Child Health and Parenting Service update

The following letter to the editor was sent to each of Tasmania’s daily newspapers setting the record straight on recent media stories about the Child Health and Parenting Service.

Contrary to some media reports, the Child Health and Parenting Service (CHAPS) funding has not been cut and will continue to cater for all Tasmanian children – in fact, 93 per cent of parents use this service for their newborns and we would prefer that it was 100 percent.

Child and family health nurses are not being “scrapped”.

After a review by health professionals and other experts, including child and family health nurses, we are planning to refine and improve services for all parents and children.

In particular, we will ensure families in most need get the help they need – as recommended by child health experts.

Under proposed changes, nurses will assess clients at each visit to identify the type and level of assistance they require. All those who need ongoing help will receive it while those coping well will not have to attend CHAPS as often.

New Parent Groups, which provide valuable mechanisms for social connections, will continue to be facilitated by CHAPS but we are looking at a variety of options to deliver them in a sustainable way into the future.

CHAPS professionals are also working with local communities to further support parents and children in the important early years including partnering with Child and Family Centres right across the state.

While CHAPS professionals have been doing a wonderful job, it is essential that services change with the times and the latest evidence.

But I reemphasise, CHAPS will continue to provide all new parents, their babies and young children with quality healthcare, now and into the future.

Yours sincerely,

Adj Assoc Prof Des Graham

Deputy Secretary, Children

March 2012