Pre-Birth Planning Program keeping mums and babies together

Pre-Birth Planning Program keeping mums and babies together

We know that children thrive 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

An innovative McGowan Government program where at-risk mothers-to-be work with child protection and child health professionals in the months leading up to birth is building better futures for vulnerable children and families.

The Pre-Birth Planning Program addresses the safety, wellbeing and health concerns of at-risk families before birth and, where possible, prevents newborns from entering care.

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

It has had significant success, with a 52 per cent decrease in the number of newborn infants entering care from KEMH and a 54 per cent decrease in the number of Aboriginal newborn infants entering care from KEMH.

In 2018-19, 103 newborns entered care at birth from KEMH.

That figure fell to 70 in 2019-20, the first full year of the program, and to 51 in 2020-21.

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.

The plan may include linking in with other earlier intervention and family support services.

The State Government is funding $4.186 million over the next four years to enable more families to be included in the program, which is in addition to record investment in other early intervention initiatives to support vulnerable families.