The University of Southampton

NQCG3125 Forensic Child and Adolescent Mental Health Care

Module Overview

Nurses working in the field of mental health commonly encounter behaviour that can challenge commonly held boundaries and that can also put self or others at risk. The aim of this module is to deepen your knowledge, understanding and preparation for working empathically with people who exhibit behaviour that falls into this category.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a systematic understanding of a range of factors that may influence the developmental psychopathology of children and young people.
  • Critically evaluate the factors that determine the delivery of quality care to the Child and Adolescent Mentally Disordered Offender within their own working environment.
  • Demonstrate the ability to undertake a systematic approach to searching and critically evaluating the literature related to an aspect of forensic child and adolescent mental health care, identifying gaps and potential areas for research.
  • Evaluate and synthesise a range of evidence based practice developments for managing challenging behaviours (including risk) across forensic mental health care settings.
  • Demonstrate a systematic understanding of current policies, legislative frameworks and proposed future developments related to the care of child and adolescent mentally disordered offenders.
  • Critically evaluate the systems of support available to practitioners and discuss the value of strict boundary setting as part of safe systems of practice.


Students will be expected to explore and critically appraise the evidence base for practice giving due consideration to socio-political influences and risk assessment and management. • Attachment theory, emerging personality disorders and other issues around child development in child and adolescent forensic mental health (CAFMH) • Service developments • Socio-political, legal & ethical issues (Capacity & Consent, the use of the Mental Health Act) • Clinical decision making in the FCAMH setting • Principles of risk assessment and risk management • Substance misuse issues with young offenders. • Learning disabilities and mental health • Managing interpersonal violence • Evidence Based & Values Based Practice in FCAMH care • Undertaking a literature search and review.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Learning and Teaching Approaches The teaching within this module will take a constructivist approach, whereby students will construct knowledge within the module sessions, drawing on their prior knowledge and understanding from practice. Utilising interactive teaching methods throughout all sessions, students will be encouraged to adopt deep level learning strategies, and then apply that learning in their practice area. The time gaps between each taught day of the module is deliberate, enabling students to apply their learning in practice and feedback to peers and academic facilitators. All teaching and learning activities will be supported by additional electronic and online resources available through links on the module’s Blackboard site. Learning A significant part of the student’s learning will take place in their practice area by exploring and applying what is directed in the classroom to that area. Students will be expected to reflect on their learning at each taught day through action learning group discussion, personal and group reflection, and experiential exercises. There is an expectation that students will embark on a course of self-directed study guided by, and in addition to, the indicative content of the module. They will be supported in undertaking this through online resources, such as podcasts, video clips and other interactive media. Teaching The majority of the teaching approach is lecture and group interaction focussed, where concepts are introduced through and then further explored through group activity, discussion and reflection. The size of the group offers the opportunity for some one to one tuition as requested by students.

Completion of assessment task40
Preparation for scheduled sessions50
Follow-up work20
Wider reading or practice85
Total study time225

Resources & Reading list

Nicholson, C., Irwin, M., Dwivedi, K.N. (2010). Children and Adolescents in Trauma: Creative Therapeutic Approaches.. 

Pfafflin F and Adshead G (2003). A Matter of Security – The Application of Attachment Theory of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychotherapy;. 

Bowen, P. (2007). Blackstone’s Guide to the Mental Health Act 2007. 

Dhakras, S. (2012). Forensic child and adolescent psychiatry. In. M. Thompson, C. Hooper, C. Laver-Bradbury, C. Gale (Eds). Child and Adolescent Mental Health Theory and Practice. 

McMurran, M., Khalifa, N., Gibbon, S. (2009). Forensic Mental Health. 

Sparta, S.N., and Koocher, G.P. (2006). Forensic Mental health Assessment of Children and Adolescents.. 

Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology. accessible via TD Net – University of Southampton Journal Catalogue or NHS Athens account

Chitsabesan, P. et al (2006). Mental health needs of young offenders in custody and in the community. British Journal of Psychiatry. ,188 , pp. 534-540.

Hagell A. and Jeyarajah-Dent, R., (2006). Children Who Commit Acts of Serious Interpersonal Violence: Messages for Best Practice.. 

Soothill, K., Rogers, P., Dolan, M., (2008). Handbook of Forensic Mental Health. (Particularly helpful is Chapter 4 written by Sue Bailey & Bill Kerslake, entitled ‘The process and systems for juveniles and young persons’ (p89-123)).. 

Hoyos, C., Gale, C. (2012). Emotional development and attachment. In. M. Thompson, C. Hooper, C. Laver-Bradbury, C. Gale (Eds). Child and Adolescent Mental Health Theory and Practice,. 

Benedek, P., Ash, P., Scott, C.L. (2010). Principles and Practice of Child & Adolescent Forensic Mental Health. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Essay 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay 100%
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