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Family and Child Care

Family and Child Care

This area of work featured in the Transforming Your Care consultation process and we are pleased to see that each Trust is working hard to support and promote the positive development of the intellectual, emotional and social skills of young children in Northern Ireland.

Key to this is promoting and supporting positive engagement with parents, especially in families where parenting skills are limited.

A number of key initiatives are being taken forward to support this vision.


Specialist Foster Care

The importance of a stable family environment is evidenced and young people can expect to see significant benefits, including improved educational outcomes and reduced referrals to juvenile justice when placed within a family setting.

For those young people who need placements outside their families, foster care within and outside families is the preferred placement option.

The strategic direction over the past few years has recognised the importance of early intervention while Trusts are working hard to increase in the number of children in specialist foster care.

Most Looked After Children (75%) are in foster care with approximately 8% in residential care.

By the end of March 2013, the number of “Looked After Children” was 2807 (an increase of 6% from 2012).


Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)

Some children and young people will continue to present with poor mental health and/or emotional difficulties.

The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) in each Trust aims to promote emotional well-being and deliver care, treatment and preventative mental health services to children and young people aged 0–18 years of age who experience significant mental health difficulties.

The service works in many different ways with children and young people, depending on their needs. For example:

  • Trusts employ specialist mental health workers like Clinical Nurse Specialists, Mental Health Social Workers, Consultant Psychiatrists, Clinical Psychologists and Family Therapists to work with children and young people who have complex mental health needs. These professionals also provide support to parents and carers.
  • Trusts work with and support children and young people who may need very specialist treatment from services such as the Eating Disorder Service, the Drug and Alcohol Mental Health Service (D.A.M.H.S.) and where necessary, refer children and young people who may need a stay in hospital for intensive care, support and treatment.
  • Trusts also offer support and training to staff in schools while youth workers, GPs and others work alongside children and young people so they know what mental health difficulties are and how they can help.

The overall direction of service reform in this area is directed by the implementation of the DHSSPS Guidance on the Service Model for CAMHS – the Stepped Care Model – and governed by the 6 high level outcomes for children and young people outlined in the CYPSP plan.

The objective is to shape a more integrated approach across children’s services in order to better support the emotional behavioural and mental health needs of children and young people.


Family Support Hubs

Family Support Hubs bring together representatives from statutory, voluntary and community sector organisations who work in the local area to provide early intervention family support services.

They currently accept referrals of families who need early intervention family support and they use their knowledge of local service providers to signpost families with specific needs to appropriate services.

For further information please visit www.cypsp.org/family-support-hubs/ where you can access details of what is happening in your area and reports, papers and presentations.

If you would like to speak to someone about Family Support Hubs, then please contact one of the following people:

  • Helen Dunn Regional Co-ordinator Family Support Hubs / 02895 362619
  • Pat Armstrong – Western Outcomes Area / 02871 272112
  • Claire McKay- Northern Outcomes Area / 02894 4677345
  • Gerry Largey – Belfast Outcomes Area / 02895 042811
  • Karen Otley- South Eastern Outcomes Area / 02892 501357
  • Colm McCafferty – Southern Outcomes Area / 02837 520605

Alternatively, access the contact details for your local HSC Trust.

Related Pages

Transforming Your Care
Learning Disability
Mental Health

Useful Links

DHSSPS CAMHS Service Model (July 2012)
Belfast Trust (CAMHS webpage)
Mind Matters (A Young Person’s Guide to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in Northern Ireland)
Children and Young Peoples’ Strategic Partnership
Children and Young Peoples’ Strategic Partnership (Family Hubs)
Family Support NI


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