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Dalwood outreach program


A Unique Service Helping Families with Young Children

The Dalwood Spilstead Family Intervention and Support Service functions as a collaborative project between Northern Sydney Local Health District and the Spilstead Charitable Trusts. It is managed as a tertiary unit of the NSLHD Child Youth and Family Health Service.


An early intervention model of service delivery based on neuro-developmental research is utilised incorporating strengths-based, family centred and child focused services.

The Dalwood Spilstead Model is unique in its ability to provide a holistic and integrated approach to the needs of vulnerable families and “at risk” children. All services for both parents and children are provided under one service umbrella and from the one team. This enables maximum engagement with families and ensures optimal co-ordination and consistency of service delivery.

The service is currently available to 90 families, with all families being offered access to an extensive range of programs from which they can design their own service plan

Dalwood History


When families are in distress it is extremely helpful to have services for both parents and children provided in the one place by the one team! 

The service was first established in 1978 as an extension of the Dalwood Children's Home which was created in the 1920s to support children from disadvantaged families. Between 1931 and 1989 over 1,000 children attended the Dalwood Children's Home for either short term or long-term respite. The initial Day Care was added to specifically meet the educational and developmental needs of children in care under school age.

​The "Spilstead Model" SM was developed in 2004 in an attempt to align the service with world-wide research and best practice. The model has been designed to maximize the benefits of the three-primary evidence-based modes of intervention within a comprehensive and integrated centre-based approach. The SM combines parent support and professional home visiting with parent-child attachment interventions while also providing a multi-disciplinary centre-based early childhood development program.

In late 2006 the Dalwood Spilstead Service partnered with the Benevolent Society to provide "Brighter Futures" services in the Northern Sydney region for clients referred by the De[artment of Communities and Justice.

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Access to professional family support can be life changing for parents. 

95% of brain development occurs in the first 5 years! Children from vulnerable and stressed families are at risk of attention, language, learning and behavioural problems. These children can later experience school failure, social difficulties and ant-social behaviour.

Research has clearly shown, however, that if families are supported and children receive intensive early intervention services these problems can be alleviated. The Dalwood Spilstead Service provides a unique program which is internationally renowned for its work in assisting these children and their families.

Award winner

The innovative "Spilstead Model of Early Intervention for Children At Risk" received the NSW Health Award in Primary and Community Care for 2011.

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