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Maternal and Child Health

What is the Maternal & Child Health Service?

The Maternal and Child Health Service is a free service, funded jointly by the Victorian Government and local government and is delivered for families with children from birth to school age. Maternal and Child Health centres are staffed by registered nurses with qualifications in midwifery, and family and child health.

The service aims to promote the health, wellbeing, learning and development of young children and their families; and to detect health and wellbeing problems early.

More specifically, at a Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Service you can:

  • get information, support and advice on a variety of topics, including parenting, child health, development and learning, child behaviour, immunisation, breastfeeding, nutrition, safety and family planning
  • attend at specific times during your child's early years for a one-on-one consultation that includes a health and development review
  • take advantage of additional activities, for example first-time parent groups and educational sessions tailored to your family's needs and circumstances
  • get help to make contact with local services, such as Early Parenting centres, if you need extra assistance
  • participate in a parent group where you can get information and meet other parents in the local area.

How do I access the Maternal & Child Health service?

When you have your baby, the hospital or midwife will notify the MCH Service. A MCH Nurse will then contact you within the first week to arrange to visit you and your baby at home. After this initial home visit, a series of follow up appointments will be scheduled as the baby develops. A total of ten free MCH appointments are recommended over a four year period.

At each appointment the MCH nurse will:

  • Assess and monitor your child’s growth and development
  • Provide advice and information about maternal and child health
  • Make referrals to other health services if appropriate
  • Link you up with a new parent’s group if you are a new parent

Southern Grampians Maternal & Child Health Centres

Frances Hewett Community Centre
2 Roberts Street, Hamilton 3300

Sheppard Community Centre
146 Cobb Street, Penshurst 3289

Thomas Hodgetts Centre
69 Whyte Street, Coleraine 3315

Dunkeld Kindergarten
68 Wills Street, Dunkeld 3294

Balmoral Bush Nursing Centre
26-28 Bell Street, Balmoral 3407

Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm

For appointments:

Frances Hewett Community Centre
2 Roberts Street
Hamilton Vic 3300
Phone (03)5551 4360

First Time Parents Group

Becoming a parent for the first time can be a challenging yet exciting time. To help first time parents get the support they need, the Maternal and Child Health Service runs 'first time parents groups'. These groups enable first time parents to meet together in a relaxed and supportive environment.

The groups are facilitated by Maternal and Child Health nurses and guest speakers who provide Early Years Programs who will be happy to answer any questions you may have during these sessions.

Ideally parents join the program when their baby is between one month and four months of age but we welcome all first time parents with a baby up to six months of age. First time parents who have a child over six months of age can talk with the Maternal and Child Health nurse about the possibility about joining an existing older age new parent group.

Fathers are encouraged to attend the First parent Groups and any of our Early Years Services.

Helpful Links for Parents

Information about the Maternal ^ Child Health Service in Victoria and related services.

Australian Breastfeeding Association - Breastfeeding Helpline (talk to a breastfeeding counsellor) 1800 mum 2 mum (1800 686 268)

Nurse on Call - 1300 60 60 24 - this telephone service provides immediate, expert health advice from a registered nurse, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Maternal & Child Health Line - 13 22 29 - qualified maternal and child health nurses provide information, support and advice to Victorian families with children from birth to school age (5 years old) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Poisons Information Centre - 13 11 26 - for 24 hour-a-day, 7 day a week advice on poisoning, suspected poisoning, and mistakes with medicine, bites and stings.

Parent Line - 13 22 89 - this telephone counselling service is available to parents and carers of children aged birth to 18 years throughout Victoria. They provide information and assistance on a wide range of issues, including those who are struggling with or finding the parenting role challenging. They cannot, however, provide you with legal or medical advice.

Prevention of Violence against Women 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 7328)

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