Invaluable family service celebrates 100 years
August 04, 2017
Colac families with babies and young children continue to access a free maternal and child health service established in Victoria 100 years ago.
The local government infant welfare service opened its doors in Richmond in 1917 and in Colac in 1925.
And today families across the Colac shire receive home visits from the maternal and child health nurses when their babies are first born. Then ongoing health and development support through appointments for children up to four years of age at Colac, Cororooke, Forrest, Lavers Hill, Birregurra, Beaac, Apollo Bay and Carlisle River, and receive help with parenting, social support and referrals.
Annually Colac Otway Shire Council’s three registered nurses, qualified in midwifery, support approximately 250 new babies and their families, and provide 2000 appointments and host 100 parent groups across the eight centres throughout the shire.
The service was initially set up 100 years ago to address high infant mortality rates now the service’s 1200 maternal and child health nurses have an invaluable education role and making sure babies and their families get the best start.
The services the maternal and child health nurses provide include the open session, where no appointment is needed, perfect for families who want a quick weigh and measure of their child or to discuss any minor concerns. It’s also an opportunity to make an appointment for your child’s major health and development check.
Other services Colac’s maternal and child health services provide include information on babies and toddlers’ key development ages and stages, a first time parents group, feeding information and support, assessment and referrals and equipment hire. Full details are on the Colac Otway Shire website.
Colac Otway Shire Chief Executive Officer Sue Wilkinson said the community can’t underestimate the benefit the Colac infant welfare services provide.
“Supporting families with new babies and young children strengthens our whole community and its part of providing strong foundations for our community’s future,” she said.