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

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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 aims to provide students with a sound understanding of child and family health nursing practice within a legal, moral and ethical framework that reflects current models of care, government policy, and practice initiatives. Nurses working, or intending to work, in the specialty of child and family health require a clear understanding of primary health care, health promotion, parent-infant attachment, and the social determinants of health. Students will explore family dynamics and the importance of connections between the child, family, and community.

The quality of early relationships and the environment in which a child is raised significantly affects their mental health and well-being. Using a strengths-based, family partnership approach, child and family health nurses provide psychosocial and practical support and guidance to new parents while building capacity in their parenting skills.

Health and developmental screening and surveillance of infants and young children are significant components of child and family health nursing practice. The course focuses on feeding and nutrition, safety and well-being, and growth and development in the early years from birth to age 5. The role of the child and family health nurse as a central point of access to multidisciplinary community health services will be discussed, and students will undertake 80 hours of clinical placement to consolidate their theoretical learning and apply it to practice.

Working in child and family health practice requires specialist skills and knowledge to meet the increasingly complex health care needs of children and families in the community. The Graduate Certificate in Child and Family Health Nursing responds to industry requirements by preparing students for practice, developing their educational needs, and fostering the professional skills and attributes they require to optimise health outcomes for the child and family.

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 attributes required of the child & family health nurse in their speciality context, benchmarked against current research, policy guidelines and practice standards
  • examine the principles of primary health care, health promotion and the social determinants of health to support optimal health outcomes for young children and their families
  • apply a strengths-based, family partnership model of care to support mental health and well-being parenting capacity and infant-parent attachment
  • evaluate the impact of social, cultural, community and environmental factors on health and well-being of the child and family in the early years
  • analyse the evidence-based assessment and screening tools that support and monitor family & children’s health, safety, nutrition, growth and development
  • appraise the role of the child and family health nurse as a central point of access to multidisciplinary and multicultural community health services, non-government organisations, resources and networks

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 2246 (July 2022 intake)
10 006 2347 (January 2023 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.


Tiers2022 Member price (10% discount)2022 Non-member price2023 Member price (10% discount)2023 Non-member price
Tier 1$2,133.00$2,370.00$2,196.00$2,440.00
Tier 2$2,434.50$2,705.00$2,506.50$2,785.00
Tier 3$2,862.00$3,180.00$2,947.50$3,275.00
Tier 4$3,420.00$3,800.00$3,523.50$3,915.00

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.

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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
  • hold current registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA); or the equivalent registering authority in your country of origin
  • meet the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia English language skills registration standard (nursing and midwifery) – please refer to the AHPRA website to download the standard
  • have a minimum of one year of postgraduate experience; and
  • be currently employed in the clinical area of specialisation*

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

*The below courses contain a compulsory clinical placement component and do not require applicants to be employed in the clinical area of specialisation:

  • Graduate Certificate in Child and Family Health
  • Graduate Certificate in Stomal Therapy Nursing
  • Graduate Certificate in Dermatology Nursing

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 Australia

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 coordinating our Graduate Certificates in 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 necessary knowledge to meet their mandatory registration requirements, especially regarding 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 2246 (July 2022 intake)
10 006 2347 (January 2023 intake)

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Contact us

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