The Andrews Labor Government is helping parents and carers in the Werribee electorate who need a little extra parenting support through a free hotline and online service.

The program – which runs for up to 10 weeks – allows any parent or carer to ask for tips, advice and guidance from an accredited parenting support worker either over the phone or online.

It’s targeted specifically towards people who find it difficult to access other parenting programs, like playgroups and other services, such as fathers, grandparents or families in regional areas.

The program offers parents and carers the chance to build their skills and confidence to respond positively to parenting challenges and raise happy, confident children.

Minister for Early Childhood Education Jenny Mikakos today announced a $223,000 extension of funding for Gateway Health to deliver the service, meaning it will continue until July 2019.

Gateway Health delivers a range of health services, including aged care, disability services, relationship counselling, parenting education and support, Cradle to Kinder and Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies.

This support is in addition to the free 24-hour MCH Line phone service, which is available for all Victorian families with children aged from birth to school age.

Maternal and Child Health nurses provide parents support and guidance on a range of issues including nutrition, breastfeeding, sleep and settling, childhood illness, allergies and skin conditions.

The Labor Government invested $4.9 million in last year’s Budget for this vital service, which handled more than 108,000 calls in 2017-18 and averages 300 calls a day.

In Wyndham, there were 5544 calls made to the MCH Line.

The staffing boost at the MCH Line will allow for an additional 20,000 calls to be answered each year.

Work is underway through the Government’s landmark $202.1 million Education State Early Childhood Reform Plan to ensure kids are ready for kinder, ready for school and ready for life. The Victorian Budget 2018/19 invested a further $135.9 million toward realising our early childhood vision.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Early Childhood Education Jenny Mikakos
 “We’re ensuring families have the support they need when they need it through programs such as Gateway Health and with MCH nurses taking calls 24 hours, seven days a week.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Werribee Tim Pallas
“These services already provide a much needed helping hand to those parents or carers that need it and it’s wonderful to see that will be continued.”