The Evidence Based Practice Unit (EBPU) at the Anna Freud Centre and UCL is commissioned by NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) to evaluate the implementation and impact of Community Forensic Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (F:CAMHS) across England. Community F:CAMHS are 13 new Tier 4 highly specialist services providing input to the network around children and young people who are experiencing mental health and/or learning difficulties, and who are in contact with the youth justice system or present with a high risk of harm to self and/or to others.
Broadly, Community F:CAMHS provide three types of support: advice and consultation; case co-ordination for young people involved with a number of different organisations; and direct clinical work for young people with complex cases and who need highly specialised assessment and intervention. While there is no ‘typical case’ seen by Community F:CAMHS, common characteristics of those requiring Community F:CAMHS input include: harmful sexual behaviour, concerns about violent behaviour and aggression towards peers and adults/professionals.
The evaluation study comprises a mixed-methods design, combining quantitative service activity and feedback data, questionnaires with young people or their parents/carers, and interviews with staff, referrers and young people or their parents/carers. Observations of staff meetings are also undertaken, to explore the implementation and impact of Community F:CAMHS. An economic evaluation is also taking place.
Data collection is taking place between August 2018 and December 2020. Findings will be submitted to NHSE&I to inform policy and practice.