CAMHS Funding and Priorities

Mary Atkinson , Dick Downing , Emily Lamont

01 April 2007

Summary

In the light of recent developments, notably the passage of the Children Act 2004, the subsequent implementation of Every Child Matters: Change for Children ’ and the recent substantial increase in funding to councils for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), the Local Government Association (LGA) asked NFER to examine the funding mechanisms and priorities in CAMHS.

Key Findings

  • Despite a history of under-funding for these services, the grant to local authorities has led to significant progress in the development of comprehensive CAMHS. However, for current progress to be maintained, further funding (protected to ensure it is spent on the purpose intended) may be required.
  • In some areas, the clinical focus of CAMHS has created a barrier to change. This, together with the lack of a clear purchaser/provider split within some local authorities’ commissioning arrangements, could hinder local authority progress towards the delivery of comprehensive CAMHS.
  • Despite the call for greater school involvement in mental health and increasing dialogue between CAMHS and schools, increasing school autonomy could make it more difficult for services to engage with schools.
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