ACU Logo


Australian Catholic University


Healthy Mothers, Healthy Families: Health, education & empowerment for carers


Melbourne and regional VIC



Funding Dates

December 2014 – December 2015

The Issue

The Australian Catholic University (ACU) is a public not-for-profit university with a dedicated research division that is committed to truth, in a spirit of freedom and service to the community, particularly in health and education. 

Providing primary care for a child with a disability is a full time and often demanding job for many mothers across Australia that can result in long-term health and wellbeing issues.

The Project

Identifying the need to provide greater support for mothers caring for a child with a disability, ACU's research teams have developed the Healthy Mothers, Healthy Families program that aims to empower these primary carers in their lifelong role to better address their personal health needs.

Funding provided will enable ACU to offer the program in metropolitan and regional Victoria and NSW, to improve the health and wellbeing of 220 mothers of children with disabilities by educating and connecting them for their lifelong carer role. The program will deliver workshops that will cover a range of issues including good nutrition, increased physical activity, social supports, improved communication, networking & advocacy skills and paid work participation.


"My emotional well-being has improved remarkably since doing the program. I feel a lot more stable and focused.  The workshops were positive and gave me strategies that I can work with and put into action.  I'm a lot more proactive and less emotional. My physical wellbeing has generally improved too, and I have more energy."

Yolanda, mother to 13 year old Stacey who has a visual impairment and depression

"I have been thinking a lot about my own health. I realise how important it is to look after myself. I have finally given myself permission to take time out, relax and express my own needs."

Anna, mother to six year old Finn who has Muscular Dystrophy

For more information visit:

“I've implemented a lot of things. I am trying to walk more, when I wasn’t walking at all. Through the workshops I’ve learned that it is okay to look after myself. I’ve always been told: "If you don't look after yourself, who's going to look after your family?" Now I've started to really grasp the meaning of those words and I am trying to put some things in place that help me."

Rachael, mother to 10 year old Sean who has Down Syndrome