Providing safe and supportive accommodation for mothers and their babies in South Australia
For families living in remote communities, becoming pregnant and creating a safe space for a new baby can be a stressful time. Expectant mothers may have to travel to big towns to give birth, separating them from their families and support networks. Safe and secure housing in regional centres often remains out of reach, and when women are also experiencing complex challenges such as family violence or child protection, things can become overwhelming.
That's why, in early 2017, Save the Children – with the support of local health and community agencies – opened a new supported accommodation service for pregnant women or mothers with newborns and young infants in the Ceduna area.
Why caring for babies, mothers, and families is so important
Across Australia, progress towards closing the gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is stalling and, in some cases, going backwards. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island children are dying at twice the rate of other Australian children1.
Additionally, when new parents don’t receive the support they need to care for newborns and young children at home, it can negatively impact those children for the rest of their life. Barriers to vital services, insecure accommodation, or other challenges during pregnancy or in the first few years can create lasting impacts making effective interventions during this period critical to creating generational change. Investment in those early years – particularly in the first 1000 days of life – is the best way to combat disadvantage in the long term.
Giving new parents the supportive environment they need to bring their children into the world, and care for them in the critical early days, can change the health outcomes for both children and mothers, and impact life decisions made by young families as they embark on the journey of parenthood.
Save the Children’s Supported Accommodation program
Located in a quiet area of Ceduna, our accommodation is fully furnished, with a shared kitchen, bathroom and laundry facilities. Families can engage with us independently or may be referred to the program by other community service providers.
Families receive practical support with meal planning, hygiene, washing clothes and other household tasks. They can get help with sleeping, feeding, care and attachment. And they can access information on parenting programs and become more aware about the importance of early childhood development.
We also address barriers such as inadequate housing or money issues. And we coordinate local services to deliver professional healthcare, parenting support, early childhood and broader family support services to families with young children in the area.