NIDCAP Australasia

About us

The Australasian NIDCAP Training Centre in the Grace Centre for Newborn Intensive Care (GCNIC) began its journey in 1998 and has since trained numerous NIDCAP Certified Professionals and delivered neurodevelopmental education to over 2000 health care professionals.

As a training centre we offer local and national training for healthcare professionals utilising the Newborn Individualised Developmental Care and Assessment Program (NIDCAP) and Family and Infant Neurodevelopmental Education (FINE) frameworks and lead the way in Australia in the promotion of neurodevelopmentally supportive practices.

What we do


There is increasing evidence that early life stress is harmful to the developing central nervous system and brain. As an infant’s brain is growing faster than at any other time in life, their brain can be impacted by stress and environmental exposure in the NICU with immediate and longer term consequences. By understanding that every caregiving experience matters, NIDCAP training can help professionals to create a hospital experience that is less stressful and more supportive for the infant and family.


We offer a range of neurodevelopmental care education programs for neonatal health care professionals that are designed to meet learners needs by developing knowledge and skills in steps that can be paced to their career needs, from orientation for beginners, to developing competent practice or leadership.

Training and resources

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Our neurodevelopmental care experts are available to consult with units about individualised developmental care initiatives. Our staff can help you to evaluate your clinical area and develop a plan for improvement.

We have several resources available to help track progress for your unit including:

  • NIDCAP Nursery Assessment and Certification Program (NNACP) Nurses Assessment Score Sheets
  • Site Assessment tools exploring parent participation in care, Light and sound, Pain and Stress Management, Skin-to-skin/Kangaroo care, Caregiving, Feeding

Our training centre offers a range of scholarships designed to facilitate attendance at neurodevelopmental programs and support professional development opportunities.

First Nations Neonatal Health Care Professional Scholarship

The scholarship is available for First Nations Neonatal Health Care Professionals to complete neurodevelopmental education programs including:

  • FINE First Steps (valued at $109)
  • FINE Level 1: (valued at $400)
  • FINE Level 2: (valued at $2000) ** Please note completion of FINE Level 1 is a perquisite to enrol in FINE 2

The scholarship covers the costs to complete the program, it does not include the costs of study leave, travel, or accommodation.

To be eligible for this scholarship you must be:

  • A First Nations Australian citizen
  • Employed as a health care professional working with neonates

Submit a First Nations Neonatal Scholarship

Australian Rural Scholarship program

To support learning in the non-metropolitan setting we are pleased to offer a Rural Scholarship Program.

Two rural scholarship positions will be offered for each FINE Level 1 program. The rural scholarship covers the cost for the program registration (value $400).

Applicants must meet the following conditions:

  • Must be an Australian resident
  • Demonstrated employment as a health care professional in a neonatal or special care unit
  • Live >100km from an identified metropolitan centre in their state (i.e. Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane, Darwin. All Tasmanian residents, regardless of location, are encouraged to apply under the terms of the scholarship).

Submit a Rural scholarship form

Kaye Spence AM Scholarship

The Kaye Spence AM Scholarship supports neonatal nurses to attend conferences, lead small research or quality improvement projects, or attend a neonatal care-related course.

Kaye has had a long career in neonatal nursing starting at University College Hospital in London in the 1970s. She joined the staff in Grace (then Baxter Ward) and went on to become a Clinical Nurse Educator, Nurse Educator, and Clinical Nurse Consultant. Kaye has a passion for neonatal nursing with a special interest in newborn pain, feeding, and the newborn requiring surgery. Kaye has led the nursing research in Grace and established the Clinical Neonatal Nursing Research Fellowship.

Kaye became a NIDCAP Professional and champions developmental care across Australia. She is currently a Senior Editor of the Developmental Observer and has served on the Board of Directors of the NIDCAP Federation International and our training Centre.

Kaye Spence AM Scholarship consists of $500 to be used for:

  • attendance at a neonatal conference within the next 12 months, or
  • funding support to lead a small research project or quality improvement project, or
  • attendance a neonatal care-related course/program (e.g. FINE training, continuing education, workshops)

The scholarship amount is awarded retrospectively via reimbursement. Applicants are required to submit a receipt demonstrating they have met one of the above categories within 12 months of receiving the scholarship.

Submit a Kaye Spence AM Scholarship Application

Reading Matters, even to the Smallest Baby.

Each year our training centre in partnership with The Life’s Little Treasures Foundation facilitate the Little Readers Read-a-thon with neonatal (neonatal intensive care and special care nurseries) across Australia and internationally invited to participate.

Why reading is important:

Reading to babies every day supports development not only in the NICU, but also going into early infancy and childhood. Babies enjoy hearing their parent’s voice over any other sound, but what is more important is that it’s an activity that parents can do every day for their baby during a time where many feel helpless in an intense and stressful environment. Reading is also linked to improved language and writing abilities at school age, so it’s never too early to start and why we’re encouraging you to get on board with our Little Readers Read-a-thon.

Our team has published research on the benefits of a reading program for parents:

Fraser, A., Griffiths, N & Webb, A. (2022) Why reading matters. The development of a read-a-thon for Neonatal Intensive Care Units to encourage neonatal exposure to language. Journal of Neonatal Nursing. 29 (5): 704-708

You can find out more about the annual readathon event here:

And download reading and singing resources here:

Reading for babies

Download Nursery Rhyme booklet

The use of these documents outside The Children's Hospital at Westmead (CHW), or its reproduction in whole or in part, is subject to acknowledgement that it is the property of CHW. CHW has done everything practicable to make this document accurate, current and in accordance with accepted legislation and standards at the date of publication. CHW is not responsible for consequences arising from the use of this document outside CHW. A current version of this document is only available electronically from the Hospital. If this document is printed, it is only valid to the date of printing.

The Sydney Children's Hospitals Network provides a range of paediatric learning opportunities to healthcare professionals in the community. Sign up to our Learning Platform to browse all courses.