Introducing our New Families Program

We understand that children thrive when mothers have the support they need.  Our New Families Program (NFP) helps vulnerable mothers provide quality care for their baby and assist to lay the strongest possible foundation for future learning. Our dedicated team assist by visiting mothers in their homes or, if needed, a mother and her baby can enter the Intensive Support House (ISH) where they can live for up to three months, participating in a parenting assessment.

Who can access the program?

The NFP is available only to mothers and expectant mothers who are subject to statutory involvement with Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women (DCSYW).

We welcome families who identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander or CALD and work in close partnership with culturally appropriate services, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Service (ATSICHS).

Do you have a mother/expectant mother that needs support?

Through the program, we provide:

  • Early Intervention and Support (during third trimester);
  • Intensive Support House (ISH): 24/7 support and assessment with capacity for 3 mothers and their babies (up to 6 months of age);
  • Community Visiting (babies up to 12 months of age).

Our compassionate team partners with mothers to:

  • Improve parenting skills and gain confidence in caring for their baby, including helping to establish and maintain a routine and emotional bond and develop and maintain living skills;;
  • Understand how their parenting choices can impact on their ability to be a mother and provide support and education around behaviours that put their baby at risk (including substance abuse, exposure to domestic and family violence, stress responses and health concerns);
  • Connect with relevant community agencies to build a robust safety and support network for themselves and their baby longer term.

We follow the safest practices for babies’ care such as those recommended by the World Health Organisation and Australian Breastfeeding Association.

How does the New Families Program work?

We will have a collaborative discussion with the Child Safety Officer, mother and wider stakeholder group to identify and develop a Support Plan tailored to the individual needs of the mother and baby, focusing on the following domains:

  • General Daily Parenting Ability;
  • Routine Ability
  • Emotional Bond;
  • Meeting Baby’s Needs;
  • Maintaining a Household; and
  • Community Support.

We work in partnership

We work respectfully and confidentially alongside the mother for a period of 12 weeks.

In undertaking assessments, we also draw on the expertise of other stakeholders, such as counsellors and allied health workers, including paediatricians, occupational therapists, speech pathologists and NDIS. We also work with other community agencies including Housing services, Drug and Alcohol services and Domestic and Family Violence services.

Withdrawal from the program

Participation in the program is voluntary and a mother may withdraw at any time. If a mother intends to leave the program, we advise you immediately. Every measure is taken to ensure the safety of the baby.

Regular review meetings provide the mother and all stakeholders the opportunity to discuss whether she will continue in the program for the full parenting assessment, or whether the mother and baby’s needs would be best suited to an alternative arrangement or program. For the ISH, reviews held at 4 weeks and 8 weeks. For Community Visiting component, reviews are held at 6 weeks. Written assessments are also provided.

Sign me up!

Referrals are only accepted from DCSYW. However, we welcome enquiries from families and other services to discuss the program in more detail.

Enquire today about New Families Program

Not what you’re looking for? See our full list of programs here.