department of Health has produced guidance on the statutory health assessment required for identifying and managing their health needs.
Methods and Design: We carried out a retrospective review of our looked-after children and young people (LACYP) caseloads in North Somerset Local Authority between Jan and Dec 2018 to ensure national standards are being met and provide a benchmark for future quality improvements.
Results: A total of 96 LACYP were identified, with equal Male/Female ratio, and average age of 82 months (ranging between 5 months and 18 years old). 58 (60%) of them were seen for only initial health assessments (IHA), while the others were seen for both IHA and Adoption Assessment (18%) or Adoption assessments only (22%). The average age of LACYP at IHA was 89 months, 20 months at Adoption health assessment (AHA) and 44months at review AHA. The average age of 38 LACYP who had either an adoption or review adoption health assessments (RAHA) was 3 years and 1 month compared to 9yrs 5 months for those who only had IHAs. 16 of the examined cohort (17%) ceased to be LAC within the year, with slight (56%) female predominance.
The largest proportion of LACYP planned for adoption were aged between 1 and 4 years (58%) with average age of 3 years and 1 month, while 24% were under 1 year, and 18% aged 5 to 9-year olds.
Twice as many LACYP were seen in Spring months (33%) compared to the those seen in Summer months (16%). 15 (11%) of the offered 136 clinics were not attended by 11 LACP. 45 of the LACYP (47%) were under section 20 accommodation (Children’s Act 1989) while the others were subject to various court orders including interim and supervision orders.
Conclusion: Further research is needed to assess how to optimally address the high levels of physical and mental health needs of LACYP through the statutory health assessments.