Maternal and Child Health Service Innovation Fund (MCHSIF)

Up to $100,000 is available for MCH service providers to help vulnerable families and children.

Maternal and Child Health Service Innovation Fund



The Maternal and Child Health Service Innovation Fund (MCHSIF) is intended to support long term change in response to local needs, particularly the needs of vulnerable families.

The Victorian Government recognises that access to high quality early years services are central to giving every Victorian child the best start in life, and is committed to achieving this goal. Families deserve a choice of flexible, accessible, affordable and high quality early childhood education and care services. Vulnerable families and children in particular need service responses that are integrated and coordinated and support their needs.



The Maternal and Child Health Service Innovation Fund (MCHSIF) will fund a selected number of local councils (or directly funded Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Services where applicable) to implement service innovations that are consistent with the MCHSIF objectives.

The objectives of the MCHSIF are to:

  • foster the development and adoption of practices to enhance outcomes for vulnerable children and families
  • enable sustainable change in response to local needs
  • foster the development and adoption of practices to enhance efficient and effective MCH service delivery
  • provide information to foster system wide change and learning regarding practices to enhance efficient and effective MCH Service delivery.



The Fund will provide grants in two streams.

Stream 1: Local Innovation and Service Improvement 

  • At least 2 per DET region ($40,000-$60,000 per grant)
  • These grants will fund projects or initiatives within a municipality to scope, develop, trial and pilot and/or implement local MCH service innovation. Projects can be a collaboration between an MCH service and other services within the municipality.

Stream 2: Collaborative Practice 

  • At least 1 per DET region ($50,000-$100,000 per grant)
  • These grants will support partnerships that scope, develop, trial, pilot and/or implement collaborative practices to improve service delivery to children and their families. Partnerships can be between one or more MCH service(s) and other services working with children and families e.g. Child FIRST and Integrated Family Services Alliances, specialist family violence services, maternity services, Supported Playgroup, Best Start.


Eligible Projects

Within each stream, projects that are explicitly dedicated to improving participation and/or outcomes for vulnerable children and families will be weighted more heavily. This is reflected in the assessment criteria below.

Aboriginal, asylum seeker and refugees families will be considered as vulnerable cohorts. As will families having one or more of the following risk factors:

  • family violence issues
  • families known to Child Protection, including young mothers who have a history of being in Out of Home Care
  • drug and alcohol issues
  • mental health issues
  • homelessness
  • unsupported parent(s) under 24 years of age
  • low-income, socially isolated, single-parent families
  • significant parent–baby bonding and attachment issues
  • parent with an intellectual disability
  • children with a physical or intellectual disability or developmental delay.

Funded activities should include, for example, brokerage, new use of technology, short term employment arrangements to establish collaborative practices, and other means of generating and embedding the innovative practice into the MCH service.


Eligible Applicants

Applications must be by a local council (or directly funded MCH service) that is nominated as the lead for the application process.

All applications must:

  • Be a local council providing a MCH service or an organisation directly funded by DET to provide a MCH service
  • Demonstrate that the project responds to the needs of vulnerable children and families
  • Demonstrate that the proposed project focuses on innovation, service improvement, practice quality, collaboration and/or system change in MCH services
  • Demonstrate how the initiative is consistent with local government early years plans
  • Focus on systemic, evidence based change
  • Be submitted online by the due date (except where previously agreed to by DET)
  • Be supported by the applicant organisation’s CEO or equivalent
  • Only one application per municipality will be accepted
  • All projects must submit a Mid-point Progress Report and a Final Project Report due one month following the conclusion of the project
  • Agree to provide project information, and make a staff member available for interview by the MCHSIF evaluator



Application closes 27 November 2015.


MCHSIF Recipients

Following a competitive grants round the Minister for Families and Children has announced that the following local governments and their partners will receive MCHSIF grants:

Stream 1: Local Innovation and Service Improvement

  • Rural City of Wangaratta
  • Manningham City Council
  • Macedon Ranges Shire Council
  • City of Port Phillip
  • Hobsons Bay City Council
  • Wyndham City Council
  • Mount Alexander Shire Council
  • Mornington Peninsula Shire Council.

Stream 2: Collaborative Practice

  • Swan Hill Rural City Council
  • City of Greater Dandenong
  • Brimbank City Council
  • City of Boroondara
  • Towong Shire Council


Media Release

A pop-up playgroup for vulnerable children and a team of parenting coaches are among 13 initiatives to receive grants under the Andrews Labor Government’s Maternal and Child Health Service Innovation Fund.

At the Kyneton Maternal and Child Health Centre today Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos announced that local governments will receive grants between $30,000 and $99,000, under the $950,000 fund.

The grants support fresh, creative thinking about how MCH services can better support vulnerable families at the early stages of a child’s life.

Local services will put into practice innovative strategies that strengthen engagement with families experiencing vulnerability, and ensure there is adequate support for those who need it most at a crucial stage of a child’s development.

This includes supporting families at risk of experiencing family violence, social isolation and mental health issues, as well as Aboriginal families, refugees and asylum seekers and families that are culturally and linguistically diverse.

Initiatives include collaborative work between MCH services, community groups and organisations across local government areas to better reach out to at-risk families and improve the support they receive.

Following the roll out of these local initiatives, successful experiences and results will be shared with MCH services across the state.

Through health promotion, early detection and intervention and early learning, MCH nurses provide free support and advice regarding parenting and children’s health and development.

Local governments plays an important role in the delivery of early years services in Victoria, supported by the Municipal Association of Victoria.

The Andrews Labor Government is making Victoria the Education State – this starts with giving every Victorian child a healthy start in life.

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