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Health - NSW Gov
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  • Acknowledgments:

    The NSW Health/Families NSW Supporting Families Early Education Program funded by NSW Ministry of Health and developed in conjunction with the NSW Institute of Psychiatry

    The NSW Health/Families NSW Supporting Families Early (SFE) Package was released in 2010 and consists of two Policy Directives and one Guideline:

    PD2010_017 Maternal and Child Health Primary Health Care Policy

    PD2010_016 SAFE START Strategic Policy

    GL2010_004 SAFE START Guidelines: Improving Mental Health Outcomes for Parents and Infants

  • Course one

    launchThe SFE and SAFE START Online Training is designed to support staff in NSW Health Services with the implementation of the SFE Package and includes:

    • Introduction to SFE Package and
    • SAFE START Assessment and Screening Training

    With a more psychosocial focus to their work, primary health care staff, including child and family health nurses and midwives, require further training and support in psychosocial assessments and dealing with the outcome of these assessments.

    The SFE and SAFE START Online Training aims to support the state-wide implementation of perinatal psychosocial assessment and depression screening (SAFE START) and the introduction of these new policies and guidelines by drawing together several components that are essential and complementary for working with families during the perinatal period. Therefore it is essential for staff implementing SAFESTART and SFE to undertake appropriate training however it should be noted that this online training is not the only training that could meet this requirement.

    The SAFE START model defines the perinatal and infancy period as the dynamic developmental phase from conception to two years for the child, and the associated critical early parenting tasks for families.
    Important areas covered in the training include:

    • The concept of an integrated approach when working with families in the perinatal period
    • The evidence base including the importance of the early years, rationale for Families NSW, the SAFE START model and early intervention and prevention in general
    • Comprehensive psychosocial assessment processes and the key depression screening tools
    • The importance of clinical pathways and community networks for families
    • Working in partnership with the family to promote strengths and identify vulnerabilities
    • Assessment of safety of parent and infant
    • Safe and effective health home visiting practice

    In addition to this SFE and SAFE START training attendance at the following existing training opportunities is strongly encouraged: Family Partnership Training; drug and alcohol courses; updates on child and family health issues; cultural safety and awareness training; annual education programs; relevant conferences and seminars; and specific courses such as breastfeeding/lactation and infant mental health.
    Attendance at NSW Local Health District mandatory training such as suicide risk assessment and management, child protection and domestic violence screening should be arranged as a priority and before staff conduct perinatal psychosocial assessment and depression screening in NSW Health Services.

    Course two

    launchGiving Children a SAFE START

    Giving Children a SAFE START is a new online learning program which has been specially tailored to meet the needs of mental health and drug and alcohol workers whose clients are expecting a baby or are parents of young children.

    This client group, and their children, have unique needs, which are detailed in Giving Children a SAFE START. A comprehensive understanding of these needs will support mental health and drug and alcohol workers to provide appropriate assessment and intervention focused on optimising positive long-term change for families. The training also outlines the SFE Package and promotes broad understanding of and participation in the SAFE START model.

    Giving Children a SAFE START is a seven-hour interactive program which includes video material and reflective exercises. It will be of interest and relevance to staff working in primary health settings.

    The program contains seven modules:

    1. Why focus on the needs of young children when assessing their parents?
    2. Supporting Families Early - Policies, Guidelines and assessment tools
    3. Supporting Families Early - matching service response to risk levels
    4. Understanding and engaging clients in the perinatal period
    5. Assessing and responding to risk in the perinatal period
    6. Appreciating the needs and perspectives of clients from a diverse range of backgrounds
    7. Working collaboratively with other services, and making effective use of clinical supervision.

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