Improving Mental Health Outcomes for Children

Improving Mental Health Outcomes for Children (4-8yrs)

Families in the West Auckland community have been increasingly voicing a need for help with their children in the 4-8 year old range who are demonstrating significant behavioural and emotional issues. 

In response to this need the Marinoto West Child Health Unit (CHU) team based at Waitakere Hospital were keen to develop a cross-sector (education/health) model of service delivery.  This service delivery would address the need in the local community for increased streamlined access to mental health assessment and intervention.

What are we trying to achieve?

The Marinoto West CHU team's aim was to:

  • improve the overall life course and outcomes for at-risk young children (4-8 years) and their families

  • recognise the value of building on existing collaborative community networks

  • grow capacity and capability within the team to offer evidence-based interventions

  • reduce services working in independently and facilitate linkages across the education/health services

What have we done?

Wraparound Service for 4-8s

Seamless wraparound service for 4-8s


The team developed a pathway for 4-8 year olds to access appropriate assessments and treatment:

Service pathway for 4-8s

What did we find?

This project demonstrated improved outcomes for the families involved, including:

  • improved child behaviour

  • strengthened parent-child relationships

  • increased parenting skills and confidence


Wider positive outcomes included:

  • increased collaboration and partnership opportunities between education and health

  • streamlining of a clinical pathway and cohort of clinicians specialising in offering evidence-based services for 4-8 year olds

  • identification of further development opportunities such as incorporating additional interventions and establishing tracking and monitoring processes

Did we make a difference?

  • Benefits for the families and teachers involved were significant in terms of positive changes in their children’s behaviour and in the quality of their relationship with their children 
  • The value of collaboration and partnering in the community was highlighted 
  • Opportunities to further improve service provision were identified through "4-8s pathway" within the Marinoto team

Where to from here?

  • Fine-tuning decision for providing the best intervention for that family at that time 
  • Increased access to training in evidenced interventions 
  • Ongoing supervision and support to maximise best practice 
  • Regular "4-8s" clinics to strengthen collaboration, peer support and skill development 
  • Regular "4-8s" project meetings to address barriers and build stronger linkages with other pathways within the service and externally
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