Specialist centres 16 July 2019

Victoria’s early parenting centres to triple

Bringing a newborn baby home for the first time is one of the most precious moments for any parent – but for many families it can also be a stressful and challenging time.

The Victorian Government has invested $213.7 million in the 2019-20 State Budget to provide more support for new Victorian mums and dads. This includes $123 million to expand specialist early parenting centres from the current three to a total of ten and refurbish two existing facilities at Noble Park and Footscray.

Providing support and advice to families

Early parenting centres provide specialist health services for families with infants and children up to the age of four years, who are experiencing more serious and persistent challenges with parenting. The centres help build parenting skills, form closer parent-child bonds and provide support on issues such as:

  • sleep, settling or feeding difficulties
  • attachment problems
  • infant and child behavioural issues
  • family relationship tensions.

Currently, early parenting centres provide services in three main ways:

  • day-stay services - an intensive day program providing early parenting support
  • residential services - a centre-based intensive parenting program in which parents stay at the centre for a five-day period to build their parenting competence and capacity
  • home-based services - individually tailored, flexible, intensive early parenting services aimed at providing practical supports to assist families to nurture and care for their child independently.

Enhancing the network of early parenting supports

The seven new centres will be built in Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo, Wyndham, Whittlesea, Casey and Frankston. These facilities will enable rural and regional families to access residential programs closer to home and meet demand from growth areas in outer Melbourne.

The planned works will expand capacity across all programs as well as enhance service delivery.

The expansion of the early parenting centres network also provides an opportunity to review and enhance existing models of care so that they are consistent and responsive to a wide range of needs and complexities.

The input of stakeholders is important in this work, and we will engage with families, health and family services and other stakeholders across Victoria to ensure these services are responsive to the range of challenges parents face. Opportunities to participate in the engagement will be advertised when available.

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Last updated: 16 July 2019