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4.6.3

Work with community partners to further streamline the process for identifying families of children at risk for poor child development outcomes and linking them to appropriate supports/programs. 

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Final update (September 2014)
The Ministry of Children and Youth Services (MCYS) released new Healthy Babies Healthy Children (HBHC) program guidelines and screening requirements on October 30, 2012. Sessions with key stakeholders (hospitals, health care providers, child welfare, and children’s planning tables) were held from November, 2012 to May, 2013 to share guidelines, the new HBHC screen, and to gather feedback on the plan for changes to the HBHC screening process and program.  HBHC program changes were communicated to stakeholders and to the public in May and June 2013.  The new HBHC screen was implemented in local hospitals and midwife services on April 1, 2013.

Consultation with hospitals and health care providers to identify impacts of HBHC program changes were completed in 2013, and health care providers have been provided with information about how to refer to the Healthy Babies Healthy Children program if they have any concerns about risks for healthy child development. HBHC Post-birth Clinics continue for those identified as potentially at risk on the new HBHC screen. HBHC program self-referrals from families and referrals with family consent from health care providers and community service providers continue to be accepted through the Region’s Call Centre. Processes for referral between HBHC and specific community programs have been updated to facilitate a more seamless service for families moving between services.

Access was identified as an area for focus for the Children’s Planning Table and work will continue beyond 2014 to address this priority through collaborative community planning. The potential for Healthy Babies Healthy Children screens to be completed through a coordinated access model has been identified.

A recent Region of Waterloo organizational structure renew process has resulted in the Infant and Child Development and the Healthy Babies Healthy Children Programs being located within the same Division of Public Health as of November 3, 2014. This affords the opportunity to build on the collaborative work of these two programs and further streamline the screening, assessment and referral experience for families seeking appropriate child development services for identified needs during the prenatal and early childhood periods.

Progress Update (Septepmber 2013)

The Ministry of Children and Youth Services (MCYS) released new Healthy Babies Health Children (HBHC) program guidelines and screening requirements on October 30, 2012. Sessions with key stakeholders (hospitals, health care providers, child welfare, children's planning tables) to share this information and the proposed plan for changes to HBHC screening process and program took place from November 2012 - May 2013. The new HBHC screen was implemented at local hospitals in March 2013. HBHC Prebirth Clinic ended on June 30, 2013. HBHC Postbirth Clinic changed on July 1, 2013, from a universally offered service to a service to initiate In-Depth Assessments with only those families who screen with risk on HBHC screen. HBHC program changes were communicated to stakeholders and to the public in May and June 2013. Work on the development of additional HBHC screening partners will continue into 2014. The scope of refinement of referral pathways and linkages to services following screening will be dependent on priority areas of focus identified by the Children's Planning Table.

Ongoing communication about HBHC program changes, as well as ongoing consultation with key stakeholders is underway to identify impact of HBHC program changes. Public Health Ontario will be conducting a provincial HBHC program process evaluation. An evaluation of customer satisfaction with the local HBHC program has been flagged for future consideration within the Corporate Service Strategy.

Progress Update (January 2013)

The Healthy Babies Healthy Children (HBHC) program will be changing in response to the Ministry of Child and Youth Services (MCYS) direction, including a change to the HBHC screening tool and process used to identify children (prenatal to school entry) at risk for poor development.

Since HBHC screening is the first point of universally available screening for healthy child development, this change will impact the early years system for healthy child development screening and assessment overall. While the announcement of the HBHC program changes was made in spring 2011, the release of the revised program protocol and guidelines has been delayed. The date of release of these documents is unknown as no official date has been announced. This has resulted in a delay in the project timelines and the project is now anticipated to be completed in early 2015.

Public Health is currently participating in provincial work groups and validation studies designed to inform MCYS decisions regarding changes to the HBHC program requirements across Ontario. Once the HBHC protocol, guidelines and resources are released, work with impacted community partners including local hospitals and primary care providers and the Children's Planning Table, will begin to further streamline the process to identify families of children (prenatal to entry to school) at risk for poor development outcomes and link them to appropriate supports and programs.

Progress Indicators

  • HBHC screening requirements established and communicated
  • Plan for screening and linkages to appropriate services completed, with community stakeholders consultation
  • New screening process is implemented
  • Evaluation of new screening and referral process is underway, with adjustments to process to be identified for action where warranted

 

greenindicator   Strong progress achieved   2011-2014 Strategic Plan (PDF)
yellowindicator   Moderate progress achieved   2011-2014 Strategic Plan (RTF)
redindicator   Progress needed   2011-2014 Strategic Plan (Flash)