European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

, Volume 25, Issue 5, pp 539–546 | Cite as

The association between ethnicity and care pathway for children with emotional problems in routinely collected child and adolescent mental health services data

  • Julian Edbrooke-Childs
  • Robbie Newman
  • Isobel Fleming
  • Jessica Deighton
  • Miranda WolpertEmail author
Original Contribution


Adults from black and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds are less likely to access mental health services through voluntary care pathways and are more likely to access through compulsory ones. The aim of the present research was to explore the association between ethnicity and care pathway through child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS), in terms of reason for referral and case closure, in children presenting with emotional problems. A sample of N = 11,592 children from 26 CAMHS was taken from a national routinely collected dataset (56 % female; 7 % aged 0–5 years, 40 % 6–12 years, 53 % 13–18 years, and <1 % 19–25 years). Multinomial logistic regressions showed that BAME children were consistently more likely to be referred to CAMHS through education, social, and other services than primary care, compared to White British children (odds ratio (OR) = 1.52–9.96, p < .001) and they were less likely to end treatment due to child and family non-attendance (OR = 0.59–0.79, p < .05). Similar to adults, children from BAME groups may be more likely to access CAMHS through compulsory than voluntary care pathways.


CAMHS Emotional disorder Referral Care pathway Ethnic minority Service use 



The Policy Research Unit in the Health of Children, Young People and Families is funded by the Department of Health Policy Research Programme. This is an independent report commissioned and funded by the Department of Health. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Department. The authors would like to thank members of CPRU: Terence Stephenson, Catherine Law, Amanda Edwards, Ruth Gilbert, Steve Morris, Helen Roberts, Cathy Street, and Russell Viner. The authors would also like to thank all members of CORC, its committee at the time of writing—(including M.W.): Ashley Wyatt, Duncan Law, Alison Towndrow, Tamsin Ford, Evette Girgis, Julie Elliott, Ann York, Mick Atkinson, and Alan Ovenden—and the CORC central team at the time of writing (including M.W. and I.F): Jenna Jacob, Elisa Napoleone, Victoria Zamperoni, Christa Daboiko, Slavi Savic, and Jeni Page. The authors would like to thank Lisa Arai for her useful comments on an earlier draft.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

We have no conflicts of interest to declare.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julian Edbrooke-Childs
    • 1
  • Robbie Newman
    • 2
  • Isobel Fleming
    • 2
  • Jessica Deighton
    • 1
  • Miranda Wolpert
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Evidence Based Practice UnitUCL and Anna Freud CentreLondonUK
  2. 2.Child Outcomes Research ConsortiumAnna Freud CentreLondonUK

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