Referral process

We operate a ‘no wrong door’ policy for CAMHS referrals. This means we take responsibility for ensuring that your referral reaches the most appropriate service. However, referring to the most appropriate service in the first instance will enable a quicker response. Completing the most appropriate referral form will also ensure that the service has the information it needs to decide the best course of action.

Following receipt of a referral:

  1. The young person, parent or carer will be contacted within 48 hours by the service they have been referred to, to check they are aware of the referral and to let them know that it is being reviewed to ensure it is the most appropriate service to meet their needs.
  2. The referral will be reviewed by a qualified clinician or group of clinicians who will decide whether their service can best meet the individual’s needs. If necessary, the young person, parent, carer or referrer may be contacted for more information. At this point the referral may be passed on to a more appropriate service within City and Hackney CAMHS Alliance.
  3. Individuals should be assessed within five weeks of referral. After speaking with the child, young person and their family or carer, and establishing what kind of support would help them with their difficulties, the service will allocate them to the appropriate waitlist for therapy.


Urgent safeguarding concerns should be directed to children’s social care:

  • Hackney: 020 8356 5500
  • City: 0208 356 2701

Families involved with children’s social care

Please note that First Steps cannot accept referrals for families currently involved with children’s social care. If you have concerns about the emotional well-being of an affected child or young person, please discuss this with their allocated social worker who will be able to co-ordinate appropriate support.

Service directory and referral guidelines

Please see our service directory for full details of all our services, eligibility criteria, exclusion and referral guidelines. You can also download our directory here.

Service Directory