Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)

Team for Children Looked After (CLA)

Who are we?

We are a multidisciplinary team of child and adolescent mental health specialists, including Family & Systemic Psychotherapy, Clinical Psychology, Child & Adolescent Psychotherapy, Educational Psychotherapy and Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

The team aims to improve the mental health and emotional wellbeing of children and young people looked after by Islington.

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Why have a specialist team?

Children who are looked after by children’s social care have generally experienced the kind of adversity that increases the risk of developing mental health difficulties, such as abuse and neglect or witnessing violence. A specialist team ensures resources are targeted and adapted to respond to the particular needs of looked after children, their foster carers, birth families and professional networks.

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What kind of concerns can we help with?

We see children and young people with a range of emotional and behavioural difficulties that are serious in nature and affecting their development at home, school and other areas of their life. Difficulties commonly include problems with forming and sustaining relationships and problems with managing emotions. Some examples of the kind of concerns we help with:

  •  Self harm and /or other risk-taking behavior
  • Feeling sad, angry, or anxious
  • Placement changes and disruptions
  • Attachment / Relationship difficulties

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What we offer

1. Assessment and Therapeutic Interventions

When concerns about a looked after child suggest a CAMHS intervention may be required, we offer a generic mental health assessment to help understand the referred problem and decide what type of intervention is most likely to be useful. This assessment will involve a minimum of two meetings, one with the key professionals involved in the child’s care and one with the child/young person and their carers.

If the assessment recommends an intervention, the team can offer a range of therapies including long-term individual psychotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, family therapy with foster or birth family, and work with foster carers. In some cases a combination of these interventions may be helpful. If the assessment concludes that a CAMHS intervention is not indicated or timely, we will share our reasons for this, and suggest what other support or services may assist with the referred concern.

This clinical service is available to children and young people looked after by Islington, who are residing in or attending school in the borough. In addition, we may see children and young people placed out of the borough (but within Greater London) where it is not possible to access CAMHS provision in their locality.

We can offer appointments in two locations, the Northern Health Centre and Elwood Street where Islington’s Social Care teams are based. We can also offer home visits if the child or carer are unable to travel to appointments.

2. Islington CLA living Out of Borough

Although in some circumstances we provide a CAMHS service to children living out of the borough, in general, looked after children placed out of Islington are able to access CAMHS in the locality where they are living. When there are difficulties accessing appropriate mental health services, our team can be contacted for advice and support with this.

3. Services to Islington’s Foster Carers

Islington’s Fostering Service commission two days a week of Clinical Psychology to provide additional services for their foster carers. The current post holder is Jo O’Leary.

Together with social care staff, Jo runs Fostering Changes, a 12 week foster carer group programme that aims to promote foster carers’ confidence and skills in understanding and managing children’s behaviour. The team also provide other training to foster carers aimed at developing their knowledge of the emotional needs of looked after children.

Jo offers psychological support (up to 6 sessions) to foster carers who experience emotional difficulties related to the particular role and task of fostering. This input aims to provide a reflective and confidential space for carers to support their continued role and development as foster carers, particularly those caring for teenagers presenting with challenging behaviour.

4. Consultation to Professionals

We recognise that social workers and other professionals are managing complex situations in their roles with looked after children, and may value the contribution of a mental health perspective. We work closely with social workers in Islington Children’s Services CLA Service, allocating a named clinician or team link to each of the three CLA Social Work teams and The Adoption and Fostering Teams. Social workers can request an individual case discussion in relation to a particular child or carer / placement they are concerned about. In addition, the team link offers regular whole team case discussion/consultation. The team links are as follows:


CLA 2: Domonic Regan (Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist)

CLA 3: Sasha Lille-Lyons  (Clinical Psychologist)

Fostering: Jo O’Leary  (Clinical Psychologist)

Adoption: Monica Lynch  (Family and Systemic Psychotherapist)


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What about confidentiality?

Everything we are told or we write about a child or young person will remain private and confidential within their NHS records. We would always ask permission before sharing information with anyone working outside our service.

The only time when we may need to share information without permission would be if we learned that a child or young person, or anyone else, were at significant risk of harm. Even in this situation we would let the child or young person and their carers know what information we have shared.

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How do I access the service?

We take referrals on the telephone or in face to face discussion as we have learnt that an initial conversation helps us understand the referrers concerns and agree jointly with the referrer whether a CAMHS assessment is likely to be helpful.

We welcome referrals from any professionals working with the child or young person but always ask the referer to inform the child’s social worker about this.

If you are a social worker in the CLA Service please contact your CAMHS team link to discuss a referral. Other professionals can contact our team at:

Islington Community CAMHS, The Northern Health Centre, 580 Holloway Road, London, N7 6LB.

Tel : 020 3316 1824

Email :

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Last updated on 16th November 2017