Early Parenting Centres (EPCs) are a free primary health service. They provide specialist support for Victorian families with children from birth to 4 years.
They deliver flexible, targeted services that aim to enhance the parent-child relationship. They also support parents with strategies to achieve their parenting goals such as:
- sleep and settling
- child behaviour
- parent and child health and wellbeing.
The Victorian Government is investing $163 million to expand Victoria’s EPC network. The initiative will:
- modernise and expand facilities run by 2 of our existing centres
- build and establish 9 new centres.
Regional Victorian families will benefit from the first EPC facilities ever provided outside the metropolitan area, located in:
Facilities will also be built in Casey, Frankston, Whittlesea and Wyndham, some of our fastest-growing areas.
- maps the indicators and measures to be used across EPCs, to ensure the expanded EPC network meets the needs of Victorian families and children.
- includes an implementation plan that outlines strategies to help EPCs put the framework into practice.
It aims to provide a foundation for engagement and collaboration as we move forward with this important initiative for Victorian families.
The information in this framework will support this engagement process. This will ensure that the new and expanded centres meet community needs and expectations as effectively as possible.
Model of Care
It outlines the high-level purpose, eligibility, functions and role of EPCs in the health and wellbeing service network for children and families.
- supports consistent, high-quality service
- outlines the service specifications for commissioning new EPCs
- provides flexibility for services to be tailored to local needs.
The model of care is an iterative document and will be updated based on feedback from EPCs, service users and key stakeholders.
How are Maternal Child Health (MCH) services involved?
These new and upgraded EPCs form part of the Government's $213.7 million investment to provide parents with the information, extra support and care their family needs.
- more enhanced maternal and child health home visits
- expansion of the 24-hour MCH phone line.
This will assist in the early resolution of parenting problems in order to boost:
- healthy child development
- parents' wellbeing
- positive family functioning.
EPCs offer tiered support and are part of the continuum of support offered to parents via the MCH Line, the universal MCH and enhanced MCH programs.
Who can access centres
All Victorian families with children from birth to 4 years who need more specialised or targeted support can access these services.
This includes those who need to:
- strengthen parenting capacity and skills
- enhance parent-child relationships
- increase parental confidence in responding to their infant/toddlers needs
- build on their family's link with their community.
Early Parenting Centres also offer a range of other education, programs and parenting advice. Read more about these in the section How can families access their local early parenting centre?
Support provided at centres
EPCs are funded to provide:
- Residential: 24-hour multi-day centre-based intensive early parenting programs.
- Day stay: centre-based day programs provided at EPCs or at outreach locations.
- Group services: group-based programs attended by families, which are designed to improve parent-child relationships and interaction.
Referrals to early parenting centres
Referrals to EPCs are usually from:
- maternal and child health services
- maternity services
- general practitioners
- (Family Information Referral and Support Team) and – delivered by the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH).
Early Parenting Centre services are currently provided by:
- located in Canterbury
- located in South Morang
- located in Noble Park
- located in Footscray and Werribee
These centres operate several satellite services across the state. Please contact the centres for more information.
EPC stakeholder assets
Reviewed 01 December 2023