Jill Martin


Jill Martin is an RN, CFHN, currently working in the Newborn Family Support team at RPAH, Sydney. Her role includes working with the Perinatal and Family Drug Health team. She has previously worked with vulnerable families in a sustained home visiting programme in south-western Sydney.


The issue: Families dealing with parental substance dependence are some of the most vulnerable within society, and yet often feel alienated from mainstream health services and supports.
Why it matters: Women with a history of substance use might not access available services due to multiple barriers. Access to parenting services during pregnancy and early childhood can increase parenting confidence and capacity.
The solution: Identification of the need for a service that caters to this vulnerable group led to the establishment of the Possum Playgroup.
The playgroup brings together existing services and resources to create an innovative approach to removing barriers to quality healthcare access. By integrating a range of health, community and social services into the healthcare setting vulnerable families can access support in a way that best meets their needs.
Since commencing in May 2016, six to eight families with a history of substance use in pregnancy have attended weekly for multiple visits. Families included fathers and siblings.
Making a difference: Since the inception of the Possum Playgroup, the increased antenatal engagement between the Midwifery, Newborn Care, Drug Health and Social Work teams has provided greater continuity of care for women and their families involved with Drug Health Services. This has led to the creation of a pathway to the provision of postnatal/post-discharge support involving multi-service collaboration in partnership with Tresillian Family Care Centres. The team will continue to work in partnership with families to address social determinants of health and build parenting capacity for this group.
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