Poster Presentation Lowitja Institute International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference 2016

Joining the dots–The healthy childhood project–A Victorian maternal and child health innovation project (#411)

Elizabeth F Palk 1
  1. Mornington Peninsula Shire, Rosebud, VIC, Australia

For the first time in 2016 the Victorian Government has offered funding to support innovation in Maternal and Child Health Service delivery in response to local needs and in particular to improve services for vulnerable families. Mornington Peninsula Shire, Child and Family Health Service was successful in gaining innovation funding and are committed to improving engagement with Indigenous families with children from birth to 6 years.

The aims of The Healthy Childhood Project are to improve health and wellbeing outcomes for Aboriginal families and children by increasing the number of Aboriginal families participating in Child and Family Health Programs in response to the Victorian Government, Koolin Balit–Strategic Directions for Aboriginal Health 2012–2022.

The Healthy Childhood Project will adequately prepare the Child and Family Health workforce to engage effectively with Aboriginal families by responding to these specific Victorian Koolin Balit priorities; ‘A Healthy Start to Life’ and ‘A Healthy Childhood’. To more effectively engage families, the Child and Family Health Service will:

  • Develop a culturally responsive, safe and welcoming service that is professional, courteous, inclusive, respectful and non-judgmental’
  • Foster meaningful engagement with the community and understand local circumstances and cultural context
  • Work in partnership with other service providers to provide the required suite of coordinated services to meet the needs of clients and potential clients.

The Child and Family Health Service is uniquely placed as a universal, non-stigmatising, well accepted service for families with young children and as such can connect families to Aboriginal specific services to support their parenting, community and cultural connection and ensure access to early education opportunities by employing the skills and knowledge of an Indigenous health and wellbeing worker. 

The Child and Family Health team are working in partnership, to address shared priorities, with a number of organisations including: Mornington Peninsula Aboriginal Health Alliance, Willum Warrain Aboriginal Association, Peninsula Health Care Network, Mornington Peninsula Primary Care Partnerships, South East Melbourne Primary Health Network, and others to Join the Dots for Indigenous families.