Expansion of nurse home visits to reach more NSW families in need
More vulnerable families with young children across NSW will be able to receive free support at home with the expansion of the Sustaining NSW Families program to 8 new locations – almost double the number of existing sites.
The rollout of the program across 8 new locations is a major milestone for the Minns Labor Government, which is committed to giving children the best start in life by focusing on their first 2000 days.
The first 2000 days of life (from conception to age 5) is a critical time for physical, cognitive, social and emotional health. What happens in the first 2000 days has an impact throughout a child’s life.
The expansion of the nurse home visiting program will improve pregnancy and early childhood health and development outcomes in those critical first 2000 days for more families in need across the state.
The Sustaining NSW Families program will now be available at 17 sites across 14 Local Health Districts (LHDs), including the following new locations:
- Hunter New England LHD – Lake Macquarie/Newcastle/Maitland
- Hunter New England LHD – Mid Coast/Port Stephens
- Mid North Coast LHD – Coffs Harbour/Port Macquarie/Hastings/Kempsey
- Murrumbidgee LHD – Wagga Wagga/Griffith
- Nepean Blue Mountains LHD – Penrith/Hawkesbury
- Southern NSW LHD – Queanbeyan/Goulburn
- Western NSW LHD – Dubbo/Orange/Bathurst Regional
- Northern Sydney LHD – Northern Beaches/Ryde/Hornsby.
Each Sustaining NSW Families team consists of a nurse coordinator, child and family health nurses, supported by a social worker and allied health professionals. Clinicians work in partnership with other service providers, including general practitioners and maternity care providers.
Under the program, specially trained child and family health nurses work with families to provide regular assessments, tailored programs and referrals to other support services they may need during the early years of childhood.
Families who need extra help in the first 2 years of their child’s life will have greater access to home visits from these nurses.
The program also complements the range of universal services provided by Child and Family Health services.
Health Minister Ryan Park said:
“This is about giving every child in NSW – no matter where they live or their family circumstances – the best possible start in life so they can achieve their full potential and be the best they can be.”
“We know that most of a child’s brain structure will have developed by the age of 5 and what happens in their first 2000 days has a profound impact on the rest of their life.”
“The Sustaining NSW Families program is one of a number of NSW Government initiatives aimed at supporting the health and social outcomes of disadvantaged families and children for generations to come.”
“Through the expansion of this program across NSW, child and family health nurses will be able to help empower more families in caring for their child and provide them the right information, at the right time, to give their child the best start to life.”
Deputy Premier and Minister for Education and Early Learning Prue Car said:
“The Minns Labor Government is proud to shine a spotlight on early childhood development, and expanding the Sustaining NSW Families program is part of how we plan to give children in NSW the best possible start in life.”
“Sustaining NSW Families is an example of government agencies collaborating with education, health and social service professionals to deliver wraparound, holistic support that truly makes a difference to our children, families and communities.”
“No one government agency can bring about this transformational work alone.”
“This vital work spans NSW Health, the Department of Education, the Department of Communities and Justice, the Department of Customer Service, the Department of Regional NSW, Multicultural NSW, Aboriginal Affairs and the Department of Premier and Cabinet.”
Other key initiatives are:
- health and development checks for 4-year-olds in NSW preschool settings
- expansion of the number of Aboriginal Child and Family Centres across the state
- development of the Digital Baby Book
- expansion of Pregnancy Family Conferencing to more parents across NSW.