About us

The Parenting and Child Service (PACS) offers a specialist out-patient service for children and families where there has been a history of abuse, neglect or trauma. The team is currently configured of two teams: the Attachment and Trauma Team (ATT) and the Child Care Consultation Team (CCCT).

The Attachment and Trauma Team

The Attachment and Trauma team is a national multidisciplinary NHS outpatient service with specialist expertise in the assessment and treatment of 0-16 year-olds with a background of abuse, neglect or trauma.

The aim is to provide services where local CAMHS, Looked-After Children (LAC) teams, paediatrics and/or social care has identified a need for specialist mental health input.

The team works to support families in managing difficult behaviour and in understanding the complex, and at times challenging, needs of children with a background of abuse and neglect.

The Team is led by Dr Margaret DeJong, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, and includes; Clinical Psychologists, Child and Adolescent Psychotherapists, Family Therapist and Specialist Registrar Psychiatrist (see Meet the Attachment and Trauma Team).

We see children in alternative families such as foster care or adoption. We also see families where there is a concern about parent-child interactions, potentially causing emotional harm, and provide therapeutic interventions. We accept cases of psychological trauma from a number of other causes where specialist expertise is required.

We carry out specialised assessments of the child’s attachments, trauma symptoms, or neurodevelopmental/cognitive problems. We have developed expertise in treating psychological trauma (post-traumatic stress disorder).

Children with a background of social adversity and traumatic experiences often present with a range of emotional, behavioural and neurodevelopmental symptoms.

Our full diagnostic assessment will include where clinically indicated post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, attachment difficulties, autism, ADHD and a range of other conditions.

We aim to understand the interactions of neurodevelopmental vulnerability and environmental experiences and from this develop recommendations for treatment.

We offer consultation to professionals and liaise with local services around the treatment recommendations and care of these children. We offer therapeutic input in some complex cases. Consultation can also include liaison at GOSH over psychological trauma due to medical histories.

The Child Care Consultation Team

The Child Care Consultation Team mainly deals with public law cases where there are complex child protection concerns requiring the expertise of an experienced multidisciplinary team with specialist mental health expertise. We do sometimes see private law cases, where there is professional concern about the welfare of a child.

The Team is led by Dr Margaret DeJong, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, and includes; Clinical Psychologists, Child and Adolescent Psychotherapists, Family Therapist and Specialist Registrar Psychiatrist (see Meet the Team).

We provide a full assessment of the child’s functioning and mental health needs, attachment relationships and the interaction between family members. If appropriate we would assess and comment upon parenting and the family’s capacity for change. We make treatment and care recommendations.

We understand that families are working with us at a time of great stress in their lives. They may be attending because they have been told to, rather than because they themselves feel that it will be helpful. We try to listen very carefully to all the different points of view.

Our priority is always the welfare of the child.