FEDERAL politicians welcomed the expansion of a national program to help parents with young children avoid long-term welfare dependency in Clarkson today.
The ParentsNext initiative helps parents prepare for future study or employment and has been trialled in 10 locations across Australia since April 2016, helping more than 23,000 parents find employment.
The Federal Government announced an expansion of the program in its 2017-18 Budget, aiming to help about 68,000 parents who have young children and are at risk of long-term welfare dependency.
Jobs and Innovation Minister Michaelia Cash and Pearce MHR Christian Porter visited Stirling Skills Training in Clarkson on July 2 to launch the program.
It helps eligible parents prepare for employment by the time their children go to school.
Providers will work with parents to help them set education and employment goals, and link them to support services so they can achieve those goals.
The program connects parents to a range of services including education, mentoring, health, housing, parents’ groups, affordable childcare, domestic violence support and work experience.
About 96 per cent of participants are expected to be women, including 10,000 indigenous women, so the program will complement other initiatives to increase female participation in the workforce and meet the employment Closing the Gap target for indigenous Australians.
Ms Cash said the expanded program would give more parents a chance to get the skills and help they need to get back into the workforce.
“We’re investing $351 million to break the cycle of welfare dependency and give parents the tools to achieve their goals,” she said.
Mr Porter said the national rollout was about helping parents plan and prepare for future study or employment, and creating role models for future generations.
“The need in my electorate for these types of services is very high,” he said.