Time for Reflection on Maternal Child Health Assessments in Australia: Making a Case for a Three-way Partnership
Within Victoria, Australia, although there are a number of health checks for children aged birth to 3.5 years, there are none between the age 3.5-5 years. This means children may not be identified to receive the necessary support for their development prior to starting school. Better ways of intervention are needed before children start school, given that there are limited opportunities for checks prior to starting school. This paper reports on an innovative project implementing a preschool health check by a maternal child health nurse and educator at a kindergarten in Victoria, Australia. Using a narrative informed case study involving the nurse, educator and 12 families of 3-5 year old kindergarten children, the results illustrate how the nurse and educator collaborative work on preschool health check is an important initiative for continuously involving families in extra health checks. The findings are discussed around the importance and benefits of introduction of the health check and how families support such an initiative. The paper concludes with acall for reflection on the implementation and effectiveness of child health checks in Victoria.