A project examining children's encounters with the legal system has criticised Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) for failing to engage with children in care.

The CEO of the Child Law Project Dr Maria Corbett said the cases that are in its report involve children with complex issues, presenting with disabilities, addictions and mental health needs.

"The combination can be very challenging," she said.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, she said unresolved issues are not being address due to a lack of timely access to mental health supports for children who are in care.

Dr Corbett said CAHMS teams around the country are not fully resourced.

She said there should be multidisciplinary teams and unless they are fully resourced, they cannot respond and be flexible to the needs of the children.

She said the State has taken these children into care and it is "now the State's responsibility to ensure their welfare".

"To do that, we have to ensure that there is a range of therapeutic supports to meet the children’s needs when they need them," she said.

Dr Corbett said child mental health services are seeing more complex cases where there is a mix of issues.

"We need to stop putting children in boxes and expecting we can just put them neatly in boxes.

"There's a cross section: addiction, mental health, a cognitive impairment, intellectual abilities. That's the range that you're seeing coming before the courts now," she added.

The report does highlight some successful interventions in particular for unaccompanied young people who arrived in Ireland.

Dr Corbett said that six of the 30 cases reported focus on unaccompanied minors who have come from areas of conflict and war and who arrived in Ireland on their own.

"They've often had huge trauma in their home countries and on the journey to Ireland.

"Tusla is doing really an excellent job internationally, would be recognised as doing a really excellent job in providing support and care for them and placing them in foster homes", she said.