Getting started with INFANT

First Steps

As each LGA is different, the way in which INFANT will be implemented will vary. The overall goal and content for INFANT will remain the same across LGAs. However, there is flexibility in how the program is implemented, including how it is embedded into services, who facilitates it, where it is held and how long it takes to roll out.

Here we walk you through what our research has told us are the important steps to help you consider if and how you might implement INFANT in your community.

Step 1: Is there a need for INFANT in your area?

You know your community and you are the expert here. The following questions may help with establishing a case and advocating for INFANT in your area:

  • What is the birth rate in your catchment?
  • What are the food and activity patterns of children in your catchment? Consider looking at your local health data.
  • How many new parent groups run in your area per year?
  • What policies and strategies are available to support programs, initiatives and services to support families with infants and young children?
  • What programs, initiatives and services are on offer to families with children under 2 years?
  • Can these policies, strategies and/or related initiatives be used to support the implementation of INFANT in your area?
Step 2: How could INFANT be set up in your area?

Start talking to your local stakeholders who can help answer questions from Step 1 and co-design the delivery of INFANT for your area. Stakeholders could include services and structures such as:

  • Maternal and Child Health Services
  • Local Council
  • Community Health Services
  • Primary Care Partnerships
  • DHHS Population Health and Wellbeing teams
  • Other relevant organisations in your area

Consider what delivery model might work in your area – begin thinking about where INFANT group sessions could be held, participant referral and administration tasks, and who could be trained as facilitators.

Get inspired by case studies from the areas already running INFANT.

Step 3: Express your interest with the INFANT team

After considering how INFANT might be run in your local area, it’s time to get in touch with the INFANT team.

Email Sarah Marshall, Project Coordinator at infant-study@deakin.edu.au.

We’ll be in touch promptly to discuss this together and start the next step.

Step 4: Establish your INFANT set-up and complete the facilitator training

Our aim in connecting with you is to provide you with support for setting up INFANT and completing the facilitator training. All organisations delivering INFANT will need to identify staff to undertake the INFANT training. This is so that you have the most up-to-date information, resources and support you need. All facilitators will also need to complete an annual refresher training.

Once the set-up process commences, staff who have been identified by your organisation to become INFANT facilitators can be enrolled for training.

Learn more about INFANT facilitator training. 

Learn more about the set-up process.

Step 5: Begin implementing INFANT

Once you have set-up underway and have staff trained, you are ready to start implementing INFANT!

Interested in applying for seed funding to set-up and implement INFANT?

The Department of Health and Human Services are providing funding to IPAN in the amount of $5000 per LGA (up to 39 LGAs) to enhance INFANT implementation within Victorian LGAs. The funding will be available until May 2021.

The seed funding will be used to support LGAs to:

  • Initiate collaboration within the LGA to facilitate the implementation of INFANT
  • Embed INFANT into organisational procedures, strategic policies and job descriptions

The LGA will be required to have one organisation responsible for leading the implementation of INFANT in their local area. This organisation can apply to receive the seed funding that may be used to invest staff time in setting up to implement INFANT.

Resources

Download more information about running the INFANT program:

Program implementation template

This resource contains a PDF template. It will help you think about how you can coordinate INFANT implementation in your local government.

Download the INFANT Implementation Plan Template

INFANT cost estimates

The purpose of this document is to provide some estimates of approximate costs of the INFANT program, from the perspective of health services running the program.

Download the INFANT Cost Estimates

INFANT set-up and training

All organisations delivering INFANT will need to have trained facilitators. This will help to ensure you have the most up-to-date resources and support you need.

INFANT set-up includes:

  • Access to INFANT facilitator training
    • Training includes an initial 6-hours online and an annual update.
    • Training can contribute to Continuing Professional Development with the relevant professional associations.
  • Access to all INFANT content and resources to support delivery of group sessions.
  • Delivery of INFANT according to the INFANT Facilitator Guide.
  • Completing a brief 6-monthly feedback (e.g. number of programs, completion rates). This contributes to the evaluation of the program.

 

In return, the INFANT team will offer you:

  • Support for implementation via online resources and 1:1 support from the team.
  • Evidence-based, contemporary INFANT program content and resources that reflect best practice.
  • Facilitator training offered online at set times throughout the year.
  • Active promotion of a Community of Practice for supporting shared learnings.

The INFANT team will provide support for this process through 1:1 contact with the team. If you have any questions about setting up INFANT, email infant-study@deakin.edu.au.

Case studies

To get an idea for how INFANT could be implemented in your LGA, browse through these tabs, which summarise how INFANT is structured in four different LGAs.

Mildura LGA

  • Location: Rural
  • Population: 54,000
  • Births/year: 794

Whittlesea LGA

  • Location: Outer metro
  • Population: 197,500
  • Births/year: 3650

Swan Hill LGA

  • Location: Rural
  • Population: 20,500
  • Births/year: 325

Benalla LGA

  • Location: Rural
  • Population: 14,000
  • Births/year: 135

Mildura LGA

  • Lead organisation: Community Health – Sunraysia Community Health Services
  • Facilitators: Dietitians (Community Health)
  • Number of facilitators: 4 trained facilitators
  • Administration: Community Health
  • Venue: First session held at Maternal and Child Health services, then subsequent sessions at the Family and Child Hub, Mildura.

Whittlesea LGA

  • Lead organisation: Maternal and Child Health Services – City of Whittlesea
  • Facilitators: Maternal and Child Health nurses, supported by community dietitian
  • Number of facilitators: 10 trained facilitators
  • Administration: Maternal and Child Health Services
  • Venue: Local Libraries/MCH venues

Swan Hill LGA

  • Lead organisation: Community Health – Swan Hill District Health
  • Facilitators: Dietitians (Community health)
  • Number of facilitators: 1 trained facilitator
  • Administration: Community Health
  • VenueCommunity Health – Swan Hill District Health

Benalla LGA

  • Lead organisation: Community Health 
  • Facilitators: Dietitians (Community Health)
  • Number of facilitators: 1 trained facilitator; 1 co-facilitator
  • Administration: Community Health
  • Venue:
    • First session: Benalla Community Health with Maternal and Child Health services
    • Following sessions: Independent community organisation (Tomorrow Today Foundation)

Mildura LGA

  • INFANT sessions/year: 42 sessions 
  • Average attendees per session: 8 parents
  • Parent target group: Those attending first time parent groups at MCH services
  • Recruitment strategies: Via first time parent groups. First session of Infant is last session of FTPG, natural extension. Participation is opt out.
  • Local adaptions made: Sessions ‘open’ from 6 months onwards, allowing referral from MCH nurses and other agencies. Some flexibility for vulnerable parents to join last session of first time parent groups then continue with INFANT

Whittlesea LGA

  • INFANT sessions/year: 60 sessions (12 cohorts)
  • Average attendees per session: 8 parents
  • Parent target group: Primarily those attending first-time parent groups, but open to all interested. 
  • Recruitment strategies: Via FTPG. First session of Infant is last session of FTPG, natural extension (opt out). Promoted on website, cross promotion by other services (less than 5% came outside of FTPG).
  • Local adaptions made: Plan to offer open sessions (possibly from 3 months onwards) to reduce administrative burden, open to more people, offers greater flexibility for parents.

Swan Hill LGA

  • INFANT sessions/year: 20-24 sessions (6-8 cohorts per year)
  • Average attendees per session: 4-8 parents
  • Parent target group: Primarily via first time parent groups; have trialled having a dietitian attend the booking in clinics in midwifery.
  • Recruitment strategies: Via first time parent groups. Dietitian delivers intro to solids talk (at infant age 6-8 weeks) within FTPG and parents receive a letter about option to join INFANT. Few from outside FTPG.
  • Local adaptions made: 6 m physiotherapist, 9 m speech pathologist
  • Renamed the sessions – as some parents with younger infants were not sure they could or should attend 3-month session.

Benalla LGA

  • INFANT sessions/year: 16 sessions (4 cohorts) running 3mo, 6 mo, 9mo, 12mo
  • Average attendees per session: 4 parents. First session higher (average 9 parents)
  • Parent target group: First time parent groups and the Tomorrow Today Foundation Parents Early Education Partnership (PEEP) playgroups
  • Recruitment strategies: Via first time parent groups. Also promote during Breastfeeding SMS system.
  • Local adaptions made: Intro to solids quiz cards (first session), Intro to solids joint resource (Benalla Health and Maternal and Child Health), Fridge magnets with Parents Provide Kids Decide message.

Mildura LGA

  • Funding
    • HTV funded initially
    • Program administration built into MCH administrator role and delivery integrated into role of dietitians
  • Cost per session: Approximately $65
  • Key partners: Mildura Rural City Council, Sunraysia Community Health Services, MCH, community health, HTV
  • Link to local websitehttps://www.schs.com.au/services/allied-health/groups/infant-program

Whittlesea LGA

Swan Hill LGA

  • Funding:
    • HTC funded intially
    • Administration and delivery of program supported by community health.
    • Administrative support integrated with other community health and outpatient services and delivery of program built into dietitian role.
  • Key partners: Swan Hill District Health, Swan Hill Rural City Council, MCH
  • Link to local websitehttps://www.shdh.org.au/Children

Benalla LGA

  • Funding:
    • Integrated Health Promotion funding (under Central Hume Primary Care Partnership Healthy Eating and Active Living Plan)
    • Delivery of program built into dietitian health promotion role
  • Cost per session: n/a
  • Key partners: Benalla Health, Tomorrow Today Foundation (funded through Community health to run first time parent groups), Benalla Rural City Council Maternal and Child Health
  • Link to local websitehttps://www.benallahealth.org.au/CommunityHealth/HealthPromotion-479/Infantprogram-583/