South Perth MLA John McGrath has welcomed an announcement by Health Minister Kim Hames that Western Australia’s peak parenting helpline has received additional funding to support families with appropriate and timely information.
Dr Hames said the Ngala Helpline Service in Kensington, which received about 22,000 calls every year from WA families with young children, would receive $46,000 to June this year, and an additional $92,000 for 2011-12. This funding is in addition to $319,000 it annually received from the Department of Health.
“Many parents I have spoken to have told me how crucial the Ngala Helpline Service has been during the early days of caring for their baby,” Dr Hames said.
“As a doctor and a parent, I know how daunting caring for a baby can be and the Ngala helpline can pre-empt the need for acute crisis health care by providing information, advice and referral to parents and carers of young children.”
The Minister said the additional funding would be used to bolster web-based technology including call-back requests via the internet.
“This funding will also allow further development of a web-cam service for helpline callers and online support via parenting forums,” he said.
“The internet has shown to be a major resource for parents who may find themselves isolated from extended family or community support, so this is an exciting development for Ngala.
“Almost 40 per cent of new parents have reported feeling ashamed of seeking help. The anonymity of this new service may allow more people to feel comfortable receiving professional advice.”
John McGrath said, “I am delighted that the state government has agreed to the additional funding for Ngala as it allows for the expansion of their essential services to families in caring for their children.”
The funding will also provide additional:
- highly-trained and qualified practitioners on Helpline and Online services
- access for FIFO families
- help for families relocating to WA and who may not have an extended family or community support.