Fostering, adoption and kinship care

Provides help to looked-after children and young people with emotional and behavioural problems.

Who we see

We provide a service for looked-after children and young people and their carers, adoptive families and children in the care of their extended families or friends (kinship carers) who experience emotional or behavioural problems.

Looked-after or adopted children are more vulnerable to various emotional, behavioural and learning issues than their non-adopted/looked-after peers living with their biological parents. They are more likely to have poor educational experiences, leave school with fewer qualifications, are at higher risk of offending, becoming a teenage parent and not be in any education, training or employment.

Assessment and treatment

We offer comprehensive assessment and treatment.

We have clinical expertise and specialist knowledge in:

  • assessment and treatment for adoptive, foster and kinship (connected person) families and consultation to professional networks
  • assessment and treatment for children and young people who are adopted, fostered or in kinship (connected persons) care, their parents and carers
  • understanding the difficulties for children and young people arising from early trauma, neglect, abuse, exposure to parental drug and alcohol misuse and to domestic violence; and from family breakdown, separation from parents and siblings and multiple placement moves
  • understanding the ongoing difficulties of reconciling children’s current attachments and circumstances with their needs in relation to their birth families
  • support for parents, carers and professional networks with children presenting with challenging behaviour, sexualized behaviour, problems in relationships, developmental difficulties and with mental health worries including depression and self-harming
  • helping families to ‘hold on’ when this can seem almost impossible – working to support families through crises and prevent placement breakdown
  • providing longer-term or more intensive involvement, working together with a child, young person, their parents/carers and their social worker, teachers and other support agencies, in situations where there is a high level of distress and tension in the face of chronic and apparently unchanging difficulties

The treatment we offer includes:

  • family therapy
  • individual therapeutic work with children/young people, alongside work with parents and carers
  • Primary age and young adolescents therapeutic groups
  • Non-Violent Resistance (NVR)
  • work with siblings
  • parenting groups
  • work with kinship carers and children
  • liaison with schools, education departments and social services
  • psycho-active medication
  • video-intervention to promote positive parenting and sensitive discipline 

We also offer specialist assessment and treatment services that can be paid for through the Adoption Support Fund. Find out more about our offer here.

How to prepare for appointments

We are a multidisciplinary team. This means we have experts from different specialties who work together to assess and treat our patients. Our team includes psychotherapists, psychologists, social workers and psychiatrists.

Our service was established in the mid 1990s and has worked with hundreds of children and their parents and carers.

North London 

Referrals from other areas on arrangement

Looked-after children and young people aged 0 to 18. Children and young people aged 0 to 18 living in adoptive, kinship and fostering families.  

We aim to help parents and carers and the professionals and other services involved with the children and young people on referral. 

Sometimes we may just be working with the adults in the family.  We can also provide consultation meetings to consider and discuss difficult circumstances even when further work would not be possible because of geography or other reasons.  

We accept referrals from GPs and other health and education professionals, through local child and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS) teams. Please contact your local CAMHS team for more information.

We provide post-adoption therapeutic work that can be funded on application to the Adoption Support Fund. This needs to be agreed by your local social services post adoption support team.

Electronic referral

Please be aware that GPs who can refer directly to Tavistock & Portman services are now able to refer to a Referral Assessment Service (RAS) via the Electronic Referral Service.

To locate the Fostering & Adoption & Kinship Care service on ERS, enter the following in the search fields:

Service name: Fostering and Adoption and Kinship Care – Tavistock & Portman NHSFT

Priority: Routine

Speciality: Mental Health – Child and Adolescent

Clinic Type: Not Otherwise Specified

Organisation of Site Name field: Tavistock and Portman

Download the referral form

For Admin Team

020 8938 2500

Tavistock Centre, 120 Belsize Lane, London NW3 5BA

For Referrals

020 8938 2241

Tavistock Centre, 120 Belsize Lane, London NW3 5BA

Team Manager

Dexter Benjamin