1. A comprehensive review and a new plan for maternal and paediatric services in Melbourne’s West
“We need a comprehensive review and a new plan for Paediatric Services to ensure that our booming population gets the services it needs in the right place, at the right time.”
Huge population growth in Melbourne’s West means our needs are rapidly changing. Melbourne’s West desperately needs a clear framework to allocate health services and infrastructure across the region. Some investment is happening, but it’s not well coordinated and combined with rapid population growth, families are missing out. This plan will set out what services will be needed and when, so that as communities grow, our service offerings match their needs. We need to make sure families can get as many of their needs met in the same place at the same time as possible.
2. A Centre of Parenting Excellence in Melbourne’s West
“We need a Centre of Parenting Excellence at Tweddle to increase capacity and reduce waiting times for families who are struggling so they get help quickly, and risk factors for future health and wellbeing for babies can be identified and strategies put in place.”
Every year Tweddle’s specialised team provide support to over 4,000 families facing parenting challenges. Demand for Tweddle’s family services significantly outstrips supply, with an eight-week waiting list for on-site support. At any one time, there are approximately 120 families awaiting urgent therapeutic support services, and this wait list will only continue to grow. But an expansion at Tweddle’s Footscray site would nearly double its capacity for day-stay and residential services, to nearly 1,000 families per year, enough to meet our growing population.
3. Expanding services for vulnerable families where they live
“We need investment in a new approach to health and social support services in the West’s most disadvantaged suburbs to ensure that every family and every child has the same chance at a happy, healthy and thriving childhood.”
To trial one way of helping vulnerable families, cohealth are proposing a new pilot to deliver comprehensive health, family violence, alcohol, drug, and other social support services together in one community hub located in Laverton. Their proposal would help to address unmet need for health and social support for vulnerable families in this area, and if successful expand to other locations with high needs, such as Flemington and Wyndham Vale.
4. Boosting dental health for children across our region.
“We need proper dental services for kids in the West, and a boost to early years preventative dental health programs.”
Tooth decay is the highest cause of preventable hospitalisation of children in Victoria. But by encouraging healthy eating and good oral care we can stop tooth decay sending children to hospital. Early treatment of tooth decay is also critical but not all children in the West have access to the dental treatment they need. With federal funding for national dental services for children in doubt after 2019, it’s vital we secure dental services and equipment for children in Melbourne’s West now.
5. More support for new parents before birth and after
“We need First 1000 Days Supporters in our neighbourhoods so that pregnant and new mothers have a safe and local place to come for help in raising their babies and toddlers.”
Helping new parents support each other with their mental health and preventing social isolation is critical to ensuring young children thrive. More than 500 families with young children present at Caroline Chisholm Society in Melbourne’s West per year, and one of their most prevalent issues is mental health. Victoria needs a Perinatal Mental Health Plan for new families before and after birth.
As our population grows, services need to be expanded so that families experiencing challenges don’t fall through the gaps. We need appropriately trained social and health professionals to be there in the local community to help local mothers support each other with parenting education and their well-being during the first 1000 days, from conception to two years.