Health services help new parents across Victoria

October 9, 2020

Several VHA members across Victoria will be responsible for seven new Early Parenting Centres being built across the state, giving more new parents and their young children the best possible start to life and highlighting the important role health services play in every part of our lives.

The new centres being built in Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Frankston, Casey, Wyndham and Whittlesea with $123 million from the Victorian Government will play a critical role in ensuring parents are getting the advice and care they need, including support with sleep and settling, feeding and extra care for babies with additional needs.

Sleep and settling is one of the biggest challenges facing new parents, with around one in two Victorian parents who are attending the early parenting centres reporting problems with their child’s sleep. This can lead to post-natal depression, isolation and stress for parents, and impact a child’s behavioural, mental and physical development.

Minister for Health Martin Foley said: “We know that parenting can be challenging and stressful at times and some new mums and dads may need a little extra support to give their children the best start to life.”

The services responsible for each new centre are:

  • Ballarat – Ballarat Health in partnership with the Queen Elizabeth Centre
  • Bendigo – Bendigo Health, in partnership with Tweddle Child and Family Health Service
  • Casey – Monash Health, in partnership with the Queen Elizabeth Centre
  • Frankston – Queen Elizabeth Centre
  • Geelong – Barwon Health in partnership with Tweddle Child and Family Health Service
  • Whittlesea – Mercy Health (O’Connell Family Centre)
  • Wyndham – Tweddle Child and Family Health Service

Two existing sites at Tweddle Child and Family Health Service in Footscray and the Queen Elizabeth Centre in Noble Park will be upgraded to meet increasing demand.

The centres will provide day-stays and longer residential stay programs to improve the health, wellbeing and developmental outcomes for children aged up to four-years-old. Each new centre will include 10 residential units and four day stay units – helping more than 5,000 extra families a year.

Construction will be completed in two phases – the Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong centres will be delivered in the first phase by late 2022 and the other sites will be completed in 2024.

Community Advisory Groups are being established to help with planning for each new centre.

Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels