• User involvement;
  • client participation;
  • service development

Accountability to service users and the wider public has become a guiding principle for the NHS and a central theme of consecutive pieces of policy that place participation and involvement at the centre of clinical practice and service provision. This paper will look at the background and objectives of children and young people's participation in two key policy areas: their own mental health care, and the planning and delivery of child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS). In doing so, the paper will highlight children and young people's unique contribution to clinical care and examine current knowledge and practice that encourages their involvement in clinical processes and service development.