Thousands more new mums and dads will be able to access dedicated support to help them get through their first years of being a parent thanks to a funding boost from the Andrews Labor Government.
Currently, families experiencing challenges and who need an extra helping hand are provided free access to Enhanced Maternal and Child Health support until their child turns one.
But a new $37.7 million expansion to the program means mums and dads will be supported for a further two years, or until their child turns three.
Minister for Early Childhood Education Jenny Mikakos said the change will benefit 37,000 families every year when fully rolled out, up from only 12,000 families.
One-on-one sessions can be provided either at home or at one of the 660 MCH centres across the state.
Enhanced MCH is a targeted service for families who need some additional help and may be at risk of poor outcomes due to factors like parent-infant attachment concerns, premature or low birth weight babies, children with a disability, parental mental health issues or family violence
As well as providing information on child health and parenting, MCH nurses also give vital advice on a child’s development and help ensure our kids get the best start in life.
They provide parents support on a range of issues, including nutrition, breastfeeding, sleep and settling, childhood illness, allergies, skin conditions and early learning.
All families can also access the free 24-hour MCH Line phone service on 13 22 29, which is available for those with children aged from birth to school age.
The Labor Government invested $4.9 million in last year’s Budget for this vital service, which handled more than 108,000 calls in 2017-18 and averages 300 calls a day. The latest funding boost will allow for an additional 20,000 calls to be answered each year.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Early Childhood Education Jenny Mikakos
“We’re making sure more families can access the vital support they need to raise healthy, happy kids who are ready for kinder – no matter where they live.”
“We know the early years can shape a child’s entire life – that’s why extending our Maternal and Child Health support is so important for first time parents.”
Quotes attributable to Member for St Albans Natalie Suleyman
“Children’s needs don’t just stop at 12 months and I’m pleased we can now provide support for longer, including for St Albans families.”
“By extending our Enhanced Maternal and Child Health Service we’re helping more children across Victoria get the best start in life.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020