Helping parents give their children the best start in life is the most rewarding aspect of working in the Maternal and Child Health Service, says 30-year veteran Anne Hindell.
Ms Hindell leads the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) team at the City of Whittlesea in Melbourne’s outer northern suburbs.
“Every parent has a dream for their child so it’s about trying to understand what that dream is and helping them reach that dream in their child whatever it looks like for that parent,” she said.
To help achieve this, the recently launched Early Childhood Reform Plan includes an $81.1 million investment in MCH and parenting support reforms.
These reforms include progressively expanding the Enhanced MCH Service, additional outreach visits for women and children who are experiencing or are at risk of family violence, additional staffing of the MCH Line and the expansion of supported playgroups across Victoria.
Ms Hindell said the biggest challenge in Whittlesea was keeping up with demand in a booming area.
The Budget also includes $5.2 million to attract new MCH nurses into the service and support the ongoing professional development of all MCH nurses.
Jill Temby is a mother of three young children and said she was grateful an MCH nurse picked up her daughter’s hip dysplasia early.
“It lead to early intervention and now you would never know she had it,” Ms Temby said.
“With three kids, it’s been so great to have those checks and to be able to ask the questions, check on the growth and just have that peace of mind.”
To offer more parents peace of mind, the Government is also investing $4.9 million to answer an additional 20,000 calls to the MCH Line each year.
MCH nurse Susan Bell is Acting Manager of the MCH Line and said MCH Line nurses spoke to about 110,000 families last financial year.
“The additional funding in the budget will enable additional MCH nurses to be employed at MCH Line,” she said.
This will improve parents’ access to reliable, evidence-based information and advice from MCH nurses 24 hours a day, every day of the year.