Child and adolescent mental health services


The Child and Family Consultation Services (CFCS) are Waltham Forest's area based specialist mental health team providing support to children, young people and their families. The services are available to families with children & young people from birth to their 18th birthday. (Some of our counselling services work with people up until the age of 21). A referral to CFCS is currently available via the school that the child attends or via your GP. 

CFCS offers help to children and young people who are experiencing emotional, behavioural or mental health difficulties. Support is offered in a variety of settings such as specialist community clinics, home visits, support in schools, and support to hospital paediatric wards and A&E departments.

Support is offered in a variety of ways, in the main this takes the form of face to face talking therapies such as family therapy or counselling. It may involve psychiatric input or medication. Group work is also offered as well as various specialist assessments in such areas as parent & infant mental health or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). CAMHS services work in partnership with other agencies such as education, social services and primary care (GP’s etc.) 

During a child or young person’s development, there may be periods when they or their family’s ability to cope with difficult emotions or behaviour can put extreme pressures on relationships. We want to work with children and young people as early on as possible during these difficulties in order to turn the situation around.

Who can refer? Click to get info

Referrals are accepted from professionals in health, education and social services. Some of our services offer a self referral facility.

If someone refers you to CFCS e.g. a GP, or head teacher etc. and the CAMHS team feel that you may benefit from our service, you will be offered an appointment to meet someone from the team. 

Depending on how urgent your need is, you may either be seen straight away or you may have to wait for an appointment. 

Unfortunately, sometimes we receive inappropriate referrals and the CFCS team may feel that someone else would be of more help e.g. a youth counsellor or school nurse etc. Your referrer will be notified of this with minimal delay. 

At your first appointment (this usually lasts 1 hour), yourself and all the people living in the family home will be asked to come along to meet the CFCS worker, if this is a problem, or you would like to bring someone else along, you or your parents/carer can telephone CFCS to arrange this. 

At this appointment, you and your family will be asked questions by one or two CAMHS workers. They may ask about different things e.g. school, family and friends, your background, recent changes / events. 

If English is not your first language, you can request the use of our interpretation services. 

Some people come for one session, some people continue to come along for a period of a year or so; an average would be about six sessions.

Who will see me? Click to get info

Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists

They are medically qualified doctors who specialise in working with young people with mental health problems and their families.

Family Therapists

Family therapists work with young people and their families together. If you are referred to a family therapist you might meet them regularly so they can help you manage the difficulties that are happening in your life. You can decide who comes to the meetings and what you will speak about.

CAMHS Nurses

Psychiatric nurses, or child and adolescent mental health nurses are registered nurses who are trained in mental health and have specialist training in specific therapies


Psychotherapists help you to understand why you feel the way you do, and what lies behind your responses to other people and to things that happen to you.


A Psychologist can assess and help with young people’s psychological functioning, emotional wellbeing and development. There are different types of psychologists, but they all help with the way that you behave and the way you feel and think about things. Some of the psychologists you might meet are Clinical psychologists and counselling psychologists.

Social Workers

Our social workers help support therapeutic work with families who are referred to the CAMHS team. They will have specific experience and training in child mental health

Mental Health Practitioners

They are usually trained in mental health and help in the assessment (understanding) and management of emotional, behavioural and mental health problems.

What do they do? Click to get info

CAMHS professionals deal with a wide range of mental health problems including all those addressed in this series of leaflets and many more.

Many children and young people are troubled by emotional, behavioural and psychiatric problems. These can cause worry and distress both to themselves and to those who care for them.

A large part of CAMHS professionals’ work is to:

  • Identify the problem
  • Understand the causes
  • Advise about what may help                

Child psychiatrists are the only CAMHS professionals who can prescribe medication if it is needed. Sometimes specially trained CAMHS nurses may prescribe for some illnesses (e.g. like ADHD). Other CAMHS professionals, for example, child psychotherapists, psychologists and family therapists are particularly skilled in providing talking therapies of different sorts.

Most of the work that they do with children, young people and their families is done through out-patient appointments, while the young person continues to live at home.

CAMHS professionals are sometimes asked to provide expert opinion to the courts about child welfare issues.