Extra millions for early childhood health checks

Baby undergoing health check. | Newsreel
Babies and children will receive more health checks in the first five years under new State Government funding. | Photo: Drazen Zigic (iStock)

A half-billion-dollar Queensland Government program aims to support children in the early stages of life.

A major component of the $501.9 million allocated will go towards more health checks for children in the first five years.

Premier Steven Miles said the program would support children from their earliest years, for their long-term health and wellbeing, enhancing the prosperity of families.

He said the plan had been shaped with input from Queensland families, experts, academics, advocates, and professionals in the sector across the state.

“A significant portion of the investment will go toward more health checks for children in the first five years of their lives,” he said.

Premier Miles said the program boosted support for children and families, including $11.09 million for material supports, such as Pēpi-Pods and essential material basics for parents who were experiencing adversity.

“Pēpi-Pods encompass safe sleeping education for parents and carers in addition to a small purpose-built plastic tub and bundles of essentials, with the purpose of reducing instances of Sudden and Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI),” he said.

The plan also provides $9.94 million in early hearing screenings and checks, to identify problems which can lead to developmental delays and for expectant and new parents, the Connecting2U Program will be extended to all Queensland.

“Connecting2U provides weekly text messaging for all Queensland families during pregnancy and extending to five years, with prompts and strategies to support healthy development, parental wellbeing, community connections and information about where to access more support if they need it,” Premier Miles said.

He said the package also included a dedicated $15 million partnership fund for non-government and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled organisations.

“Many initiatives will be led by community service providers, providing access to the earliest possible support and responding directly to the diversity of Queensland’s families and communities.”

Investments include:

  • $71.40 million for enhanced child health checks in the first five years of life.
  • $56.55 million for enhanced child development services in priority locations.
  • $42.66 million for family support coordinators in over 200 primary schools.
  • $29.86 million for Early Childhood Coordinators within existing child, family and community services.
  • $26.23 million to extend free kindy hours up to 30 hours per week in certain Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
  • $20 million for family and early years hubs in Aurukun and Kowanyama.
  • $11.64 million to support young parents at risk of homelessness.
  • $10.40 million for mental health support for parents, partners and families.
  • $10.73 million to provide health practitioners in 20 priority primary schools.
  • $4.1 million to expand Connecting2U support to all Queensland families

Find out more information on the Queensland Government website.