To assess the impact of inpatient intervention, provided by a child mental health unit in Victoria, Australia, on a number of key child and family variables.Pre-post test design with a four-month follow up was applied to assess changes across time. Twenty-nine parents, 42 teachers, and 37 referrers provided reports on a series of child, parent, and family functioning measures.Significant improvements in child behaviour and functioning, parenting competency and efficacy, parenting practices, and reduced parental depression were observed over time. Changes in family functioning scores were not significant; however, univariate analysis indicated improvements in two individual subscales.There is a lack of studies of the outcome of inpatient interventions of children in psychiatric settings. However, as shown in the present study, improvements in functioning can be detected and obtained with short-term interventions that focus on both children and families. Methodological shortcomings (i.e. absence of comparison groups) and lack of specificity in intervention variables, however, are difficulties yet to be overcome in evaluation research of inpatient treatment.