Cradle to Kinder

Cradle to Kinder is an intensive ante and postnatal support service that provides long term, intensive family and early parenting support for vulnerable young mothers and their children.

A teacher helps a kindergarten student complete the task he is working on.

We understand that being a new mum can be a challenging time, particularly for those in difficult circumstances. Our Cradle to Kinder program is a specialist service that offers early parenting support and advice to vulnerable young mothers and their children that starts during pregnancy and continues until the child is four years old (usually when kindergarten begins).

Cradle to Kinder aims to build positive parent-child relationships and give young families the skills and support necessary to raise healthy children in positive and loving environments.

How we can help you

Once accepted into the Cradle to Kinder program, our support team will work with you to coordinate access to services that can include:

  • local community programs, like maternity services, playgroups and childcare
  • pregnancy and/or health and wellbeing advice and support
  • early parenting advice that focuses on caring for a new baby
  • connecting to community cultural groups
  • educational programs through TAFE or secondary schools, universities, training or short courses
  • accessing support options for parents/carers with disabilities and make referrals to appropriate services.

If you need additional assistance, we can help you access:

  • alcohol and drug programs
  • secure housing options
  • family counselling
  • mental health support
  • disability services.

We can also work with you to build independent life skills like cooking healthy meals for the family, managing a household budget, developing good communication between parents and how to access information on education and employment opportunities.

Is Cradle to Kinder right for you?

Cradle to Kinder is available to pregnant women aged 25 years and under who:

  • are, or have been in out-of-home care
  • have a learning difficulty
  • are Aboriginal (Aboriginal families may be referred directly through a Koori service or the local Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency).

Accessing Cradle to Kinder

MacKillop Family Services, in partnership with Mercy Health, offers Cradle to Kinder to young families living in Melbourne’s inner east, across the Boroondara, Manningham, Monash and Whitehorse areas.

In regional Victoria, we provide the program in partnership with Bendigo Community Health Services and CatholicCare Sandhurt to families living in the Loddon region, and across the Ovens Murray region, we provide the program in partnership with Gateway Health.

All referrals for Cradle to Kinder are made through Child FIRST. The referral can be made on your behalf by a GP, maternal child health nurse or other community health service.

For new referrals:

Child FIRST (inner east) 1300 762 125
Child FIRST (Loddon) 1800 260 338
Child FIRST (Ovens Murray) 1800 705 211

If you would like more information or to speak with a MacKillop Cradle to Kinder Coordinator please call 1300 471 799.