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Protecting children whose parents have mental health problems has long been considered to be a major child welfare issue. A survey conducted by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children showed that 16% of parents in the community have mental health problems.1 At the same time, the Children’s Act specifies that children should be with parents wherever possible.2
The Department of Health document “Crossing bridges” is designed to enhance practice and improve services for families with a mentally ill parent.3 It suggests that the service provision could be improved by attending to seven key principles for the development of interagency and interprofessional cooperation.
We audited our services against these recommendations. The names of children were randomly selected from the Child Protection Register (September 2004). Social services records were reviewed for evidence of parental mental problems, assessments parents underwent and services …
Competing interests: None declared.