Program providing families and children strong start to life

Hundreds of our most vulnerable young, first-time mothers in Adelaide’s southern and northern suburbs have received at-home support to give their child a better start to life thanks to a State Government early intervention program.

The $2.8 million Strong Start program has worked with almost 300 mothers in the past two years to

address complex issues that may otherwise place their children at risk of abuse or neglect once


The program targets young, expectant mothers up to the age of 25 who are experiencing complex issues such as addiction, domestic violence or housing instability during their pregnancy.

It forms part of the recently reformed Child and Family Support System, helping to match the right services to vulnerable families at the right time.

“We know that when children are born into challenging environments, a lack of support and poor mental health of parents can have a downstream effect on a child’s development,” said Minister for Human Services Michelle Lensink.

“The Strong Start program is the definition of intervening early – by working with families before children are brought into the world in their own homes, there is a far higher chance of turning their lives around.”

“By working with mothers to develop their skills to cope with future challenges, we help support the development of their future children who otherwise may be at risk of future struggles.

“Specifically, we know that young parents who have had experience with the child protection system themselves are considered most at-risk of needing assistance with their own children.

“Research also tells us that visiting families in their homes helps break down some of the barriers to accessing services, and it allows flexibility and tailored support to each family.

“Ultimately, the goal of this program is to address the challenges faced by each family so that children can grow and develop in a safe and nurturing environment at home.”

Trained Department of Human Services social workers and Aboriginal family support workers support families before the child has been born and up to two years of age.

Expecting parents can gain access to the program via a number of pathways including referral through the health system or other government agencies, as well as self-referral.

Background information about the Strong Start program

The Strong Start program provides a range of culturally sensitive support, which includes, but is not limited to:

  • Ensuring the baby’s needs are being met
  • Monitoring development and growth
  • Providing parenting education
  • Linking parents to social supports
  • Addressing financial and housing issues
  • Addressing domestic and family violence issues
  • Maternal health
  • Access to baby goods

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