Family and early parenting services provide a range of support programs for children from 0 to 17 years, and their families.
Evidence-based Parenting Support programs and services give parents the right support to build their skills and confidence and have been proven to make a difference for children and families. These programs and services are delivered by local councils and community service organisations across Victoria.
Child and Family services
The Child and Family Services Program (including Child FIRST) is delivered by registered community service organisations across Victoria. The policy and program guidelines support the planning and delivery of quality services across the integrated child and family services system.
Making a referral to Child FIRST or Child Protection
Professional people involved with vulnerable children and young people aged 0 to 17 years and their families, including families with an unborn child, may at times consider referring a concern to either the Child FIRST intake service or Child Protection.
Child FIRST, as the access point for family services, is progressively transitioning to The Orange Door.
What is The Orange Door?
The Orange Door is the new access point for women, children and young people who are experiencing family violence or families who need assistance with the care and wellbeing of children to access the services they need to be safe and supported.
For more information, visit The Orange Door website.
Early parenting services
Early Parenting Services provide support to parents from pregnancy to when their child is 4 years old.
This service includes a range of specialist, counselling and advice services, and may include an intensive education and skills development program.
Cradle to Kinder and Aboriginal Cradle to Kinder program
The Cradle to Kinder and Aboriginal Cradle to Kinder program is an intensive ante and post-natal support service to provide longer term, intensive family support for vulnerable young mothers (aged up to 25 years of age) and their families. The service commences in pregnancy and continues until the child reaches 4 years old.
For more information, see Cradle to Kinder and Aboriginal Cradle to Kinder program on our Services site.
See also in Related resources the Cradle to kinder evaluation summary and the Victorian cradle to kinder and Aboriginal cradle to kinder practice guide.
Victorian and Aboriginal Family Preservation and Reunification Response
In 2020–21, the Victorian and Aboriginal family preservation and reunification response is delivered by community service organisations and Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations in each of the 17 departmental areas. An Aboriginal response is delivered by Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations in each of the 4 operational divisions.
The response is a new innovative approach aimed at providing rapid, evidence-based and coordinated support to help vulnerable families keep their children safely at home through a strengthened partnership with Child Protection.
Additional Child Care Subsidy (ACCS) (Child Wellbeing)
ACCS (Child Wellbeing) is a Commonwealth Government subsidy that reduces the cost of child care being a barrier to children 'at risk' from either entering or remaining engaged with child care.
Many parents and carers you work with may be eligible for ACCS (Child Wellbeing). This includes parents and carers caring for children who require care and protection under the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005, as well as vulnerable children who are in receipt of voluntary services or residing in informal kinship care arrangements.
Additional Child Care Subsidy (child wellbeing) factsheet for Child Protection, CSOs and ACCOs working with children who are at risk but not subject to an Interim Accommodation Order or Protection Order (word)