Addressing the over-representation of looked after children with mental health needs and/or disabilities in Northern Ireland.
This presentation will report on a study examining disabled looked after children in Northern Ireland. Evidence indicates that disabled children are over-represented in the public care (DHSSPSNI, 2012; Stalker & McArthur, 2010). However, limited research using differing definitions of disability and inconsistent recording systems raises questions about their over-representation. Drawing on the United Nations CRPD definition of disability (2006:4), the study includes looked after children with mental health needs, and this presentation focuses on this group, which represents a high proportion of the looked after population. The presentation will present themes arising from completed literature and policy reviews, and findings from a survey that profiled disabled looked after children in Northern Ireland. Focusing on those with mental health needs, findings will include: the reasons for entry to care; family contact; looked after status; number and type of placements; service needs and service access. Data is contextualized within the wider population of looked after disabled children.