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24 November
New support for teenage parents and jobless families
Teenage and jobless parents will have new opportunities to complete their school education and enter the workforce as a result of measures being introduced by the Gillard Government.
The Gillard Government will launch Teenage Parent and Jobless Families trials next year after legislation passed through the House of Representatives last night.
Minister for Jobs, Senator Chris Evans, said the trials would start in 10 disadvantaged locations around Australia to help teenage and jobless parents on parenting payments finish their education and join the workforce.
“This is an important initiative that aims to support and engage parents by providing a range of services to overcome barriers to education, training or work and to give their children a positive start in life,” Senator Evans said.
“Teenage parents will be strongly encouraged to achieve a Year 12 or equivalent standard education and will be supported to ensure their children are ready for school, both socially and academically.”
In the 10 communities from January 1, teenage parents who receive Parenting Payment will receive support to attend regular appointments with Centrelink and enter into a Participation Plan.
Parents will be supported with training places, child care assistance and employment services in the following locations:
 Bankstown (NSW);
 Wyong (NSW);
 Shellharbour (NSW);
 Shepparton (Vic);
 Hume (Vic);
 Logan (Qld);
 Rockhampton (Qld);
 Playford (SA);
 Burnie (Tas); and
 Kwinana (WA).
Minister for Families, Jenny Macklin, said having a job is important to giving children the best start in life.
“I don’t think it’s acceptable that children grow up in a household where no one has ever worked,” Ms Macklin said.
“The trial will help parents to build a better future for themselves and their children. It will provide new services, opportunities and responsibilities for families with young children in some of the most disadvantaged locations in the country.
Minister for Human Services, Tanya Plibersek, said the Gillard Government will always provide a safety net for those in need, but wants all Australians to have the opportunity to share in our nation's prosperity.
“The Gillard Government is working hard to address disadvantage in our communities by targeting assistance at those who need it most,” Ms Plibersek said.
The Jobless Families program will assist parents in the 10 locations who have been on income support for more than two years and not working or studying full time to plan for their return to work.
Participants will be required to meet with Centrelink regularly to attend interviews and workshops with specially trained staff who will help them get ready for work by encouraging them to set employment goals, providing information on local education and training opportunities and connecting them with local job, child care and early intervention services.
“The focus of the trials is to support parents and their children. To ensure they meet their requirements, participants will have their income support payment suspended if they don’t engage when required without a reasonable excuse,” Ms Plibersek said.
“Any withheld income support will be back-paid in full if they re-engage.”
The Teenage Parent trial starts on 1 January 2012 and the Jobless Families trial begins on
1 July 2012.
The Government committed $118 million over four years in this year’s Budget to trial the new arrangements in the 10 disadvantaged locations.
For more information about the Jobless Families and Teenage Parent trials:
Senator Evans’ Media Contact: Amy McKenna 0408 570 603
Minister Macklin’s Media Contact: Kate Thwaites 0429 067 500
Minister Plibersek’s Media Contact: Simon Crittle 0466 773 531
DEEWR Media: Non-media enquiries: 1300 363 079
I have nothing against making education affordable for the single parent, in fact they can pay for my online Bachelor if they like (except I'm not a teenager and it is above the education they deem important for us sole parents), but I do have a problem with Minister for Families, Jenny Macklin, opinion -“I don’t think it’s acceptable that children grow up in a household where no one has ever worked,” Ms Macklin said... WTF women??? I am not a teenager but I am sure the teenage single mothers chose to be a single mothers just as much as I did, which is not at all. It really get's a fire in my belly that this minister seems to think it more valuable that the children be raised by child care providers other than having their mother available and at home. Our job in the home is valuable Minister Macklin and I can assure you we would provide better educated, higher qualified individuals if we took them out of your useless school system and home schooled them. It is not our fault or our children's fault that we mated with revolting men, our children deserve a stay at home mum just as much as the 'married' families and I'll be damned if I allow a minister to dictate the parenting rights of my children because I'm not married.
Here is an idea for the government, how about you take all that office desk work and change it to work from home opportunities, that should help to employ quite a number of us, and we could be at home for our kids.
I have to agree. I know of women who have commented in here about the troubles of either obtaining an education or working full time and keep their head above water. Either way child care is expensive and many mothers go without so the kids can have (I am 1 of those) Then after a full day at school or work they have to come home clean, cook, do laundry, pay bills sweep and mop, bath the littlies the list is endless. Will the only time we get to spend quality time with the most precious things we hold so close to our hearts be when we are walking the dog if lucky enough to be able to have 1. Oh and that is only if we have enough energy after getting everything done!!! Ready to start all over again the next day.
How many of us would jump at the opportunity of employment if there was honest work from home employment? The government have got themselves in the habit of complaining about single parents instead of appropriate problem solving, we know we are taxing on the Australian economy, we didn't do this by choice and we are desperate to break out of the poverty. There are plenty of jobs being done in offices across this country that could be facilitated in a home office. Personally, I am desperate to work, we are broke but I will not risk the health and mental well being of my 8 month old baby to do this. I fail to understand how spending more of our limited federal budget on high school certificates is going to make a large enough difference in the scheme of things, give us the opportunity to work so that we may empower ourselves... That's my rant for the day!
.. does anyone have a job for me that I can work from home?..
The release of this policy was a major factor in my decision to remove my support away from the ALP (I am what could be deemed as a 'political nutjob' I campaigned hard for alp last election, including handing out htv's). I was absolutely disgusted in it. I was/am ( am I always a teen mum? or am I no longer a teen mum once I leave my teens? lol) and I was involved in a FANTASTIC program that offered support for young mothers to study, access to education in parenting, healthy living and career building skills, wonderful professional support for any other issues, and most importantly a judgment free zone for young parents to connect. This amazing program which has enabled to get me to where I am today (relatively sane and a year off completing my first degree with plans for another to follow) was axed because it could not get funding from local, state or federal government. A few months later this piece of crap policy was announced. Instead of supporting young mums in moving on with their lives and building happy healthy stable futures for themselves and their children, the government has decided to FORCE young mums onto it. The stigma that is placed on young mums is unbelievable. Now that I am a bit older I dont get it so much, but I still remember the burning shame and embarrassment I felt having strangers whisper about me, having shop assistants stand over me while I was forced to empty out my pram (which involved lifting the seat of the pram up while my baby was sleeping) so they could make sure I hadn't stolen anything, while a friendly smile and a "cute baby" comment was given to older mothers.. I could go on but I'm sure you get my point. The fact of the matter is, young mothers are more likely to experience relationship breakdown (almost half of relationships fail) ad higher rates of PND, many also experience DV. Adding to that stigma with policies like these is not going to help anyone. Couple this with cuts to JET funding and you have a disaster on your hands. Just to rub salt into the wound, this policy was actually introduced alongside another which basically says the same thing for young parents who are coupled.. but wait.. here's the kicker. If you are single and you do not meet the government's requirements, you risk having your payments cut off. Partnered and receiving benefits? Never you mind its 100% voluntary for you. Disgraceful, even more so that my local member had never even heard of the policy when I made a meeting to discuss it with her. .. hello dear, you voted it in. Sorry I got my rant on a bit there! lol.