How should CAMHS work with young people who are involved with Oranga Tamariki? A literature review of principles for working with care-experienced young people


  • Joanna Appleby University of Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Barbara Staniforth University of Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Susan P. Kemp University of Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Helene Connor Te Atiawa and Ngāti Ruanui, Ngāti Rahiri and Ngāti Te Whiti; University of Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand


Child welfare, youth, mental health, ethic of care, CAMHS, care-experienced


INTRODUCTION: Care-experienced young people tend to have high levels of mental health need which have remained largely unmet by child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS). This review focuses on how CAMHS clinicians can better support the mental health of care-experienced young people.

METHOD: A narrative review of the current research on principles for working effectively with care-experienced young people is presented. The focus is on principles that can be applied across the full range of mental health interventions, with a focus on Māori perspectives of wellbeing.

FINDINGS: A set of practice principles framed within an ethic of care is presented that includes establishing a trusting and transparent therapeutic relationship, practising flexibly, promoting youth autonomy and choice, providing support to the whole system around the young person, interagency collaboration, and providing extra support during periods of transition. These approaches can be used across a range of mental health interventions and within a philosophy of care that is youth-centred and attuned to the cultural, practical, and developmental needs of care-experienced young people. While Māori youth are the focus of this review, the findings may be applicable for care-experienced young people from other marginalised groups.

CONCLUSION: CAMHS teams should be adequately resourced to enact a responsive ethic of care. Within multi-disciplinary teams, clinical social workers are well placed to promote holistic mental health care. The principles presented in this review can also be applied across other settings to support care-experienced young people to thrive.


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How to Cite

Appleby, J., Staniforth, B., Kemp, S., & Connor, H. (2024). How should CAMHS work with young people who are involved with Oranga Tamariki? A literature review of principles for working with care-experienced young people. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work, 36(2), 84–98. Retrieved from



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