CAMHS service for children and young people looked after and their families/carers.
We believe good mental health is ‘everybody’s interest’: there are times when children and young people get stuck with memories, thoughts or worries about what has happened to them or their families in the past and these memories, thoughts or worries can get in the way of feeling good about themselves and being able to settle to enjoy being in a family or group, or settle to learn at school.
It is recognised that children looked after and their carers and families can have specific support needs and therefore our dedicated CAMHS team for Looked After Children in Doncaster provides specialist support to these children and the care network supporting them.
- The team works with children and young people up to 18 years old.
- We accept requests for support also from social workers in looked after children’s teams and fostering.
Where requests are made by other services/professional groups, such as schools, we will contact the children’s social worker in the first instance. Social workers can give consent for treatment as they are the corporate parent for the child. Social workers also hold lots of helpful background information including the reasons why a young person may have come into care which can be helpful in thinking about how best to support young people.
When social workers, carers, teachers or nurses are worried about children and young people we offer:
- Support and guidance through consultation to Carers and the wider network of people supporting young people. We use trauma models and attachment and development models to understand children’s behaviour and functioning in the context of their experiences and bring this information together into a psychological formulation. This can then be used to inform how best to support young people and their families including placement stability and achieve emotional and psychological well being.
- Assessment of children and young people’s mental health and emotional well being.
- Help adjust how the care is given by familiar people which is often the best starting point and the least intrusive.
- We think it is really important to work with foster cares in delivering therapeutic parenting in their day to day interactions with young people. Therapeutic parenting is a highly nurturing way of parenting that aims to help young people to feel safe again in their relationships with adults.
- Consultation to social workers to support them in any direct work they may be undertaking with young people and/or families.
- Consultation to residential staff drawing on attachment theory and therapeutic and developmental parenting models.
- Telephone advice and guidance to professionals.
- Delivery of therapeutic interventions with young people following an assessment and based on goals identified by the young person as important to them.
- Systemic therapeutic approaches with young people and their carers based on building attachments and trust.
The Trust aspires to ensure children and young people are safe and therapeutic options are often a challenge to the sense of self: when memories, thoughts and feelings that have helped us to survive and get through each day, or manage relationships to date, are seen to be unhelpful to us in the present, then change happens and that is best experienced with familiar people are available to give the encouragement that it deserves.
- Training to foster carers and local authority staff in attachment and development and mental health and resilience.
There are times too when relationships with carers need direct support because learning to trust adults and be cared for by adults is a huge ask for any of our children or young people who may have been harmed by an earlier experience. At this point we offer what is often referred to as dyadic work, when we work with the child, young person and the carer(s) to support building the trust in the relationship so that children and young people can enjoy the ‘catch-up’ of experiences they have not had because of the distractions of having to look after themselves or look out for other people.
Where the child or young person knows they can rely on their carer(s) to look after them but they are still stuck with an unhelpful, often traumatic, memory, thought or worry then individual work to address these issues will be offered.
In summary, the LAC team in CAMHS pathway offer consultation to the support network first, namely foster carers, connected persons foster carers, residential workers, designated teachers, LAC nurses and social workers. The aim is to agree a shared approach to support the child or young person, often focusing on the re-parenting tasks or catch-up tasks that the early history suggests.
Types of difficulties we can help with
- Difficulty forming trusting relationships with adults in a caring role – sometimes called attachment difficulties
- Difficulty with regulating emotions resulting in aggressive and/or other risky behaviours including substance misuse or self harm
- Emotional difficulties such as anxiety, depression, phobias and obsessive compulsive disorder
- Self harming behaviours
- Eating disorder service
Doncaster LAC in CAMHS
Children and Young People can be referred to colleagues in the Neurodevelopmental Pathway e.g. when ADHD or ASD needs to be considered and this can be at any point during the contact with the LAC in CAMHS team. Similarly for children and young people would benefit from a Psychiatric Assessment or oversight.
Finally, the outcomes that we aspire to for our service to the children, young people and their carers are:
- Increased attachment security through therapeutic/sensitive parenting
- Placement stability
- Identify early mental health needs and treat accordingly
- Increased Network understanding of child’s needs across school, home and community
- For children and young people to feel good about themselves.
Looked after children’s in CAMHS team are based at