Health program for vulnerable children navigates north

Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence The Honourable Di Farmer

The award-winning Navigate Your Health program ensuring children and young people in care or engaged with the youth justice system stay up to date with vital health checks has been expanded to the Far North.

Member for Cook Cynthia Lui said the Palaszczuk Government had invested $655,000 to secure four specialist Nurse Navigators for the region, based at Cairns Hospital.

“The Navigate Your Health Program’s Nurse Navigators will deliver outreach services across the Far North in partnership with Child Safety and Youth Justice service centres,” Ms Lui said.

“It’s a very welcome addition to health care in the Far North, particularly for peninsula and Torres Strait Islander communities.

“Nurse Navigators work closely with children and carers across the Far North to develop tailored health management plans.

“The program ensures vulnerable children stay up-to-date with vaccinations, dental appointments and eye and hearing assessments, as well as mental health checks.”

Navigate Your Health is part of Children’s Health Queensland and will work in partnership with Child Safety, Youth Justice, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community health services and other primary care services in Far North Queensland.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Health Steven Miles said the expansion of Nurse Navigators to Cairns Hospital would also include health support for young adults.

“Navigating the healthcare system can be confusing for anybody, and it can be even harder for young people who might need to visit multiple health professionals,” Mr Miles said.

“Research has shown that young people in care are often likely to have poorer health outcomes than their peers.

“This is not good enough and that’s why this program is an important part of ensuring vulnerable children and young people are getting all the health care they need by making sure they’re connected to the right service.

“This model of care is designed to improve immunisation rates, dental health and access to the specialist services Queenslanders need, regardless of where they live in our vast state.”

Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women Di Farmer visited the Nurse Navigators in Cairns and welcomed the partnership between the Navigate Your Health Program, Child Safety and Youth Justice.

“Prevention is always better than a cure,” Ms Farmer said.

“This partnership gives children in care or the youth justice system the best opportunity to reach their full potential,” Ms Farmer said.

“Nurse Navigators working with parents and carers keep the wellbeing of vulnerable children on track with intensive support and the early treatment of health difficulties.

“For example, we know mental health difficulties and undiagnosed disabilities can contribute to young people offending and entering the youth justice system.

“Nurse Navigators and early preventative treatment have the potential to provide far-reaching health benefits for the next generation of young adults in Far North Queensland.”

Navigate Your Health won the ‘Be a responsive government’ category and was a finalist in the ‘Give our children a great start’ category in the 2019 Premier’s Awards for Excellence.

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