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National Child & Family Hubs Network launches to revolutionise support services for children and families across Australia

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22 November 2023

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Today, Minister for Early Childhood Education, Dr Anne Aly together with Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and Karitane, marked the official launch of the National Child & Family Hubs Network, a game-changing initiative dedicated to ensuring services are more accessible and impactful for Australian families, through the enhancement of integrated community-based child and family Hubs.

Bringing together the collective expertise of health, early education, NGO’s, community organizations, research institutes, universities, philanthropy, and government, the National Child & Family Hubs Network will help to build the capacity of 460 Hubs that already exist today across Australia to ensure families receive the care and support they need during the first 2000 days.
What does this mean for families?

  • Comprehensive Services: Child & Family Hubs, supported by the Network, function as one-stop shops where families can access a range of support services that enhance child development and family health and wellbeing, from pregnancy through to the early years of school.
  • Reduced Fragmentation: These Hubs integrate a multitude of services under one roof, reducing fragmentation, providing non-stigmatizing and safe spaces, and building parent/caregiver capacity.
    Equity for All Families: With over 60% of existing Hubs located in areas experiencing socio-economic disadvantage, the Network will work to ensure equitable access for children and families, particularly those facing life challenges.
  • Addressing Developmental Vulnerabilities: With one in five children and four in ten Indigenous children developmentally vulnerable on one or more domains of the Australian Early Development Census the Network's approach is designed to bridge these gaps. Hubs are especially designed to ensure they meet the needs of children in disadvantaged locations, Indigenous children, those in regional and remote areas, with language backgrounds other than English, and children with disabilities.

Minister Aly highlighted the importance of holistic wraparound support for families during the early years. “If we get those vital early years right, we have the ability to change the trajectory of a child’s life,” said Minister Aly.

Anne-Marie McNamara, a local mum attending the growing Karitane Hub in Sydney’s Fairfield shared, "Karitane Hub has been my lifeline through the joys and challenges of raising two sets of twins. From the Residential Unit and Breastfeeding Clinic to the Careline and Playgroups, every step has been a reassuring handhold. Currently attending the toddler clinic with my 3-year-old twin girls, Karitane feels like an extension of our family. Becoming a part of this big family network has transformed my journey as a mother – without the Karitane Hub, we would not be the parents we are today."

Murdoch Children’s Research Institute’s Prof Sharon Goldfeld, Chair of the National Child and Family Hub Network, described the Network's vision as an inclusive learning network: “The Network emerged from the idea that there were opportunities to bring together the learnings from Hubs all over Australia to ensure they were all the highest quality and could be sustained over time.
“Our vision is for families to be able to walk through the welcoming front door of a Child & Family Hub and receive the right care and support at the right time, leading to improved and equitable health and development outcomes,” Prof Goldfeld said.

Grainne O’Loughlin, CEO of Karitane said, “Until today, there has been no coordinated approach to implementing and evaluating integrated community-based Child & Family Hubs through evidence-based practice. The National Child & Family Hubs Network will build collective capacity across the Hubs and accelerate learning so they can provide the best quality support services for Australian families.”

The National Child & Family Hubs Network, with the support of Minister Aly, is committed to supporting families across Australia through accessible hubs that provide support when and where it is needed. For more information please visit childandfamilyhubs.org.au

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