Tummies to Toddlers – Promoting Attachment, Engaging with Families and Forming Relationships Before the Baby is Born

The Tummies to Toddlers 2 year pilot program run by The Queen Elizabeth Centre (QEC), commenced in February 2009 with 18 referrals (17 engaged). Twenty-six weeks gestation was seen as the best time to first engage with pregnant women presenting with multiple and complex risk factors. Many of the families involved in Tummies to Toddlers have mental health concerns, drug and alcohol issues, physical and learning disabilities, experience a lack of stable housing and have severe financial hardship. The program uses a relationship and strength based approach. It combines home visiting and fortnightly group sessions and focuses on building the parents’ understanding of child safety, well-being and development; strengthening parent/child relationships and increasing community connections. In particular, it aims to strengthen attachment and provide focused support for the child to remain within the family.