The COVID-19 crisis brought disruption to many important Council programs, including to Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Services, as it became impossible for the usual face-to-face appointments and meetings to take place.
To counter this, new virtual services were introduced to make sure that new families with young babies can still receive regular assessments and the support they need.
The City of Casey’s First Time Parent’s Groups (FTPGs) are a great example of one successful adaption to circumstance. Historically, groups have met in person in various locations to benefit approximately 2,140 new families per year. It was vital that Council continued to provide meaningful support to them during this potentially stressful and socially isolating time.
Connecting online with other first-time parents
To continue to deliver First Time Parent’s Groups, Council created an online platform that families could access on their computer to enjoy a supportive yet informal atmosphere.
Feedback from parents was positive, with many expressing gratitude for the opportunity to continue to engage with other new parents.
An excellent outcome of the virtual sessions was an increased uptake of parent groups in areas where there are usually low rates of participation.
Despite its serious downsides, COVID-19 has presented Council with a unique opportunity to be able to respond quickly and think more broadly about what new parents want and how to support families via responsive and flexible programs that reflect the varied and changing needs of the community.
Maternal and Child Health service resumes face-to-face services
While Council’s Maternal and Child Health (MCH) services experienced major disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are pleased to be able to resume our regular face-to-face services.
This month MCH nurses commenced face to face baby consultations in centres, as well as lactation support.
We understand many families may still feel uncomfortable with face to face appointments, so telehealth appointments are still available for families who prefer this option.