26 April 2017
A nurse-led home visiting program that has helped more than 550 vulnerable families cope in the early stages of parenting will be the focus of an expert forum today. 

NSW Health’s Executive Director of Health and Social Policy, Tish Bruce, said the Sustaining NSW Families program is an early intervention and prevention program aimed at vulnerable families and led by nurses.  

“Sustaining NSW Families has helped mothers with psychosocial distress, reducing their isolation and promoting parenting skills that will benefit their children for their whole lives,” Ms Bruce said.

“Since it began in 2009, the program has helped more than 550 vulnerable families cope with the challenges of parenting, with a further 63 families now participating in the program. 

“The NSW Government committed $22.8 million in 2015 to expand Sustaining NSW Families, followed by over $4.2 million in 2017 to enhance access for families in social housing – a State Priority,” Ms Bruce said.

The program is delivered across nine Local Health District sites across NSW including:

  • ​South Western Sydney – Fairfield LGA , Liverpool LGA
  • Central Coast – Wyong LGA
  • Hunter New England – Kurri Kurri within Maitland LGA, Cessnock LGA
  • Northern NSW – Kyogle LGA, Lismore LGA and Richmond Valley LGA
  • South Eastern Sydney – Arncliffe within Rockdale LGA
  • Sydney – Canterbury 
  • Western Sydney – Auburn/Parramatta
  • South Western Sydney – Campbelltown/Macarthur
  • Illawarra Shoalhaven – Wollongong LGA
“I look forward to using the outcomes of today’s forum to not only enhance the health support we provide parents and babies, but also to give them reassurance in undertaking the most important job of their lives,” Ms Bruce said. 

Tresillian, Australia’s largest early parenting organisation, is hosting the forum. CEO Robert Mills said the program had boosted parental confidence and resilience.

“Tresillian provides the Advanced Nurse Practice Course as educational preparation for nurse home visitors working in the Sustaining NSW Families program. This unique program provides a valuable service to families that need extra support during their child’s early years,” Mr Mills said.

About: Sustaining NSW Families is currently available in nine sites across NSW. Specially trained child and family health nurses, supported by a social worker and allied health workers, follow a structured program of at least 25 home visits, starting in pregnancy and continuing up to their child’s second birthday. Eligible families are identified through the universal SAFESTART assessment and pathway. 

This program has been designed for families that:

  • ​Reside in areas of social and economic disadvantage
  • Are moderately vulnerable
  • Have moderate psychological distress – Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) score of 10 or more on two occasions 

Page Updated: Wednesday 26 April 2017