Hundreds of children in Herts who have been abused or neglected are not covered by adequate NHS plans for their mental health needs.
Children’s charity, the NSPCC, estimates that 35,756 children in the county may have been abused or neglected.
They say that improvements must be made.
But local health bosses say that while it is an important issue the figures are unlikely to be that high.
The figures come from the latest annual plans published by the county’s two clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) which oversee healthcare across the county.
Both CCGs are rated ‘Amber’ – an improvement on 12 months earlier when they got the worst possible rating of ‘Red’.
Research shows that adults who have suffered abuse in childhood are twice as likely to develop clinical depression. Early support is key to minimising the long-term effects of mental health issues.
A spokesman for Herts Valleys CCG which serves Dacorum, said: “Our most up-to-date figures show that 563 children and young people in Herts have a child protection plan in place, as they are considered to be at risk of significant harm.
“In an ideal world, no child would be at risk and the safety and wellbeing of these children is taken extremely seriously by all of the organisations involved in child protection, health and care in Herts.
“We are committed to improving specialist support services for children and young people who have been abused or neglected. Working together, we have established a dedicated team specifically to support children who have been mistreated in this way and we have already seen improvements as a result, which has been recognised in this year’s improved rating.” BACKGROUND:
There are 195 CCGs in England, and all were given a traffic light-style rating by the NSPCC. Both Herts Valley and East & North Hertfordshire CCGs were rated ‘Amber’ which means action is needed to improve the plan for the county’s estimated 35,756 children who have been abused or neglected.
Nationally 21 CCGs were rated ‘Red’ - and only one in seven CCGs in England (28) got the top rating of ‘Green’.