The Maternal Early Childhood Sustained Home-visiting (MECSH) program is a high-quality, evidenced based, nurse-led structured intervention for families needing extra support.


MECSH is a child focused prevention model uniquely embedded within the local child and family health service system, operating from three underpinning principles:

  1. A core and adaptation model of local implementation.
  2. Supporting families to learn the skills to build their capacity and source the resources they need to adapt and self-manage in their parenting journey, and parent effectively despite the difficulties and challenges they face.
  3. A salutogenic (health creating), rather than pathogenic (illness treating) approach.

The MECSH program draws together the best available evidence on the importance of the early years, children’s health and development, the types of support parents need, parent-infant interaction, parent-child relationships and holistic, ecological approaches to supporting families to establish the foundations of a positive life trajectory for their children.

The MECSH program requires organisations, and practitioners to work differently with families, to truly act on the rhetoric of prevention and early intervention to improve outcomes for some of the most vulnerable families.

The MECSH program is delivered as part of a comprehensive, integrated approach to services for young children and their families. The program is managed by the local child and family nursing services. Nurses/health visitors with specialist knowledge in child and family health who are embedded within their local child and family health nursing services deliver MECSH to families.

Families are ideally enrolled prenatally, but the program allows for families to start within 6-8 weeks after the baby is discharged home from the birthing admission, including for babies who spend additional time in hospital after birth due to health needs.

The MECSH program uses a tiered service model, which encompasses the primary health care and more specialised services that families may need.

The MECSH four tier strategic framework

To find out if the MECSH program is suitable for your organisation, consult the MECSH system requirements.