Giving our Indigenous Children a Better Start to Life

Two successful early childhood programs delivering significant improvements in the health and well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families will be expanded across an additional 19 new sites.

Page last updated: 22 February 2018

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22 February 2018

Two successful early childhood programs delivering significant improvements in the health and well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families will be expanded across an additional 19 new sites.

Visiting Darwin’s Danila Dilba Health Service today, the Minister for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt AM, said the programs promised to help in Closing the Gap in health equality and were already having a measurable impact.

Through Better Start to Life, Danila Dilba has recently begun offering home nurse visits, meaning Darwin children and families now have more culturally appropriate access to antenatal and postnatal care,” Minister Wyatt said.

“We know that Mums participating in this program have fewer low birth weight babies, higher rates of breastfeeding and very high infant immunisation rates. We are also seeing women accessing antenatal care earlier in their pregnancies.

“By wrapping services around families, locally focussed programs like this are also important in helping guard against the development of chronic conditions in later life, such as rheumatic heart disease and kidney failure.”

The Turnbull Government is investing $94 million over three years in A Better Start to Life, which consists of two streams: The Australian Nurse-Family Partnership Program (ANFPP) and the New Directions: Mothers and Babies Services program. The Danila Dilba Health Service through the ANFPP is receiving $1.68 million for the 2017-2018 financial year.

    • The New Directions program targets five priority areas, including:
    • Care before and immediately after birth
    • Detailed information about baby care
    • Practical advice and assistance with breast-feeding, nutrition and parenting
    • Monitoring development, immunisations and infections
    • Health checks and referrals to treatment for children before they start school
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare research highlighted that families participating in New Directions program registered improvements in seven out of the eight national Key Performance Indicators on maternal and child health.

“While lifetime health care is important, intensive support from before birth to three years old – the critical first 1,000 days - has the greatest impact on our children’s futures,” said Minister Wyatt.

“It augurs well for thousands of young Indigenous kids that 14 new sites are implementing the New Directions: Mothers and Babies Services program and five new sites are delivering the Australian Nurse-Family Partnership Program.”

The number of New Directions: Mothers and Babies Services sites now totals 124, along with 13 Australian Nurse-Family Partnership Program sites.

Twelve more New Directions: Mothers and Babies Services program locations are due to be announced by July this year, taking the national total to 136.

The new sites are:

State
Australian Nurse Family Partnership Program Organisations
Indigenous Areas
VIC
Rumbalara Aboriginal Cooperative Ltd
Campaspe – Shepparton - Moira
NSW
Durri Aboriginal Corporation Medical Service
Kempsey
Greater Western Aboriginal Health Service
Blacktown
NT
Wurli Wurlinjang Aboriginal Corporation
Katherine Town
ACT
Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service (ACT) Inc
Canberra North
Canberra South
State
New Directions: Mothers and Babies Services Organisations
Indigenous Areas
NSW
Wellington Aboriginal Corporation Health Service
Wellington
Coonamble Aboriginal Health Service
Coonamble
Walgett Aboriginal Medical Service Ltd
Walgett
QLD
Mulungu Aboriginal Corporation Primary Health Care Service
Atherton
Kuranda - Croydon
Gurriny Yealamucka (Good Healing) Health Services Aboriginal Corporation
Yarrabah
Apunipima Cape York Health Council
Aurukun
Kowanyama
NPA Family and Community Services Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Corp
Northern Peninsula Area
WA
Derby Aboriginal Health Service Council Aboriginal Corporation
Derby Mowanjum
Broome Regional Aboriginal Medical Service
Broome – Surrounds
South-West Aboriginal Medical Service Aboriginal Corporation
Bunbury
SA
Pika Wiya Health Service Aboriginal Corporation
Port Augusta
Pangula Mannamurna Aboriginal Corporation
South East
Ceduna Koonibba Aboriginal Health Service (Aboriginal Corporation)
Ceduna
Nunyara Aboriginal Health Service Inc
Whyalla

Media contact: Nick Way, Media Adviser 0419 835 449
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