Hunter Outreach Project

Hunter Outreach Project is a family support service offering a range of activities & assistance to families in the lower Hunter region of NSW. All services are offered free to families who require some extra support.

We work to build upon existing family strengths by fostering positive family and community relationships.

We have long-term relationships with many health, government and non-government agencies. We are proud of our extensive collaboration to provide highly supportive activities to families. These activities are responsive to what the families are telling us they require.

Current long term collaborations include our work with Family Support Newcastle to provide a supported playgroup at the Hamilton South social housing estate. Parent-child attachment, child development, school readiness, early literacy competency and healthy eating are focus areas of this inclusive group. Everyone with children 0 – 6 years is welcome.

Another long-term collaboration is our partnership with ‘The Place’ (the community centre at Charlestown Square), SVDP Ability Links and Lake Macquarie City Council to facilitate a supported playgroup for young parents each Friday. The young parents, with their children, come together to share their experiences, learn from each other and participate in conversations with health and child development practitioners who come to the group as visitors on a rotating basis. This playgroup is successful because everyone involved respects everyone who attends - age does not determined your ability to parent successfully.

The project is funded through the aegis of the Department of Family and Community Services. Due to the flexibility of our funding, services are offered to any family requesting extra support, as long as they have at least one child up to 17 years of age.

The work involves a variety of activities including support, referrals and parenting programs.

The services and activities currently offered by the is project include;

  • Family Work: If you would like to be contacted by a Family Worker please contact Jane Mitchell on 4985 4939 or 0417 305 563 or email:
  • Parenting Programs:
  • If you are interested in our Parenting Programs, they are regularly advertised on the Resourcing Parents Website: or you can phone the Family Action Centre on the number above.

Hunter Outreach Project Objectives

To assist families who have children under the age of 18 who require some extra support.

To design, deliver and support strength-based programs in collaboration with families and community.

To encourage and support families to identify and achieve goals.

To promote a sense of family belonging in communities.

Our staff know that all families have assets and strengths, and we work with families to develop these assets and strengths in order to help build more resilient communities.

Family Work

Experienced empathic Family Workers visit families in their home (or at a place of their choosing) and provide information, case planning, support, encouragement and referral as needed to assist families to reach their goals. Family work is sometimes referred to as Case Work.

If you would like to be contacted by a Family Worker please contact Jane Mitchell on 4985 4939 or 0417 305 563 or email:

Parenting is often a challenging and rewarding time of life. For many people a few tips and ‘tricks of the trade’ are welcome at some stage during their parenting experience. Various parenting programs have been designed and developed to address some of the more challenging periods in family life and are regularly available. These programs not only provide parents and carers with new skills to make their parenting more enjoyable, they also offer an opportunity to meet other parents and socialise.

All of the parenting programs we facilitate aim to assist parents and carers to:

  • Raise happy & confident kids,
  • Support and encourage positive behaviour so that the whole family enjoys life more,
  • Set routines and rules that are respected by the family,
  • Take care of yourself and feel confident that you are doing the right thing.

Parenting Programs on offer

If you are interested in our Parenting Programs, they are regularly advertised on the Resourcing Parents Website: or you can phone Jane Mitchell at the Family Action Centre on 4985 4939

Some responses from parents on their experiences in Parenting Program Groups:

“I really enjoyed this program. Loved how all of us who attended has to participate in activities and class discussions. Plus it’s a program for parents who are in care, so we all felt comfortable and could understand how others felt and knew we weren’t alone. The way the family workers ran the program was brilliant. Very professional and very helpful each and every week. If anyone didn’t understand anything, they would help us to understand it by explaining it another way.”

“I think it was the one thing that I’ve taken away from the group is establishing what you can let go, what need to change/start, behaviours you want to start let go & what you need to modify & it has worked. And boundaries, especially with 3 year olds, that was the most useful, also techniques for yourself, if you’ve had a stressful day, when you walk in the door you say I just need 5 minutes to breathe rather than telling them to get out of your face, you need to take time to care for yourself, tell the partner that you need the time to get back on track. It is how important communication is and looking after yourself, you can’t deal with little people when you have to take care of yourself. Acknowledging that it does happen, it does happen to everyone, you aren’t alone being stressed, parenting is hard & we all parent differently.”

“I’ve passed on the ideas at mums groups & to a lady in the park once, she was a stranger. She was struggling with her little toddler girl mucking up, & I wanted to try and offer her absolution, we all feel like that sometimes. I gave her the family worker’s number. I have found the things I learnt really useful.”

“I found the whole course very reassuring, it was a really good thing to do at the time, I was newly single & pregnant, useful because my daughter is extremely strong willed, it gave me some coping mechanisms, I recognised where she was on the circle & my patience was longer for her. We had a good close knit group & we still see each other & have a chat.”

“I personally have a hard time doing some parenting courses and those that look back at your own childhood. My own childhood was extremely abusive and I am very thankful for my Pop and the Aboriginal community I grew up in for teaching me important things in life. I really appreciated the way the family workers made sure everyone felt safe each week, so we could all get as much as we could out of the program, If any of us were having a lot going on, they would ask as us if we were okay, or if we wanted a chat. I personally had a few chats with them during the program. They were very helpful, supportive and understanding, while remaining very professional.”

“It was more recognising tantrums as them [children] needing something from me rather than just being naughty. Looking deeper into the reason why, which was that they just wanted mummy to sit for 5 minutes with them. I’ve just had a new baby & I’m recognising their cues as well, I don’t use it all the time, you can’t be perfect. You just have to remember when your child comes into you that they want you to fill their cup.”

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.