Over 3,500 Hunter Valley families benefit from innovative program
The Sector > Provider > General News > Over 3,500 Hunter Valley families benefited from innovative texting program

Over 3,500 Hunter Valley families benefited from innovative texting program

by Freya Lucas

November 10, 2023

More than 3,500 families across the New South Wales Hunter Valley have benefitted from an innovative text message program providing tailored health information and support to parents on their child’s development milestones.


The Healthy Beginnings for HNEKids program began in 2021, delivering important health advice and support to parents in Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and Port Stephens, helping them to improve their child’s physical, social, and emotional health outcomes.


Parents participating in the program, NSW Minister for Regional Health Ryan Park explained, can receive regular text messages with parenting advice during their child’s first 2,000 days (birth to five years), in addition to the usual care provided by child and family health nurses.


“The Healthy Beginnings for HNEKids program is one of a number of initiatives the NSW Government is investing in to empower young families by providing them the right information, at the right time, to help them give their child the best start to life,” he said.


The Healthy Beginnings program complements the existing Munch and Move program, a state-wide initiative since 2010 that promotes physical activity, healthy eating behaviours and reduced small screen time in children attending NSW early childhood centres.


“Receiving consistent advice from various sources gives parents the tools and information they need to improve health outcomes for their children based on advice from trained health professionals,” Mr Park continues.


“The information is based on the best evidence to help parents make important decisions for their child.”


Participants are given information, advice and support which is linked to the specific age and stage of a child, Hunter New England Local Health District’s Executive Director for Children, Young People and Families, Dr Paul Craven added. 


This includes information about feeding, sleeping, child development, carer wellbeing, health checks and immunisation; along with links to further materials such as support services, fact sheets, websites and videos.


“The service has reached thousands of families, with more than 90 per cent of them still receiving text messages,” Dr Craven said.


“More than 70 per cent of families reply to messages, enabling the content to be individually tailored and more than 150 families are receiving the service for the second time with their next baby.”


Healthy Beginnings for HNEKids is supported by Glencore Coal as part of its Community Investment Program.


“We value the opportunity to contribute to programs that encourage healthy lifestyles and better health care,” said Craig Strudwick, Glencore’s Social Performance Manager.


Glencore is proud to have invested $450,000 in this initiative to date. The Healthy Beginnings program will be expanded to families across the entire Hunter New England Local Health District in 2024.


Learn more about the program here

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