Strengthening health outcomes for children in out-of-home care

In News, Wide Bay by Jasmin Midgley

Central Queensland, Wide Bay, Sunshine Coast PHN is working with GPs, child safety officers, foster and kinship care services, health & wellbeing services, carers and parents in Maryborough and Hervey Bay to improve the health outcomes of children in out-of-home care.

Funded by the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women, the Out-of-Home Care Project is a state-wide strategy led by PHNs and first launched in 2018.

The project aims to improve the health outcomes of children in out of home care by strengthening the health assessment pathways through implementing timely and ongoing health treatment in line with the national clinical assessment framework.

The Maryborough Child Safety Service Centre was selected as one of the pilot sites for this project.

Children in out-of-home care are likely to have complex health needs such as poorer physical, mental and developmental health than their peers.

These children may also not be accessing the full range of options available within the health service system, in part due to placement instability combined with limited coordination and information sharing between service providers.

To date, the PHN’s Project Coordinator, Lee Hammond, has consulted with local stakeholders across the Maryborough and Hervey Bay region providing training on the national clinical assessment framework to general practice and other key stakeholders and established a Community of Practice aimed at strengthening local health pathways and improving communication strategies.

“The Community of Practice has been in operation for 5 months and a local health pathway has been developed,” Ms Hammond said.

“We are currently at the stage of trialling the local health pathway, using case studies to test for strengths and identify any service gaps.

“There will be some training in 2020 to update local GPs with the new localised health pathway, the NCAF guidelines and the screening tools used for the NCAF assessments.”

If you are a general practitioner who has a special interest in working with children who may display extensive trauma related issues, we would be interested in hearing from you.

For more information about the Out of Home Care Project, please contact Project Coordinator, Lee Hammond on 07 41310800 or email lhammond@ourphn.org.au