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Choice and partnership approach (CAPA) - CAMHS

Choice and partnership approach (CAPA) - CAMHS

What are Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)?

Our Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) consist of our Marinoto North and Marinoto West teams who provide mental health assessment and therapy for children and young people from 0-19 years who live in the Waitemata DHB area.

What is the Choice & Partnership Approach (CAPA)?

Choice & Partnership Approach (CAPA) is a service transformation model.  It was developed by two child psychiatrists (Dr Ann York and Dr Steve Kingsbury).

The essentials of the model are:

  1. Collaborative practice, with the aim of placing the user (client) at the centre.
  2. Using demand and capacity theory to deliver the most efficient and effective intervention to more service users and their families in a more timely way.

CAPA Model

CAPA Model

What are we trying to achieve?

The benefit of using a CAPA system is that services can:

CAPA benefits

The core value which underpins CAPA is that service users (clients) are at the heart of the process.  The premise is that service involvement is led by families and guided by the clinician.

If it is jointly felt that Marinoto is the appropriate service to work with the family, the CHOICE clinician will select a clinician with the appropriate skill base to work in partnership with the family to develop their goals.  When selecting the clinician as to the best “fit”, the clinician's personality is one of the factors considered.

What have we done?

Value: Everyone MattersCHOICE

CHOICE appointments are the first contact a family has with the service.  The aim of the appointment is to build a therapeutic alliance by:

  • clarifying with the family their hopes for change
  • exploring whether CAMHS or another service are best placed to help
  • identifying what the family can do for themselves
  • considering risk
  • allowing the family to make an informed choice about what they need and want
  • providing written information about health issues, solutions and other sources of help

Did we make a difference?

Since its implementation, there have been two separate independent evaluations of the CAPA system, which show that the model has been well received by service users and their families.

The results in the pie charts below are from our Marinoto West service.  Data from individual questions were pooled to generate an overall score to measure the families’ and service users' experience of the service after CAPA implementation.

CAPA patient and family experience


A secondary aim of CAPA was to deliver the most efficient and effective interventions to more service users and their families in a more timely way.  The results are as impressive, with:

  • an increase in accepted referrals from 401 in 2007 to 1060 in 2013
  • an average number of seven partnership sessions for each consumer
  • less than 4% of families not attending CHOICE appointments
  • no internal wait list and the majority of families are seen within three weeks of referral (frequently families choose appointments beyond three weeks to suit their needs)