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Child health centres

5-minute read

Key facts

  • Child health centres give free information and support to parents of young children.
  • They do health and development checks at different points in your child's life.
  • They are trained to spot families and children who might need to be sent to another health professional for treatment.
  • Usually, the hospital where you have your baby will put you in touch with the child health centre.

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 good source of expert help, information, and advice.

What is a child health centre?

Child health centres give information and support to parents of young children from the time they come home from hospital to when they start school.

Child health centres have child health nurses, who have extra qualifications in child and family health nursing. Child health centres are free to all families in Australia.

Child health centres help support children so that they have the best health and development possible. This will help them to succeed in life and learning.

Centres have different names in different parts of the country. For example, you might hear them being called:

  • early childhood health centres
  • community health centres
  • community health services
  • child and baby health clinics

What do child health centres offer?

You might decide to go to a child health centre for information and support on:

You can talk to a child health nurse about your baby, your family and yourself. You can let them know if you have any worries or if you're finding it hard to cope. Your child health nurse can help connect you with other services and supports.

Child health centres do health and development checks at different points in a child's life. They also give you information on different parenting topics.

The child health nurse is trained to spot families and children who might need to be sent to another health professional for treatment. They will also support families when there is a health or development problem.

Parent groups

Parenting groups are a great way to meet other parents so you can learn from and support each other. Many child health centres arrange parent groups.

You'll usually be assigned a mothers' group by your hospital, antenatal class or child and family health clinic. If you're not assigned a group, you can find out about local support groups through the Australian Breastfeeding Association.

Dads can also join Dad's Groups, and they can get more information about this from child health centres.

Rainbow Families organises local family catch ups for same-sex or LGBTQ+ parented families.

As your baby gets older you may want to join a playgroup. Playgroups are regular gatherings where your child can build social skills through play. Playgroups Australia has lists of registered playgroups in your state or territory.

Going to a 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 can't get there by yourself. For example, if you have had a caesarean and can't drive.

They will let you know when to come back for health checks or immunisations.

You can also make your own appointments whenever you feel you want to see someone. All appointments with the child health centre are free.

Don't forget to bring your baby's infant health record when you go to a child health centre.

Where is my nearest child health centre?

Find more about the child health centres in your state or territory:

Resources and support

If your child is sick, the best person to see is your doctor.

Speak to a maternal child health nurse

Call Pregnancy, Birth and Baby to speak to a maternal child health nurse on 1800 882 436 or video call. Available 7am to midnight (AET), 7 days a week.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: May 2023


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Need more information?

Your child and family health nurse | Raising Children Network

Your child and family health nurse can help you with feeding your baby, learning about baby sleep and making sure your baby or child is growing well.

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Child and family health nurses play a key role in the provision of community child and family health services and provide early contact with families.

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Community Child Health Program | WA Health

Community child health nurses support all families with young children. We provide a range of important free services to support families to raise happy, healthy children. We offer health and development assessments and screening, immunisation advice and support to families with young children.

Read more on WA Health website

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Breast refusal or baby biting breast are common breastfeeding issues. These issues might resolve themselves, or your child and family health nurse can help.

Read more on raisingchildren.net.au website

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A child health nurse supports you once you are home from hospital with a newborn baby. Learn more about their role and how they can help you.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

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Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

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Routine health checks with a child health nurse or GP will check your child's growth and development and keep up to date with their routine vaccinations.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

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Families are encouraged to talk to their CaFHS nurse about their individual situation, and the nurse may refer to Torrens House as the next step

Read more on Child and Family Health Service website

Baby and child screening and assessment clinics | NT.GOV.AU

The Child Health Service runs health and development screening and assessments for your baby and child.

Read more on NT Health website

Nurses: for parents & kids | Raising Children Network

Different kinds of nurses work with children. Your child might sometimes see a registered nurse, nurse practitioner, practice nurse or school nurse.

Read more on raisingchildren.net.au website

Call us and speak to a Maternal Child Health Nurse for personal advice and guidance.

Need further advice or guidance from our maternal child health nurses?

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