Support for parents

children's hands with seedlings in pots

We run a huge array of programs to help the families of Darebin to get the best start possible.

Parent education groups

We run a range of parent education groups during school terms. These services offers support, education and the opportunity for you to meet other parents.

Group sessions are free and available to Darebin residents.

Personal details are requested for the purpose of communication about updates to event information and responding to the needs of individuals and families at the event (early parenting program privacy statement(PDF, 64KB)). Read more about our privacy statement.

Parent-child Mother Goose program

Wednesdays 10am—11.30am, during the school terms
Narrandjeri Stadium (multi-use room)
281 Darebin Road Thornbury

This is a highly regarded early years program for parents and carers and children aged 0—4 years. The program is aimed at promoting healthy development in young children and positive family relationships. Facilitators will deliver the weekly sessions with families, including fun activities such as rhymes, songs, simple action games and oral story telling.

Priority of access is given to families holding a Health Care Card (or equivalent concession status) or with concerns with their child’s communication abilities.

You can register to join the program by completing the below booking form.

Register for the Mother Goose program

Brush Book Bed

An interactive dental hygiene program for families with young children. The program will help you teach your children to brush their teeth and practice good dental hygiene. Sessions include songs and play-based learning strategies.

You can take part with your children in the session.

For more information, download the Brush Book Bed information sheet(PDF, 557KB).

You can register to join the program by completing the below booking form.

Register for this early parenting program

See list below for upcoming Brush Book Bed sessions

INFANT parenting program

Darebin City Council is running a free INFANT (INfant, Feeding, Active play and NuTrition) program developed by Deakin University it promotes healthy eating, active play and reduced screen time for babies aged from 3 months to 18 months.

The program is designed to be delivered as a four 2—hour sessions. Families can choose to attend the number of sessions, or the age / stage session that suits them best.

Each of the four sessions is targeted to a specific age group 3, 6, 9 and 12 months.

Age group Session date and location Booking
For 3 month old babies Tuesday 5 March 2024, 10am—11.30am
Reservoir East Family Centre
15 Gisborne Crescent, Reservoir
Session completed.
For 6 month old babies Tuesday 18 June 2024 Bookings open
For 9 month old babies Tuesday 10 September 2024 Bookings not open yet
For 12 month old babies Tuesday 19 November 2024 Bookings not open yet

For more information, download the INFANT program information sheet(PDF, 1MB).

Bookings essential. Families are welcome to book into one session, or multiple sessions when available. 

Register for the INFANT program

Post natal care for new mums/birth parents

Watch this space for new session date to be confirmed. 

This session is for new mums/birth parents for general post-natal self-care with an introduction of gentle exercise to build strength, stability, and recovery in after the birth of the baby.

Bookings not open yet. 

How your baby moves in the first year 

Watch this space for new session date to be confirmed. 

Darebin City Council and Your Community Health (a Paediatric Physiotherapist) will be present a free parenting program on baby movement and gross motor development in their first year. Babies grow, learn and develop at different ages through play. This Program will focus on a deeper understanding of how babies develop through physical movement and play. Activities promoting healthy child development such as “tummy time”, rolling, sitting, crawling, pulling up into standing and walking will be demonstrated. Families will have the opportunity to ask questions in an interactive discussion.

Bookings not open yet. 

Raising babies session

Watch this space for new session date to be confirmed. 

Darebin’s Maternal Child Health Service and the Early Years Team are hosting a Raising Babies parenting session for Darebin families with children aged 0 to 12 months. This session will provide information on feeding, nutrition and introduction to solids, sleep and settling, play based learning, speech and communication, movement and physical development.

Bookings not open yet.

Play activities list

A list of fun family activities(PDF, 358KB) to engage with your children.

Family Services

Family Services can provide short and long term support to families experiencing complex issues such as family violence, mental health, substance abuse that can affect their children's safety, stability and healthy development. Our services include intake and duty work, information and referral, in home parenting support and advice, case management, linkages and advocacy and groupwork (see list below for programs offered).

Phone: 03 9496 1018 or 0407 102 423 or email us:

Email the family services team

Circle of security group - Term 2 2024

If you have children aged 0-8 years, this program will help you understand your child's emotional needs. It can strengthen your relationship with your child and help you respond to their needs.

For more information on Term 2 2024 session go to Circle of Security Term 2(PDF, 1MB) flyer. Please note there are no child minding available on site.

Email us about circle of security group

Tuning into Kids parenting program - Term 2 2024

Darebin City Council Family Services are offering a six week Tuning into Kids parenting program. Tuning in to Kids is an evidence-based program that focuses on an emotion coaching parenting style. The group supports parents/carers to develop an emotional connection with their child and shows parents how to help their child learn about emotions and develop emotional intelligence.

For more information on Term 2 2024 session go to Tuning into Kids Term 2(PDF, 1MB) flyer. Please note there are no child minding available on site.

Email us about tuning into kids program

Parenting after violence group

A group for women dealing with the effects of family violence.

Email us about the parenting after violence group

Youth services

Youth services supports young people aged 12—24 who live, work and play in Darebin. We provide safe and welcoming spaces and offer a wide range of skill development and leadership opportunities, events, social activities and linkages to specialised support services.

Email the youth services team

Orange door (in north-eastern Melbourne)

A centralised telephone intake service that gives children and their families information and referrals.

Phone: 1800 319 355

Single-parent families

Single-parent families include families where there may be only a mother or a father, or even a grandparent raising children. These families have additional stress involved with raising children, managing a household, working and keeping ahead of household bills.

We have a range of services to help you:

Financial help

If you're a single-parent family and you're eligible for a Centrelink Pensioner Concession Card, you're also eligible for discounts on:

  • municipal rates
  • pet registration
  • green waste collection
  • kindergarten and child care application lodgement fees.
  • toy library joining fees.

Government grants are also available for eligible residents experiencing financial hardship. Grants can help you pay any electricity, gas or water bills that are overdue due to a temporary financial crisis. The Brotherhood of St Laurence and Victorian Government can help you find and switch to cheaper energy companies.

For more information, download the:

Our Maternal and Child Health team can help if you need resources for your baby or toddler.

We also work closely with St Kilda Mums and Big Group Hug to provide essential items for families experiencing financial hardship.

For more information, talk to your Maternal and Child Health Nurse or call 03 8470 8298.

More information

Contact Darebin Family Services, 9am—5pm, Monday—Friday

Phone: 03 9496 1018
Mobile: 0407 102 423