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Community F:CAMHS

The Evidence Based Practice Unit (EBPU) and the Child Outcomes Research Consortium were commissioned by NHS England and NHS Improvement 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. 

Our evaluation study comprised a mixed-methods design, combining quantitative service activity and feedback data, questionnaires with young people or their parents and carers, and interviews with staff, referrers and young people or their parents and carers. We also carried out observations of staff meetings to explore the implementation and impact of Community F:CAMHS. An economic evaluation also took place. 

Data collection took place between August 2018 and December 2020. Findings have been submitted to NHS England and NHS Improvement to inform policy and practice. 

Selected publications 

Childs, J., Jacob, J., Labno, A., Costa da Silva, L., Merrick, H., Singleton, R., Cracknell, L., Lane, R., D’Souza, S., Deighton, J., Fonagy, P., Fuggle, P., Bevington, D., Riches, W., Ullman, R., Jin, L. & Law, D. (2021) National evaluation of Community Forensic Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (Community F:CAMHS): Final report. Anna Freud Centre. 

Chief investigator: Professor Julian Edbrooke-Childs 

Find out more about the Evidence Based Practice Unit