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Minister for Children Anne Tolley says a new trial will start next week for direct purchasing and brokerage of services for children and young people in care or at risk of coming into care.

“Budget 2017 invests $6.3 million to set up an Access to Services trial to ensure that vulnerable children and young people in care get timely access to the range of services that they need,” says Mrs Tolley.

“Currently Gateway assessments, which provide detailed information on a child or young person’s needs, do not always result in children or young people getting access to all the assessments and services they need.

“The Access to Services trial will strengthen the Gateway assessment process to ensure the assessments more comprehensively cover health, social, emotional, education and care needs, and that referrals are made to the right services at the right time.

“When services are not available or cannot be accessed in a timely way, then the team will be able to purchase the service directly from the provider.”

The trial starts in Waitemata DHB and Bay of Plenty DHB, with a third DHB to be confirmed. It will work with around 800 vulnerable children and young people in care or at risk of coming into care over the next 18 months.

A Ministry representative will be attached to the Gateway assessment team and will work with the assessment coordinator and social worker to facilitate access to services from the DHB, Ministry of Education, or Government funded providers and NGOs.

Last week the Government announced details of the $100 million social investment fund for mental health, including $4 million to enhance the capacity of Gateway teams by including mental health specialists. The trial is expected to start in early 2018 in Waitemata DHB and Bay of Plenty DHB.

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