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First Steps Parenting Centre

First Steps Parenting Centre (FSPC) is a secondary service for families with children aged 0-5 years who have not yet started school based at the Wallsend Health Campus. We provide clinic and discretionary home visiting services to families living in the Newcastle, Port Stephens and Lake Macquarie Local Government Areas.

FSPC provides multi-disciplinary support to families primarily from social workers and Child and Family Health Nurses, with input from a Paediatrician and speech pathologist via referral from the clinicians at First Steps. A referral is required and many come from Child & Family Health Nursing service (a free service- phone Central Intake for an appointment 4923 6920), the GP or another professional such as a mental health worker, family support worker or preschool teacher.

Families are triaged after referral to various support streams including: sleep and settling, attachment and parent child relationship support, perinatal infant mental health, post-natal depression, adjustment to parenting, child behaviour and complex feeding issues. There are also various parenting groups facilitated including Post-Natal Depression group, Self Compassion group and the Circle Of Security.

There are two satellite programs which have extra referral criteria. The Young Parents Network (YPN) for families under 25 years old living in Maitland and Port Stephens LGA’s and the Program of Initial Parenting Support (PIPS) which is for first time parents who have multiple vulnerabilities.

Infant sleep, settling and feeding

Sometimes we are so preoccupied with getting through the pregnancy and birth that we don’t give a thought to what babies need once they’re on the outside. Child and Family Health Nurses at FSPC offer information and practical assistance with infant sleep cycles, settling techniques and feeding patterns.

Adjusting to parenting & postnatal depression and anxiety 

It can be very daunting having a baby or the birth experience may not have gone as hoped. Adjustment issues are also very common amongst parents or carers. Counselling related to these parenting concerns can be offered by social workers on the team as well as support around post-natal depression or anxiety and how these impacts on your parenting.

Play, development and attachment intervention

Attachment and relationship intervention is the foundational model of care at First Steps. Often we don’t think about playing with our infants or children, and how important this is to their day-to-day development and relationships with their carers. FSPC offers information and advice on meaningful and affordable ways to play with your baby, which increases positive connection with them and develops a sense of security and trust in the relationship.

Toddler and child behaviour management

Toddlers can be challenging! Using evidence-based models of practice, FSPC staff can offer strategies and approaches that best fit the needs of the family. This involves attachment and behavioural interventions.

The Postnatal Depression Group (PND Group)

A 7-week psychoeducational and therapeutic group focusing on the myths of parenting, depression management and relationships.

Circle of Security 8-Week Parenting Group (COS Group)

This parenting program focuses on being able to identify and meet the emotional needs of children to better understand and manage their behaviour.

Self-Compassion Group

A 6-week group exploring the 3 components of self-compassion- mindfulness, common humanity and self-kindness. The Self Compassion group focuses on teaching practical skills that promote better self-care and self-awareness. The group aims to reduce parental stress, anxiety and negative self-talk.

Young Parent Network Social Worker (Maitland/Port Stephens)

First Steps Parenting Centre offers the Maitland and Port Stephens local government areas access to a Young Parent Social Worker. The social worker can provide individual and group support to parents who are 24 and under, who are pregnant or whose youngest child is under the age of 8. Groups are run at various different locations with support of other community partners.

Day Stay 

Day stay offers carers an opportunity to learn and practice responsive settling strategies within an attachment and infant cue-based approach. A maximum of 3 families can be seen and will be supported by a CFHN and a social worker. Families have reported that sharing experiences with other parents has helped to normalise situations and make them feel like they are not alone.

Video and Developmental/Relationship Guidance 

You may be asked whether you consent to being videoed with your child at FSPC. Videoing is a great tool that staff use to reflect back the different ways in which you and you infant/child communicate, and where we see opportunities for these patterns to change.

St Phillips Christian College Young Parents School

During school terms a Child and Family Health nurse facilitates a weekly parent and child health clinic.

Program of Initial Parenting Support

A specialised program using attachment and strengths based skills designed for at-risk, vulnerable first time parents. Includes services from a child and family health nurse and social worker. Referrals can only be made through Birra-Li or the Family Care Midwives and Social Work at the John Hunter Hospital.

Paediatrician and Speech – internal referral and consultationpossible

When working with your family, if staff at FSPC require clarification around certain issues in relation to your toddler or pre-schooler, we have limited access to paediatrician and speech pathology services. There is a significant wait to see our paediatrician so sometimes we offer you alternatives to access these services.


Families cannot self-refer to FSPC. A referral is required, and many come from Child & Family Health Nursing service (a free service- phone Central Intake for an appointment 4923 6920), the GP or another professional such as a mental health worker, family support worker or preschool teacher.

However, we encourage all young parents (under 21y/o) to phone or email us, even if they don’t have a GP, so that we can help access our service, and others if needed.

Unfortunately, we do not accept referrals directly to our paediatrician or speech pathologist. The child must be engaged with a social worker or child and family health nurse at FSPC who will discuss directly with parents whether further consultation or assessment is advised.

Download referral form here.

Parent resources

Adjusting to parenthood

Becoming a father

Sometimes dads may feel as though they are left out of the equation when it comes to new babies, and parenting in general. Between not being able to breastfeed, to having to go back to work, dads often feel that they don’t have a chance to bond with their new baby. It might also feel like you’re holding everyone else together, and that there is never any fuel left in the tank for you. You’re not alone. Here are some great resources and support ideas for dads to draw on.

Infant Sleep and Settling

Postnatal and perinatal depression

Location and contact information


Lowrey Lane, Wallsend Campus, Wallsend 2287


PO Box 119, Wallsend 2287


(02) 4924 6550



(02) 4924 6555



Monday to Friday 8am to 4.30pm


There is no cost for this service

Wheelchair Access:

There is wheelchair access to the service