Out-of-home care

We've created health check guidelines for children in out-of-home care including foster care, residential care and kinship care.

Children in out-of-home care are more at risk of health issues. They may have complex health needs including:

  • development or growth delays
  • social and behavioural issues
  • incomplete vaccinations.

Our health checks help assess and monitor the health and wellbeing of children while they are in out-of-home care.

Watch our out-of-home care video to learn more about our work.

In 2018, there were more than 9,000 children and young people in various out-of-home care arrangements across Queensland.

Many of these children and young people will experience more than 10 different placements during their time in out-of-home care, and nine out of 10 have unmet health needs, which include incomplete immunisations, developmental delays, and complex behavioural issues.

GP's play a vital role in the extended healthcare team and are required to help manage the health and developmental needs of children and young people.

The National Clinical Assessment Framework for children and Young People in Out-of-Home Care recommends a preliminary health check within 30 days of a child or young person entering care, followed by a comprehensive assessment within 90 days and a full check-up every year to ensure all healthcare needs are managed.

General practitioners can play an important role in providing long-term care throughout a child or young person's life, helping to reduce the fragmentation of their healthcare.

To assist them we've collaborated with GP's to develop the health assessment toolkit, providing digital resources to aid in the completion of preliminary and comprehensive assessments.

It includes templates that seamlessly integrate with GP software, such as Best Practice and Medical Director. The toolkit supports the development of a child or young person's health management plan, which can be shared with child safety, health professionals, and other key people in their life.

By working together and sharing information, knowledge, and expertise, we can make a real difference to the lives of children and young people in out-of-home care.

Children's Health, Queensland Hospital and Health Service would like to acknowledge support for this initiative.

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Health checks for children in out-of-home care

If you’re working with a child who’s in out-of-home care, make sure they get the health checks they need.

When children in out-of-home care need a health check

  1. Preliminary health check in 30 days of entering out-of-home care
  2. Comprehensive health and development assessment in 90 days of entering out-of-home care

Preliminary health check

Preliminary health checks assess:

  • height and weight
  • language skills
  • developmental milestones
  • medicines and vaccinations.

It also assesses the child’s personal health record (red book) information.

Comprehensive health and development assessment

The comprehensive health and development assessments are for babies and children from birth to 11 and 12 years or older. It has a more detailed health check including:

  • physical examinations of their heart, breathing and neurological health
  • education
  • drug and alcohol use
  • social activities
  • personal safety.

It also includes any future investigations or health management plans the child may need.

Who can use the health checks

  • GPs
  • Health professionals
  • Child and family health nurses
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical services

If you're a child safety officer or social worker you can also ask health professionals to use our health checks with children you're working with.

Download health check forms

If you’re a GP or health professional, you can import the health check forms into your practice management software. We also have Word versions you can use.

Medical Director

Best Practice

Word templates

Out-of-home mental health support

Our health checks provide general health assessments. They can help identify if a child needs extra mental health support.

If a child has complex mental health care needs there are other support services available.

Evolve Therapeutic Services

Evolve provides mental health services for children and young people in out-of-home care who have:

  • experienced trauma
  • severe emotional and behavioural difficulties.

Evolve only accepts referrals from the Department of Child Safety, Seniors and Disability Services.

Assertive Mobile Outreach Services

Our outreach service offers mental health services for young people between 13 and 18 who have severe and complex mental health difficulties. We also support their families and carers.

Forensic child and young people mental health services

Our forensic services help young offenders or young people at risk of offending who have mental health difficulties and may also be using drugs. We also help with risk assessments, court ordered reports and case management.

Other information

Learn about children's ages and stages of development on the Ages and Stages website.

Contact us

If you have any questions about the health checks contact our out-of-home care team.

We also help child safety officers with referrals to Child and Youth Mental Health Services (CYMHS) or Evolve Therapeutic Services.

Last updated: October 2023