Current practice in meeting child health needs in family support services: variation by service type and perspectives on future developments.
Nic Gabhainn, Saoirse
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Nic Gabhainn, S., Dolan, P., Canavan, J., O¿Higgins, S. (2009). Current practice in meeting child health needs in family support services: variation by service type and perspectives on future developments. Child Care in Practice, 15(2), 109-125.
The needs of all service users include those related to physical, emotional, sexual and mental health. This article documents where child health needs are recognised and being met within family support services in the west of Ireland, investigates whether there is variation across different types of family support services and presents the views of service providers as to how health needs could be more fully addressed. Four randomly selected service managers were interviewed; followed by a census survey of managers within the region. Thirty-three managers returned questionnaires (80% response) on their formal briefs in relation to health, perceived health needs being met and unmet, approaches to meeting health needs and resources required to adequately meet client health needs. Emotional and mental health needs were most frequently being met within current services, while group work, one-to-one work and referring on were all popular approaches. Systematic differences emerged by service size and client group. Access to expertise and staff training were perceived as the most popular approaches to improving service provision. These data illustrate that there is a need to develop guidelines for practice, foster links between services and provide for specialised staff training in relation to child health issues
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