Child Health Teams
In 2006 the Victorian government allocated funding to establish or extend twelve child health teams in community health services (CHSs). These teams provide services to Victorian children experiencing mild to moderate developmental difficulties and behavioural issues. Services aim of improve the health and development of children, especially those at risk of falling behind key early developmental milestones, through the provision of coordinated community-based multidisciplinary services.
Although twelve CHSs received specific child health teams funding, many more CHSs provide multidisciplinary child and family services. The objectives of all child health teams are to:
The objectives of all child health teams are to:
- Promote children’s positive health, growth and functioning within the community
- Provide early identification, assessment and intervention
- Improve the capacity of parents and families to support their understanding and management of their child’s health and development
- Support families to access other services they may require in their community
- Develop partnerships with other early childhood services including, maternal and child health, early childhood intervention services, family services and preschools.
Child health teams contribute to addressing selected priorities from The Victorian Child and Adolescent Outcome Framework. These are:
- Adequate nutrition/healthy weight
- Optimal language and cognitive development
- Adequate exercise and physical activity
- Positive child behaviour and mental health
- Safe from injury and harm
- Healthy parent lifestyles (including good parental mental health).
Children 0-12 years, with priority given to the 0-6 year age group, with health or developmental difficulties and their families, where the presenting concern is not a disability or significant developmental delay.
Child health teams work with children and families and provide multidisciplinary care through a mix of group and individual interventions. Typically services include dietetics, occupational therapy, psychology, and speech pathology.
Models of care are developed in partnership with local communities and reflect local needs. However, research evidence suggests that core principles include:
- Paediatric expertise
Child health team practitioners will have, or be supervised by, a practitioner with appropriate paediatric qualifications or experience.
- Family centred
Teams see children in the context of their families, and seek to empower families to enhance their ability to solve problems and foster self-sustaining behaviours.
- Mulitdisciplinary team approach
Teams will have clearly identifiable methods of collaboration, communication and a shared commitment to an multidisciplinary approach. Mutidisciplinary practice involves a partnership between a team of health professionals, and a child and their family with a participatory, collaborative and coordinated approach to shared decision making.
- Service coordination
Implementation of good service coordination practice is fundamental to providing quality person centred care for children and their families.
- Partnership approach
Teams will work in partnership with local service providers to improve the experience and outcomes for families and children navigating the service system.
- Quality & safety
Teams support the achievement of outcomes by developing plans with children and their families that are person centred and clearly identify specific treatment goals.
- Community oriented
Teams participate in local area planning processes and identify community needs in close liaison with PCP members such as local councils and early childhood intervention services to achieve shared long-term outcomes for children.
- Integrated health promotion
Teams make a valuable contribution to a range of health promotion activities to optimise children’s positive growth and functioning, such as Best Start and Neighbourhood Renewal.
- Flexible settings
Child health teams can deliver services in the settings that most effectively facilitate access for children and families, achievement of health outcomes, and ongoing self-management.
- Evidence based practice
Practice should be based on current research or literature demonstrating its positive effects for children and families. CHSs should pursue opportunities to evaluate practice and contribute to the development of the evidence base.
Child Health Services and Child Health team locations:
To locate child health services, including child health teams, in your local community, please use the Human Services Directory.
Child Health Team Resources:
- The state of Victoria’s children report 2009
- The state of Victoria's young people report 2007
- Victoria’s plan to improve outcomes in early childhood
- A catalogue of evidence-based interventions.
Contact information for further queries.