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Young People Exiting Care: Out of Home Care Health Pathways Program Stage 3

South Eastern Sydney Local Health District
Project Added:
19 August 2015
Last updated:
7 September 2015

Young People Exiting Care: Out of Home Care Health Pathways Program Stage 3

Summary

Stage 3 of the Out of Home Care (OOHC) Health Pathways Program will provide young people aged 15-17 years, access to a primary health care provider as well as access to a range of youth health resources. This project is in response to the request from NSW Kids and Families to address the identified cohort ‘Young People Exiting OOHC’ as part of the statewide OOHC Health Pathways Program.

Aim

To link young people aged 15-17 years to an appropriate primary health care provider, identify health needs and increase health literacy as they prepare to leave statutory OOHC.

Benefits

  • Provides young people with access to a primary health care provider.
  • Empowers young people to take ownership of their health needs after they leave OOHC.
  • Allows the Department of Family and Community Services and non-government organisations to make necessary arrangements for the young person’s health and wellbeing when exiting OOHC.

Project status

Project start date: March 2014 

Project status: Pre-implementation - planning for the initiative is well underway; clinician consultation has occurred.

Background

Before they leave care, young people’s health care is often sub-optimal and they may not have their health care needs recognised. When they transition out of care, their access to health care declines.

Implementation of the Stage 3 OOHC Health Pathways Program, will target young people aged 15-17, who entered OOHC prior to 1st July 2010. The decision to target 15-17 year olds is evidence-based, as research suggests it is a period when people are at significant risk of disengaging with health services.

Stage 1 of the Health Pathways program, commenced in 2010 as a statewide response to ‘Keeping Them Safe’ outcomes1 and recommendations made in ‘A Special Commission of Inquiry into Child Protection Services’ by the Honourable Justice James Wood2. Stage 1 targets children and young people 0-17 who entered statutory OOHC on or after 1 July 2010, and links them to a locally managed health pathway, to receive health assessments, a health management plan and ongoing health reviews.

Stage 2 implementation was time limited and occurred 2011-2012 targeting all children under five years of age in statutory OOHC who were not eligible for the Stage 1 program, due to entering care prior to 1 July 2010. Children referred to the Stage 2 program, received a comprehensive health assessment and health management plan via the Sydney Children’s Hospital Network and were then included in the Stage 1 cohort, making them eligible for ongoing review on the Stage 1 Health Pathway.

Implementation

Stage 3 will focus on health literacy and establishing links to primary health providers.

On referral to the program, young people will be linked to a primary healthcare provider in the local health district and provided with an online health information pack.

A subcommittee of the OOHC Governance Committee has been formed, including the South Eastern Sydney Local Health District Youth Health Coordinator and the OOHCCoordinator, with representatives from local health services.

Referrals commenced in June 2015.

A ‘Youth Health Pack’ is currently being developed. 

Implementation sites

  • Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network
  • Randwick (Trapeze)
  • Headspace Miranda, Hurstville and Bondi Junction
  • Kirketon Road Centre

Partnerships

  • Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network
  • headspace Miranda, Hurstville and Bondi Junction
  • Kirketon Road Centre
  • Trapeze
  • ACI Transition Care Network

Evaluation

The project will be piloted for an initial six month period, during which time feedback will be provided by partner agencies on the number of young people engaging with services and any issues with the referral pathway. The number of eligible young people being referred to the pathway will also be monitored.

The possibility of consulting with young people who have exited care in regard to their healthcare needs is also being investigated.

References

  1. NSW Government. 2009. Keep Them Safe
  2. Hon James Wood. 2008. Report of the Special Commission of Inquiry into Child Protection Services. NSW Government.

Contacts

Amanda Webster
Youth Health Coordinator
South Eastern Sydney Local Health District
SESIAHSOOHC@sesiahs.health.nsw.gov.au

Alison Dawes
OOHC Coordinator
South Eastern Sydney Local Health District
SESIAHSOOHC@sesiahs.health.nsw.gov.au

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