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O’Connell Family Centre

Canterbury, Victoria


Mercy Health O'Connell Family Centre is one of three early parenting centres in Victoria. We run residential, day and community programs working with families with children from birth to four years of age. We are a publicly funded facility. Your child's early years are important in their development. We understand it can be hard work and tiring. However, this can also be one of your most rewarding times as a parent. We want to help you learn more about being a parent and how you can help your child develop.

Closure dates

Mercy Health O’Connell Family Centre will be closed over the Christmas and New Year period from 3pm Wednesday 23 December 2020 and will reopen 9am Monday 11 January 2021.

We offer the following services for families:

Families are referred to the centre by health professionals or community providers. Partners are encouraged to attend the programs. There is a wait list for all of our services.

Our clinical team consists of maternal and child health nurses, nurses, midwives, enrolled nurses, early childhood workers, a psychiatrist and a psychologist.

There are admission criteria for our programs, and some families may not be able to come to our services. If this is the case, you will be given information on other places to get help.

Day Stay Program

Our Day Stay Program provides support and education over one day. The program aims to enhance your parenting capacity and improve your skills. The program is held every week.

Families need to be referred by a health professional or a community provider. After we receive your referral, your needs will be assessed and you will be offered the program that suits you best.

Residential Program

The Residential Program gives you the chance to work through various issues that are worrying you and may be affecting your parenting. The program involves a four-night stay for families. You will be responsible for all aspects of your child or children’s care during your admission. You will be supported by staff to help you make changes and build your confidence.

Families must be referred by a health professional or a community provider to participate in the Residential Program.

During the program a number of educational sessions are held on the following topics:

  • normal infant and child development
  • toddler behaviour
  • self care
  • sleeping and child cues
  • emotional wellbeing
  • reading activities with your child
  • play sessions and fun activities.

We also offer Wednesday play activities for you, your partner and child.

A Babies, Blokes and BBQ session designed just for dads is held on Wednesday evening. Fathers are encouraged to attend.

Parenting Education Workshops

We provide Parenting Education Workshops for families with children up to four years of age. You do not need a referral for these workshops.

The parenting workshops include information on:

  • adjusting to parenting and family relationships
  • feeding and nutrition, including breastfeeding and the introduction of solids
  • health, growth and the development of children
  • early behavioural difficulties
  • sleeping and settling.

PlaySteps Program

An eight-week parenting program that focuses on enhancing relationships between children and parents or carers through play. You can be referred by your maternal and child health nurse or self-refer by contacting reception.

Services for professionals

We offer placements for postgraduate university students in maternal and child health studies. Other postgraduate student placements may be offered after consultation.

O’Connell Family Centre
6 Mont Albert Road
Canterbury Victoria 3126

Get directions (Google Maps)‎

Last reviewed October 17, 2017.

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