Orana Early Support Services

Orana Early Support information on service benefits, activities, volunteers and referrals.

The service aims to benefit:

  • Children aged between 0 and 3 years and their families living in Sutherland Shire who have been recognised as needing extra support. 
  • Community minded residents of the Shire who gain satisfaction from volunteering their time and sharing their experience to help families in need. 
  • The local Sutherland Shire community by building caring, trust, reciprocity and participation.

Our Primary Activities:

  • We work with isolated new mothers and families to develop parenting skills, providing a role model, providing guidance, information and strategies if requested.
  • We provide an extra set of hands for new mothers and families who have premature babies, who have had multiple births, or who have additional young children to care for.
  • We have in-home counselling available for anyone wanting to speak to a psychologist or counsellor but just can’t get out of the house to attend appointments.
  • We operate a food pantry to assist disadvantaged families struggling with financial difficulties.

Families who will benefit:

  • Families who are isolated geographically or socially
  • Multiple birth families
  • Parent of child with a disability
  • Teenage parents
  • Single parent families
  • Families with limited parenting skills
  • Older experienced mothers struggling with sleep deprivation
  • Premature babies
  • New arrivals to our area (from other regions or states)
  • Migrants or refugees
  • Mothers with Postnatal depression
  • Child or family member with an illness or disability
  • Parents lacking family support
  • Families struggling to adjust to parenthood
  • Families where there are frequent pregnancies
  • Families where husbands/partners are serving in the Defence Forces
  • Socially and economically disadvantaged families
  • Families of all income levels are eligible for our service

Mothers are assisted by

Visiting for 3 to 4 hours once per week, lending an extra hand to help with a baby and/or small child, providing some respite for sleep deprived mums, being a good listener, helping with shopping or medical/counselling appointments, providing company, assisting with information on parenting, child development or other community supports. The aim is to provide support and skill development to families as early as possible before serious difficulties arise.

An important part of the work of the volunteers and coordinators is building resilience. They help mothers by being an external support and resource. Volunteers may model new parenting skills, and build on personal and interpersonal strengths. Building resilience allows a person, group or community to prevent, minimize or overcome the damaging effects of adversity. Building resilience is effective, can have life long benefits, can be inexpensive or nil cost. Resilience is linked with success in life and prevention of substance use problems, mental disorder and violence. (Hillin, A. and McAlpine, R. 2006)


Referral procedure – Please call us first on 9525 4971 to discuss the referral. At times during the year, we reach maximum capacity and have to close our books for short periods of time.

  • Referrals are received from workers in health and welfare agencies
  • Every referral is considered carefully. Our service works on a team approach and the ongoing involvement of a health/welfare professional is required to support the volunteer
  • Mothers with newborn babies will be a priority
  • The program coordinator will undertake an initial home visit assessment interview with the family
  • If the family is eligible for support and wishes to continue, they are placed on a waiting list
  • This process may take some time depending on the needs of the family, location and number of available volunteers
  • Some referrals may be declined
  • There may be a brokerage fee required from some funded organisations

Some families may need support other than what we provide – they may need to be referred to other specialised services, for example:

  • Parental drug and/or alcohol misuse
  • Families where there is domestic violence
  • Parents with untreated or unmanaged mental illness
  • Partners or other persons known to be a safety risk residing in or visiting the home
  • New referrals requiring immediate crisis intervention and case management
  • Parents with significant intellectual disabilities
  • Child or parent with long-term illness or disability where family will require long-term support over 12 months. In these situations we are only able to assist up to 8 to 12 months maximum as reviewed by program coordinator.

Important Notes

The safety of volunteers and the support of the parent is a priority.

The Service Co-ordinator considers what current support a family has before agreeing to link a volunteer with the family.

Orana Early Support does not focus only on disadvantaged families or crisis intervention. Our service is about prevention and building stronger, healthier families and communities.

The early support project is funded by Donations…

Orana is a non-government organisation that does not receive any recurrent government funding for the Early Support Project. It is registered as an income tax exempt charity and deductible gift recipient. This project relies on donations, sponsorship and fundraising. ABN 12 249 893 189.