26 September 2023

Pre-birth program delivering results

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At-risk mothers-to-be are working with child protection and child health professionals in the months leading up to birth under a new Pre-Birth Planning Program developed by WA Health.

In a statement, WA Health said the Program addressed the safety, wellbeing and health concerns of at-risk families before birth and, where possible, prevented newborns from entering care.

“Operating at the King Edward Memorial Hospital (KEMH) and the Fiona Stanley Hospital, it is the only initiative in Australia where child protection and child health professionals work side-by-side on pre-birth planning,” it said.

Minister for Child Protection, Simone McGurk said the Program had had significant success, with a 52 per cent decrease in the number of newborn infants entering care from the KEMH and a 54 per cent decrease in the number of Aboriginal newborn infants entering care from the hospital.

“Under the Program, family meetings are led by skilled and independent facilitators to develop family-owned safety plans supporting children to remain at home with their family after birth,” Ms McGurk said.

“The plan may include linking in with other earlier intervention and family support services,” she said.

Ms McGurk said children thrived at home with their own family in loving, caring environments.

“That is always the preferred option and, while safety must come first, we are committed to doing everything we can to ensure families are given the support they need to stay together,” she said.

Minister for Health, Amber-Jade Sanderson said the Program was having great success as child protection and healthcare workers came together to support families in the months before their baby’s birth.

“Innovative programs like these are delivering better outcomes for new mothers and babies,” Ms Sanderson said.

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