New child protection coordinator to begin role mid-June

29 May 2014

WDHB’s newly appointed child protection coordinator Awhina Rushworth.
The Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) has appointed WDHB child and youth mortality review coordinator Awhina Rushworth to the newly established role of child protection coordinator. A qualified social worker, Ms Rushworth is keen to support the WDHB’s efforts to reduce child abuse in the Whanganui region.
Ms Rushworth has extensive experience working in the area of family violence. She says we must do better to protect our children. Working closely with WDHB staff and others in the community is essential for supporting families and improving the future for our children.
Her new job includes spending 12 hours a week working on family violence prevention work in the community through the Public Health Centre.
WDHB head of paediatrics Dr David Montgomery says the child protection coordinator position is an essential part of any DHB’s child health service.
“Responding to the needs of at-risk children and their families is an enormous challenge,” Dr Montgomery says. “Abuse and neglect are very prevalent in our society, and the response to these problems requires a coordinated approach.
“Whanganui DHB is part of a multi-agency network involving health, education, social welfare, justice, non- government organisations and the community, which aims to reduce the impact of child abuse and neglect on the wellbeing of children.
“The role of the child protection coordinator is both strategic and practical. On a strategic level, the coordinator will build on the effective partnerships developed with the other agencies in order to improve the combined response to abuse and neglect. The coordinator will also improve and develop protocols, guidelines and pathways for use within the health sector, while providing education and support for clinical staff working with at risk children and their families.”
Ms Rushworth will be directly involved with case management of at-risk children and families, as part of the Child Protection Team.