Skip to main content

First Steps - Early Intervention Community Psychology Service

First Steps,
Early Intervention Community Psychology Service,
Hackney Ark,
Downs Park Road,
E8 2FP
Telephone: 020 7683 4611


COVID-19 service update

  • All appointments are currently over the phone or online except for the Quick Steps services which are offering face to face appointments.
  • Some under 5’s work is being offered face to face where necessary.
  • First Steps are accepting referrals from professionals for Children and Young People aged 0-18 with mild to moderate mental health presentations e.g. anxiety or low mood lasting for less than 6 months, poor self-esteem or difficulties with peer relationships. These appointments are offered where a child or young person would benefit from uni-professional psychological work with a clinician. This is a short term, targeted intervention of up to 6 sessions.
  • Referral forms must be fully completed.
  • In this period we are not able to take self-referrals from families.

For referrals email

For crisis families can call 0208432 8020

A duty system is running daily from Hackney Ark.

Contact number 02070147135


CAMHS have put together the following documents to update and help families and young people know how to manage their well-being and mental health, with support if needed, during COVID government enforced lockdowns and restrictions. 

COVID-19 resources for parents-carers CAMHS (Pdf) (information, resources and links)

This short leaflet helpfully identifies sources of support for those experiencing different levels of difficulty. It includes current contact numbers for a range of eventualities. 

City  Hackney CAMHS COVID Getting Help (Pdf) 

Who are we?

First Steps is an NHS psychology service for children and young people aged 0 – 18 years and their families.

This service works with other services in a partnership know as the CAMHS Alliance.

  • Our team of 25 Family and Child Practitioners includes:
  • Clinical Psychologist
  • Mental Health nurses
  • Assistant Psychologists
  • Administrators

To try to ensure there is easy access to the service the First Steps Community Psychology Team run sessions in the community from Children's Centres and in GP surgeries across Hackney. 

What do we do?

The aim of Fist Steps services are to offer early help with any difficulties related to behaviour, emotions and relationships, before they become more complicated or difficult to address.

We can help with the following problems: 

  • Sleeping problems
  • Tantrums
  • Selective eating
  • Toilet training
  • Relationships with brothers and sisters and other children the same age
  • Difficulties with your relationship with your child
  • Disagreements in the family about parenting 
  • Worries following an illness or bereavement or issues that are affecting the whole family
  • Changes at home or school that have affected a child's emotions and behaviour

First Steps can also help children and young people with:

  • Fears, unhappiness, anger, anxiety or other difficult feelings
  • Being withdrawn, being aggressive, taking risks or other difficult behaviours
  • Feelings related to parental illness or health problems
  • Changes within the family e.g. Separation
  • Relationships with family, friends or teachers

Information from young people for young people

This is a film of a short interviews with young people talking about their experience of receiving support from the First Steps service.

Record Last Updated on: 15/02/2022

Time / Date Details

Time of day

  • Morning
  • Afternoon

Session Information

Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm

Other Details

Who is eligible?

We work with children and adolescents who are:

  • Aged 0-18 years
  • Are experiencing mild to moderate mental health difficulties
  • Have a home address in Hackney or with a Hackney GP
  • Where the legally responsible parent or guardian has given consent for the referral
  • Who have psychological difficulties which are likely to be helped by a short-term psychological intervention

Advice about children and young people and self-harm is available from Specialist CAMHS

Urgent safeguarding concerns should be directed to Children Social Care MASH (Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub). Hackney phone number 020 8356 5500

First Steps are not able to accept referrals for families who are currently open to Children’s Social Care.

If you have concerns about the emotional well-being of a child who is open to Children’s Social Care, please discuss with their allocated Social Worker who will be able to coordinate appropriate support.

Referral required?


Referral Details

CAMHS has a "No wrong door" policy and works in partnership with other services to make sure the most suitable service is linked to the person making the referral. 

Professionals supporting familes can refer using the Referral Forms available on the CAMHS website.

Self-referrals can be made by parents, families and young people.

Please call 0207 683 4611 between 9am  and 5pm.

The service may not imediately have a clinician who can talk to you but someone will get back to you shortly after your call.  

What to do if you have a complaint

If you have a concern about the service you have received please speak to your therapist or the person who has been working with you so that they can try to address your concerns.  If that does not help you can arrange to contact the service’s management team via admin.

If you prefer to discuss your concern with someone independent of your care team then you can contact our Patient Liaison and Advice Service (PALS).

The PALS team can help resolve queries and concerns quickly and if you are not happy with the outcome then they can advise you on our formal complaints process.


Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Homerton Row

London E9 6SR


Phone 020 8510 7315 (Out of office hours voicemail service available)

Textphone 07584 445 400


How to Get Here


30, 56, 67, 76, 149, 243, 276,


Dalston Kingsland, Hackney Downs


The car park has 10 car spaces including two spaces for disabled drivers along with motorcycle and bicycle spaces. Parking is restricted to clients and service users only.

Service users will need to use the entry-phone to alert main reception of their arrival and be permitted to enter the car park.  Anyone using the car park does so at their own risk.

There are on street parking bays opposite the building.

Reception can ring for cabs for patients.

Transport to service for some children & young people depending on their mobility needs.

Consideration may be given to the use of hospital transport in very exceptional circumstances only.

ERS Medical are the provider of non-emergency patient transport services for Homerton NHS Trust. If eligable this can be arranged in advance with the services administration department. 

Your Feedback | The Likes & Dislikes from real parents

Sign in to add feedback

Disclaimer-important information about the Hackney Local Offer

Hackney's Local Offer website is a free and impartial service provided by the London Borough of Hackney in partnership with the NHS, local education, health and community services. The information contained within the website is available for the purposes of identifying services and provision that may be available to children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities.

This information does not represent a recommendation or an endorsement of a Service or Provider and neither does the London Borough of Hackney or its partners make any representations or warranties as to the accuracy of the information. Anyone seeking to use or access a service or provision is responsible for undertaking their own checks to determine the suitability and fitness for purpose of that service and provision. In no event will we be liable for any loss or damage including, without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damages whatsoever arising from use or loss of use of data or profits arising out of or in connection with the use of the Hackney Local Offer.

Some providers will be registered and inspected by external agencies, such as Ofsted or the Care Quality Commission. Anyone working with children and young people will be required to have appropriate Disclosure and Barring Service Check (the replacement for the Criminal Record Check), safeguarding policies and insurance in place, which they should make available to you on request.

Help & Advice

Back to top