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Early Parenting Centres (EPCs)

Early Parenting Centres (EPCs) are free, early intervention services that provide specialist support for Victorian families with children from pregnancy to four years. They deliver flexible, targeted services that aim to enhance the parent-child relationship and support parents with strategies for achieving their parenting goals. These goals are often in areas such as sleep and settling, child behaviour, and parent and child health and wellbeing. Families are able to self-refer for this service.


All Victorian families with children up to 4 years of age who meet the eligibility criteria including needing additional intensive parenting support to build skills, capacity and confidence in caring for their infant/toddler.  

EPCs provides support for parents/carers facing multiple challenges including:

  • mental illness
  • health issues
  • family instability and violence
  • sleep deprivation
  • feelings of being unable to cope
  • financial stress.

Parents/carers may benefit from support from an EPC if they are experiencing:

  • difficulty adjusting to parenting and family relationships
  • difficulty adjusting socially and emotionally
  • feeding and nutrition challenges
  • growth and development challenges
  • behavioural challenges
  • challenges with general parenting skills including sleep and settling
  • managing multiple births (for example, twins or triplets).

What is available

EPCs offer a range of education, programs and parenting advice. Support is individualised to suit the needs of the parent/carer and child and aims to:

  • strengthen parenting capacity and skills
  • enhance parent-child relationships
  • increase parental confidence in responding to their infant/toddlers needs
  • build on a family's link with their community.

EPCs provide care in the following ways:

  • Residential: 24-hour multi-day centre-based intensive early parenting programs
  • Day stay: centre-based day programs provided at EPCs or at outreach locations including prisons or in-home
  • Group services: group-based peer support programs attended by families, which are designed to improve parent-child relationships and interactions.

Refer to each of the Early Parenting Centres websites for more information on the support offered at each site.

EPCs are not a crisis service or an inpatient mental health service. Clients referred to EPCs may experience a wait-list due to the high demand on the service or be deemed ineligible and referred to other supports.

How to access

Services are provided at no cost to families who are assessed as needing some extra support to reach their parenting goals. 

Referrals to Early Parenting Centres are usually from maternal and child health services, maternity services, general practitioners, Child FIRST and Child Protection. Families can also self-refer.

Early Parenting Centres services are currently provided by:

These centres operate several satellite services across the state. Contact the centres for more information.

The Victorian Government is currently building eight new Early Parenting Centres, set to be completed by 2025. These services will be located in:

  • Ballarat
  • Bendigo
  • Geelong
  • Casey
  • Frankston
  • Shepparton
  • Whittlesea
  • Wyndham


More information about Early Parenting Centres can be found via: