Community child health

What is community child health?

Community child health is a philosophy of delivering child health care via the following principles:

  • High accessibility
  • Holistic vision
  • Close relationship with parents
  • Inter-agency care and team work
  • Advocacy directed at the needs of all children
  • Preventive orientation

Community Child Health operates at the clinical level but also at the population level, where systems and programs are designed to improve health outcomes using evidence-based strategies. The speciality of community child health has specific knowledge, skills and training in caring for children, families and disadvantaged communities and staff are well placed to identify and research their health needs. Staff also liaise frequently with professionals from other organisations/agencies such as education, disability services, housing, non-governement organisations and those involved with particular vulnerable groups. Furthermore, community child health develops models of care that build capacity within the mainstream health care system to address the needs of vulnerable communities.

How do we help children in the community?

The Department of Community Child Health at Sydney Children's Hospital, formed in 2005, currently has responsibility for providing clinical community child health services in the Northern Sector of the former South Eastern Sydney Illawarra Health (SESIH) division, including developmental and behavioural assessments, outreach Aboriginal clinics, school-based health assessments and health promotion. Some programs are also run outside the Northern Sector, including refugee services and developmental screening in Wagga Wagga. Our tertiary role involves clinical work (eg Sydney Children's Hospital behavioural and refugee clinics), several state and national policy/advisory committees, state-wide community child health teaching, innovative service development projects and extensive research and advocacy.