• Starfish LD CAMHS and Starfish Plus

    We are a multidisciplinary team that includes Specialist Learning Disability Nursing, Clinical Psychology, Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy and specialist family workers.

    We also work in partnership with consultant child and adolescent psychiatry.

Starfish Learning Disability Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (Starfish LD CAMHS) offer assessments and interventions to children/young people who have a diagnosed learning disability where there are concerns about their mental health and/or distressed behaviour.


Who we care for

Starfish offers a service to children and young people from the time they start school until the age of 18 years old. 

At the point of referral, we require evidence of a diagnosed learning disability AND information about the reason for the referral. For example:

  • concerns about mental health, emotional needs and/or
  • concerns about distressed behaviour and the impact of this on their everyday life

Starfish does need evidence that the child has a learning disability, and the team will look for this information in different ways. We may ask for more information to help ensure Starfish LD CAMHS is the right service for the child or young person.


What we do

The team has a range of offers that are tailored according to the child or young person’s needs. These include:

  • offering consultation to parents/carers and professionals
  • working directly with the child or young person
  • working with their family or others who support and care for them.

The aim of the intervention is to understand what is happening for the child or young person and to find ways to enable them to achieve their best health and wellbeing.

A Starfish LD CAMHS consultation line is available for parents/carers and professionals in need of assistance. Please contact us using the telephone number below for more information.


Referral criteria

Referrals to Starfish LD CAMHS will be accepted for children/young people provided they are:

  • Aged from school entry to 18 years old with a mild, moderate, or severe learning disability and experiencing mental health difficulties and/or distressed behaviour that is impacting their life
  • Registered with a Norfolk GP

Starfish LD CAMHS accepts self-referrals and referrals from all agencies e.g. GP, social care, voluntary sector.

Making a referral

Referral to Starfish LD CAMHS is made via Single Point of Referral (SPOR) form . Please ensure you clearly mark Starfish as the service required.

The information that is included in this form helps Starfish make decisions. Please provide as much information as you can to help the team understand the need and what is being asked for.

It is also important for the parent or carer to consent to the referral. A parent or carer must sign the referral form.

Please ensure that alongside the SPOR form , you send evidence that the child/young person has a diagnosed learning disability, together with any educational psychology reports that may have been undertaken, and evidence of school attainment levels.


Telephone consultation line

Starfish offers a consultation line. This is a telephone number which you can call to discuss any concerns or describe areas in which you would like help and discuss this with a clinical staff member.

The telephone number is 01603 272319. The line is open daily from 09:00 – 16:00, offering support to families, carers, and professionals.


For more information please contact

Norwich Community Hospital, Bowthorpe Road, Norwich, NR2 3TU

Tel: 01603 272319 (unmanned line, message facility available – our aim is to respond to callers within 2-3 working days).

Email: Starfish@nchc.nhs.uk


Starfish Plus

Starfish Plus is an intensive therapeutic service for children and young people with learning disabilities. Starfish Plus works with children and young people with learning disabilities when there is a high level of concern about their mental health and/or distressed behaviour.

Children and young people would be cared for by Starfish Plus when:

  • there is a risk that they may not be able to continue to live at home because of concerns about their mental health and/or distressed behaviour
  • they might be at risk of being detained under the mental health act
  • they might be at risk of no longer being able to stay at their usual school
  • the therapeutic intervention needs to be multidisciplinary and intensive

Referrals into Starfish Plus are made via discussion with a team member. You can request this by emailing  starfishplus@nchc.nhs.uk

Starfish and Starfish Plus work closely together to ensure each child and young person is supported in the best way.

Useful resources (Click to expand)

The sleep charity are here to help!
The helpline is open 5 nights a week, Sunday to Thursday, 7-9pm and the number is 03303 530 541
The voice of the learning disability
Parenting Course for families where a child has been diagnosed with Autism
Advice for supporting your child’s mental health