First Steps - Early Intervention Community Psychology Service

Service details

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 known 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 runs sessions in the community from Children's Centres and in GP surgeries across Hackney. 

What do we do?

The aim of First Steps services is 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  • Being withdrawn, being aggressive, taking risks, or other difficult behaviours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 about First Steps from young people for young people

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

SEND Local Offer

Local Offer Age Bands
Early Years and Pregnancy 0-4
Primary 4 -10
Secondary 11-14
Preparing for Adulthood 14-18
Parents and Carers
SEN Provision Type
  • Targeted
  • Specialist

Who to contact

020 7683 4611 020 7683 4611
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Where to go

First Steps
Early Intervention Community Psychology Service
Hackney Ark
Downs Park Road

E8 2FP

View E8 2FP on a map
Venue Notes

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

Train Dalston Kingsland, Hackney Downs

Parking - 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 the 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 is the provider of non-emergency patient transport services for Homerton NHS Trust. If eligible this can be arranged in advance with the services administration department. 

Time / Date Details

Time of day
  • Morning
  • Afternoon
Session Information
Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm

Other details

Who is eligible?

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. 

First Steps work with children and adolescents who are:

  • 0-18 years of age
  • 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 or for crisis support families can call the 24 hour Crisis Line 0800 073 0006 

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

Single Point of Access

First Steps is part of the City and Hackney Single Point of Access to CAMHS.

CAMHS in City and Hackney operates a Single Point of Access and works in partnership with other services to make sure the most suitable service is linked to the person making the referral.  

All referrals must be sent to with the referral form completed by a professional working with the young person or family.  

If you have queries about a potential referral and want to speak to a professional you can call 020 7014 7079 between 9 am and 5 pm Monday to Friday. 

Professional referrals

Professionals supporting families can refer using the Referral Forms available on the CAMHS website. and email it to 


Self-referrals are currently only accepted by families and young people who have been discharged from a CAMHS service in the last 6 months.   

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.

PALS, 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

Find information about PALS at Homerton Hospital here. 

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