UASC Mental Health Project
Main contract details
This Contract Notice is to announce The Kent & Medway Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCGs) commencement of the procurement of a mental health service for Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children (UASC) in Kent.
We are expecting to award the contract to the successful provider by September 2021. Tender documentation can be found on the Kent Business Portal.
A bidder event to assist in completion of documents will be held on 13 May 2021. Bidders will be required to pass the Standard Selection Questions to have quality questions measured and must demonstrate experience in the sector. We are expecting to award the contract to the successful provider by August 2021. Timescales of evaluation and negotiation can be found within documentation.
The past five years has seen large increases in the numbers of Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children (UASC) arrivals in Kent with significant numbers being housed in reception centres, supported lodgings, shared accommodation, semi-independent accommodation and foster care. The health needs of this highly vulnerable group are significant in both physical and mental health; this is due in part to poor access to basic healthcare in their home country and the trauma experienced on their journey to the UK. The mental health needs of these children and young people are substantial, with symptoms being reported in up to 48% of UASC. A recent report, ‘Distress Signals – Unaccompanied Young People’s Struggle for Mental Health Support (The Children’s Society, 2018) highlighted the need to improve the provision of services for this group, the effects of the traumatic events these young people have faced prior to their arrival in the UK can continue to affect them for substantial periods of time through a range of symptoms, such as flashbacks, sleep disturbances, memory impairment, anger and disruptive behaviour, self-harm and even suicide.
In Kent and Medway there is no dedicated mental health provision for this group of young people. Mental health and emotional wellbeing needs are picked up within the mainstream health services. There is a gap in the services provided for emotional wellbeing and mental health support and therapy for this very vulnerable group of young people in Kent and Medway. CYPMHS is a specialist mental health service and has a high referral threshold for assessment and intervention which is often not met by the referrals of these young people who need a range of services at different levels. Due to extended waiting times, the current services cannot provide the timely assessment and intervention required for this transient group.
The Kent & Medway CCG will fund a three year plus two optional extension contract with £200,000 per annum.
The aim of the proposed service will be to provide a timely, effective, evidence-based range of therapeutic interventions and psychoeducational support in both group and individual formats to deliver emotional wellbeing and mental health support to UASC aged under 18 years old at the point of referral. Individual sessions will be between eight and 12 sessions, groups will be available to young people in their local area. The service will need to be well connected to the young people’s communities. In addition to the direct interventions provided to the young people the service will provide training and support to professionals to help them in awareness and identification of need and understanding and working effectively with this group. The service will be creative and flexible in how it delivers support which will be provided in community and reception centre settings as well as utilising digital platforms when direct face to face work is not possible due to Covid 19 restrictions and the mobile nature of the client group e.g. a course of therapy could be completed virtually if there is a move out of area. This will be an evolving service and there will be flexibility for cooperative work with the chosen provider to design and implement creative approaches to deliver the service.
The number of UASC is subject to often rapid change due to the unpredictable nature of arrivals. Not all arrivals will require the service. Reports suggest 50% may require support. The cohort is mainly male and mostly aged between 15 – 17, however, the service will accept referrals up to 18 years old from all genders and will complete any ongoing time limited work post 18th birthday. Referrals will be accepted from any professional working with UASC placed within Kent and Medway within five working days.
Cooperation between this service, CYPMHS and Adult Mental Health Services (AMHS) will be required regarding referral thresholds for ensuring seamless transfer/onward referral of cases, step up, step down and meeting the specialist service threshold. The aim of the service is to compliment CYPMHS and AMHS not provide a replacement for specialist mental health services. The KCC Strategic Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children’s (SUASC) Service and Medway Authority Children’s Social Care are key partners; KCC SUASC Service will provide most of the accommodation required to facilitate the work in the reception centres, with the majority of the Medway children and young people in semi-independent accommodation.
Expression of interest window
From 05/05/2021 17:00 to 04/06/2021 12:00