Researchers from the La Trobe Rural Health School have been working with the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (Mallee) and Sunraysia Community Health Services on the project. The project is being funded by the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (Mallee).
Dr Corina Modderman, a Social Work academic from the La Trobe Rural Health School, says children and young people in Out of Home Care are the most vulnerable children in society. It is hoped the project will enable them to receive better and consistent health care.
“Frequently these children do not have a ‘warrior’ that advocates for their specific or complex health needs. Exposure to trauma impacts on both their mental and physical health. There is also the risk of multiple placements; moving between different carers and locations and as a result health information may get lost or is not followed up”.
Craig Hocking, Senior Adviser, Population Health and Community Wellbeing, within the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing says children and young people in Out of Home Care are more likely, than average, to experience chronic and/or complex health conditions through their growing years and into adulthood.
“As identified in The Victorian Children, Youth and Families Act 2005, the healthcare needs of children in Out of Home Care are primarily a health systems problem. This place-based initiative will establish the foundations for local health and community service agencies to collectively identify local barriers and enablers to systematic and proactive health care for children and young people in Out of Home Care.”
Dr Modderman says the first two years of the project have been focused on investigating systems between child protection and community health and the opportunities and blockages for integrated health systems.
“The next step is to work closely with stakeholders to establish and promote ongoing quality improvement approaches in existing area-based health service design and delivery for children and young people in Out of Home Care in the Mallee.”
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