Child and Family Health

Investing in children’s early years builds on the strengths of culture and care, and sets the course for a future of success and opportunity. It supports strong foundations and enables better health and social outcomes across the life course by focusing on parents and families before, during and after pregnancy.

Page last updated: 30 November 2018

There are a number of activities under the Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme (IAHP) that aim to improve child and family health. These include the Australian Nurse Family Partnership Program (ANFPP), New Directions: Mothers and Babies Services (NDMBS) and the Connected Beginnings Program.

Australian Nurse-Family Partnership Program (ANFPP)

The ANFPP is an evidence based, nurse-led home visiting program. The program supports women pregnant with an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander baby who may benefit from a more intensive level of support to improve their own health and the health of their baby. The program aims to improve pregnancy outcomes by helping women engage in good preventive health practices; support parents to improve their child’s health and development; and help parents develop a vision for their own future, including continuing education and finding work.

The program is based on the Nurse Family Partnership (NFP) model developed over the last 30 years by Professor David Olds at the University of Colorado. The ANFPP includes a number of agreed adaptations that have made it more culturally acceptable for the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander setting. These adaptations include the addition of a cultural support role (Family Partnership Worker), eligibility criteria based on the Indigeneity of the child, acceptance of multiparous women and the adaption of materials and resources to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander context.

The Australian Nurse-Family Partnership website provides more information about the program.

The program is implemented in 13 sites across Australia including:
  • Dubbo
  • Cairns
  • Alice Springs
  • North Brisbane
  • Hub and spoke model operating out of Darwin servicing Wadeye, Maningrida, Gunbalanya and Wurrumiyanga
  • Palmerston/Darwin (Greater Yilli Rreung region including Darwin and the communities of Baggot, Palmerston Indigenous Village, Knuckey’s Laagoon. Minmarrama Park, Kulaluk, One Mile Dam)
  • South Brisbane
  • Adelaide Metro (Playford, Port Adelaide, Enfield, Onkaparinga)
  • Kempsey and Surrounds
  • Blacktown, Western Sydney
  • Canberra and surrounds
  • Katherine
  • Campaspe, Shepparton and Moira

New Directions Mothers and Babies Services (NDMBS)

NDMBS provides Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families with young children access to antenatal care, standard information about baby care, practical advice and assistance with breastfeeding, nutrition and parenting; monitoring of developmental milestones, immunisation status and infections; and health checks for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children before starting school.

The program is implemented in 136 locations across Australia.

Connected Beginnings

The Departments of Health and Education and Training are jointly funding the Connected Beginnings Program to support the integration of early childhood health and education services in a number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The Program aims to provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families with greater access to cohesive and coordinated service provision, tailored to their individual needs, so more children are healthy, safe and ready to thrive at school.

The Australian Government has invested $12 million over three years from 2015-16 until 2018-19 from the Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme (IAHP) to support child health services delivered by local Aboriginal and Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) in an outreach capacity on school grounds, where suitable infrastructure exists .

Further information on Connected Beginnings can be found on the Department of Education and Training’s website.

Related Reports and Documents


New Directions Mothers and Babies Services Program Descriptive Analysis Report
Final Report - New Directions Mothers and Babies Services Program Descriptive Analysis (Word 2.4 MB)
Final Report - New Directions Mothers and Babies Services Program Descriptive Analysis (PDF 1.8 MB)

Stage 1 Evaluation of the Australian Nurse Family Partnership Program
Final Report - Stage 1 Evaluation of the Australian Nurse Family Partnership Program

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