Kids Helpline - A Case for Success
Kids Helpline is Australia's only free, confidential 24/7 service that supports, protects and safeguards the mental health of children and young people in Australia.
Powered by yourtown, Kids Helpline’s tertiary qualified counsellors receive calls from young people across the country who are either in crisis, or who need someone to talk to about various problems relating to their mental wellbeing.
The Kids Helpline counsellors also refer young people to other support services.
When asked why it’s important for Kids Helpline – who have their own specialty area – to make referrals to other organisations, Tony Fitzgerald, Virtual Services Manager at yourtown, states “young people often come to us when they’re confused about what’s going on.”
“We see ourselves very much as a safety net. Often young people don’t know where to go and we help them figure that out” he says.
Before partnering with Infoxchange, Kids Helpline (and ParentLine, which operates in QLD and NT) were updating their referral database using manual data entry. With a basic interface, counsellors were finding it difficult to use, navigate and to refer their clients to other services.
With over 400 contacts with clients a day across webchat, email and phone, it was imperative that Kids Helpline had modern, automated systems in place.
When youth needed an external service, such as access to food or drug and alcohol assistance, the counsellor would make a referral on a piece of paper or via email but without a footprint on their client and case management system. This means it was hard to keep track of the many referrals Kids Helpline staff would make to other agencies.
Whilst it is more common that someone calls the hotline once, Kids Helpline also receive calls from repeat clients often, where they try to create rapport with that vulnerable person. As a result the service provides case management for young people allowing them to access the same counsellor to build a collaborative case plan. Kids Helpline can also find out what other supports the young person is accessing by asking to work with that service.
This is one of the reasons that it is important to be able to make referrals easily and to keep good records of where the young person has been referred to.
Further, they are finding more cases have increased complexity since COVID. Most contacts with children are now ‘counselling contacts’ meaning they are 40-50 minute sessions which require more time and funding to deal with and naturally, more referrals to other services.
yourtown decided they needed assistance with their management of referrals, and had heard of Infoxchange’s work with Lifeline, so they partnered with the not-for-profit to implement a new system for referring clients.
For five years, yourtown have now been using eReferrals, which allows them to:
Easily refer their clients to other services within the client and case management system; rather than with pen and paper.
- Infoxchange’s database of over 420,000 services in Australia (such as alcohol counselling, family violence services, housing providers etc) is the most comprehensive and up-to-date of its kind. This means Kids Helpline have access to all those services to make referrals to or contact directly with ease.
- Kids Helpline says its biggest benefit is that it’s much easier for their counsellors to access information about other organisations that might be able to support a young person. Kids Helpline is a service that deals with any issue at any time – and anywhere across the country – so referrals are constantly being made.
- The new system creates automation and efficiencies for counsellors, saving them time from not entering data manually themselves.
Access to whom and where referrals have been made
- Kids Helpline can provide a better, more individualised service to their clients with access to their eReferrals, including knowing if they are accessing housing support, drug and alcohol support or are looped in with other services.
- Kids Helpline counsellors are very busy, so being able to access their client’s eReferrals with a few clicks makes their job much easier.
Extract and analyse quality data about their clients and their referrals
- Kids Helpline also uses the eReferrals function to look at trends of data. They’re now able to look at their referral list and answer questions such as ‘who do we refer young people to mostly? What type of referral was it?’
- Kids Helpline can ‘drill down’ to a suburb or postcode to analyse data, providing ‘ready and seamless information’ about trends and where they should inject resources.
- Through using eReferral data, Kids Helpline can work closely with organisations they have made multiple referrals to, who may have a long waiting list to ensure the young person is supported whilst they wait for the service.
Every efficiency that Infoxchange can help not-for-profits such as yourtown create through technology, results in more time to serve vulnerable people in our community.
Partnerships like this one, between not-for-profits, help strengthen the sector.