Have you just had a new baby?

Maternal and Child Health Service
The Maternal and Child Health Service provides free health checks for children between birth and school age. To find your nearest Maternal and Child Health Centre, contact your local council or use the Victorian early childhood service and school directory.

There is also a Maternal and Child Health line, with qualified nurses who can give you information, support and advice on child health, nutrition, breastfeeding, maternal and family health, and parenting:

  • Phone: 132 229 (local call)
  • Hours: 24 hours, 7 days

Australian Breastfeeding Association – Breastfeeding helpline
If you’re breastfeeding and need help, trained volunteer counsellors can give you reassurance, information and advice about breastfeeding and overcoming common hurdles to breastfeeding.

  • Phone: 1800 MUM 2 MUM (1800 686 268)
  • Hours: 24 hours, 7 days

Are you finding parenting harder than you thought?

Parentline Victoria
This is a telephone counselling service for parents and carers of children aged 0-18 years. Professional counsellors can help you with issues relating to parenting and relationships, from settling, feeding and tantrums to separation and family violence. Parentline can also provide contact details for community services:

  • Phone: 132 289 (local call)
  • Hours: 8 am-midnight, 7 days

Early parenting centres
These centres can help families with children aged 0-3 years who are having problems with feeding, settling, early childhood routines and so on. When you call a centre, a worker will speak with you about your needs and let you know what the centre can offer. Families can stay at a centre or attend a day stay program.

There are three early parenting centres in Melbourne:

O’Connell Family Centre in Canterbury

  • Phone: (03) 8416 7600
  • Hours: 9 am-5 pm, Monday-Friday

Queen Elizabeth Centre in Noble Park

  • Phone: (03) 9549 2777
  • Hours: 9 am-5 pm, Monday-Friday

Tweddle Child and Family Health Service in Footscray

  • Phone: (03) 9689 1577
  • Hours: 8.30 am-5 pm, Monday-Friday

Regional parenting services 
These services provide parenting information and education. Parenting groups are run in easily accessible venues like schools, preschools and neighbourhood houses.

You can read more information about city and regional parenting services in Victoria.

Do you need to find care for your child?

There are four options for child care in Australia:

  • home-based care, which is having your child cared for by a friend, relative or nanny in your home
  • family day care with a small group of children in an approved carer’s home
  • centre-based care, in a child care centre with trained staff and a structured program
  • occasional care, which is short-term, centre-based care.

Child care is mainly designed for children aged up to five years, but it can also include before-school, after-school and holiday care for primary school-age children.

This Australian Government website has information about different types of child care and about government assistance to help with fees. You can search for a child care service near you.

You can also get information from the Child Care Access Hotline:

  • Phone: 1800 670 305 (free call)
  • TTY service: 133 677, then ask for 1800 670 305 (for hearing-impaired or speech-impaired callers)
  • Hours: 8 am-6 pm, Monday-Friday

Do you want help finding playgroups?

Playgroups are a great way for small children to practise getting along with others and to try new ways to play. They’re good for parents too, with lots of support and social contact in a relaxed, welcoming environment. For more information contact Playgroup Victoria:

  • Phone: 1800 171 882 (free call)

Is your child ready for kindergarten?

The Victorian Government funds one year of kindergarten in the year before children start school. Kindergarten programs focus on learning and socialising skills to help get children ready for school.

To find kindergartens near you, contact your local council or use the Victorian early childhood service and school directory.

Are things worrying you at home and you want someone to talk to?

Relationships Australia – Victoria
Relationships Australia offers counselling, education programs, mediation services and other help for families and couples:

  • Phone: 1300 364 277 (cost of a local call)
  • Hours: 9 am-5 pm, Monday-Friday

Women’s Information and Referral Exchange (WIRE)
This is a free information and support service for women. You can contact WIRE for advice or information about anything from family relationships and legal issues to housing and homelessness, mental health, finding work or study options:

  • Phone: 1300 134 130 (cost of a local call)
  • Hours: 9 am-5 pm, Monday-Friday

Does someone in your family have special needs?

Department of Human Services – Disability
This government department provides services for people with disability in Victoria. Contact the Intake and Response Service to find out what supports are available to you:

  • Phone: 1800 783 783
  • TTY: 1800 008 149

National Disability Insurance Scheme
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a national scheme to support people with permanent and significant disability. It’s being introduced gradually and will replace the current disability support system. You can find out more about how to get ready for the NDIS in Victoria and when it will be available in your area.

Are you looking for parenting services in your state?

Infoxchange Service Seeker
This is a directory of community services in Australia. Search for ‘parenting’ to find parenting support and other services in your area.

Find more links to parent and family services.