Anna Freud Centre (London , )


  • Name:Katy Vaughan

Organization Address

  • Organization Name:Anna Freud Centre
  • Address:12 Maresfield Gardens
    London NW3 5SU
    United Kingdom

Organization Phone

  • Main phone:02074432228

Organization Web

User Email


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  • Mission:
  • The Anna Freud Centre's (AFC) mission is to address the biggest health
    challenge of our age – that of mental ill-health. One in ten of our children
    has an emotional or mental health problem which is causing them misery
    and distress. The Centre improves the lives of thousands of children and
    young people with mental health problems every year. It provides a vital
    lifeline for families under pressure and it is the UK’s only children’s mental
    health organisation to combine practice, training and world-class research,
    with a focus on family well-being.

  • Overview:
  • The Anna Freud Centre (AFC) is committed to improving the emotional wellbeing of children and young people. We are dedicated to developing innovative and excellent treatments and services for young people who are suffering from mental health problems. We advise and offer direct support to parents and provide specialist help for children and young people in emotional distress and at risk, helping to put them back on track for a brighter future. Services take place at the Centre but also in outreach locations including schools, homeless hostels, children's centres and prisons. As a Centre of Learning, the Anna Freud Centre pioneers research and training dedicated to improving understanding of children's and young people's emotional problems and resilience through training mental health professionals, conducting research and advising practitioners, universities and policy makers. We train over 3,000 mental health workers per year.

    We are regarded as a world leader in child mental health research and effective treatment development and has provided strong leadership in the evaluation of clinical services, both in its own services and through extensive consultation to many other organisations in the evaluation of their own work. This is now a major part of the Centre’s activity, particularly through the Evidence Based Practice Unit (an academic unit based across UCL and AFC) which provides a range of specific evaluation projects and general advice on evaluative methodology and interpretation of results. The Centre is affiliated to two world class universities, UCL and Yale, with which it undertakes collaborative projects and research studies.

    Children, young people and families are at the heart of our work. The Centre's activities are broadly categorised below:

    • Piloting innovative models to prove the impact of our breakthrough treatments. Our practice provides specialist help for children, young people and their families, helping to put them back on track for a brighter future.

    • Bringing together world class academics and clinicians to develop and disseminate innovative treatments.

    • Giving a voice to those suffering from mental health challenges.

    • Building a global network of clinicians to scale our break-through models around the world.

    • Our research and training improves global understanding of children's emotional problems through training, conducting empirical research and advising practitioners, universities and governments.Our Chief Executive is a key developer of the NICE guidelines for child mental health and our clinical evaluations achieve transformative service development.

    Services and Innovation: the Centre develops and rolls out promising new interventions in order to improve the support offered to as many children, young people and families as possible. We offer a wide range of services including; Treatment for children/adolescents and their families at the Centre; Therapeutic and support services for families, children and young people in 37 schools; community-based interventions for vulnerable groups such as families living in temporary accommodation, and care leavers with children of their own; specialist court assessment services and Looked After Children services; peer to peer services such as our innovative 'being a parent course' and our peer led support group for families of people with Borderline Personality Disorder.

    Research: all the research and evaluation undertaken aims to directly improve the resilience and welfare of children and young people and the services provided to them. For example, the Evidence Based Practice Unit leads on the mental health programme of research for the Child Health Policy Research Unit (CPRU), one of seven Department of Health funded units charged with informing policy development across England.

    Dissemination: the Centre is committed to sharing the best and most innovative knowledge and skills in order to improve services offered to children and families in the UK and internationally. One of the ways we do this is by teaching and training mental health and allied professionals. Between September 2012 and August 2013 we trained over 3000 professionals in our evidence-based models.

  • History:
  • For over 60 years the AFC has been at the forefront of understanding, protecting and nurturing young minds and in that time we have become a national charity with a worldwide reputation in caring for young people with mental health difficulties.

    The Centre was established in 1947 by Anna Freud, who came with her family to the UK in 1938 as refugees from Nazi-occupied Vienna. In 1941 she set up the Hampstead War Nurseries, a refuge for approximately 100 children made homeless by the bombing. The War Nurseries helped to meet the need for residences for children who were considered "billeting problems" because they could not be evacuated without their mothers or had developed difficulties in foster care situations. Anna Freud and her team applied her knowledge of child development to the children's care. The nurseries provided a unique opportunity for observational research into child development and study of the impact of the war on children.

    From 1952-1982 the Centre was known as the Hampstead Child Therapy Course and Clinic. The Hampstead Child Therapy Course began in 1947 and The Hampstead Clinic opened at 12 Maresfield Gardens in 1952. The Hampstead Child Therapy Course and Clinic was established as a charity whose Deed of Trust stated that its purpose was to provide training, treatment and research in child psychoanalysis.

    The Clinic grew rapidly. Two further buildings (no. 21 and no. 14) were given in 1956 and 1967. In 1957, a small nursery school was opened where pre-school education, based on a sound knowledge of child development, was provided and students could observe developing children. Mother-toddler groups and a well-baby clinic were also started. During the 1960s and '70s up to 60 children and adolescents were in intensive treatment at any one time. Students came to train from home and abroad and the Clinic became a centre of scholarship with a steady supply of academic visitors and post-doctoral researchers and a large output of published papers.

    Anna Freud remained involved until her death in 1982 (when the Clinic name was changed in honour of her) but from 1978 directors were appointed. Peter Fonagy was Director of Research at AFC from 1989-2003 and published a number of important research papers with colleagues including a retrospective outcome study of all the cases (763) treated at the Centre over 40 years.

    In 2003 a Directorial Team was appointed to run the Centre: Professor Linda Mayes (Chair of the Centre’s Directorial Team and Arnold Gesell Professor at the Yale Child Study Center), Professor Peter Fonagy (the Centre’s Chief Executive and Director of the Research Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology at UCL) and Professor Mary Target (the Centre’s Professional Director and Professor of Psychoanalysis Reader in Clinical Psychology at UCL). Under the team’s leadership, the Centre’s traditional child psychotherapy focus has broadened substantially with the purpose of identifying the most effective ways of helping children, young people and families in distress.

  • Year established:1952
  • Endowment:Unknown


  • Organization type:Grantseeker
  • Country of registration:United Kingdom
  • U.K. Charity Commission ID #:1077106