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Cradle to Kinder is a specialist early intervention support program for vulnerable young mothers, fathers and their children. It aims to prevent babies entering the out of home care system and provide families with the skills to raise healthy children in positive and loving environments.


Referrals can be accepted from 20 weeks gestation through until the baby is 6 weeks of age. The program can continue until the child is four years old (usually when kindergarten begins). It is available to pregnant or recently birthed women aged 25 years and under with the priority being those 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).

We offer the program in the following regions:

  • Melbourne's metropolitan inner east
  • Loddon (central Victoria)
  • Ovens Murray (north west Victoria)

Our support team works with families 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
  • support to build strong and healthy attachments with babies
  • connecting to community cultural groups.

We also work with families to build independent life skills like cooking healthy meals, managing a household budget, and how to access information on education and employment opportunities.

How to access this service

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

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