Health Centre: One-stop shop for child care

By Marcus Power
Updated November 2 2012 - 2:10am, first published January 19 2010 - 1:39am
NEW: People and Portfolios Member Cr Mark Harris and City of Ballarat Family and Children's Services Manager Anne Scott have a chat in the reception of the new centre. Picture: Andrew Kelly

AS THREE doors close, another one is about to open.Maternal and Child Health services in central Ballarat which for decades have been spread across three different centres, will be housed at the one location from next month.The finishing touches are being added to the new Girrabanya Centre for Children and their Families, which will open on February 2. The centre has been built next to the kindergarten of the same name in Steinfeld St. It includes four maternal and child health consulting rooms, two interview rooms available to other service organisations, a community meeting room and on-site parking.Staff from the former facilities will re-locate to their new home in the next fortnight.Ballarat City Council family and children's services manager Anne Scott said the new facility would give access to a range of services and offer more flexible hours for parents.The council had received expressions of interest from other family and child support services, including a speech pathologist, that hope to operate from the site.Other groups, such as PINARC, Centacare and Child and Family Services are also interested in the centre."If those other services are reasonably accessible people are more likely to take up that option," Ms Scott said.She said the council's maternal and child health services currently see 98 per cent of the 1300 babies born in Ballarat each year.People and communities portfolio Cr Mark Harris said while the centre would offer world's best care for mothers and children, the fundamentals of the service had not changed over the years."You still have to measure them, weigh them, do those sorts of checks," he said.The $800,000 centre was part-paid for by the sale of the Mair St facility last year and $500,000 funding from the State Government.The council will continue to run centres as Sebastopol, Mt Clear, Buninyong and Wendouree.