Many children and young people with social work involvement (CYPwSW) experience mental health difficulties. Yet we know too little about the mental health care they receive from Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). We do not know which young people get accepted or rejected for treatment, what treatments lead to positive change for these young people, or how much these treatments cost.
The CAMHS Referrals and Outcomes for Adolescents and Children with Social Workers (COACHES) study is a four-year collaboration between the Primary Care Unit at the University of Cambridge, Kingston University, King’s College London, the National Children’s Bureau (NCB), the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) and the Care Leavers Association.
This project will aim to fill the knowledge gaps by combining quantitative analysis of linked administrative health and education records, and co-produced qualitative analysis of case notes and semi-structured interviews with children and young people.
The research questions for the quantitative studies are:
- What are the socioeconomic and demographic factors, clinical needs, and long-term outcomes of CYPwSW whose referral is accepted or rejected by CAMHS?
- What CAMHS interventions predict better outcomes for which CYP?
- What demographic factors and service factors at intake predict better outcomes for which CYP?
- What are the cost effectiveness and cost consequences of these forms of intervention?
The research questions for the qualitative studies are:
- How are CYPwSW and their social care needs characterised in CAMHS case notes?
- What is the experience of CAMHS among CYPwSW?
The study will look at examples of children and young people with social work involvement in two areas of the UK – South London, and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
The study is jointly funded by both What Works for Early Intervention and Children’s Social Care (WWEICSC) and The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR). The study will run from Autumn 2022- August 2026.