By SAT News Desk
MELBOURNE, 1 March: In a big move in Victoria the Andrews Labor Government has announced $22.1 million to expand the Supported Playgroups program, which helps mums and dads improve their skills and gain more confidence in looking after their children.
More than 6,000 families facing disadvantage from across the state will be eligible for the extra parenting help and advice with the boost for supported playgroups.
Ms Mikakos was joined by Member for Broadmeadows Frank McGuire at a supported playgroup in Dallas to meet local families, who are among 450 Hume families who have access to this important service.
Currently, the playgroups operate in less than half of Victoria’s local government areas, but the expansion means they will soon be available across the entire state.
Minister for Early Childhood Education Jenny Mikakos said, “We are making sure eligible parents can access the extra support they need to raise healthy, happy kids who are
ready for kinder, ready for school and ready for life.
“Supported playgroups are just one way we’re helping parents build their confidence and skills, meet other parents and create a positive home learning environment.”
A widening of the eligibility criteria will also result in more families being able to access the service, such as those experiencing family violence, social isolation, mental health issues or homelessness.
The program is about improving learning outcomes for families that need additional support, by fostering quality parent-child connections and making the most of the home learning environment.
Member for Broadmeadows Frank McGuire said,“Supported playgroups have already helped many local families in Dallas and other communities in my electorate – it’s wonderful to know mums and dads across Victoria will now be able to access this service.
“This is an important investment in the attributes that largely determine where we all end up in life: attitude, education, and opportunity.”
Playgroups are convened by trained facilitators, who provide specialist training advice as well as referrals to additional services.
It forms part of the State Government’s landmark $202.1 million Education State Early Childhood Reform Plan, which is focused on delivering better services to parents with young children, as well as early intervention for kids who need extra support, says a media release.
The Plan recognizes the importance of providing families with strong support in early childhood, so children get the best possible start in life.