- Health Navigator Pilot Program to support vulnerable children now underway in Mirrabooka and the South-West
- Program will help children in care navigate and access health and mental health services
- The McGowan Government has committed $3.5 million over two years to establish the pilot
A pilot program that aims to better connect children in out of home care with health services is now underway in Mirrabooka and the South-West.
The Health Navigator Pilot Program is a two-year trial that employs 'health navigators' to assist children in out of home care, their parents, carers, and child protection workers - helping them to navigate health services.
Health navigators are health professionals, such as Registered Nurses or Aboriginal health workers, who are a dedicated resource working with child protection staff. They support coordination and communication so children and families are better connected to receive access to the right services at the right time.
The pilot program was co-designed with people who have lived experience of out-of-home care, carers, advocacy groups, Aboriginal community-controlled organisations and non-government providers.
The Mirrabooka program launched this week, and the South-West pilot launched last month. It is already resulting in improved facilitation and access to health services through a holistic model of care which meets health, social, cultural and spiritual needs.
The pilot is a collaboration between the Department of Communities and the Department of Health, in partnership with the South West Aboriginal Medical Service, Derbarl Yerrigan Health Service, CREATE Foundation, Foster Carer Association of WA, Yorganop, Noongar Family Safety and Wellbeing Council and young people with lived experience.
The University of Western Australia Social Impact Centre will conduct an evaluation to determine the effectiveness of the program.
Comments attributed to Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson:
"The pilot is expected to improve health outcomes for vulnerable children by enhancing collaboration and coordination between services.
"The Health Navigator Pilot Program is a great example of how collaboration across sectors and within the community can pursue new ways of working that will better meet the needs of children in care."
Comments attributed to Child Protection Minister Sabine Winton:
"We know how important it is for children and young people to have easy access to health services, and we understand the challenges and complexities that children in care face.
"Making the health system easier to navigate will reduce barriers for children in care getting the support they need, which is what this pilot program aims to do.
Comments attributed to Mirrabooka MLA Meredith Hammat:
"I'm so pleased we now have health navigators hard at work in our local Mirrabooka community.
"These valuable health professionals will support vulnerable children and families access a more holistic model of care."
Health Minister's office - 6552 5900
Child Protection Minister's office - 6552 6100