By Jessica Anstice
Federal Labor Opposition Bill Shorten has pledged to invest $2.5 million to establish a new early intervention parenting centre in Pakenham.
The centre would deliver residential and day-stay parenting programs to ensure distressed, disadvantaged or vulnerable parents get the advice and help they need, while their children get the best possible start in life.
It is expected the Pakenham centre – to be located near the Monash Health Centre Pakenham – will include 10 family rooms, two separate baby sleep rooms, a group meeting room with dining facilities, consulting suites and a laundry.
The population of the Cardinia region is booming – almost doubling from 58,000 in 2006 to more than 100,000 in 2017.
The population is expected to almost double again over the next 20 years.
Labor will partner with Cardinia Council – which has been advocating for this project – to make sure it is delivered.
There is growing research about the importance of the first five years of life for healthy brain development and good mental health throughout life.
Early intervention centres help families develop the skills required to maintain the health and wellbeing of young children.
For newborns, they can help with things like sleep, settling, feeding and attachment.
For older children it can help with school transition, particularly for disadvantaged families.
Facilities like this can also help with the early identification of autism, and provide the services those children and their parents need.