Extra help for families

Enhanced home visiting service

Maternal & child health checks Our enhanced home visiting service is available for families unable to attend a maternal and child health centre for various reasons, such as:

  • complicated births, such as caesarian section
  • twin and triplet births
  • children or parents with chronic or recurring illnesses
  • limited family support
  • perinatal emotional wellbeing concerns
  • homelessness
  • alcohol or drug concerns
  • family violence
  • lack of transport

To access the enhanced home visiting service parents can request a referral from a maternal and child health nurse, doctor of other support service. The service is often only needed short-term, but can be arranged for extended periods where required. In addition, eligible families might be able to receive assistance in purchasing essential items, such as cots, through a nursery furniture funding program. Our maternal and child health service offers a range of information, care and support options for new parents. Browse below to see how our service can help you make the transition to parenthood an easier one.

Emotional health support

After the birth of your baby it is common for mums and dads to experience some distress as they settle into the role of being a parent. The Maternal and Child team is here to help. We can offer support through our enhanced home visiting service, detailed above, or refer you to one of the following services:

  • The Raphael Centre provides free counseling for families with a child under two years of age at the Maternal and Child Health Centre in Colac every Wednesday. To find out more or to make an appointment, please call 03 5221 7333.
  • Your GP or local psychologist.

Children in out of home care

Kinship care is available to children who cannot live with their natural parents and instead, a family member, close friend or other significant person takes care of the child. Maternal and Child Health nurses continue providing recommended health and development checks under the kinship care arrangement. These checks can take place at one of our centres or in the carer’s home.  The nurse can also provide carers with general information, advice, support and referrals.

Financial help for new families

At times families can struggle to put food on the table or provide clothing for children. Under these circumstances, our Maternal and Child Health service can refer families to local organisations to help obtain these essential items. Two such services include:

  • The Salvation Army, phone (03) 5231 1178  
  • St Vincent De Paul, phone (03) 5231 2738

Our Maternal and Child Health nurses can also refer to Colac Area Health’s family support team, which provide support, case management, counselling and links to other services for vulnerable families and children. In addition, Colac Area Health offers free financial counselling and legal aid to families who need it. Contact Colac Area health on (03) 5232 5140.

Family violence support

Family violence is an issue in all communities which is why our Maternal and Child Health nurses routinely ask all families if they experience family violence. Family violence occurs when someone in a close personal relationship with you makes you feel afraid, powerless or unsafe, and it can be financial, physical, emotional, psychological, sexual, spiritual or cultural. If you are experiencing abuse or violence it is not your fault. It is a crime, the abuser is breaking the law and is fully responsible for what they are doing.

If you’re in danger you should call the police on 000. Alternatively, other services are available, including:

  • Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre – 24 hours (1800 015 188)
  • Lifeline – 24 hours (131 114)
  • The local child protection agency (1800 075 599)

For free counselling, information or support, you can also use the following local services:

  • Minerva Community Services – Zena Geelong, which visit Colac Area Health each week (03 5224 2903)
  • Colac Area Health family violence counsellor (03 5232 5140)
  • Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service (1800 105 303)