Department of Human Services

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Program providing families and children a strong start to life

Hundreds of vulnerable, young, first-time mothers in Adelaide’s southern and northern suburbs have received at-home support to give their child a better start to life thanks to a State Government early intervention program. The $2.8 million Strong Start program has worked with almost 300 mothers in the past two years to address complex issues that may otherwise place their children at risk of abuse or neglect once born.

The program targets young, expectant mothers up to the age of 25 who are experiencing complex issues such as addiction, domestic violence or housing instability during their pregnancy. It forms part of the recently reformed Child and Family Support System, helping to match the right services to vulnerable families at the right time.

Data suggests that when children are born into challenging environments, a lack of support and poor mental health of parents can have a downstream effect on a child’s development. The Strong Start program intervenes early, by working with families before children are brought into the world in their own homes. By working with mothers to develop their skills to cope with future challenges, workers help support the development of their future children who otherwise may be at risk of future struggles. Ultimately, the goal of this program is to address the challenges faced by each family so that children can grow and develop in a safe and nurturing environment at home.

The Strong Start program provides a range of culturally sensitive support, which includes, but is not limited to:

  • Ensuring the baby’s needs are being met
  • Monitoring development and growth
  • Providing parenting education
  • Linking parents to social supports
  • Addressing financial and housing issues
  • Addressing domestic and family violence issues
  • Maternal health
  • Access to baby goods.

Trained Department of Human Services social workers and Aboriginal family support workers support families before the child has been born and up to two years of age. Expecting parents can gain access to the program via a number of pathways including referral through the health system or other government agencies, as well as self-referral.

Page last updated : 12 Aug 2021

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