Program helps 500 children in care get on track to a healthier future

19 June 2019 

An innovative two-year trial focused on improving health outcomes for young people in care has seen more than 500 referrals in its first 12 months.

The Australian-first ‘Navigate Your Health’ care model was established to give children in care, who commonly fall behind in immunisation schedules and other basic healthcare checks, the best possible start in life.

The trial is being jointly delivered in Brisbane by Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service, the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women, and the Brisbane Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service.

Four dedicated ‘Health Navigators’ are monitoring participants in the trial and coordinating their care to ensure they receive timely health and developmental assessments, and, if needed, referrals to appropriate healthcare services.

Children’s Health Queensland Chief Executive Fionnagh Dougan said the program aimed to strengthen partnerships and communication between everyone involved in a child’s care to ensure they received integrated care across the social and healthcare continuum.

“A comprehensive tailored health management plan is developed for every child and young person to ensure they receive the care and services they need, including vision and hearing assessments, vaccination catch-ups, mental health services and oral health check-ups,” Ms Dougan said.“We want every child in care to experience an optimal healthcare journey that is responsive to their individual needs, considering their changing living arrangements and other factors such as family background, culture, and disability status.”

Ms Dougan said the Navigate Your Health trial had received overwhelmingly positive feedback from participating children, parents, carers and health professionals.“The program is delivering tangible and lasting benefits for children and young people, including improved health outcomes and immunisation rates, better dental health and better access to specialist services,” Ms Dougan said.

“Importantly, it has also given us a much greater understanding of the health needs of children and young people in care.”

“There’s a critical need for this program in every community in Queensland, and we look forward to working with our partners to expand the trial into other areas in the coming years.”

Planning is also under way to also develop a referral pathway that improves access to healthcare for young people in the youth justice system.

For more about the trial visit  https://clinicalexcellence.qld.gov.au/improvement-exchange/navigate-your-health

ENDS

Media contact:  07 3068 5111 / chqnews@health.qld.gov.au