Most parents of a newborn will need some professional help and support, even if it is not their first baby. All Australian states and territories offer free community services that specialise in the health of mothers and their babies. A child health centre is a valuable source of expert help, information and advice.
What is a child health centre?
Child health centres offer information and support to parents and young children from the time they come home from hospital to when they start school (age 6).
Centres are staffed by experienced child health nurses (registered nurses with extra qualifications in child and family health nursing). They are free to all families in Australia.
Child health centres play an important role in supporting children to have the best health and development possible to succeed in life and learning.
Centres have different names in different parts of the country. For example, you might hear them referred to as early childhood health centres, community health centres, community health services, or child and baby health clinics.
Where is my nearest child health centre?
Find more information below, including the location of your nearest child health centre:
- ACT – Child Health Clinics
- NSW – Childhood and family health nursing services
- NT – Community care centres
- Qld – Child Health Centres
- SA – Child and Family Health Service Centres
- Vic – Maternal and child health services
- WA – Child Health Centres
What services do child health centres offer?
You might decide to go to a child health centre for information and support on:
- immunisation (some centres offer an immunisation service; others will explain where to have your child immunised)
- your child’s development and learning
- parenting advice
- child safety
You can talk to a child health nurse about your children, your family and yourself. You can let them know if you have any worries or if you’re finding it hard to cope.
The child health nurse is trained to identify families and children who might need an extra assessment or to be referred to another health professional for treatment. They will also support families when there is a health or development problem.
Child health centres carry out health and development checks at different points in children’s lives and provide information on a range of parenting topics. Many of them arrange parent groups in your area – a great way to meet other parents so you can learn from and support each other.
Depending on where you live, these services are provided by the local community health service, local council or by the state child and family health service.
Visiting a child health centre
In most places in Australia, the hospital where you have your baby will put you in touch with the child health centre. Often, the first time you see the child health nurse will be in your own home.
You may then have regular appointments at the child health centre. They will be able to help you if you cannot get there by yourself — for example, if you have had a caesarean and cannot drive. They will let you know when to come back for health checks or immunisations, or you can make your own appointments whenever you feel you would like to see someone. All appointments with the child health centre are free.
Do not forget to bring your child’s infant health record whenever you go to a child health centre.
Where to go for more information
To ask about child health centres in your state or territory, call your local council, local health service or community health centre or service.
If your child is sick, the best person to see is your doctor.
You can also call Pregnancy, Birth and Baby on 1800 882 436 to talk to a maternal child health nurse.
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Last reviewed: April 2021