A mental health team for looked after children, and the evaluation of its first phase are presented. The team combines primary mental health worker, psychology and psychiatry skills. It offers telephone and face-to-face consultation to local authority staff, assessment, treatment and training. Forty-five children and their carers, who consecutively attended the service, were independently assessed by a researcher at the time of referral and at five-month follow-up. Outcome measures included the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), the Health of the Nation Outcome Scales for Children and Adolescents (HoNOSCA) and a service satisfaction questionnaire. At 5 months, children had significantly improved on a number of HoNOSCA scales, and on the emotional SDQ scales. Carers perceived the interventions as targeting different aspects of the child’s functioning, but wished they were more involved in decision-making. Carers and children were generally positive about their clinical contact. The findings are discussed in the context of developing mental health services for vulnerable children and young people, and interagency partnership
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