Supporting parents, children and vulnerable families

Supporting parents and children

In areas under Stage 3 Stay at Home restrictions services may see a decrease in attendance. Services should continue to encourage all families (except those with special health risks) to attend on-site, to best support children’s learning and development.

We will monitor attendance levels and provide further advice on support for children at home if needed.

If families have been encouraged to attend but do not do so for an extended period, services are encouraged to support learning from home, if they have capacity. If you have limited capacity to do this, we encourage you to prioritise vulnerable families.

Services may want to direct parent/carer(s) to information about talking to their children about coronavirus (COVID-19).

For example, from the Royal Children's Hospital:

Play Learn Grow - text message program

Play Learn Grow is a free, evidence-based program that supports parent/carer(s) of two-year-old and three-year-old children by sending text messages containing practical advice, information, and ideas for easy activities to do at home.

Triple P – positive parenting program

The Triple P online program is a free, publicly available, evidence-based parenting resource to help Victorian families to learn new ways to respond positively to parenting challenges and support their children during and after the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Supporting vulnerable families

As a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, children, families and carers who were already experiencing vulnerability may be under increased pressure.  

For some families experiencing vulnerability, having their children continue to attend early childhood services will be the best way to support their continued learning and development.

From Thursday 6 August, early childhood and education care services (ECEC) in metropolitan Melbourne should only remain open to provide education and care for those children whose parents or carers are permitted workers and for vulnerable children. 

Vulnerable child or young person means a child or young person who:

  • resides in the care of the State or in out-of-home care; or
  • is deemed vulnerable by a government agency, funded family or family violence service, and is assessed as requiring education and care outside the family home; or
  • identified by a school as vulnerable, including where the vulnerability is the result of severe family stress (including via referral from a government agency, or funded family or family violence service, homeless or youth justice service or mental health or other health service).

If there are health reasons that prevent or limit children's attendance at your service, reasonable efforts should be made to support learning from home arrangements.

For vulnerable families specifically, it will be important to consider using a combination of online and printed activities and resources, and providing hard-copy materials to families that may have limited or minimal access to the internet.

Services are encouraged to contact families from CALD and refugee backgrounds, along with any families who are not currently attending your service.

As restrictions during the pandemic have extended, families may experience new, additional pressures. Support for children and families may require review over time, with changing circumstances affecting the ways they are willing and able to engage in learning from home.

Learning from home

Visit the Learning from home page for more information and advice.

Addressing safety concerns

If you become concerned for a child's safety or wellbeing at home, your obligations regarding reporting these issues remain. Visit the PROTECT website for information and guidance on identifying and responding to child abuse.

You may also consider consulting with other services that are involved with the family, or providing a referral to Child FIRST or The Orange Door in circumstances where families are experiencing stress but there is no immediate or significant risk of harm.

Resources and contacts

Family Violence

English as an Additional Language

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

You can also download a copy of this information:Supporting vulnerable children and families factsheet (docx - 114.64kb)

Interpreting and translation services and resources

Families from CALD and refugee backgrounds may require extra support to re-engage with early childhood education and care services, including using an interpreting service. Funded services can access telephone interpreters through the Victorian Interpreting and Translating Services (VITS) Language Loop

More information is available on how to use an interpreter. In addition, Foundation House has developed the following tip sheets:

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has developed a range of translated information for families from CALD backgrounds, including factsheets and promotional materials.

Returning to kindergarten and play-based learning during coronavirus (COVID-19)

While Victorians are urged to stay at home as much as possible, families in regional and rural Victoria, and vulnerable families or those who are permitted workers in metropolitan Melbourne, are able to take their children to and from an early childhood service.

Kindergarten services are still operating and are taking extra precautions to ensure that they are safe for your children. All children are welcome, and we encourage all families who have not been attending to return.

Returning to kindergarten messages
Available in different community languages