Child and Family Liaison Project

The Child and Family Liaison project aims to build better linkages between the family support services system and maternal & child health services (MCHS). C4C has partnered with the City of Greater Bendigo and Bendigo Family Support Agencies to ensure that these service are better integrated and more accessible for families.

Aims of Project

  • To ensure that families with children aged 0 to 5 years who linked to family support services and child protection are supported in engaging with maternal & child health services.
  • To build a greater understanding across maternal child health services and family support services of the issues which are impacting on vulnerable families in accessing maternal child health services and other universal services.
  • To build ongoing structures and processes that ensures that the most vulnerable families involved with family support services and child protection are linked to maternal & child health services and other universal children’s services and vice-versa.
  • To develop professional linkages and training opportunities between maternal & child health services and family services/child protection.

Rationale for Project

Universal service providers can and do play a key role in supporting children and families and in building parenting skills and capacities in addition to the role of specialist secondary and tertiary services. In particular maternal & child health services are a critical service in providing prevention and early intervention responses to vulnerable families and in supporting parents to meet the developmental needs of their children.

However, it has been identified in Bendigo that families accessing secondary and tertiary services, in particular family support and placement prevention services, have poor participation rates in maternal & child health services and universal children’s services in general. A recent analysis by the Child FIRST Early Childhood Development project identified that only 14% of 47 children under the age of five years whose families are currently involved with family support and placement prevention services had a connection with maternal & child health services.

The State of Bendigo Children’s Report (SOBCR) 2013 also highlights that 10% of children in Bendigo are not seen by a maternal & child health service for their 4 month old assessment and 28% of children were not seen for their 3.5 years assessment. The SOBCR 2011 reported that in 2011 there were 8% of children not seen for 4 month old assessment and 29% for the 3.5 years assessment. The SOBCR 2013 also highlights that key groups that do not access or cease accessing maternal & child health service are highly vulnerable families and Aboriginal families.

 

This situation highlights the need to not only build the linkages between maternal & child health services and the family support services system but to create new processes and structures that ensure vulnerable families are accessing maternal & child health services. Workers and services report this situation has existed for some time but efforts to address this issue have not been successful. A new approach is required.

Project Outcomes

  • Ensuring children linked to family support and placement prevention services are connected to and provided with support from maternal & child health service and other universal services.
  • Development of ongoing structures and processes that helps ensure that children from vulnerable families and Aboriginal families are able to access maternal & child health services.
  • Build professional linkages and create professional development opportunities between family support services, placement prevention, child protection and maternal & child health services.

Project Actions

  • Employment of a maternal & child health nurse who will be co-located with family support agencies in Bendigo.
  • The maternal & child health nurse will have the following roles and responsibilities:
    • In conjunction with family support services and placement prevention services deliver an initial outreach maternal & child health response to families accessing these services.
    • Build the linkages for families to local maternal & child health services and other child health services.
    • Develop processes and structures that ensures greater accessibility and linkages for vulnerable families to maternal & child health services and other child health services.
    • Initiate professional development opportunities between maternal & child health services and family support services.
    • Build linkages with child protection to promote greater access to maternal & child health service for children connected to the child protection system.

For more information contact:

Kay Lehane
Enhanced Maternal & Child Health Nurse  |  City of Greater Bendigo
p: 03 5434 6311  or  5434 6200
National Relay Service 133677 then quote 03 5434 6311
e: k.lehane@Bendigo.vic.gov.au