The Looked After and Accommodated Children’s Psychology in Falkirk: A Service Ahead of its Time

Speakers:

Dr Lorraine Johnston – Head of Child and Family Clinical Psychology, NHS Forth Valley, CAMHS

Dr Lucie MacKinlay – Clinical Psychologist-LAAC, NHS Forth Valley, CAMHS and Falkirk Council

The Falkirk Looked After and Accommodated Children (LAAC) service provides multi-faceted support. This includes:

  • Specialist psychological and mental health assessments.
  • Therapeutic interventions (individual, family and systemic).
  • Support to carers and professionals.
  • Training and consultation with carers, workers, etc.
  • Attendance at meetings and hearings.
  • The provision of various types of psycholegal work. 

This ensures that the needs of the LAAC population are met quickly, competently and with cognisance of the local context. 

Evaluation of the service has taken place regularly over the last seven years. It has achieved consistently positive outcomes and feedback, and was positively highlighted during a recent inspection. 

Recurring themes to emerge from the analysis were that, the service is cost-efficient and has contributed to better health and social care outcomes for children and young people. It also evidenced placement stability as well as empowering carers and professionals in their roles. The analysis also showed that the service has consistently been rated positively by social work professionals, carers and young people themselves.

There has been evidence of capacity building at all levels and a key outcome involves agencies serving children and families ‘working together’ as opposed to ‘in parallel’.  

The service embodies all the key principles of a what a good LAAC service should provide to meet needs. This includes early intervention, a whole systems approach, Getting it Right For Every Child (GIRFEC), the Mental Health Strategy and, more recently, the recommendations put forward in the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Task Force. 

Whilst the council finances the service, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) provides the clinical and professional governance to support the service and, where indicated, provides multidisciplinary interventions ensuring comprehensive care plans. Assertive outreach is the norm for this service.

The session will provide the context to the service and its population before detailing the service level agreement and models of working that characterise the service delivery model. Using didactic, interactive and case study methods, delegates will be invited to reflect, contribute and discuss the issues.