Multi-agency and specialist working to meet the mental health needs of children in care or adopted


Many of the children and young people who are looked after in foster and residential care or are adopted have complex mental health needs that are not well met by traditional mental health services.

These vulnerabilities stem from an interaction between pre- and post-care experience, and often include trauma, attachment and developmental difficulties. It is now widely recognized that these children are best served by dedicated services provided by professionals with expertise in meeting the needs of looked after and adopted children.

This involves effective joint working between health, education and social care services and requires supportive policies and structures at all levels of the organizations.

This paper will explore the strengths, challenges and barriers of multi-agency and specialist working to meet the needs of these vulnerable children and young people.This will be illustrated with case examples drawn from a multi-agency service in Worcestershire, UK.


Date: 2010

Journal: Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry

Volume: 15

Issue: 4

Page(s): 1–15

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