Closing the gaps for high needs young people
Waikato Hospital today launches its Waikids Gateway Assessment Service.
Gateway Assessments, announced in Budget 2011, is an interagency project between Child, Youth and Family Services (CYFS) and the health and education systems.
It builds on the work and findings of a two-year pilot project.
Within the Waikato, that work has culminated in the Waikids Gateway Assessment Service - a new screening service that will assess about 435 children and young people in the care of CYFS or who have been identified as having high needs.
"Children who come into Child, Youth and Family care are some of New Zealand's most vulnerable children," said Waikato Hospital Paediatrics Clinical Unit leader Phil Weston.
"Many have a combination of health and education difficulties that have gone unidentified or untreated prior to them coming into care."
The model is being rolled out across New Zealand DHBs, however will differ from region to region.
In the Waikato, the team consists of a coordinator, an advanced trainee paediatric fellow, a registered clinical psychologist and an administrator, with a consultant paediatrician providing clinical support.
"This is an exciting venture for Waikids and the children and families of the Midland region," said Dr Weston.
"It is another step closer to closing the gaps completely and eliminating high needs children slipping through the system."
Pilot services were provided in four sites throughout New Zealand. A review of these pilots shows, on average, three more health needs per child were identified as a result of the assessments.
Information from the four pilots is consistent with international research, and shows of the children who went into care:
Approximately 65 per cent have mental health or behavioural problems
40 per cent of these are likely to need specialist services. Currently only around seven per cent receive specialist mental health services
15 per cent suffer from developmental delay
37 per cent have impaired hearing
Around 40 per cent need dental care or help with skin conditions; and many have a combination of health and education needs and, in 88 per cent of cases, had problems that had gone unidentified or untreated prior to them coming into care.
A number of benefits were also identified:
the child or young person has a better understanding of their individual needs and of what help is available to them
families gain new insight into their children's behaviour that they not previously understood.
connecting these children to the primary and specialist health services they need
better information for teachers, enabling them to better support the student in the class room; and
improved integrated information across agencies strengthens relationships, leading to more informed planning and service development.
For more information about Waikids Gateway Assessment Services and how the process works, visit www.waikatodhb.health.nz/waikids
10 April 2012