Foundations For Our Future: Our commitment to improving the emotional health and wellbeing of children and young people

The number of children and young people needing help and support for their emotional health and wellbeing across Sussex grows every year. This is likely to have increased further, and at a faster rate, due to the ongoing crisis we are all facing with coronavirus.

The NHS and local authorities across Sussex are committed to working together to improve the experience and lives of all local children and young people who are vulnerable and need support. We have dedicated staff working in health, social care, education and the voluntary and community sector who work extremely hard together to try to ensure children, young people and their families get the help they need. 

However, feedback we have received from those using services, their families, carers and staff have highlighted that the current system is not working as well as it should. They are telling us that the needs of children, young people and their families and carers must be more at the centre of how we plan, pay for and deliver services. They are telling us that it is not always clear what support is available, from whom or how to access it. 

This is something that all partners have collectively agreed needs to rapidly change as we know how difficult and distressing it is for children, young people and families affected by emotional health or wellbeing issues.

Independent review 

Our commitment to driving real improvement is the reason we commissioned an independently led review called Foundations for Our Future. This allowed us to hear from those that know best how we can provide the right care and support to local children and young people, what works well and what could be improved. This has given us a greater understanding around what needs to change and now means we are able to work together to take bold and ambitious action to make change happen. 

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has meant we have not been able start implementing some of the changes we want to make as we had planned. This is due to urgent need for us to focus on helping to ensure our populations get the care they need at this time of national emergency. As a result, the publication of the report into the review has been delayed as it has not been possible to gain formal approval across all partners through the statutory governance arrangements. 

Next steps

The organisations* that commissioned the Report have now made immediate arrangements to receive the Report and to endorse the 20 recommendations it includes. Senior leaders from those organisations have created an Oversight Group to take the 20 recommendations forward and will identify where improvements and plans can be accelerated over the summer months. The receipt of the Report signals the partner organisations’ continued commitment to improving the emotional health and wellbeing of children and young people in Sussex, and supporting our workforce in this field, and confirms this as a priority for us.

In the coming months, we will be hosting feedback and information sessions (observing any social distancing requirements current at the time) with all our key stakeholders, and publishing a full summary of the report produced in an accessible way for the children and young people who centre in it. We will share more information about this soon.

We would like to thank everyone who took part in the review. We have listened, we have learned and we will now take action to make sure real improvements are made for our children and young people.  

Useful documents

Contact us

If you have any questions about the review or our next steps, please get in touch. You can email the review team via s.lofts@nhs.net

Working in partnership 

* The independent review was commissioned by: