We are an intensive support service for children and young people who have a diagnosis of autism, learning disabilities, or
both. We aim to enhance the support provided by other professionals to families in Cheshire. Through everyone working together, we hope to support families to feel safe and secure at home.

We will communicate with everyone who supports your child to develop a shared understanding. We may work directly with you and your child or indirectly, through other professionals. What we offer will be tailored to fit your child and your family’s needs.

We may offer:

  • Individual support for the child / young person / family
  • Training others to understanding your child and how they communicate
  • Plans to manage challenging or distressing behaviours
  • Working together with the important people in the young person’s life, eg social workers / carers

We will work with you to guide and support you and your child through each step.

Through asking specific questions we will seek to understand strengths and concerns for you and your child and acknowledge
what is going well. 

We will have meetings with other professionals to build a picture about any additional challenges which may be impacting your family. Through working together with you and your child we will develop a plan of action.

We are guided by your child’s needs and goals and do not set a time limit on our involvement. We will regularly review your plan with you and your child so we can notice progress and celebrate achievements together.

We work across Cheshire, with bases in Crewe and Chester. We will meet and work with you in an environment that feels comfortable for you and your child or young person. This can be at home, school, or a private setting eg community building or residential setting.

How to make a referral

The Intensive Support Function enhances the support already provided by Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and learning disability CAMHS services in Cheshire, when the clinical input required is beyond what CAMHS services are able to offer. 

We accept referrals from health, social and education professionals who input in the Dynamic Support Database for young people age 5–18.

The aim of the Intensive Support Function (ISF) is to enable children and young people with autism and/or learning disabilities and complex behavioural needs to experience a good quality of life in the community, therefore reducing the risk of hospital admission or placement. By working collaboratively, the ISF seeks to create a positive integrated care experience which generates positive and sustainable change for the child and young person to help them thrive in their community. The ISF enhances rather than replaces what is available for the child / young person.

Our team

The ISF is a multidisciplinary team consisting of:

  • Specialist practitioner
  • Clinical psychologist
  • Positive Behavioral Support (PBS) practitioner 
  • Mental health practitioner
  • Assistant psychologists
  • Associate practitioners
  • Clinical support workers
  • The ISF operates with a shared caseload, which means the wholeteam contributes to every case, directly or indirectly.


Children and young people age 5-18 with:

  • A diagnosis of learning disabilities and/or autism AND
  • Complex behavioural needs, which challenge their support system to the extent that there is a risk of placement breakdown / hospital admission

Who can refer?

We accept referrals from any professional who inputs into the Dynamic Support Database (DSD).

Process following referral

Acceptance of the ISF referral will trigger a two-stage process:

  1. The ISF will offer a consultation meeting, to jointly develop an understanding of the needs of the child / young person. If appropriate, the ISF will provide specialist guidance and advice before discharging or arranging a follow-up consultation to review the effectiveness of these recommendations.
  2. Where additional support is required, the ISF will assume clinical responsibility and will form part of the multiagency response, by actively engaging in risk management, assessment and intervention as appropriate.

In exceptional circumstances, the ISF may form part of the multiagency response and initiate active clinical involvement without a consultation being required.

Case risks and responsibilities continue to be shared among all professionals, so it is required that other services remain actively involved in coordination and collaboration with the ISF.

The ISF operates within office hours (9am-5pm, Monday to Friday). For referrals or general enquiries please email cwp.isfcheshire@nhs.net. If you would prefer to talk to the ISF via telephone, please call 01270 653456.

If crisis support is needed, please contact the CWP Crisis Line on 0800 145 6485.