The Parent Connect program, to be delivered in eight locations across Queensland, provides 12 months’ support to link parents of babies and children with a disability to services and advice.
The program focuses on early intervention support to parents of children, primarily aged up to six years with a newly-diagnosed disability or developmental delay, and is delivered by a Parent Connect facilitator.
Parent Connect is designed to give parents targeted support for an initial 12 months from their child’s diagnosis — a time when they have many questions and concerns — to help them identify and connect with required service providers.
The Sunshine Coast Children’s Therapy Centre (SCCTC) is the first service provider to deliver the program.
SCCTC director Frank Martin says Parent Connect is important because parents of a new born child or a child who has been newly diagnosed with a disability need to know of the services and supports that are available for the child.
“Parents may be able to access funding for early intervention services and therapy,” Mr Martin says.
“Paediatric units at the major hospitals can provide therapy and emotional support to families in the short-term, however, parents need to know there are services in their area to provide support and how to access them.”
Mr Martin says Parent Connect is an extension of the family-centred model already in place at SCCTC that ensures families have access to any other services they might need.
“This is a very important aspect of our work and is particularly important to families living in regional and more isolated areas,” he says.
SCCTC will share in $4 million over the next four years, as well as one-off funding of $80,000 for establishment costs, to deliver Parent Connect across Queensland.
The program will be rolled out to eight locations across Queensland over the coming months.
Parents can access Parent Connect through a range of referral avenues such as hospitals, the Mums and Bubs program, local service providers and the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services.
Find out more about information and services for people with disability at the Queensland Government's website.