[Sub ID 4583] Integrated services hub (Mission Australia)

Submission ID: 4583
Organisation name: Mission Australia
State: NSW
Contact email: tenders@missionaustralia.com.au

Which priority group of the Try, Test and Learn Fund does your idea support?
Young parents

What need or issue are you trying to address?
Teenage parenthood is one challenge that can have a considerable impact on a young person’s life and is associated with a number of adversities. It is more likely to occur for young people who are under-achieving in their education and in turn, young parenthood can act to further entrench some of these problems and perpetuate a cycle of disadvantage for both the young parent and their child.

Many young parents have ambitions for further study and work, but find managing the competing expectations of parenting too difficult. Very few school-aged mothers complete secondary school due to a range of barriers such as inflexible school practices, lack of childcare, transport and other practical difficulties. Stigma can also be associated with teen pregnancy and a supportive approach is required.

Disruption to education can lead to long-term welfare dependency and poorer wellbeing for parents and children. The OECD recently recommended that Australia ensure the continuation of the co-operation between schools and external social services to fight early school leaving and ensure that all young people obtain the qualifications needed to continue their studies or find work; and ensure available and affordable childcare, particularly for lone parents (OECD 2016, Investing in Youth: Australia).

What is your idea?
There is a need for integrated service provision of early childhood education and care, supported learning environments for young parents, study support, parenting support and intensive wrap-around casework supports. The provision of childcare is crucial to the success of programs for young parents as it allows the parent to focus on their study and provides the child with a positive socialising experience.

Young parents aged 16 to 24 can re-engage with education minimising the risk of long-term welfare dependency and improving their employment prospects while their children receive high quality care improving intergenerational opportunities.

A range of educational opportunities would be offered to meet the needs of young people including mainstream schooling, vocational education and training and learning by correspondence.

Young parents would be supported by a caseworker to access subsidised childcare places, appropriate housing, medical care and other essentials while also being assisted with parenting skills and their chosen studies. A workforce connector would be engaged to connect young people to local employment opportunities when ready.

The program provides a hub for service provision and a social network of other young parents who are motivated to complete their education offering peer support.