[Sub ID 4317] Child Health Plus – Engagement with young parents (Anglicare WA)

Submission ID: 4317
Organisation name: Anglicare WA
State: WA
Contact email: shae.garwood@anglicarewa.org.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?
Anglicare WA utilised a brief Human Centred Design process to inform this submission, which generated the following insights:

Young parents’ wellbeing is a primary driver of their capacity and motivation to secure employment. Many young parents have complex lives, that might include trauma experiences. Existing child health services struggle to engage young parents because of stigma surrounding parenting at a young age. Many young parents won’t attend child health services as a result.

An insight from our research is that when a child is six months old, a young parent might consider employment and training, as part of a respite from tough work of sole parenting.

The target population is relatively small and widely dispersed across Australia.

What is your idea?
Child Health Plus would replace mainstream child health supports for any parent under 20 years of age with a more holistic, relationship focused outreach based service. Run in partnership with State Government Health Services, Child Health Plus would be delivered by youth appropriate social services staff supported by health experts (rather than nursing staff). The focus of the services would be to develop strong, non-judgemental relationships with young parents. It would include child health and parenting supports, but it would also be able to address the psychosocial barriers young parents face, and their engagement with employment and training. Whilst the service would be voluntary, it would use assertive methods (like those regularly used by youth workers) to build strong relationships.

When the child is six months old, Child Health Plus would provide child care vouchers to allow a parent 1-2 days of free child care per week for 3 months. This child care time would provide the parent with the mental space to consider education or employment. At 8 months old, the Child Health Plus worker would use their strongly built relationship to encourage young parents to complete career advice and guidance, and potentially access employment or training.