[Sub ID 4738] Two-generational support for young parents (Anglicare NSW South, NSW West & ACT)

Submission ID: 4738
Organisation name: Anglicare NSW South, NSW West & ACT
Contact name: Ms Ann Ponsonby
State: ACT
Contact email: ann.ponsonby@anglicare.com.au
Contact number: 0428122746

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?
Young parents who reside in communities experiencing financial hardship are significantly compromised in their ability to find work. They often have intergenerational experiences of unemployment/under employment and, with the additional burden of early parenting responsibilities, find it hard to remain hopeful about their potential to achieve a future independent of long term welfare supports.

Many young parents residing in isolated parts of the community find it difficult to access services outside their immediate community, including work experience or the opportunity to find employment. This is confirmed by the young people we work with – recent research in the Ashmont community found that over 80% of the community only seek services within Ashmont despite a greater range of services being available a short distance away in central Wagga.

The opportunities for children of these young parents are also compromised early in life with limited or non-engagement in early learning environments. Often the care received in the vital early years lacks appropriate developmental support and stimulation to ensure the children are ready for school, further exacerbating intergenerational disadvantage. Research evidence suggests that children who enter school with delays are significantly more likely to disengage from school (Hancock & Zubrick 2015).

What is your idea?
The idea is a bi-generational place based approach to enhancing workforce participation for young parents. Young parents would be engaged early in their new parenting role (from birth) to assist their capacity to establish healthy attachment relationships with their child and to understand their child’s ongoing developmental needs.

From this foundation service, parents would be invited to engage in further support programs to address their changing needs as they transition to the responsibilities of family life. These would likely include financial support programs to build economic participation and other pragmatic supports such as quality occasional child care.

When the young parents are more settled in their role, usually 12-24 months after their infant’s birth, a more focused bi-generational approach would be available. Parents would be supported with literacy and numeracy development, career planning, access to accredited training options and supported access to workforce placements and employment opportunities. To further support work experience and work readiness options a social enterprise working opportunity would be established alongside hub activities – likely to be a hospitality, customer service or retail enterprise dependent on community planning. Whilst parents engage in these activities their children would be engaged in quality early learning environments.