IN parliament this past week, Independent Member for Shepparton District, Suzanna Sheed, asked Minister Foley to allocate funding from the $20M Regional Health Infrastructure Fund for an Early Parenting Centre in Shepparton.
Ms Sheed said while the $6.25M in funding for the Early Parenting Centre was not included as a line item in the Victorian Budget last week, it could be funded from the Regional Health Infrastructure Fund.
“I have been advocating for this essential service for a long time and I will continue to ask the Victorian Government to fund this project,” Ms Sheed said.
“I explained to the Minister for Health that the establishment of an Early Parenting Centre in Shepparton would give regional families the support they need without travelling to Melbourne for services during the most crucial early weeks and months of a child’s life.
“We cannot delay in ensuring our new parents have access to paediatric and mental health support, maternal and child health nurses, early parenting practitioners, family therapists, social workers and lactation consultants.
“Mothers in our region are not offered that in-house support to help them care for the children during their first few weeks, which can be a daunting time for new parents.
“This residential support unit would help new parents feel comfortable with breastfeeding – or alternative feeding – settling their new babies and understanding sleep routines.
“Such support would help new parents tackle these issues before they go home, reducing stress on parents and giving babies the best start to life.
“I will follow up with Minister Foley in the coming weeks to continue to fight for this critical infrastructure project to be funded from the Regional Health Infrastructure Fund.”