One aspect that children need special care and assistance in is with regard to their mental health. Proper mental health is a crucial tool that an individual needs in order to cope with the stress and difficulties that they are bound to face in life. However, given the significant amount of stress and pressures children and adolescents face in today's society, children and adolescents are prone to significant mental health problems. In a report by the Mental Health Foundation, it was found that between 10 and 20 percent of children and adolescents have mental health problems in the United Kingdom (Mental Health Foundation 2001). To solve such problems, children and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) has been put in place to pay attention to children's mental health needs.
However, while CAMHS presents children and adolescents with important social services that can help improve their mental well-being, the manner that decisions are made within the social care practice poses certain human rights issues that may violate the rights of a child as outlined in the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and the Children Act of 1989.Thus, as service users of CAMHS, how are children and adolescents'...
his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as well after birth" (UN 1989, Preamble). Lansdown suggests recognition of this need makes children subjects of human rights such that it imposes the obligation on adults to ensure that these rights are protected (2000, p. 288). Hence, adults and the government are obliged to provide children assistance and protection - parents through providing a healthy home environment due to their parental responsibility to the child, and governments by providing the appropriate legal framework and institutional assistance (Children Act 1989, 3.1; UN1989, Art. 2).
Within the context of mental health, parents' obligations include accessing the child's heath care, serving as legal representatives or proxy decision-makers, and deciding on the child's best interest (Paul 2004, p. 303). Thus, they have the primary responsibility for ensuring a child's well-being. With regard to the state, it is their responsibility to "ensure that no child is deprived of his or her right of access to... health care services" (UN1989, Art. 24.1). This however, is not limited to providing assistance to the child alone, but to those responsible for him as well.
For children with mental health problems, disorders, or illnesses in the United Kingdom, government assistance and health services are provided by the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). This is a comprehensive range of services made available to children and their families dealing with mental health problems, which incorporate health services provided for by specialists, and the support services from the community of individuals working with children (Wolpert and Foster 2005). According to Wolpert and