The Health & Justice Intersection; New partnership aims to break down barriers

Menzies Foundation, with its commitment to building capacity in the legal profession, has forged a partnership with Health Justice Australia (HJA) to address critical issues within the child protection system. The collaboration aims to break down barriers at the intersection of health and legal services, particularly concerning children and families at risk of or involved in the child protection system.

Building on insights from Health Justice Australia’s research, the partnership will focus on investigating how legal assistance can strategically integrate into early support for at-risk families in Mildura, Victoria.

By delving into local challenges, the initiative seeks to:

  • Investigate strategic incorporation of legal aid in early support for families at risk of interacting with child protection.
  • Explore avenues for proactive service responses to identified risks, prioritizing support over monitoring and escalation.
  • Leverage national and local leadership to address intersecting health, legal, and social needs among disadvantaged populations.
  • Inform and support system transformation efforts in Victoria and beyond.

The initial phase of scoping and engagement, conducted in collaboration with Hands Up Mallee (HUM) in Mildura, has already provided valuable insights. Key findings underscored the need for greater collaboration, a mechanism to amplify community voices, and the importance of the partnership between HUM and HJA.

“The partnership represents a significant step towards reimagining support systems for families navigating the complexities of the child protection landscape. As efforts progress, the aim is to not only address immediate challenges but also lay the groundwork for systemic transformation, benefiting communities nationwide”.

Liz Gillies, CEO, Menzies Foundation

The next stage of work will aim to delve deeper into these challenges, with a focus on advancing a framework of activities to support community innovation and influence service and policy systems. Through a series of activities to be undertaken between March and June 2024, HJA seeks to lay the groundwork for systemic change and transformative impact.

We look forward to bringing you updates as the project continues this important work.