Memorandum submitted by Steven Walker
The Children, Schools and Families Committee is announcing an inquiry into young people not in education, employment or training (NEET). Written submissions are invited; These should address the following points:
• Strategies for the identification of young people at risk of falling into the "NEET" category
My own research into this area suggests that one of the critical areas which is currently underused as a potential resource for identifying young people at risk of entering the NEET category is the voluntary sector who are develooping services for child and adolescent mental health. These projects are relatively cheap and cost-effective in offfering appropriate accessible venues where trounbled young people can feel safe and able to seek help. Mental health problems among young people in general are at 10% for serious problems and up to 25% for relatively minor psychological difficulties. Thuis means a huge number of young people suffering emotional and behavioural disorders are being missed and wrongly diverted into criminal justice/ drug and alcohol/ school truancy services which in turn are not able to deal with the mental health problems being presented by the young people.
• Services and programmes to support those most at risk of becoming "NEET", and to reduce the numbers and address the needs of those who have become persistently "NEET"
Child and Adolescent Mental health services are inadequately resourced and further investment in these services would enable them to broaden their remit to include direct therapeutic/ advice/ educational work with young people already in NEETS category. These could easily provide and effective and efficient additional resource to those already attempting to reach out to these trounbled young people. However they have huge waiting times and are therefore restricted to dealing with high risk/ suicidal/ self-harming young people.