The HCN Process

There are four stages in the HCN process.

Step 1: Referral

When a child or young person has needs that require assistance from at least two agencies, such as Education, Health (including disability and mental health), or Oranga Tamariki, and these needs are complex and cannot be met in the local area, a practitioner from one of these agencies can refer the child or young person to their local Interagency Management Group (IMG) – contact the HCN Specialist in your area for further assistance.

The local IMG meets every month to discuss all referrals and they decide together whether to:

  • accept the referral, in which case the HCN planning process begins
  • defer the referral and request more information, or
  • decline the referral and give recommendations and advice on what else could happen for this child or young person.

Practitioners are encouraged to complete the HCN referral and ask the HCN Specialist for advice. The Practitioner will also be required to ask the family/whānau or guardian to complete the HCN Consent form.


Step 2: Planning

The collaboration at the heart of HCN begins as the children and young people, their families/whānau and caregivers, and the interagency team start planning together.

An interagency team works together with the child or young person and their family to identify and develop goals that will achieve positive directions for the future.

The IMG endorses the plan and the various services that will enhance the child/young person’s progress. The IMG decision making process follows clinical practice guidelines and the HCN Team Leader for Professional Practice ensures all decisions affecting children/young people and their families are evidenced-based and outcomes-focused.

The final sign-off for all plans is by the HCN Manager.


Step 3: Implementation

When the plan is agreed, the Interagency Team and the HCN Specialist manage and monitor the plan, and report monthly to the IMG on plan progress.


Step 4: Plan end

All HCN plans are reviewed and come to a final end. Before the plan ends there is considerable review and reflection from the child and their family/whānau and caregiver and the interagency team. When a plan comes to an end a child or young person may not require on-going assistance.

However some children and young people require on-going assistance and they will transition to mainstream services with the support of the HCN process.