A two-year pilot became the real thing this week when Waikato Hospital launched its Waikids Gateway Assessment Service.
Gateway Assessments, is an interagency project between Child, Youth and Family Services (CYFS) and the health and education systems.
The service will assess about 435 children and young people in the care of CYFS or who have been identified as having high needs.
Waikato Hospital paediatrics clinical unit leader Phil Weston says children who come into Child, Youth and Family care are some of New Zealand's most vulnerable.
"Many have a combination of health and education difficulties that have gone unidentified or untreated prior to them coming into care.
"This is an exciting venture for Waikids and the children and families of the Midland region," he says.
"It is another step closer to closing the gaps completely and eliminating high needs children slipping through the system."
The model, being rolled out across New Zealand DHBs, will differ from region to region.
In the Waikato, the team consists of a co-ordinator, an advanced trainee paediatric fellow, a registered clinical psychologist and an administrator, with a consultant paediatrician providing clinical support.
Pilot services were provided in four sites throughout New Zealand. A review of these pilots shows, on average, three more health needs per child were identified as a result of the assessments.
Information from the four pilots, consistent with international research, shows of the children who went into care:
Approximately 65 per cent have mental health or behavioural problems
40 per cent of these are likely to need specialist services. Currently only around seven per cent receive specialist mental health services
15 per cent suffer from developmental delay
37 per cent have impaired hearing
Around 40 per cent need dental care or help with skin conditions
many have a combination of health and education needs and, in 88 per cent of cases, had problems that had gone unidentified or untreated prior to them coming into care.
For more information about Waikids Gateway Assessment Services and how the process works for families, visit www.waikatodhb.health.nz/waikids