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Early Parenting Centres Forum addresses Service Sector Reform

Posted by Kerrie Gottliebsen | 27/02/14

Now more than ever, Early Parenting Centres are providing therapeutic support services to an increasingly vulnerable cohort.  Where once the so called ‘sleep schools’ provided respite and settling strategies, parents now gain insights into their parenting and the skills to identify the impact they have on their child’s development and outcomes. 

Play based activities and facilitated play sessions build knowledge around early brain development, observing and responding to cues and attachment theory.  The science and evidence underscoring a stay at an Early Parenting Centre is accelerating.

The changing environment of the community sector, including Early Parenting Centres, was just one of the important discussions that took place at yesterday’s EPC Forum.  Services Connect Executive Director, Policy and Strategic Group (DHS) Simon Phemister, Scope CEO Jenny Fitzgerald and VCOSS CEO Emma King joined Victorian Early Parenting Centres Board and Management for a lively forum that addressed key service sector reforms sweeping Mental Health and Human Services Sectors.

Jacquie O’Brien, Tweddle CEO, Athina Georgiou QEC CEO and Kirsty Evans Manager/ Director of Nursing, O’Connell Family Centre, Mercy Health provided an overview of  EPCs and their responses over decades to the ongoing policy changes and social reform.  The Service Sector Reform Project commenced in May 2012 with the aim to improve how government and the community sector work together to improve the lives of vulnerable and disadvantaged Victorians.

Forum guests discussed Professor Peter Shergold’s final report including the Statement of Principles released by the Minister for Community Services, The Hon Mary Wooldridge on 1 November 2013. This statement acknowledges the importance of early intervention and agreement has been reached that strengthening partnerships with family service agencies, educating key agency workers, implementing the frameworks to measure outcomes would all underpin future EPC service delivery.

“ Families linking into services through Services Connect and a range of service providers, all benefit from the intensive early intervention focussed parenting education provided at Victoria’s three Early Parenting Centres. We understand the effect our services are having on clients and on the broader community and we can provide evidence of the value of our programs. We are currently seeking investment support  to develop and imbed a research and evaluation framework which will help us articulate outcomes more clearly to our stakeholders.”  Said Tweddle CEO Jacquie O Brien.

Kirsty Evans Jenny Fitzgerald Jacquie O Brien Athina Georgiou

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