Children in need get extra help

NICCI MCDOUGALL
Last updated 05:00 19/11/2012

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Child Youth and Family Southland has welcomed a new initiative to ensure children in its care have access to much-needed education and health services.

Gateway Assessments, which was recently introduced in Southland, is an inter-agency programme between CYF, health and education officials, which involves pulling together all the child's social, health and education information.

The social worker, family, medical professionals and education providers then use the information to agree on a plan for the child's needs.

Child Youth and Family Otago/Southland operations manager Judy Larking said it was a fantastic partnership and initiative.

"It's a really wonderful service that is there to help our most vulnerable children."

All children came from different background circumstances and often health and learning concerns went undetected.

Southern District Health Board nursing director for children's and public health Jane Wilson said Gateway Assessments would ensure young people had access to the treatment and support they needed.

"With Gateway Assessments we can build a complete picture of a child or young person's health and educational needs and work on a plan to meet those needs."

Southland was the 17th district health board to implement Gateway Assessments, which was announced in the 2011 budget. The Government announced a $43 million funding package to improve services for children in care.

This included funding for Gateway Assessments, the expansion of mental health services, early childhood education and specialised parenting support.

Government estimates show if every child entering care had a Gateway Assessment it would mean about 2200 each year could be referred to the right services.

nicole.mcdougall@stl.co.nz

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