Child and Family Health

Investing in children’s early years builds on the strengths of culture and care, and sets the course for a future of success and opportunity. It supports strong foundations and enables better health and social outcomes across the life course by focusing on parents and families before, during and after pregnancy.

Page last updated: 28 November 2019

There are a number of activities under the Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme (IAHP) that aim to improve child and family health. These include the Australian Nurse Family Partnership Program and the Connected Beginnings Program.

Australian Nurse-Family Partnership Program (ANFPP)

The ANFPP is an evidence based, nurse-led home visiting program. The program supports women pregnant with an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander baby who may benefit from a more intensive level of support to improve their own health and the health of their baby. The program aims to improve pregnancy outcomes by helping women engage in good preventive health practices; support parents to improve their child’s health and development; and help parents develop a vision for their own future, including continuing education and finding work.

The program is based on the Nurse Family Partnership (NFP) model developed over the last 30 years by Professor David Olds at the University of Colorado. The ANFPP includes a number of agreed adaptations that have made it more culturally acceptable for the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander setting. These adaptations include the addition of a cultural support role (Family Partnership Worker), eligibility criteria based on the Indigeneity of the child, acceptance of multiparous women and the adaption of materials and resources to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander context.

The Australian Nurse-Family Partnership website provides more information about the program.

The program is implemented in 13 sites across Australia including:
  • Wellington Aboriginal Corporation Health Service - Dubbo
  • Wuchopperen Health Service - Cairns
  • Central Australian Aboriginal Congress - Alice Springs
  • The Institute for Urban Indigenous Health - North Brisbane and South Brisbane
  • Top End Health Service (Northern Territory Department of Health) - Hub and spoke model operating out of Darwin servicing Wadeye, Maningrida, Gunbalanya and Wurrumiyanga
  • Danila Dilba Health Service Aboriginal Corporation - Palmerston/Darwin
  • Nunkuwarrin Yunti Health Service - Adelaide
  • Durri Aboriginal Corporation Health Service - Kempsey and Surrounds
  • Greater Western Aboriginal Health Service - Blacktown, Western Sydney
  • Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Clinic - Canberra and surrounds
  • Wurli Wurlinjang Aboriginal Corporation - Katherine
  • Rumbalara Aboriginal Cooperative - Campaspe, Shepparton and Moira

Connected Beginnings

The Departments of Health and Education and Training are jointly funding the Connected Beginnings Program to support the integration of early childhood health and education services in a number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The Program aims to provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families with greater access to cohesive and coordinated service provision, tailored to their individual needs, so more children are healthy, safe and ready to thrive at school.

The Australian Government has invested $23.5 million over six years from 2015-16 until 2021-22 from the (IAHP) to support child health services delivered by local Aboriginal and Community Controlled Health Services in an outreach capacity on school grounds, where suitable infrastructure exists.

Further information on Connected Beginnings can be found on the Department of Education and Training’s website.

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