Department of Health and Human Services

Child, youth & family health

Page contents: Overview | Child health services - Guidelines for the community health program | Addressing maternal health | Improving outcomes in early childhood | Improving your health | Counselling | Further information


CHSs offer a range of allied health and support services to children and their families. Services aim to promote children's positive development, intervene early to address child health and developmental problems and support parent's active participation in their child's early learning and development. Services typically provided to children and families by CHSs include: care coordination, dietetics, family counselling, physiotherapy, psychology, podiatry, occupational therapy, and speech pathology; available individually or as part of a group program. A range of health promotion activities are also provided by some CHSs.

Child health services - Guidelines for the community health program

These child health guidelines set out what is expected of child health services provided through the Community Health Program.

These guidelines complement the overarching Community Health Integrated Program (CHIP) guidelines which aim to improve consistency across the state in planning, program design and service delivery, and to clarify expectations for coordinated service provision. The documents are designed to be used in conjunction with each other, and with other key documents outlining the range of responsibilities and requirements of funded organisations.

Addressing maternal health

The Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies program was funded in the 2008-09 state budget and seeks to reduce the burden of chronic disease by addressing maternal risk behaviours and providing support during pregnancy. The program operates in the outer growth suburbs of Melbourne that have high numbers of births, higher rates of relative socioeconomic disadvantage and lower service accessibility. The program targets pregnant women who are unable to access antenatal care services or require additional support because of their socioeconomic status, culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent, age or residential distance to services.

Improving outcomes in early childhood

Improving outcomes in early childhood is a priority of the Victorian government. Through supporting early identification and treatment of health and developmental problems, CHSs are well placed to respond to the needs of young children and their families.

Multidisciplinary child health teams operate in some CHSs and provide paediatric services and family support to children 0-12 years, with priority given to the 0-6 year age group.

Improving youth health

The Innovative Health Services for Homeless Youth (IHSHY) program is a State/Commonwealth funded program that promotes health care for homeless and at risk young people. Funded services provide health promotion and respond to the complex health needs of their clients, improving their access to mainstream health services.

There are eighteen IHSHY programs in operation across Victoria.


Counselling services funded by the Community Health Program aim to improve the mental health and well-being of young people, adults and families living in the community by offering supportive counselling, case-work, practical support, advocacy and referral and linkage to other services as needed. The aim is to ensure that all Victorians have access to affordable, effective counselling that is accessible and culturally appropriate.

Further information

Contact information for further queries.