Early parenting centre on track to open

Christine Couzens. (Ivan Kemp) 297664_13

Geelong’s first Early Parenting Centre is nearing completion, with construction on the facility due to finish by the end of the month.

The multi-million dollar centre, located at Barwon Health’s McKellar Centre in North Geelong, will open shortly after works are completed, serving hundreds of families across Geelong and the Surf Coast each year.

The facility was announced in mid-2022, and will be operated by Barwon Health in partnership with Tweddle Child and Family Health Service.

The centre will support families with children of up to four years of age, providing advice on sleep, settling and feeding and extra care for babies as well as support for toddlers with additional needs.

Promising a “home away from home” experience, the centre will feature 10 residential family units and four day-stay places to support a variety of different family structures, including kitchen and dining areas, playrooms and outdoor play areas.

The facility is intended to reduce the need for families in the Geelong region to travel to Melbourne for parenting support.

Member for Geelong Christine Couzens, who was part of a Parliamentary Inquiry that ultimately provided a recommendation for the funding of Victoria’s 12 new Early Parenting Centres, said the centre was “good government policy”.

“We are establishing Early Parenting Centres because we know becoming a parent can be difficult,” Ms Couzens said.

“This new centre will ensure Geelong parents have access to world class facilities and support they deserve.”

Victorian Minister for Health Infrastructure Mary-Anne Thomas said the centre’s targeted support would deliver lifelong benefits to children.

“The birth of a new child is one the most exciting times for any parent,” Ms Thomas said.

“But we know it can also be a stressful and difficult time and this new centre will support hundreds of families in the Geelong region every year.”