Staff member in Cath Lab in scrubsStaff in scrubs in the Cath LabStaff in scrubs in the Cath Lab


A new way of caring for children’s mental health

17 August 2021

The Minister for Mental Health, James Merlino, has announced an Victorian-first children’s mental health facility will be built in Macleod and operated by Austin Health.

The new Statewide Child and Family Centre will allow children up to 11 years of age who need additional mental health support to stay and receive care alongside their families. 

Austin Health CEO, Adam Horsburgh, said the 12-bed facility will offer 24-hour support from a team of mental health specialists.

“This is an exciting announcement that will help us improve access to mental health care for young children and their families,” Adam said.

“The services provided at the Centre will focus on early invention to help better support children and prevent their mental health challenges from escalating as they grow older.

“The new facility will allow families to live onsite in a ‘home-like’ setting while they receive therapy from specialised child and family mental health carers,” he said.

Work on the site will commence in coming weeks with the facility expected to be completed in late 2022

“Children with more serious mental health concerns will continue to be treated by other services in Victoria, with the Centre providing an alternative for children who do not need hospital-based care,” Adam said.

“A residential street has been chosen as the location for the new centre and the building will be designed to have the ‘feel’ of a house to help it blend into its surroundings.

“It will care for up to three families at one time and have shared living spaces, including family and garden areas,” he said.

The Minister for Mental Health, James Merlino, said: “We are building a new mental health and wellbeing system from the ground up ─ and that means delivering services dedicated to supporting young children in their recovery while keeping them with their families.” 

The State Member for Ivanhoe, Anthony Carbines, was also part of the announcement and said: “I’m proud that Macleod will be home to this Victorian-first facility, offering families more intensive, tailored support in a community environment.”

The new innovative new family helps to fulfil one of the key recommendations made by the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System.

Construction of the new facility is being overseen by the Victorian Health Building Authority (VHBA) and the Statewide Child and Family Centre will be managed by Austin Health.

Statewide Child and Family Centre