Is anyone aware of very young children being sectioned or informal patient under S131?

I teach Mental Health Law to final year LLB students and this week we studied Formal Admissions under MHA. We considered the position of minors having looked at the statistics in report by Charity Article 39 Children in Hospital (Mental Health).
One student who had previously worked in mental health care was aware of a child of 10 being an in-patient, although unsure whether an informal or formal patient.
We were interested if anyone knew of very young children being admitted to a psychiatric unit either as an informal patient( where decision made by someone with parental responsibility including local authority if child under Care Order) or being sectioned and if they were in age appropriate accommodation. thank you

Over the last 20-odd years I would say that, yes, there have been cases of very young children (perhaps between 7 and 10 years of age) admitted to CAMHS psychiatric units, both under the MHA or in some cases on the basis of parental responsibility. But very rarely, and I would say in relatively extreme circumstances. Whether or not even a CAMHS unit can provide ‘age appropriate accommodation’ for the very young child may be a moot point.

The data in the Article 39 briefing on child admissions is from the Mental Health Minimum Data Set, which is not accurate in quite a few ways, but by the looks of it especially in relation to patient age. The briefing says that “according to the Mental Health Bulletin figures, … 2% of children admitted to CAMHS tier 4
units in 2018/19 were aged 0-5, 4% were aged 6-10, 38% were aged 11-15 and 56% were aged 16 and 17.” As the total Tier 4 admissions for 2018/19 are reported to be 4,614, that would be an incredible 90 or so children younger than 6 admitted to Tier 4 inpatient units, and a barely credible 185 admissions of children aged 6-10. I guess instead that these apparent results are mostly just bad data records relating to date of birth.

All the same the Article 39 briefing is a good bit of work, and I note that it qualifies its use of such figures as being what is reported, rather than assuming them to be correct.

btw I am National MHA Policy Advisor for CQC, but in a personal capacity here. The person to ask/ author to look up is Camilla Parker.

thank you very much for your reply.

I second Mat’s advice on looking up Camilla Parker.

She wrote a really good book on Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Care Law (it’s an LAG publication IIRC) - well worth a read