Parenting and Child Health

Minister’s Statement

Ms MIKAKOS (Minister for Early Childhood Education) (13:58:40) — I rise to update the house on how the Andrews Labor government is helping parents and carers give their children the best possible start to life. The quality of parenting and the home environment are the strongest influences on a child’s development during the early years. This is why access to reliable, evidence-based parenting information, advice and support is so important. We know that parents are increasingly looking online for information about parenting and child health. There is a lot of information out there, but it may not always be reliable or accurate. There is currently no single Victorian government website that provides information about parenting and child health issues and links families to early years services, so I was pleased recently to launch a new parenting website, parenting.vic.gov.au, to allow parents and carers to access reliable, evidence-based information online and in real time and connect them to available parenting supports and services. More content will be gradually added to reflect the needs of Victorian families, including content for parents of school-age children.

This comes on top of the $223 000 extension of funding I recently announced for Gateway Health to deliver an over-the-phone support program for parents and carers unlikely to engage with the usual parenting support programs available. 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 is targeted specifically towards people who are less likely to engage with other parenting programs like playgroups, such as fathers, grandparents and families in rural and regional areas. I am proud of our government’s commitment to giving every parent and carer of young children in Victoria the comfort of knowing that extra support is always available if and when they need it.