Whanganui chosen for Children's Team rollout
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17 July 2014
 
Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) clinicians and management staff are delighted Whanganui has been selected as a chosen location for the roll-out of the Children’s Teams it’s hoped will help transform New Zealand’s Child Protection System.
 
Described as a key part of the Government’s Children’s Action Plan, the Children’s Teams are being established in 10 cities nationwide where health, education and social sector professionals will work together to do their utmost to protect New Zealand’s most vulnerable children and young people.
 
WDHB portfolio manager Jon Buchan says following trials in Whangarei and Rotorua, the teams have been charged with making sure:
  • vulnerable children’s needs are assessed
  • all parties required to address those needs are brought to the table
  • a single multi-agency plan for each vulnerable child is developed, implemented, and a lead professional is allocated to see the plan through
  • local services are delivered according to the plan
  • outcomes are achieved for each child.
 
“The Children’s Teams will be led by new, yet-to-be appointed regional children’s directors responsible for making sure the right services are delivered by the right people to meet the needs of a child,” Mr Buchan says. “Whānau Ora providers will be part of the mix of services available to communities.”

Each child will have a lead professional assigned to them- a person selected from local health, education, justice and social services agencies based on their being the best fit for a child’s needs, including their cultural needs.

The lead professional will act as the key point of contact for the child and their family/whānau and for all practitioners and services engaged with the child and their family/whānau.

Under the new system, services for vulnerable children will be prioritised through joint service design and associated funding and contracting approaches. The focus will be on key services including mental health and addiction services for children and their parents, intensive home visiting initiatives and other intensive parenting programmes.

The Whanganui Children’s Team and action plan will be implemented by June 2015. Mr Buchan says Child, Youth and Family and the police will retain their current statutory care and protection responsibilities.