Change that leads to better lives

Family Ambassadors Evaluation Report

Family Ambassador report page 01

In 2019 the NHS formed a Quality Improvement Taskforce with the aim of improving Children and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMHS) in-patient services. One key outcome was the Family Ambassador programme. The primary purpose of the Family Ambassadors role is to provide families/carers with the information they need to better understand what happens when their child is admitted to an inpatient mental health unit.

The National Development Team for Inclusion has worked as the evaluation and learning partner for the Family Ambassadors program. Phase 1 of the Family Ambassadors evaluation was completed in May 2023. This report focuses on the challenges faced in the design, set-up and roll-out of the Family Ambassador programme and what the Local Family Ambassadors had achieved and the progress made towards the desired outcomes.

This report highlights the positive impact of the Family Ambassador program in improving support for family carers, communication, and overall well-being in the context of Children and Adolescent Mental Health services. It also emphasises the need for continued efforts to integrate Family Ambassadors into clinical teams and further evaluate their role's long-term effects.

The report offers several recommendations, including the review of the opt-out approach, participation of Local Family Ambassadors in meetings, updating job descriptions and banding, and extending support for transitions. Additionally, it highlights the need for national guidance, continuous education of clinical teams, and the importance of hearing directly from families and obtaining richer data in the next phase of the evaluation. These recommendations aim to ensure the programme operates efficiently and continues to provide crucial support to family carers and enhancing the CAMHS system.

NDTi are now working on phase 2 of the evaluation, in which we continue to explore any impact having a Family Ambassador has made.

We are particularly keen to hear from family carers who have been supporting a child/young person in an inpatient mental health unit, whether or not they have had input from a Family Ambassador. As a gesture of thanks, we will be offering families who take part a £25 voucher.

We are also looking to interview people working in clinical teams where Family Ambassadors offer support.

If you would like to find out more about how you may be able to be involved in the evaluation, then please contact Anna Marriott or Ewa Woodward on or call 01225 256 008.

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