For every local council to be mandated to run a volunteer program whereby each new family (with children under 18yo) who moves into the municipality is greeted by and supported by a volunteer.
Volunteers, be they retirees, mothers or fathers, will provide companionship and parenting support to the young families with any children under the age of 18 years (or under 10yo's). These volunteers will be a resource for any problems which may be experienced and give practical advice from caring for their newborn, to how to buy and prepare healthy meals, assist in finding a childcare centre, kindergarten or school for their children and guide them to become involved them in their local community. The benefits will be numerous. Whilst the volunteer provides friendship, empathy, physical and emotional support to the young mothers. The volunteer will also enjoy improved health and wellbeing by reducing their social-isolation and risks of depression. The children in the family will learn respect of the elderly, experience a multigenerational family life which is so absent these days. They will feel included, respected, acknowledged and cared for. With the new diverse, multicultural population in Australia; we see many traumatised new mothers who struggle on a daily basis to care for their children due to their own past experiences. It is then, their children who need the connection and social inclusion, to finish school and have the knowledge and skills for life and learning. When this is absent the children lack respect and resilience, potentially being easily influenced by their peers.
As you say on your website, in Victoria, disadvantaged families and communities are at risk of factors including unemployment, criminal convictions, disability, low education and child maltreatment, family violence and psychiatric admissions. My idea is to give support and build relationships with new parents/mothers in their time of need. As a nurse working in the community for the past 15 years, I see this as the most important and valuable thing we can do. ie "Dial a granny"
The Volunteers would have 6-8 weeks training and regular supervision from their coordinators. The outlay would be minimal compared to the ripple effect of the benefits, financially and otherwise to the local councils, state and federal governments.