Parenting Trial Gives Young Australians a Fairer Go
More than 600 teenage parents are benefiting from education opportunities and services which are helping them to deal with the challenges of raising a family, thanks to the Gillard Government’s Helping Young Parents trial.
Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Bill Shorten said the trial means young parents will work with Centrelink to develop a participation plan that includes compulsory activities designed to support them in their parenting role or help them gain a good education.
“The trial began on 1 January 2012 and is already showing signs of success,” Mr Shorten said.
Many young parents have identified suitable education activities and are tapping into the benefits of early childhood education for their children, and family support services, such as playgroups and parenting classes.
“Parenting at a young age can be difficult, but the right support can make a big difference, to both parents and their children.”
Minister for Human Services, Senator Kim Carr said early indications suggest young parents are welcoming the opportunities on offer through the trial to help them overcome barriers to finishing school and getting a good job.
“Some young parents who have signed a participation plan already have a year 12 or equivalent qualification and have decided to participate in the trial as volunteers, to receive additional support to better prepare them for the future,” he said.
“Young parents involved in the trial can access an online community where they can talk with each other and find useful information. This is a medium young people are very comfortable using. It will help them overcome many of the challenges they face when balancing study and parenting,” he said.
Trial locations include Playford (SA), Hume (VIC), Shepparton (VIC), Burnie (TAS), Bankstown (NSW), Wyong (NSW), Shellharbour (NSW), Rockhampton (QLD), Logan (QLD) and Kwinana (WA).
Centrelink have already met with nearly 400 young parents to create personally tailored Participation Plans, which engage the parents in education, such as Certificate and Diploma level courses, parenting classes and approved child care and playgroups.
Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Jenny Macklin said it’s important for young parents to know what services are available to them.
“A new report by the Australian Catholic University released today found that the two main aspirations for young parents were providing a safe environment for their children, and finding a really good steady job,” Ms Macklin said.
“This trial is helping young parents in some of Australia’s most disadvantaged areas build a better future for themselves and their children.
The Helping Young Parents trial will run for three and a half years and aims to assist around 4000 teenage parents.
More information on the Helping Young Parents measure is available at: http://www.centrelink.gov.au/internet/internet.nsf/payments/helping_young_parents.htm
A copy of the Australian Catholic University’s research report Experiences and Aspirations of Younger Mothers can be found at: http://www.fahcsia.gov.au/our-responsibilities/families-and-children/publications-articles/experiences-and-aspirations-of-younger-mothers