Child and family health

Program Officers
Karen Wheeler - ph 9304 8706 |
Jane Miller  - ph 9304 8643 |

The early years of a child’s life provide a foundation for their future health, development and well-being. Early identification of health and developmental problems in children provides an opportunity for early intervention ensuring optimal child development and long-term health and well-being. It is important to work in partnership with parents, health professionals and support services to facilitate parent-child relationships, build on strengths and identify and respond to actual and potential health issues.

CESPHN recognises that child health is a key priority issue, with rates of developmentally vulnerable children higher in this region compared to the national average. The Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) measures development vulnerability through the following domains: physical health and wellbeing; social competency; emotional maturity; communication skills and general knowledge; and language and cognitive skills.  The percentage of children within CESPHN who were considered developmentally vulnerable has risen with the most vulnerability observed in the geographical locations of Kogarah- Rockdale, Hurstville, Canterbury and Botany.

To focus on high priority groups to implement strategies relating to childhood development to improve early identification and intervention, enhance access to services and support the needs of our local communities. This will be achieved through collaborations, pathways and partnerships with key stakeholders, commissioned initiatives and workforce education and training.

For relevant clinical information, please view Sydney Healthpathways and South East Sydney Healthpathways 


Resources for health professionals 

Child development 

Social and emotional well-being

Lifestyle and nutrition 


Resources for consumers 
  • My Personal Health Record (Blue Book).This resource provides valuable information regarding child health and help parents track their child’s developmental milestones.
  • Milestones matter – track your child’s development : NSW Health consumer brochure
  • Love Talk Sing Read Play – a website and app for parents with information on developmental norms, and tips on how to engage with their children from birth to six years.
  • Resourcing Parents – a website for parents in NSW who are seeking information or events to help with parenting.
  • Raising Children Network - Australian parenting website funded by Australian Government 
  • ParentsWorks - Free, national self-directed online parenting program
  • Bringing up great kids- Parenting and child development issues and challenges created by Australian Childhood Foundation  

  • BeYou - Australian mental health and wellbeing initiative set in primary schools and early childhood education and care services
  • BeYou - Information and resources promoting mental health strategies and strategies and recommendations for addressing common menatl health problems in children
  • Mental Health in Multicultural Australia (MHiMA) - Translated mental health information  

  • Family Referral Service (FRS) – Links vulnerable children in need of assistance, and their families, with the most appropriate available support services in their local areas
  • Weave - Women and Children’s Centre offering casework support for women with children aged 0 to 12 living in the City of Sydney LGA around a range of issues including housing and homelessness, drug and alcohol, parenting, and mental health. Indigenous specific support is available.
  • Barnados Australia – Child protection charity supporting families and in promoting child safety, and preventing abuse and trauma.

  • Asthma and your child - A resource pack for parents and carers - Sydney Children Hospital Network (SCHN)  

  • Healthy Eating for Children – Eat For Health  Department of Health (DoH)
  • Go4Fun - Healthy lifestyle program for kids -This is a FREE 10 week healthy lifestyle program for NSW kids aged 7-13 who are above a healthy weight. The program focuses on improving eating habits, fitness , teamwork and confidence
  • Healthy eating for children –  Health Direct Department of Health (DoH) 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander 

Key contacts and support services 
  • SESLHD Child and Family Health Nursing – free service staffed by Child and Family Health Nurses who offer health, development and wellbeing checks for children as well as support, education and information on all aspects of parenting.
  • SLHD Child and Family Health - free service staffed by Child and Family Health Nurses who offer health, development and wellbeing checks for children as well as support, education and information on all aspects of parenting.
  • SLHD Child information Link (CHL) ph 9562 5400 ( Mon- Fr 8.30-4.00pm) - this service connects parents, carers and health professionals with child and family health services, information and resources on child health and development. Contact CHL to find out how to access the right service for your patient.
  • Karitane – Charity organisation providing education and support to new parents around sleep and settling, establishing routines, feeding and nutrition, toddler behaviour and pre- and post-natal anxiety and depression.
  • Tresillian - Early parenting service offering families guidence in the early years of their child's life 
Education and training 
Commissioned services 

CESPHN are commissioning three Early Intervention Community Speech Pathology programs. The programs are administered by SLHD, SESLHD and SCH services and include outreach screening and assessment services to playgroups and child care centres for vulnerable children aged 0-5 years and their families. Children will be screened and assessed by a qualiied Speech Pathologist for communication difficulties and developmental delays. The programs aim to improve access to speech pathology assessment for socio-economically vulnerable families and other vulnerable groups such as CALD and Aboriginal families and children from families with psychosocial issues.

All GPs identified will recieve a copy of the child's report for enhance co-ordination of care.

We are investing in the establishment and strengthening of local links within the community for young children and their families via these outreach models. These programs are addressing service gaps and are improving access to primary care service providers, as well as enhancing the services by upskilling these healthcare professionals, and community workers. There is also a focus on strengthening the referral pathways for children with communication difficulties and/or other developmental or psychosocial needs.