Improving the health of children in out-of-home care

Oct 24, 2022

Five year old Aboriginal Boy WEB RGB

Children in out-of-home care are likely to have complex health needs such as poorer physical, mental, and developmental health than their peers, and may not be accessing the full range of options within the health service system.

The ‘Strengthening health assessment response for children and young people in care’, known locally as the ‘Out of Home Care Project’ has been initiated by Children, Youth Justice, and Multicultural Affairs in partnership with PHNs across Queensland.

The National Clinical Assessment Framework for Children and Young People in Care recommends that a preliminary health check is completed within 30 days of a young person entering care, and a comprehensive health and development assessment be completed within 90 days.

Brisbane North PHN is supporting the implementation of this project in the Caboolture and Morayfield Child Safety Service Centre regions.

What we want to achieve:

  1. improve access, timeliness, and quality of health assessments for children entering care
  2. improve GPs and primary health staff knowledge and understanding about working with children in care
  3. improve primary health / child safety integration and case coordination.

How the PHN can support general practice:

  • development of a coordinated local health assessment pathway published via HealthPathways
  • age related health assessment templates and screening tools are available via HealthPathways
  • channels to raise concerns and provide support for GPs

Children in out of home care

Primary Medical issues:

  • 14% abnormal growth
  • 24% incomplete vaccinations
  • 20% abnormal vision screening
  • 28% abnormal hearing test
  • 30% dental problems

Trauma-related issues:

  • 54% with emotional or behavioural problems​
  • ≤ 63% have an eating disorder or obesity​
  • 77% aged ≥ 12 years smoke every day
  • 45% aged < 5 years have a speech delay
  • education and peer support opportunities on working with children in care and trauma-informed practice

For more information about the Out of Home Care Project contact Michele Hayes, OOHC Project Officer on 07 3490 3430 or email michele.hayes@brisbanenorthphn.org.au.

This activity is funded by the Queensland Department of Children, Youth Justice, and Multicultural Affairs. It is supported by funding from the Australian Government through the PHN Program.

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