20th May 2019

Far less than they deserve

Children with learning disabilities or autism living in mental health hospitals

This report shows how too many children are being admitted to secure hospitals unnecessarily – in some cases are spending months and years of their childhood in institutions when they should be in their community. It warns that the current system of support for those with learning disabilities or autism is letting down some of the most vulnerable children in the country.

The report also finds shocking evidence of poor and restrictive practices and sedation, with some children telling the Children’s Commissioner of how their stay in mental health hospital has been traumatic, and parents too often left feeling powerless to do anything to intervene.

Key Statistics


250

children with a learning disability or autism in a mental health hospital in England

6 months

the average time children with autism and/or a learning disability had spent in their current hospital

31 miles

the distance 95 children were staying in a ward from home

1 in 4

children did not appear to have had a formal review of their care plan within the last 26 weeks

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