New babies and young children: support in the Australian Capital Territory
Australian Breastfeeding Association
If you’re breastfeeding and need help, trained volunteer counsellors can give you reassurance, information and advice about breastfeeding and overcoming common breastfeeding difficulties. Phone the National Breastfeeding Helpline on 1800 686 268 (1800 MUM 2 MUM), 7 days, 24 hours. You can also connect with your local ABA group.
Child health checks
Child health checks are offered through child health clinics and home visits by child and family health nurses. To make an appointment, phone Community Health Intake on (02) 5124 9977, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 8 am-5 pm; and Wednesday, 8 am-3.30 pm (except public holidays).
This is a free 24-hour telephone health information and advice service. Phone 1800 022 222 to speak to a registered nurse, 7 days, 24 hours.
Parentline provides telephone counselling by trained volunteers for parents and carers in the Australian Capital Territory. Phone Parentline on (02) 6287 3833, Monday-Friday, 9 am-4 pm (except public holidays).
Perinatal Wellbeing Centre
The Perinatal Wellbeing Centre provides mental health support for expectant and new parents and their families. It offers telephone support and face-to-face support groups. Call (02) 6288 1936, Monday-Friday, 9 am-3.30 pm.
Tresillian Queen Elizabeth II Family Centre
The Queen Elizabeth II Family Centre (the QEII) offers residential support for families with children up to 3 years of age. The expert staff can help parents with feeding, settling, toddler behaviour, postnatal anxiety and depression and more. To find out more, call the Centre’s helpline on 1300 272 736 (1300 2 Parent), 7 days, 7 am-11 pm.
Child care in the Australian Capital Territory
There are 5 main options for child care and early education in Australia:
- Home-based care – this is when a friend, relative, babysitter or nanny cares for your child in your own home.
- Centre-based care – this includes long day care, occasional care, preschools and kindergartens.
- Family day care – this is when an approved educator cares for your child in the educator’s home.
- Business-related creches – this is informal child care offered in businesses like gyms or shopping centres.
- Outside school hours care – this is centre-based child care for primary school-age children before and/or after school, on student-free days and during the school holidays.
Playgroups in the Australian Capital Territory
Playgroups are a great way for young children to practise getting along with others and try new ways to play. They’re good for parents too, with plenty of support and social contact in a relaxed, welcoming environment.
For more information or to find a playgroup near you, phone ACT Playgroups on 1800 171 882 (free call in the Australian Capital Territory) or (02) 6251 0261, Monday-Friday, 9.30 am-2.30 pm (school terms only).
Preschool in the Australian Capital Territory
Preschool is generally for children who turn 4 in the year before starting school. Some states and territories offer preschool for 3-year-olds.
Preschool programs help children learn and develop through play. They also help children get ready for the transition to school.
Some preschools are located in public schools – you can find out more about preschools run by the ACT Department of Education. Others are run by local governments, community-based organisations or the private sector.
Use the Starting Blocks service finder to find preschools near you.
Children with disability: support in the Australian Capital Territory
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a national scheme to support people with disability.
If your child has a disability, developmental delay or developmental concerns, the NDIS can help you and your child get services and support in your community. Start by phoning the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) on 1800 800 110, Monday-Friday, 8 am-8 pm.
Your mental health, wellbeing and relationships: support in the Australian Capital Territory
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed or you’re struggling with your mental health or relationships, getting professional support is a very good idea. You could start by talking to your GP.
Here are more ways to get support for mental health and wellbeing:
- Call Lifeline on 131 114 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636 for mental health support.
- Check Head to Health to find online programs, forums and information on specific mental health topics.
For relationships support, call:
- Relationships Australia – Canberra and region on 1300 364 277, Monday-Friday, 9 am-5 pm
- Family Relationships Online on 1800 050 321, Monday-Friday, 8 am-8 pm; and Saturday, 10 am-4 pm (except national public holidays).
If there are problems in your relationships like family violence, call:
- Canberra Rape Crisis Centre on (02) 6247 2525, 7 days, 7 am-11 pm
- Domestic Violence Crisis Service on (02) 6280 0900, 7 days, 24 hours
- National Domestic Family and Sexual Violence Counselling Service on 1800 737 732 (1800RESPECT), 7 days, 24 hours.
General parenting services and information in the Australian Capital Territory
Infoxchange Service Seeker is a directory of community services in Australia. Search for ‘parenting’ to find parenting support and other services in your area.
ACT Government services and other links for families
This is the main access point for ACT Government information and online services. You can also call the Access Canberra Contact Centre – phone 132 281, Monday-Friday, 8 am-6 pm; and Saturday, Sunday and public holidays, 9 am-5pm.
The website of the ACT Government has links to government departments as well as information about the Australian Capital Territory and its services.
ACT Government – Community Services Directorate
The ACT Government Community Services Directorate provides a range of services including children, youth and family support services, disability policy and services, therapy services, child and family centres, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander services.
ACT Government – Education Directorate
The ACT Education Directorate delivers education services through government schools, registers non-government schools, and administers vocational education and training in the Australian Capital Territory.
ACT Government – Health Directorate
ACT Health sets health policy and plans the delivery of health services in the Australian Capital Territory. It also funds non-government organisations to provide health care.
Our guide to parent and family services has links to national, state and territory services and support for parents and families of all kinds. We also have information about services and support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families, multicultural families, LGBTIQ+ families and families with disability.