Children and young people in out of home care (OOHC) often have high and unmet health needs and are more disadvantaged and vulnerable than other children. NSW Health provides coordinated health assessments and intervention for children and young people entering statutory OOHC who are expected to remain in care for longer than 90 days. The program also targets young people aged 15-17 years expected to leave care within the next year. The program which coordinates this process is called The OOHC Health Pathway program, and is an outcome of the Justice Wood, Special Commission of Inquiry into Child Protection in NSW.

An interagency framework

NSW Health, with the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) have developed an interagency framework to support the health assessment process, called The Model Pathway for the Comprehensive Health and Developmental Assessments for All Children and Young People Entering Out-of-Home Care. The child is at the core of the model.

The model also promotes collaboration between NSW Health, FACS, and OOHC service providers, including health professionals, other government agencies, non-government agencies and carers. A Memorandum of Understanding between NSW Health and FACS on Health Screening, Assessment, Intervention and Review for Children and young People in Out-of-Home-Care supports this collaboration.

The pathway for children and young people

Under the program, children and young people entering statutory OOHC commence a primary health assessment within 30 days of a child or young person entering OOHC.

Primary health assessment is undertaken by a broad range of health care providers, including General Practitioners, Aboriginal Medical Services and Child and Family Health Nurses. Once the relationship with a health professional is established, children, young people and carers will have someone to support them on other health and wellbeing issues, big and small (eg. nutrition, sleep, parenting, illnesses and injuries).

After the primary health assessment, the health professional may then refer the child or young person for a comprehensive multidisciplinary health assessment. On the basis of these assessments, and in partnership with the child/young person, their carer, and/or their case worker, each child or young person has a Health Management Plan developed for/with them. The Health Management Plan identifies their state of health, recommended interventions and appropriate review process.

The program also targets young people aged 15-17 years who are anticipated to leave care within the next year. Research shows that this transition is a period where there is significant risk that young people will disengage from health services. The program therefore focuses on fostering increased health literacy, establishing links with General Practice/primary health care, and supporting young people’s access to their personal medical records in the lead up to leaving care.

The importance of the OOHC Health Pathway program

The program aims to support earlier identification of health and wellbeing issues for children and young people in OOHC, providing timely intervention when required. The overall aim is to improve the short and long-term health, development and wellbeing outcomes for children and young people in OOHC, as well as support carers and placement stability.

Evaluation of the program

In 2013, an independent evaluation of the implementation of the OOHC Health Pathway program was commissioned and the evaluation report was published in 2014. In partnership with local health districts and FACS, NSW Health has refined and implemented recommendations made in the evaluation.

Contacting your local OOHC Health Pathway coordinator

Each local health district has an OOCH Health Pathway coordinator responsible for managing and coordinating referrals across all facilities in their district. The contact details for each local coordinator can be found below. To find out which local health district you live in, search for your closest town here.

Local Health District​ OOHC Coordinator Contact​
Central Coast ​ ​Sonia Varney  Phone: 02 4367 9658
Email:  cclh​d-oohc@health.nsw.gov.au
Address:  PO Box 361, GOSFORD NSW 2250
​​ Far West 
Natasha Van Gorp
Phone: 08 8080 1100
Email: fwlhd-oohc@health.nsw.gov.au
Address: PO Box 457  BROKEN HILL NSW 2880
​Hunter New England 
Jane Hendry
  
​Phone: 02 6767 8865 
Email: hnelhd-oohcintake@hnehealth.nsw.gov.au
Address: Locked Bag 9783 Tamworth NEMSC 2348
​​Illawarra Shoalhaven  Anna Meaker 
Phone: 02 4224 2900
Email:islhd-oohc@health.nsw.gov.au  
Address: 42a Porter Street, North Wollongong NSW 2500
​​Mid North Coast  Ruth Reynolds
Phone: 02 6589 2578
Email:  mnclhd-oohchealthadminmnclhd@health.nsw.gov.au
Address: PO BOX 126, Port Macquarie NSW
Murrumbidgee Belinda Burns & Emma Carroll Phone: 02 5908 4132/ 02 5308 4141
Email: mlhd-outofhomecare@health.nsw.gov.au
Address: 84-86 Murray St Wagga Wagga NSW 2650
​​Nepean Blue Mountains ​Joanne Huging
Phone: 02 4730 5100
Email: nbmlhd-oohcreferrals@health.nsw.gov.au 
Address: Cranebrook Community Health Centre,  
PO Box 29, Cranebrook NSW 2749
​​North Sydney ​Liz Beveridge 
Phone: 02 9462 9266
Email: nslhd-oohcintake@health.nsw.gov.au 
Address: RNS Community Health Centre
Level 2, 2C Herbert St, St Leonards NSW 2065
​Northern NSW Kate Dougherty Phone: 02 6603 0922
Email: nnswlhd-outofhomecare@health.nsw.gov.au
Address: Yamba Community Health
3 Roberts Close, Yamba NSW 2464 

South Eastern Sydney &   Sydney Children’s Hospital Randwick

Margaret Norris Phone: 02 9522 1060
Email: seslhd-soohc@health.nsw.gov.au 
Address: Caringbah Community Health Centre
Locked Bag 21, Taren Point NSW 2229
​Southern NSW ​Courtney Namonye  ​Phone: 02 4824 1813
Email: oohc@gsahs.health.nsw.gov.au  
Address: PO Box 274, Goulburn NSW 2580
​South Western Sydney ​​ Kim Rodgers  
 
Phone: 02 4633 0578
Email: swslhd-oohchealthreferral@health.nsw.gov.au
Address: Narellan Community Health Centre
Queen St Narellan NSW 2567
​​ Sydney ​Nicole Smith
Phone: 02 9378 1112
Email:slhd-oohcintake@health.nsw.gov.au  
Address:  Croydon Community Health Centre
24 Liverpool Rd  Croydon  NSW 2132
​​ Western NSW ​Janis Downing
Phone: 02 6820 5849
Email: wnswlhd-outofhomecare@health.nsw.gov.au
PO Box 4061, Dubbo NSW 2830
​​ Western Sydney ​Sarah Radburn
Phone: 02 9881 1200
Email: wslhd-oohchealthassessments@health.nsw.gov.au
Address: Mt Druitt Community Health Services
Corner Buran and Kelly Close, Mt Druitt NSW 2770
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Page Updated: Wednesday 8 May 2019