Parents and carers who need a little extra parenting support can get it for a short period through a free hotline and online service.
For up to 10 weeks, any parent or carer can ask for tips, advice and guidance from an accredited parenting support worker, either over the phone or online.
It’s targeted specifically towards people such as fathers, grandparents or families in regional areas, who find it difficult to access other parenting programs, like playgroups and other services. It offers them the chance to build their skills and confidence to respond positively to parenting challenges and raise happy, confident children.
The program is available through a $223,000 extension of funding for Gateway Health to deliver the service, which will continue until July 2019.
Gateway Health delivers a range of health services, including aged care, disability services, relationship counselling, parenting education and support, Cradle to Kinder and Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies.
This support is in addition to the free 24-hour Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Line phone service, available for all Victorian families with children aged from birth to school age. MCH nurses provide support and guidance on a range of issues including nutrition, breastfeeding, sleep and settling, childhood illness, allergies and skin conditions.
A staffing boost for the MCH Line will allow for an additional 20,000 calls to be answered each year.
Minister for Early Childhood Education Jenny Mikakos said, “It’s vital that support is accessible for those who are less likely to participate in face-to-face parenting support services, like fathers, rural families and grandparents caring for grandchildren.”