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Graduate Certificate in Child and Family Health Nursing
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1 Year Part-time

Study mode



January & July



“The science shows us that biology is not destiny—and that what children experience in the earliest days and years of life shapes and defines their futures.” (UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake 2016)

Contemporary child and family health nursing practice in Australia has been influenced by a global shift into early childhood knowledge, practice and theory. Research into fields such as epigenetics and early brain development, along with the influences of significant relationships and the quality of the child’s environment, have all led to significant changes in the world view of child health and wellbeing. Child and family health nurses require an appreciation of the bio-psychosocial, cultural and emotional needs of the family to promote a nurturing and supportive environment in which children can thrive and grow.

Studying child and family health nursing with ACN will provide you with the opportunity to improve your knowledge and skills for the provision and coordination of evidenced based care in the field of child and family health. The aim is to encourage professional and ethical understanding of clinical practice development for the improvement of patient outcomes. Our course is written by specialist nurses for nurses who want to work with well children and their families in a community or family care centre setting. Students are supported by a team of clinical experts working within the speciality.

Course overview

The Graduate Certificate in Child and Family Health Nursing (CFHN) aims to provide nurses with a sound understanding of child and family health nursing within a legal, moral and ethical framework that reflects current models of care and government policy and practice initiatives. The course is designed to engage students in the planning and evaluation of their own clinical and educational needs in an environment conducive to their learning and development to prepare them for work in this specialty nursing field.

Assessing and facilitating child and family health and wellbeing within a culturally diverse Australian society requires an appreciation of the bio-psychosocial, cultural and emotional needs of the family, and the promotion of a nurturing and supportive environment in which children can thrive.

Nurses working, or intending to work, in the specialty of CFHN require a clear understanding of primary health care and health promotion, family dynamics, structure and function, and consideration of the connections between the family, their community and health care providers. Health and developmental surveillance of infants and young children continues to be a major focus of contemporary CFHN services, but the expert model of the past has been replaced by a family partnership model that focuses on the provision of psychosocial support and for new parents as well as continuing to be a central point of access for families into community health services.

Career outcomes

A Graduate Certificate in Child and Family Health Nursing is an investment in your future and will provide you with the knowledge and skills needed to ensure better outcomes for your patients and progress your career, leading to opportunities in clinical education, management and specialist nursing roles.

This course is designed to develop specific learning outcomes. Students will:

  • demonstrate the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to practice in the specialty of child and family health nursing that is benchmarked against professional child and family health nursing practice standards
  • develop an understanding of best practice models, policies and standards to provide contemporary, evidence based practice within child and family health nursing service delivery
  • analyse and apply the principles of primary health care, health promotion and relationship-based nursing practice to facilitate optimal health and development of infants, young children and families
  • identify the key elements required to foster effective therapeutic relationships with infants, young children, families and communities within the professional boundaries of ethical nursing practice and health care responsibilities
  • discuss the importance of the role of the child and family health nurse, working in a strengths-based partnership model, in the promotion of healthy family functioning and child-parent attachment
  • demonstrate an awareness of, and sensitivity towards social, cultural, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, environmental and political factors that influence the practice of child and family health nursing
  • critically examine and apply current research to develop reflective, problem-solving and critical thinking skills in the context of contemporary child and family health nursing practice.

The Graduate Certificate in Child and Family Health Nursing is a one year course, consisting of four 10-week terms.

Students will need to complete 4 core units. One unit is studied per term.

Approximate hours of study are 12 – 15 hours per week.

Units of study

Unit typeUnit name & pricing

Course codes
10 006 2143 (January 2021 intake)
10 006 2144 (July 2021 intake)

Term 1 - CoreLeadership and Professional Practice (925), Tier 2
Term 2 - CoreInfant and Child Nutrition and Feeding (201), Tier 1
Term 3 - CoreChild Development in the Family Context (018)*, Tier 3
Term 4 - CoreFamily and Child Health (040)*, Tier 3
*Units Family and Child Health (040) and Child Development in the Family Context (018) require 40 hours clinical placement each.

ACN offers two intakes per year in January and July. Important dates including start and census dates can be found here.

Flexible intakes in April and October may be available, please contact our Customer Services team for further details.


Tiers2021 Member price (10% discount)2021 Non-member price2022 Member price (10% discount)2022 Non-member price
Tier 1$2,070.00$2,300.00$2,133.00$2,370.00
Tier 2$2,362.50$2,625.00$2,434.50$2,705.00
Tier 3$2,776.50$3,085.00$2,862.00$3,180.00
Tier 4$3,321.00$3,690.00$3,420.00$3,800.00

Fees are subject to change without notice.

ACN offers a flexible payment option allowing students to pay their fees on a term-by-term basis. Each term’s fees are due upfront, prior to term commencement.

FEE-HELP is also available for eligible students. Further information can be found here.

Want to save on course fees?

Being a part of the ACN community allows nurses to be the best they can be and strengthen the voice of nursing through a range of invaluable benefits, including 10% off graduate certificates and other education offerings, exclusive networking events, access to support and advice on ACN’s online engagement platform neo, free online CPD courses and opportunities to be involved in shaping health care policy. Find out more and join our tribe today!

Admission to GC courses is based on academic merit and selection. In addition, applicants must satisfy any prerequisites or additional requirements specified for particular courses, including ACN’s general eligibility criteria.

All applicants seeking admission are required to:

  • hold a Bachelor of Nursing or registered nurse* equivalent qualification
  • be currently registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) or the equivalent registering authority in your country of origin
  • have a minimum of one year postgraduate experience
  • be currently employed in an appropriate clinical setting.

*For some GC units of study, consideration may be given for applicants who are not registered nurses on an individual basis.

Clinical placements

Anyone applying for an ACN course that includes a clinical placement must provide evidence of compliance documents at the time of application.

Applications for enrolment will not be progressed until all relevant documentation has been received by Customer Services.

Each Australian state and territory has its own clinical placement documentation requirements. Further details are available on our Clinical Placement Information page, click on the tab for your particular state or territory for information on specific requirements.

Individual placement providers may need additional documentation. If you are required to provide this then you will be contacted by the Clinical Placement Officer following enrolment.

ACN negotiates with health care facilities to secure clinical placements. ACN will make every effort to secure clinical placements within the timeframe indicated in the course outline, however applicants are advised that provision and location of clinical placements is dependent on the availability of placements within the health facility.

As placements are difficult to secure, once confirmed these cannot be negotiated unless there is unforeseen extenuating circumstances. Applicants are not to arrange their own clinical placements with a clinical facility under any circumstances. ACN reserves the right to change clinical placements if necessary.

Notice for students from Western Australian

Students from both the Metropolitan and Rural and Remote areas of Western Australia will need to complete a Pre-clinical Skills Workshop at Curtin University as a pre-requisite prior to undertaking clinical placement in that state. If students can provide evidence that they have already had training and are deemed competent in clinical skills pertaining to Physical Assessment; Developmental Assessment; and Growth Assessment of Children/Adolescents, this may be accepted in place of the pre-skills workshop. This evidence has to be presented to Curtin University’s Clinical Placement team for assessment.

More information about the clinical skills workshop can be found by following this link:

N.B. You can enrol into our course before completing this workshop but please be aware that clinical placement may be delayed if this pre-requisite has not been completed.

Trish Lowe MACN, Nurse Educator – Higher Education

RN, RM, BNurs, Grad Dip Mid, MMid, GC Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing, GC Child and Family Health, CertIVTAE, Immunisation for RNs


Trish is responsible for the coordination of our Graduate Certificates in Cancer Nursing, Child and Family Health, and Neonatal Care. Trish is committed to advancing nurse leadership and advocating for the nursing and midwifery profession, by equipping nurses and midwives with the knowledge they require, to meet their mandatory registration requirements, especially pertaining to recency of practice and continuing professional development.

Please ensure you read all course information, make sure you meet entry requirements and have all clinical placement documentation ready prior to commencing the application form.

Applications for enrolment will not be progressed until all relevant documentation has been received by Customer Services.

Course codes: 10 006 2143 (January 2021 intake)
10 006 2144 (July 2021 intake)

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Contact us

For general course information:
Customer Services
t: 02 9745 7500