News: Evaluation of service transformation projects in Community Forensic CAMHS and the Secure Estate

We have been working alongside colleagues in the Evidence Based Practice Unit (EBPU) and the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families (AFNCCF) who have been commissioned by NHS England to evaluate the effectiveness of two Workstream Projects within the Health and Justice and Specialised Commissioning Children and Young People Mental Health Transformation Workstreams. These are being implemented across England as part of the Children and Young People Mental Health Transformation Programme in response to Future in Mind and the Five Year Forward View. 

The projects involve collecting data from staff, children and young people and parents/guardians from 13 specialist services provided by Community Forensic Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (F:CAMHS) and 19 secure settings across the Children and Young People Secure Estate (SECURE STAIRS).

Specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services for High Risk Young People with Complex Needs (Community F:CAMHS)

What are they?

These are new specialist Community Forensic Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services for high risk children and young people with complex needs, which have been commissioned to improve pathways and transfers between local services and secure inpatient and youth justice settings providing:

  • advice

  • consultation, and

  • intervention.

Development of a Framework for Integrated Care for the Children and Young People Secure Estate (SECURE STAIRS)

What is it?

The Children and Young People Secure Estate (CYPSE) is a collective term for three types of secure setting for young people who are sentenced or detained by the State:

1) Secure Children’s Homes, both Justice and Welfare,

2) Secure Training Centres, and

3) under-18 Young Offender Institutions.

A new Framework for Integrated Care (SECURE STAIRS), is being implemented in the CYPSE. It aims to support trauma-informed care and formulation driven, evidence-based, whole system approaches to creating change for each child and young person.


Our aim is to evaluate the effectiveness of the new Community F:CAMHS service model and the Framework for Integrated Care through a combination of collecting routine service information alongside feedback from children and young people, parents/carers and the staff working in these settings.The first question we want to explore is whether children and young people engaged with Community F:CAMHS and SECURE STAIRS are receiving care where there has previously been gaps in services in a cost effective way, as the findings from the evaluation will feed into commissioning decisions.

These are three-year funded evaluations during which time we will report to NHS England and aim to disseminate our findings after the close of the evaluation, in 2021. We are really pleased to be involved and to share learning from CORC in what we are sure you’ll agree are very interesting and worthwhile projects.


Sophie D’Souza who works on the SECURE STAIRS project, which involves going to secure establishments to speak with young people, gives her thoughts on interviewing young people:
“Interviewing young people in secure establishments as part of the SECURE STAIRS National Evaluation has been incredibly insightful. I consider it my privilege to be able to hear about what’s important to young people, and any recommendations they might have for improving the young people’s secure estate. It is important to translate this into a format that will contribute to how decisions are made about the future of the services they find themselves in. We make sure to let them know that their voice matters and that they are the experts!”

Sophie D’Souza


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