The key objective of SAFE START is to identify and support women and families with a range of social and emotional issues during pregnancy and following birth. One of the ways SAFE START achieves this is through the provision of comprehensive psychosocial assessments (including screening for domestic violence and depression) as a component of routine antenatal and postnatal care. Under the Families NSW framework, this initiative:

  • provides comprehensive psychosocial assessment at least twice: at the first point of contact during pregnancy, and in the first 12 months after birth
  • helps identify families with psychosocial difficulties (including depression and other mental health problems) during the critical perinatal and postnatal periods, and offers appropriate care and support.

The secondary aim of SAFE START is to focus on the mental health and psychosocial issues (including family violence and substance abuse problems) of fathers and families, and to address the relationship between mental health and the parenting role.

From 2009-10 eight new positions were funded to support families identified as needing coordinated case management and support for multiple and complex issues. These positions coordinate care for families identified with vulnerabilities during the perinatal period and use a new information system to collect and report on the profile of families that engage with multiple agencies/service settings.

For more information on this initiative, please see the Keep Them Safe Annual Report 2010-11.