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Improving Mental Health Assessments for Children in Care Pilots

The Improving Mental Health Assessment for Children Entering Care pilot programme is a Department for Education-funded pilot which aims to develop and implement a realistic and effective method of assessing mental health needs in children who are looked after. The pilot combines four tools to equip frontline professionals to conduct mental health assessments:

The professional APP – the mentalizing stance The assessment framework: measures, methodology A wellbeing passport A reflective practice relationship – thinking together with a Virtual Mental Health Lead Please note that this webpage is intended only for the use of pilot site staff directly involved in pilot development and delivery. Resources on this page should not be shared via other forums unless permission has been granted by the project team.

What is the aim of the pilot programme?

Sheila Redfern, Head of the Specialist Trauma and Maltreatment Service, explains what we want to achieve by working with pilot sites.

Read more about this pilot.

What is the Professional APP?

Sheila introduces the mentalizing stance.

Using the Professional APP

In order to keep a mentalizing stance throughout the assessments, you should use the Professional APP — a reminder that summarises the three main principles of the mentalizing conversation.

The Wellbeing Passport

The Wellbeing Passport is both the end product and a document that can be populated throughout the assessment process. It is informed by conversations with the child or young person every step of the way, and you should continually check back with the child or young person that they feel that you have correctly understood their perspective.

My Wellbeing Passport Process for the development of a ‘wellbeing passport’ for children entering care

Reflective Practice Relationships - Introducing the Virtual Mental Health Lead

The VMHL acts as a coordinator of the mental health and general wellbeing of the child or young person. Along with the frontline practitioner, they create a ‘thinking together’ team around the child or young person, carer, and the system.

For further information and support, please email