'Super nannies' for troubled Australian families

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The Independent Online

Australian parents who are struggling to cope with their children will be sent 'super nannies' to help them raise their offspring properly, under a state government plan released Sunday.

The southern state of Victoria will begin a trial later this year in which parenting experts will visit the homes of vulnerable families to try to break the cycle of disadvantage and protect children.

"Becoming a parent is a difficult and confusing time for everyone, but some mums and dads need some extra help," Victoria's Community Services Minister Lisa Neville said.

The specialist staff will work intensively with mothers and fathers, helping them in the day-to-day tasks of bringing up children, Neville said.

"For some families this could involve helping to establish routines around buying and preparing healthy food, keeping their home safe and clean, getting kids to school and bath and bed time for the kids," Neville said.

"They may also help the parents to manage their family's budget," the minister said in a press release headed: "'Super nannies' set to fly into Victoria."

The "super nannies" could also help develop a routine for a new baby, give advice on managing a toddler or adolescent and teach parents how to play educational games with their children.

Families to receive the help would be targeted by government agencies and staff will reportedly be briefed on how to identify domestic violence, post-natal depression, drug and alcohol abuse and mental health issues.

It is expected that the parenting mentors will visit the family regularly, possibly daily in the early stages, for up to a year.

"Families that would participate in the program love their children just like any other family," Neville said.

"However, it may be that they have not had the support, peer networks, or positive experiences in their lives to always know how to bring up their children in the best way possible."

The 'Supernanny' is a reality television show in which a no-nonsense British nanny helps distraught parents instill discipline in their unruly children.