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Aboriginal Maternal and Child Health Initiative Evaluation

  • Improving services for Aboriginal families 

    The Centre for Community Child Health is supporting several communities across Victoria to improve Maternal and Child Health services to Aboriginal families.

    Commissioned by the Victorian Department of Education and Training (DET), the Centre will evaluate the Aboriginal Maternal and Child Health Initiative (AMCHI) in nine sites across Victoria.

    Aboriginal families access the Maternal and Child Health Services at a lower rate compared to non-Aboriginal families — 2014/15 data indicates a gap that increases from 4.8 per cent at the initial home visit to 18 per cent at the eight month consultation. The AMCHI funding package aims to reduce this gap and deliver more culturally responsive and high quality Maternal and Child Health services.

    DET is providing one-off grants to local governments, Aboriginal Community-Controlled Organisations and through integrated partnerships, to trial the AMCHI service model across Victoria.

    AMCHI service model

    The AMCHI model comprises five service principles which support the delivery of a high quality, culturally safe MCH Service to Aboriginal families:

    • Families receive information about the MCH Service in the antenatal period.
    • Families can elect to receive the MCH Service from a local government, an ACCO, or a combination of both at any point in the family's engagement with the Service.
    • Families have the choice to engage with Aboriginal staff in the delivery of the MCH Service regardless of their location.
    • Families will receive a culturally safe, flexible, high quality and empowering service from their MCH provider.
    • Families receive an integrated coordinated approach to service delivery with 'no wrong door'.

    AMCHI evaluation

    The Centre is working with the nine successful sites — City of Darebin (in partnership with VACCA), Latrobe City Council (in partnership with Ramahyuck District Aboriginal Corporation), Mallee District Aboriginal Services - Swan Hill, Njernda Aboriginal Corporation, Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative, Gunditjmara Aboriginal Co-operative (in partnership with Warrnambool City Council), Wyndham City Council (in partnership with VACCA), City of Whittlesea and Mitchell Shire Council — to evaluate a range of strategies tailored to each local community. These may include employing Aboriginal health workers, increased coordination between organisations, improving referral processes, and access to outreach services.

    The evaluation aims to understand what is working well, why, and to what extent the AMCHI trial improved Aboriginal families’ participation and experience of the MCH service. The project will hear from staff, families, and community members in an effort to identify activities and processes that could be used in other locations in the future. 

    More information

    For more information visit Aboriginal MCH Initiative or contact Catriona Elek.


Murdoch Childrens Research Institute

The Centre for Community Child Health is a department of The Royal Children’s Hospital and a research group of Murdoch Childrens Research Institute.