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CAMHS – Child Development Centre – Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service

Brief description of what services your organisation offers

The CAMHS-CDC is a small resource providing a highly specialist service, working with young people (and their families) aged 0-18 years, who have a moderate to severe developmental delay or learning disability. The service only accepts referrals from Paediatricians.

We are able to support young people and families in a range of environments, such as at home or school. We meet with families to explore their needs and hopes, then we think about how we can work together to meet their needs. Our team is a specialist multi-disciplinary team including Clinical Psychology, Specialist Nursing and Occupational Therapy and Psychiatry. Once accepted, the young person and their family would be allocated to a clinician who has the best skills to work with their specified needs.

Where does your service take place?

The service covers Portsmouth, Fareham and Gosport and Havant areas.

What service, support or interventions does your service offer?

Interventions in our service are aimed at moderate to severe difficulties – in order to prevent family or school breakdown; promote emotional and psychological wellbeing; address mental health difficulties such as anxiety and low mood; prevention of further deterioration of health conditions or medical complications as a result of the emotional and behavioural difficulties of young people with complex health needs. Interventions are usually time limited to meet specific needs, but families can be re-referred if necessary.

Examples of interventions include assessment of and management of emotional and psychological, or other mental health needs; helping parents manage severe behavioural difficulties; therapeutic interventions with children who are having difficulties coming to terms with living with a learning disability or complex health need. Other interventions may also include behavioural and emotional work regarding significant self-injurious or sexualised behaviour, complex eating and sleep difficulties. Professional consultations may be offered, for example when individual work with the young person or family is not deemed to be appropriate.

In addition, our service runs a ‘Positive Behaviour Management Group’ for parents/carers of children with complex needs, in collaboration with the Havant CAMHS learning disability service. This group usually runs twice yearly, subject to resources and demand. Access to the group is by invitation, or referral from a Community Paediatrician. The five sessions cover topics such as ‘understanding challenging behaviour’, practical sessions on how to manage behaviour, ‘linking thoughts, feelings and behaviour’ and ‘sensory issues’.

Who can access your service and how?

  • Children between the ages of 0-18 years.
  • Under the care of a Community Paediatrician.
  • Their GP is based within the Portsmouth or East Hants areas of Hampshire.
  • Developmental delay or learning disability (moderate to severe)
  • The child is at significant risk of family or placement breakdown (school and/or home), the child is at risk of not reaching their full potential due to current difficulties.

What do you expect children, young people and their families gain from using your service?

We aim to reduce the risk of family or placement breakdown and help the child and their family to achieve their full potential. We also use various outcome measures to ascertain the effectiveness of our service, such as the Goal Based Outcome Measure and Sheffield Learning Disability Measure.

Compliments and Complaints
In the first instance, please contact the lead for the CAMHS-CDC Service, Dr Kate Benham at the address below.

Contact Details for further information
Child Development Centre,
Falcon House,
St James’ Hospital,
Locksway Road,

Tel: 0300 1236632
Email address:




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