Maternity Services and Early Years
VACCHO recognises that healthy pregnancies and positive early parenting experiences have the power to transform the health and wellbeing of the entire Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.
The Koori Maternity Strategy team supports Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs) and health services to ensure that all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families experience culturally responsive and best-practice maternity care.
Thriving in the First Three Years is a key focus area on VACCHO’s most recent Strategic Plan – On Solid Ground.
KOORI MATERNITY SERVICE PROGRAM
The Koori Maternity Service (KMS) program provides access to holistic, culturally safe maternity care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their families during pregnancy. KMS also supports non-Aboriginal women having Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander babies.
This state-wide program is delivered by Midwives, Aboriginal Health Workers or Practitioners and Aboriginal Hospital Liaison Officers who work in a complementary team of two or more health professionals. Each KMS program tailor their model of care to their local community.
The KMS program was first established in 2000 at 8 sites across Victoria and today the program has grown to 14 sites. 11 KMS programs are located in Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs) and 3 have been established in public hospitals.
Find your local Koori Maternity Service or Aboriginal Maternal Child Health Service:
North and West Metropolitan
- Victorian Aboriginal Health Service
- Western Health (Sunshine Hospital)
- Northern Health (Northern Hospital)
Barwon South West
Other maternity care options available for Aboriginal families in Victoria:
- Aboriginal Health Midwife at Monash Health
- Baggarrook Caseload Midwifery at Royal Women’s Hospital
- Galinjera Maternity Program at Western Health
- Nangnak Baban Murrup Midwifery Group Practice at Mercy Hospital for Women
- Nangnak Wan Myeek Program at Werribee Mercy Hospital and Mercy Hospital for Women
KMS Program Objectives and Aims
The KMS Program aims to improve access to culturally responsive and high-quality primary maternity care. Each KMS team:
- Provides pre-conception health, antenatal care, childbirth education, postnatal care, breastfeeding assistance and early parenting support
- Facilitates relationships between women and birthing hospitals
- Embeds culture and health promotion activities into holistic pregnancy care
- Provides extra support for families who may be experiencing vulnerabilities
- Utilise trust and relationships to improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and babies
The KMS program also strives to improve health outcomes and specifically aims to:
- Optimise the health and wellbeing of women and their babies
- Identify and manage maternal and foetal risk factors, particularly early in pregnancy
- Reduce perinatal morbidity and mortality, including incidence of preterm birth and low birth weight.
ABORIGINAL MATERNAL CHILD HEALTH INITIATIVE (AMCHI)
Aboriginal Maternal and Child Health (MCH) program helps provide better health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families. It gives families choice to access MCH services at their local ACCO instead of local council centre.
Early years services available for Aboriginal families in Victoria:
- Bubup Wilam Aboriginal Child and Family Centre (Thomastown)
- Yappera Children’s Centre (Thornbury)
- Dala Yooro (Bairnsdale)
- Gunai Lidj Child Care Centre (Morwell)
- Lake Tyers Early Learning Centre and Kindergarten (Lake Tyers)
- Perridak Burron Early Learning Centre (Brown Hill)
- Yirram Burron Early Learning Centre (Sebastopol)
- Lulla Child and Family Centre (Shepparton)
- Berrimba Child Care (Echuca)
- Murray Valley Early Learning Centre (Robinvale)
AMCHI Program Objectives and Aims
The objective of the AMCHI program is to improve access to culturally responsive and high-quality primary maternal and child health for Aboriginal families. Each AMCHI team:
- Offers families choice and flexibility in how they access MCH services
- Provides key ages and stages visits for children aged 0 to 4 years of age
- Provides Aboriginal MCH services with the funding flexibility to offer enhanced MCH programs
- Provides extra support for Aboriginal mothers, children and families who may be at risk of experiencing poor outcomes
EXTERNAL RESOURCES FOR FAMILY PLANNING, PREGNANCY AND CHILD DEVELOPMENT
VACCHO has compiled a list of useful resources relating to family planning, pregnancy and child development. These resources are easy to access and available publicly for members of Community and Member organisations to access.
SMS4Dads Deadly Dads
A FREE service that sends short texts with tips, info and links to your phone just when you and your baby need it. Specially tailored for First Nations dads.
Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA)
ABA is Australia’s peak breastfeeding information and support service. ABA provides up-to-date information and continuing education for thousands of health professionals working with mothers and babies.
Sexual Health Victoria
Sexual Health Victoria (formerly Family Planning Victoria) is a state-wide independent, for-purpose, all-choice organisation that focuses on reproductive and sexual health care, education and advocacy.
A wrap-around support for pregnant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who are wanting to quit smoking.
Dental Health Services Victoria (DSHV)
DSHV provide advice about caring for your teeth in pregnancy. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can access dental care at no cost (except specialist treatment). It is recommended all pregnant women see a dentist in pregnancy.
The Women’s Hospital
The Women’s Hospital has a range of free online fact sheets available in relation to pregnancy, birth, early parenthood and women’s health.
VAHS Koori Parenting
These resources have been developed by VAHS and the Healing Foundation to raise awareness and understanding about trauma within the context of parenting.
Royal Children’s Hospital
The Children’s hospital has a range of resources available for parents relating to medical conditions your child may have been diagnosed with and services available at the hospital.
If you’re looking for contraception, pregnancy options, abortion and sexual health services information and advice – this is a FREE, confidential and pro-choice Victorian phone line.
Raising Children – First 1000 Days
The first 1000 days of life are key to life and are key to lifelong health and wellbeing. This resource provides information and advice about child development, nutrition, breastfeeding, relationships and kinship and much more.
Red Nose: Advice Hub
Red Nose has a range of resources and advice available for parents, carers, and health professions to help reduce the risk of sudden and unexpected death during pregnancy, infancy and childhood.
KOORI MATERNITY STRATEGY TEAM
VACCHO’s Koori Maternity Strategy team work collaboratively with ACCOs and a range of stakeholders to improve availability of, and access to, culturally safe maternity care to all Aboriginal families across Victoria.
We do this by:
- Meeting with a range of government and non-government stakeholders to drive systemic reform
- Supporting ACCOs and other health providers to deliver the Koori Maternity Services (KMS) program
- Providing tailored professional development opportunities and workshops to the KMS workforce, in partnership with Maternity Services Education Program (MSEP)
- Facilitating professional network opportunities and meetings for the KMS workforce
- Developing a suite of culturally centred maternity resources (the Boorai Bundle) for Aboriginal families
- Engaging in projects and research to build knowledge and evidence relating to culturally safe maternity care delivery
We work with:
- Department of Health
- Safer Care Victoria
- Maternity Services Education Program
- Dental Health Services Victoria
- Red Nose
- Centre for Research Excellence in Stillbirth
- Every Week Counts National Preterm Birth Reduction Collaborative
- HealthAbility’s Balit Booboop Narrkwarren (Baby Makes 3)
- ACCOs, hospitals and other health services
- Peak bodies and advocacy groups
- VACCHO’s Education and Training Unit and Universities
If you are a health service or hospital looking to review or establish culturally responsive maternity care – please contact us at email@example.com for support.
EXTERNAL RESOURCES FOR HEALTH PROFESSIONAL AND HEALTH ORGANISATIONS
VACCHO has compiled a list of useful resources for health professionals and health organisations relating to Koori Maternity Services, Birthing on Country and supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families in the perinatal period.
The Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM) is the peak advocacy body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives in Australia.
Emerging Minds Healing the Past by Nurturing the Future E-learning Course
This online training reflects the strengths, resilience and perspectives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It will develop your understandings of the historical and contextual factors that impact Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities; the impacts of intergenerational trauma; and the key principles for fostering safety in perinatal care.
Koori Maternity Services Guidelines
Developed by the Department of Health and Human Services, this resource gives voice to the wisdom and expertise of Victoria’s Koori Maternity Service (KMS) workforce.
Rhodanthe Lipsett Indigenous Midwives Charitable Fund
Rhodanthe Lipsett Indigenous Midwifery Charitable Fund aims to make a contribution to both ‘a better start in life’ and ‘Closing the Gap’ for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers and babies.
First 1000 Days Australia
First 1000 Days Australia is a First Nations model aimed at strengthening all families so they can give their children the best start in life. They provide coordinated, comprehensive, culturally informed interventions to support families in identifying and meeting their own aspirations and those they have for their children.
Birthing on Country
Birthing on Country is a metaphor for the best start in life for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander babies and their families, an appropriate transition to motherhood and parenting for women and an integrated, holistic and culturally appropriate model of care for all.
Joint Birthing on Country Position Statement
By Australian College of Midwives, CATSINaM and CRANAplus
ACM Birthing on Country E-learn Module
The BoC e-Learning Resource has been developed as part of the Australian College of Midwives (ACM), Merck Sharp Dohme (MSD) Birthing on Country Project. This course is free to access for all.
Replanting the Birthing Trees
Intergenerational trauma is a root cause of health inequities, and addressing this is essential for Closing the Gap. Trauma-integrated, culturally safe and skilful continuity-of-care for parents experiencing trauma and violence is a serious service gap and a national priority.
RESOURCES FOR ACCOS AND COMMUNITY MEMBERS
The KMS team has developed a range of resources to download, print, display and keep. We call this the Boorai Bundle and it contains information and items which support your pregnancy and parenting journey. Community members can access the Boorai Bundle through your local KMS program, or by contacting VACCHO’s Koori Maternity Strategy team directly.
Organisations are requested to contact the Koori Maternity Strategy team to discuss your ordering needs via the enquiries form below.
KOORI MATERNITY SERVICES RESEARCH PROJECTS
Got a query? Get in touch by filling out and submitting the form below or by phone 03 9411 9411.