26 September 2023

New health program to support kids in care

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Children and young people in out-of-home care are to benefit from a new program focused on providing better access to medical care and developmental support.

Delivered jointly by WA Health and the Department of Communities, the Health Navigator Pilot Program is designed to help vulnerable children and young people get timely access to health care, mental health services and disability support.

Minister for Child Protection, Simone McGurk said the two-year pilot would be trialled in Mirrabooka and South-West.

Ms McGurk said two Health Navigator staff would be employed at each site, one of whom would be an Aboriginal Health Professional.

“The two Government Departments are receiving input from the Aboriginal Health Council of WA, CREATE Foundation, Foster Care Association WA, Yorganop, as well as young people with lived experience,” she said.

Ms McGurk said young people in the child protection system often experienced significant challenges.

“Being healthy and resilient gives them the best chance of succeeding in other areas of their lives, such as getting a good education and employment,” she said.

“We know that early diagnosis and intervention in the early years is crucial and that is why this initiative is so important to ensure children in care have the right support when they need it.”

Minister for Health, Amber-Jade Sanderson said the needs of these children were complex and challenging.

“This is an exceptional initiative that makes a real difference to vulnerable children,” Ms Sanderson said.

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