The Ministry of Health will soon release the national COPMIA guideline, currently in draft. This guideline will outline the responsibilities all mental health and addiction services have to the children of parents with mental illness and or addiction (COPMIA) and their families and whānau. For some, this is going to mean a big shift in the way that services operate.

Making the rights and needs of children a core focus

The guideline envisions a mental health and addiction sector that is inclusive of family and whānau, focusses on strengths, and promotes and protects the wellbeing and rights of children.

It promotes:

  • early intervention in the lives of children to support resilience
  • offering evidenced based and culturally appropriate ways of working
  • across sector partnerships to meet the needs of children and their families and whānau.

Some of the guideline’s expectations

The guideline will provide a phased approach to implementation describing both essential and best practice elements for DHB and NGO services to work towards over the next few years. It also sets out how changes at a practice level can be supported at a systems level.

Some of the expectations described in the guideline may already be in place in your organisation (for example, you may already have child protection policies in place), however others will likely mean a change in the way you work. Services will be expected to know whether the people they see have children and whether the children are in their care, and to work with family and whānau alongside service users (with their consent). 

Support from workforce development centres

For some, this is going to mean a big shift in the way that services operate. These changes are going to require the support of the mental health and addiction workforce development centres (The Werry Centre, Matua Raki, Te Pou, Te Rau Matatini and Le Va) which will have a significant role in supporting building the capability of the sector to meet the requirements in the guideline. The workforce development centres are working together on the best way to support you with the changes you may need to make.

When the guideline is released make sure you are aware of your responsibilities, as a manager, leader and practitioner in your organisation, and how the workforce development centres can help.

Who you can contact for more information

Bronwyn Dunnachie - The Werry Centre
Anna Nelson - Matua Raki
Mark Smith - Te Pou  
Monique Faleafa - Le Va  
Lucy Bush - Te Rau Matatini