More support for new parents and their children in Western Victoria

New parents and their babies in Western Victoria are about to receive additional support under an expansion of the Maternal Child Health Service.

The Labor Member for Western Victoria, Jaala Pulford, today announced that 37,000 Victorian families will now be able to rely on expanded Enhanced Maternal and Child Health services until their child turns three.

Announced as part of the Victorian Budget 2017/18, the $81.1 million package will provide extra support for new parents, including those with babies born prematurely, twins and triplets, or families facing particular disadvantage.

Previously, this intensive support cut out after just one year, leaving many parents without much-needed advice as they prepared their children for kinder.

As well as providing information on feeding and sleeping, our Maternal Child Health nurses also give vital advice on a child’s development and help ensure our kids get the best start in life.

Ms Pulford said the funding will also expand supported playgroups across the state, connecting new parents to share their experiences and help each other.

“We know the early years can shape a child’s entire life and that’s why extending our Maternal Child Health support is so critical for first time parents,” Ms Pulford said.

“This is about giving more families the vital support they need to raise healthy, happy kids and to make sure they’re ready for kinder and ready for school,” she said.

The package will also provide extra training for nurses in the latest techniques and practices to support families.

“As well as being one of the most special times in your life, becoming a new parent is also one of the most daunting and the support of our Maternal Child Health nurses is so valuable during that time,” Ms Pulford said.

“I’m also really pleased that the Government has decided to provide extra funding for the Maternal and Child Health Line to respond to parent’s concerns over the phone,” she said.

The funding follows the Andrews Government’s historic $133 million investment in last year’s Budget. It is a key part of the Education State early childhood reforms and supports the Roadmap for Reform: Strong Families, Safe Children.