No Wrong Door Model
Over the past 3 years, Communities for Children, in partnership with agencies involved in the children services sector, have held a series of forums/undertaken actions to enhance how services and agencies can better respond to the needs of children and their families in the City of Greater Bendigo. This work has emerged as a result of agencies and workers expressing concern that children (and their families) experiencing challenges and vulnerability were falling through the gaps of services, and/or were not being reached by services. There was also concern that the service system does not have the capacity to meet current demand and need.
In particular the issues identified by agencies include:
- In the Bendigo area a number of children are entering mainstream services (childcare, kindergarten, school) with developmental delays and/or other significant disadvantages have not previously been identified or linked to early intervention or family support services.
- Some children and their families who may benefit from early intervention services are missing out because either they are not being identified at an early stage or have been identified but have not been able to access the required supports.
- Families who are experiencing challenges in relation to parenting and/or are concerned about their children’s wellbeing and emotional development often express frustration in accessing supports.
- Services seeking support for families often have difficulty navigating the service system particularly where the needs of families don’t meet current service criteria.
- Agencies providing supports to children and families are concerned that they cannot meet current demand and/or cannot stretch their services to meet the needs of individual children and family due to funding and service constraints.
In light of these concerns Communities for Children, in partnership with Noah’s Ark and Bendigo Community Health Services, arranged a series of forums for providers of children’s services to discuss and agree upon steps to address the issues faced by children and families in accessing support.
The focus of the proposed ‘No Wrong Door’ model is to ensure that children and their families in the City of Greater Bendigo who are experiencing challenges and vulnerability are able to access the supports and services they require. In particular the proposal aims is to ensure there is an early intervention response to children and families with complex and multiple needs who are not eligible for and/or are not able to access specialist services and supports.
- Linking current intake services for children (aged 0 to 12 years) and their families to enable a co-ordinated response and in doing so help eliminate children and families falling through the gaps of services. The linking of intake services will occur through the utilisation of a common screening tool, the development of a common web based platform across the intake services that can allow for the sharing and registration of the screening tool and joint planning between the intake services to enable families to receive the supports they require.
- The implementation of a ‘warm referral’ process that ensures families who present to any agency delivering services for children and families are supported and linked to the supports they require.
- An agreement between agencies, both those managing intake services and providing support services, which ensures all agencies, accept joint responsibility for all children and families seeking and/or requiring support regardless of current service criteria or scope.
- A commitment by agencies in the children services sector that all children and families seeking and/or requiring services will be supported and that all agencies are a vehicle for children and families to access the wider service system.
For more information on this initiative, please contact:
Program Manager, Community Capacity Building Unit
p: 03 5430 1200