The Cornelia Program

The Cornelia Program provides pregnant women who are experiencing homelessness or insecure housing (e.g. couch surfing, or staying in unsafe boarding houses) with a supportive pathway to safe accommodation, social services and compassionate health care.

Women who are admitted to the program have access to accommodation and receive specialist maternity health services, along with support to access other health and psychosocial programs. They are also provided with guidance and support to access long-term and stable housing.

Who is eligible?

Pregnant women who are close to giving birth or who have recently given birth (up to six weeks) and:

  • May be impacted by drugs and alcohol and are willing to engage in treatment
  • Are experiencing insecure housing or homelessness
  • Have no other children in their care, and
  • Are willing to live alone with their newborn child.

Referrals and intake

The Women’s invites referrals to the Cornelia Program from health professionals and other health services. For enquiries, please contact our intake team via email or call the Women’s during business hours on 03 8345 2000.

About the Cornelia Program

Keeping a mother and baby together, in a safe and secure location with appropriate support, provides at-risk women with the opportunity to care for and stay with their child. The Cornelia Program places an emphasis on keeping the baby safe and supporting the mother-child attachment.

The program can provide support to 36 women and their babies housed in individual studio apartments for up to 12 months. The program includes:

  • Maternity, neonatal, sexual, reproductive and specialist women’s health services
  • Care coordination services to support program participants to access other health and psychosocial programs
  • Support to assist participants to access long-term housing and other support services.

The Cornelia Program is funded by private donors and the Victorian Government and is a collaboration between the Royal Women’s Hospital, HousingFirst and Launch Housing.

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