The early years of a child’s life sets the foundation for their future health, development and learning. The Child and Family Centres are a one-stop-shop for supporting families during this important time.
The Centres are staffed by highly skilled, experienced and qualified practitioners with social work, psychology, specialised nursing or other health, welfare and education qualifications. The staff at the Centres work to deliver a range of support programs and services to assist parents and young children (pre-birth to 8 years; however selected services can be offered to children up to 12 years of age).
Please see the Frequently Asked Questions page for more information.
Child and Family Centres
Child and Family Centres provide services for families with young children in the Gungahlin, Tuggeranong and West Belconnen communities. At the Centres we can assist you with information, support and services for all members of your family. The Centres provide a range of universal, targeted and tailored services based on the needs of children and their families, with a strong emphasis on providing outreach services in homes, schools and the community.
Why Child and Family Centres?
The Child and Family Centres were a flagship initiative of the Canberra Social Plan 2004, providing the cornerstone of the ACT Government’s early intervention platform. The Centres are a direct way of building our community within Canberra by helping to improve the health and wellbeing of young children and families in the Gungahlin, Tuggeranong and West Belconnen communities.
Child and Family Centres:
- Positively influence the developmental pathways and life trajectory of children
- Build capacity and resiliency of families to support their children
- Strengthen the linkages and connections of families to supportive communities
Through the provision of high quality programs and services, the Child and Family Centres work toward fulfilling the ACT Government’s vision for Canberra as a place where all people reach their potential, make a contribution and share the benefits of an inclusive community (Canberra Social Plan, 2011).
The Child and Family Centres also aim to:
- Increase social connectedness
- Improve relationships between families, carers and children
- Increase involvement and engagement with ‘hard to reach’ populations
- Increase the capacity of parents to identify and respond to the needs of their children
- Strengthen the service systems response to children and families by promoting a collaborative approach to interventions
- Reduce escalation of children and families to tertiary Child Protection and Mental Health services
The Child and Family Centres have three areas of service delivery:
1. Support for Families
- Drop in parenting information and advice
- Single session work with families
- Psychosocial assessments
- Therapeutic interventions for children
- Case coordination and case management for vulnerable families with multiple and complex needs
- Engagement and assessment
- Early learning programs
- Targeted parenting programs
- Early intervention mental health
2. Community education and engagement programs:
- Universal parenting activities that aim to increase community awareness regarding child development and parenting
- Initiatives which seek to strengthen community capacity by strengthening family and community networks
3. Community Partnerships:
- Partnerships with existing government and local community service providers to ensure seamless service delivery and support the work of Child and Family Centres
- Provision of a range of outreach services operating from each Child and Family Centre
What do the Child and Family Centres provide?
The Child and Family Centres provide a range of universal, targeted and tailored programs and services based on the needs of children and their families in the Gungahlin, Tuggeranong and West Belconnen Communities. There is a strong emphasis on providing outreach services in homes, schools and the community.
At times, children and their families require additional assistance. The Child and Family Centres will work closely with families to determine the additional assistance required and the best way that this can be provided across government and the community.
A range of services are offered through the Child and Family Centres, including:
- Drop-in parenting information
- Parenting programs, courses and groups
- Early intervention mental health programs
- Therapy ACT physiotherapy and speech clinics
- ACT Health services – immunisations, child health checks, Maternal and Child Health (MACH) nurses, midwifery, new parents groups, sleep clinics.
Please see the Programs and Services page for more information regarding the services offered through the Child and Family Centres. Alternatively, you can download the Guide to Our Programs & Services by clicking the link below.
Why do we need to intervene early?
“Early intervention refers to intervening as soon as possible to tackle problems emerging for children, young people and their families, or with a population at risk of developing problems.” (Department for Children, Schools and Families, 2010)
Infancy and early childhood are critical life stages. These years are characterised by rapid brain development and the acquisition of sensory, motor, learning and social skills. During this time the foundations for a child’s attachment relationships are also laid; with the quality of these relationships influencing a child’s social and emotional development. Loving, consistent and dependable relationships as well as opportunities for socialisation and play will therefore promote healthy emotional and cognitive development (Centre for the Developing Child, 2013).
Community Engagement and Development
A core component of the Child and Family Centre’s service offer is engagement with the local community, the provision of community events and building community capacity. Through community development activities, the Centres contribute to building active and sustainable communities, removing of barriers to participation and building partnerships to enable people to participate in the issues that affect their lives.
The ACT Government, through the Child and Family Centres, undertake a range of partnership activities with community agencies and organisations to support and resource the Gungahlin, Tuggeranong and West Belconnen communities.
As noted in The Social Compact, partnerships between the ACT Government and the community sector are founded on the principles of:
- Respect - Mutual respect for the roles, and recognition of the capacity and capabilities, of each sector.
- Open Communication - Open and transparent communication and processes, and confidence and trust in each other.
- Engagement - Community participation in planning, policy development and other decision making that is inclusive of our diverse community.
- Continuous Improvement - Innovation and continuous improvement in the planning, delivery of services and workforce development.
- Leadership - Integrity, ethical practice, accountability and leadership in the way each partner operates.
- Diversity - Flexibility and cultural sensitivity when consulting and responding to different groups in the community.