Victorian Premier pledges support for new parents through new centres

by Freya Lucas

May 22

The number of Early Parenting Centres in Victoria will triple, in line with pre-election promises made by his party in 2018, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced yesterday.

 

Visiting Tweele Child and Family Health Service with Victorian Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos yesterday, Premier Andrews announced that the Tweedle facility will receive a major upgrade alongside another Child and Family Health Service, whilst seven more services will be purpose built to meet demand.

 

“As a parent, I know how scary those first few months can be. We’re giving new parents the support they need – every step of the way – so they can cherish what should be the most special time of their lives,” Premier Andrews said.

 

A total commitment of $135.1 million has been set aside for the works in the 2019/20 Victorian Budget, ensuring parents are supported with sleeping, feeding, and other care needs, particularly supporting families where newborns have additional needs.

 

Early Parenting Centres will be upgraded at Footscray and Noble Park’s Queen Elizabeth Centre, while new facilities will be built in the growing areas of Casey, Frankston, Wyndham and Whittlesea.

 

Regional Victorian families will benefit from the first Early Parenting Centres to be built in the regions, with new centres coming to Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo.

 

“There are so many expectations on new parents these days. It’s why we’re making sure they’re getting the support they need, in the moments they need it most,” Ms Mikakos said.        

 

Sleep and settling is one of the biggest challenges facing new parents, with around one in two parents 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.

 

To further support families during the hours when the services are not available, the Victorian Budget also includes $7.2 million to expand the 24-hour Maternal and Child Health Line parents can call to speak with experts about sleep and settling issues.

 

In addition, $17 million has been allocated to boost Maternal and Child Health home visits for families identified as requiring extra support. The extra home visits, the Premier said, will make a big difference for families, giving sleep-deprived parents “the assurance and advice they need when nothing seems to be working”.

 

For more information on support for new parents in Victoria, see here.

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